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    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday

    This post has been written in collaboration with Inntravel #SEEINGSWITZERLAND, but all words and thoughts are my own.

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    In 2014 I travelled to Finland for an expedition. It was part of a university module, and our plan was to go out and photograph bears. We travelled from Kajaani to a wildlife centre near Viiksimo, then to another near Suomussalmi and then braved the train up to Rovaneimi. That was an adventure! (We also went snow shoeing – as seen below! Photo on the below right thanks to Louise Groom!) Now besides that, I haven’t really been on a specifically active walking/hiking holiday – just day/weekend trips – despite me loving the idea of this style of holiday.

    I guess part of that is laziness (isn’t it easier to just book one of those typical beach/city holidays?) but part of it is also because I’ve just never really had anyone who wanted to do the same thing. That said, I’m someone who loves nothing more than to pull on my running shoes and go explore a new town on my own and I do it every time I go on holiday, no matter what kind of trip it is!

    5 Reasons To Go On A Walking Holiday | Finland | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 The Weather Is Unpredictable, But Can Be Incredible

    A normal day in Britain could see you experiencing sunshine, rain, overcast, hail and snow all in the matter of an hour. I’m sure other countries are similar, but you know, that’s the chance you take when on an outdoor trip. Don’t let that put you off.

    You can choose where you want to go, and ultimately the kind of weather you want. If you want to see snow and hike in a colder place, Austria, Switzerland, Norway or Finland may be top choices. Sun-worshipper? Then maybe Spain, India, Morocco or Cyprus would be your thing. Some countries even have a good mixture of both, so really you just need to decide what you want and check what it’s like out there at that time of year. When I visited Finland, we experienced both snow and sun, as you can tell in the two photos above, the weather differs even just a 5 hour drive away!

    #2 Muscles You Didn’t Know Existed Will Ache, But You’ll Be Fitter

    And you should sleep well afterwards! If you’re not used to being out all day in all weather, walking about, then yes you probably will be sore afterwards. You can always go at your own pace though, so don’t feel like you have to be some super fit athlete to be doing it. Most walks will have a difficulty rating, and quite often there will be a few different routes that you can take.

    The more you do it, the fitter you’ll get and soon you’ll be running up those hills! Or okay, maybe not. You’ve also got the option to cycle around these kinds of places too, which brings a whole different kind of trip.

    #3 Getting Lost Is An Adventure, You Find New Places

    Hands up, who can read a map? I dabbled a little in map reading at university. And by that I mean I tried, tried a little more and didn’t do very well. I mean technically you don’t really need a map. There are plenty of walking holidays with toured walks, or ones where you just have to follow a path and signposts. Getting off the beaten track can be fun, but only if you can get yourself back on track!

    Many a time have I gone out to explore, taken a different turning or path and discovered something new. I still do that in my local areas! Doing this, you’ll see a lot more of the natural country than a regular tourist would, and you’ll come away feeling like you’ve discovered a country’s secrets.

    #4 There May Be No Mobile Signal So Switch Off, Enjoy The Quiet

    We’re all getting a little too reliant on social media nowadays aren’t we? I mean, is it even news unless you’ve seen it on BBC Breaking’s twitter account? Nope. I am fully aware that I rely on social media far too much. Forever checking Twitter and Facebook, forever wanting to post that photo on Instagram.

    I went to Wales last year and the signal was absolutely awful. We were lucky if we managed to scrape one bar in our cottage, and wifi, well, that was expensive. So you know what we did? Enjoyed the outdoors, explored the surrounding area and yes, we played board games. It was refreshing. You can post that photo on Instagram when you get back to real life.

    #5 Go Solo And Join A Walking Tour, Make New Friends

    This is one thing I haven’t done yet, but something I aim to do. Solo travel doesn’t have to be scary or lonely. There are plenty of tours and groups out there that will guide you around a country along with other travellers.

    If, like me, you have no one to enjoy this kind of holiday with, you don’t have to swear off them. I’m planning a solo trip myself for the end of 2018. I mean, if anyone wants to join me they can – but I’ll still be going regardless! (Well hopefully, as long as the saving works out…)

    Mammut Xeron Element Bag Giveaway | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #SEEINGSWITZERLAND with Inntravel

    Now Inntravel call themselves specials in ‘slow holidays’. Holidays that give you time to fully savour every moment of your trip: travelling through beautiful landscapes; tasting local cuisine; relaxing in family-run hotels and talking to the locals. They basically aim to get you away from that typical city break or beach holiday and experience something new.

    Trips they offer include walking holidays, cycling, snow breaks, family breaks and privately guided. Currently they are promoting their self-guided ‘From the Eiger to the Matterhorn’ trip, giving you the chance to see some of the best walking tours in all of the Alps (and the Alps are pretty special – I was lucky enough to be driven through the Swiss Alps on my way home from a college trip!)

    I received a Mammut XERON ELEMENT 30L rucksack, Sigg drinking bottle, Viktorinox hiker Swiss army knife, two pairs of walking socks and some luxury Lindt Swiss chocolates. (Oh those chocolates were definitely luxury!)

    The Mammut bag you can see in the photos above, and it is quite a big backpack – great for long days out. I found it quite comfortable to wear and didn’t have any parts rubbing on the three hour hike that I took it on. With a laptop pocket, main pocket, front organiser pocket and another small front pocket (perfect for a map I would say!) you’ll easily be able to split items apart for easy access. 30L is actually quite roomy, so it’d be great for a walking holiday.

    And hey, thanks to Inntravel, you can win your very own Mammut XERON ELEMENT rucksack. Just enter below to be in with a chance to win. All entries are optional, but obviously the more you do the better chances you have!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Giveaway T&C’s
    – The prize includes a Mammut XERON ELEMENT rucksack.
    – The giveaway will run from 19/05/17 until 31/05/17.
    – It will be open to UK residents only, aged 18+.
    – The winner will be chosen at random, and will be contacted by myself to request their postal address.
    – The winner will have 28 days from being notified to accept the prize. After that another winner will be chosen.
    – The prize will be provided by the company, and sent directly to the winner.
    – No data collected from Rafflecopter will be shared with the company or any other.

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    5 Reasons To..., Lifestyle

    5 Reasons To Love Spring

    Anyone who knows me (maybe even you guys on here) knows I hate winter. Me and cold weather do not mix. Take me to a hot country! That’s why I love Spring and what the start of it means…

    5 Reasons To Love Spring | Blossom Flowers

    #1 Love Longer Days

    The clocks going forward really sucks for the first week, but after that it is a delight. Coming home from work in the sunshine (when it appears) is one of the best feelings ever. I love the lighter evenings, I don’t feel like the day has disappeared when the sun sets at 8pm.

    #2 Love Spring Sunshine

    Yeah okay so we don’t get that much of it, but Spring signals the start of better weather. And it is better on the whole. You know when it’s sunny out, but not too humid or hot? I mean I love that too, but I do love the freshness of Spring weather. I’ve also discovered that driving down an empty motorway with the sun shining and music (mcfly) blasting is one of the better things about being able to drive. The sun is just a complete mood lifter. I need one of those SAD clocks/lights when Winter comes back around.

    #3 Love Insects

    A weird one maybe. Some people hate insects (why?!) but I love seeing butterflies floating around, bees sniffing out flowers, ladybirds and other small bugs flittering about. I love it. Also love a bit of macro photography, and Spring is the best time for that. Yes, I love all creatures great and small ;)

    #4 Love Pretty Flowers

    It seems like everyone takes a photo of blossom during Spring (that’s the best I’ve found above) but the light pink just looks so pretty against the blue sky. Also flowers seem to be everywhere in shops, there are daffodils littering any patches of grass outside and daisies will start to appear soon. Also, that embroidery fashion trend – I never thought I’d be into it but I am love all the flower embroidery I’m seeing!

    #5 Love Running In Shorts

    Running is always easier when it’s sunny outside. I mean the actual running is tougher the hotter the weather gets, but it’s a lot easier to get out there in the first place. I also prefer wearing shorts, but I’m not as brave as the crazies at Park Run who wear shorts all year round and in minus temperatures. No thank you!

    Do you love Spring? Another season your favourite?

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    5 Reasons To..., Blogmas

    5 Reasons Why Winter is My Least Favourite Season // #20 of Blogmas ’16

    I don’t like Winter. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I hated it, but I definitely dislike it. I mean, in theory I love it. Cosy nights, layers, pretty snow. In reality, there’s no sunlight, never managing to get layers just right and snow quickly turns into slush…

    5 Reasons Why Winter is My Least Favourite Season // #20 of Blogmas ’16

    #1 It’s Cold

    We all know I hate the cold, right? Because I do. Take me to a hot country any day. I just don’t like having to layer up to feel warm, and I don’t like having to occasionally sleep in full pyjamas, socks, dressing gown and my 15 tog duvet because I’m just that cold. Give me the slightest breeze and I’ll have goosebumps, I’m not made for this weather.

    #2 Snow is Overrated

    It’s amazing when that first snow falls. I love how it makes everything look prettier and I love taking photographs of it. I found these from my last winter in Carlisle… Wasn’t it gorgeous?! But yeah, soon enough it’s slushy and horrible to walk in. Actually, the crunching of snow goes through me too. Hate it. I do love snow, when I’m not in it. Does make for fab selfies though – with the sunlight getting reflected in all that white. Like being in a big lightbox.

    #3 December is Misleading

    Anyone else forget that Winter has actually only just started when it gets to the end of the year? We’re in December now and already it feels like Winter has graced us forever and a day. But nope, the worst is yet to come. Today is actually the Winter Solstice so the days will get longer from now on (yay!) but the weather doesn’t start to brighten up. Oh no. January/February are generally so much colder, and that’s when the snow and ice appears…

    #4 Icy Roads & Cars

    Which leads me to this point. This is my first year driving in my own car and I’m actually terrified for when it starts getting icy and snowy. It’s bad enough trying to walk on an icy pavement, but having full control over something that has wheels and will easily slip on ice…? No thanks! I mean I’ll have to, but I wish I didn’t.

    #5 Constantly Feeling Sluggish

    Dark mornings make it harder to get up in the morning and in the cold I tend to reach for unhealthy comforts. Like having too many hot chocolates, living off potatoes because mash and gravy, reaching for all the chocolates that are just laying about, not wanting to do anything productive. Just me? My energy and motivation just gets a total hit in Winter. It’s something I want to work on but you know, it’s hard. I think I need one of those SAD lights.

    5 Reasons Why Winter is My Least Favourite Season // #20 of Blogmas ’16

    Despite all that, Winter can be super pretty though can’t it?
     

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    5 Reasons To..., Fitness

    6 Reasons to Exercise (Not including weightloss!)

    Oh, exercise. The thing that most people love whilst they’re doing it, but hate finding the motivation or having the aches afterwards. I personally feel like not enough people have really experienced the benefits of regularly exercising, so I thought I’d share a few!

    6 Reasons to Exercise (Not including weightloss!) | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Now exercise – what does that include? I’m not saying you have to go join a gym or run a 5k right now. Exercise can include a range of activities, and even getting out to do a bit of walking counts – yes it does! I know that some things are not for everyone, but there will always be that one thing you find and enjoy. Running, weights, yoga, swimming, cycling, rowing, tennis, football, basketball, zumba, pilates, walking, dancing… The list is actually endless. Find something, try it out and keep your mind and body healthy!

    #1 To De-Stress

    Hard day at work? Or maybe a hard week at work? Do you just have family/friends killing your mojo? When you’re exercising, your body releases endorphins and these simply make you feel good. Exercising also provides a good distraction, because depending on what you choose to do your mind/body will have to focus on other things. For me, doing weights/resistance helps to take my mind off things when I feel worried or anxious, whereas doing a run allows me to properly think over things – both work for me at different times.

    #2 Improve Memory Function and Mental Performance

    Exercising stimulates the formation of new brain cells, and studies have found that it helps especially in memory and learning. This study found that exercise can help increase the hippocampus – which is responsible for all memory stuff. Physical activity improves cognitive performance, information processing and can even help to delay cognitive impairment and diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer! Plenty of studies around about this if you wanted to have a little search.

    #3 To Sleep Better

    Basically you are using up energy, so if you have particular troubles getting to sleep at night, this could help. They say to try not to exercise so close to bedtime (morning/afternoon is best because you could just end up feeling even more wired…) but I always find that an easy yoga routine before bed really helps me to settle down at night when I’m struggling. Restorative yoga routines especially!

    #4 Strength and Posture

    Exercising strengthens your bones, ligaments and muscles giving you an overall stronger body. Strengthening muscles in your back, abs and legs can really help with posture both in sitting and standing. Here’s 5 Common Posture Problems – I feel like the anterior tilt is something a lot of people will struggle with without realising. But also, who doesn’t want to be stronger? Being able to pick up something heavy and seeing the disbelief in people’s faces? Just me?

    #5 Its Good For Your Heart

    Exercise can reduce your blood pressure, relieving stress on the heart, improves the heart muscle function and blood flow and can improve your insulin sensitivity. It can help to clear away clots in blood vessels, and studies show that those who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. As you’re doing physical activity, more blood is being pumped around and more oxygen is getting into your organs. You’re not just keeping your muscles fit and strong, but you’re helping everything else in your body to work at its best.

    #6 Confidence

    And, last but not least, confidence. Exercising can help you to feel more accomplished, and it gives you something to work towards. When that hard work pays off, you’ll feel better about yourself as a whole. Any body changes should also make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. I think the saying goes – if you aren’t happy, do something about it. I think your whole mentality can change when you exercise, and that’s a good enough reason for me!

    TL;DR – being active keeps your body working at it’s best, helps your brain/mind to improve/de-stress and can give you that confidence you need. Why not try something new eh?

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    5 Reasons To..., Lifestyle

    5 Ways To Procrastinate On All Things Important

    So I mean this isn’t really an advice post… More like, hey look I’m so bad at managing my time here’s all the time-wasting things I do and should fix immediately. But you know, let’s be realistic here. That’s not gonna happen any time soon.

    5 Ways To Procrastinate On All Things Important | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 Tidy Your Room

    Why does tidying seem like a brilliant idea when you’re putting something off? Seriously though, I just get hit with a burst of energy and need to reorganise everything. Bin bags filled, everything tidy and then damn, that’s the day gone. Oh well.

    #2 Play on The Sims

    Easy way to lose 6 hours of your life at a time. I did this last week instead of writing blog posts. My sims house looks great though – never mind the fact they can’t afford the bills. Anyone else do that? Make a really fancy house, leave just a little money because you know, gotta be realistic here and then remember that the bills for such a big house with so many cool things inside will be sky high? Every time.

    #3 Scroll through Social Media

    This is my current bedtime/morning troubles. I’ll look through one, move onto the next and then the next… And repeat. Who needs sleep or time to get up and ready anyway?

    #4 Get lost in a TV series or youtube videos

    I’m terrible at keeping up with shows in real time. I’ve done really well with Game of Thrones this season so far, and have watched every episode on Monday (can’t be seeing no spoilers!) but with everything else I’ve failed. I’m two episodes behind Casualty and I need to watch them today otherwise I’ll be three behind! But yeah, I tend to just binge watch a load of shows at once so that’s like a day gone.

    #5 Write/Read Blog Posts

    Yeah, sometimes, I just really should be doing something else. And actually, I’ve been meaning to write this post all week and would you look at that, it’s Saturday and I’m writing it just before publishing. (Blame all the things above #5 on this list) Just call me procrastination queen. I’ve got a hair appointment at half 2 to fix my botched hair, and I’m currently sat in my pjs writing this with just over an hour until I go for my bus. I need to shower.

    ————————————————–

    Yep, this pretty much sums up my life lately. Doesn’t help that I’ve been doing 6 day weeks because of my two jobs. Why did I think that would be a good idea eh? (I mean, my bank tells me, but still…) I feel like I need to make next week a really productive one. I keep meaning to schedule tweets and stuff, but that hasn’t happened for a good couple of weeks now… That’s got to be tonight’s plan!

    What about you? Are you reading this instead of actually doing something important?

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    5 Reasons To...

    5 Reasons To Write a List

    5 Reasons to Write a List | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    #1 Helps With Motivation

    I don’t know about you, but I like to see a visual of everything that needs to be done. Being able to see what needs to be done helps me to get myself into gear and get moving.

    #2 For the Satisfaction of Ticking Something Off

    Yep, doesn’t it feel great when you can check something as done?! Honestly though, there’s nothing better than writing a list of things to do, and being able to cross them off.

    #3 Helps You to Prioritise

    Have an idea of what needs to be done, what you want to get done and what would be nice to get done but doesn’t really matter so much? When writing a list, you can organise your jobs in order of priority or even preference. It means you can write down a list of everything you’d like to do in the coming day/week/month/year and then decide which points are the most important or necessary. If you kept the to-do list in your mind, you’d probably get the ‘fun’ things done first, even if others are more important. Take cleaning your bathroom against sorting out a bookcase. I know which is more important, but I also know which job I’d choose first.

    #4 Stay Accountable

    Writing a list means you know what you should be doing, and you can see when you haven’t done it. It’s like mentioning something on social media – once you say you’re going to do it, you feel like you have to otherwise you’re disappointing someone. So if you write it down you can see when you’ve failed. There’s nothing more disappointing than failing to complete something. Am I right? Maybe that’s just me…

    5. Track anything you like.

    Here we go – a list can be made up of absolutely anything you like. Today’s jobs, weekly tasks, monthly goals… To-dos too boring? Why not list films you want to watch, books you want to read, places to visit, foods to eat, languages to learn, museums to visit. The possibilities are endless.

    Yep, I’m a lister and I’m not ashamed to admit that I have lots of lists in my Filofax. What about you?

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    5 Reasons To..., Books

    5 Reasons to Start Listening to Podcasts

    I’ve only recently delved into listening to podcasts, but oh I wish I’d started sooner! I’m not a big music listener. I’d prefer to be reading on my journeys, but sometimes it’s just too warm/bumpy of a journey and I start to feel a little travel-sick. Podcasts are perfect for those times.

    5 Reasons to Start Listening to Podcasts | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Like reading a book – but with less effort

    So yeah, you’re basically following a story or information without having to actually hold a book, carry something around or use your eyes. It really depends on what kind of podcast you listen to, but Serial for example, is a documentary story. If you’ve watched Making a Murderer, I think you’ll love Serial. Based on a very similar story, Serial is about a guy called Adnan who was jailed for a murder he says he didn’t commit. The podcast is basically an investigation into everything that happened throughout the original murder investigation, and it evokes the same reactions as that Making a Murderer documentary. I’ve just seen a news story actually about him having another trial.

    Keeps your brain active

    There is pretty much a podcast for everything. Just by looking at the trending topics on the app (Podcast Addict) that I use, I can see: Start Writing Fiction, Classic Short Stories, You’re Hired – Interview Skills, Learn Spanish, Exploring Philosophy, Science Underground and so many more. The ‘Start Writing Fiction’ one is actually by the Open University, and they have many more podcasts to listen to. Personally, I’d rather listen to something like this and learn something, rather than just listen to music constantly on my journeys.

    5 Reasons to Start Listening to Podcasts | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Makes your exercise more interesting

    When I was running regularly, I’d typically put on the Harry Potter audio book that I was listening to because it made my run easier. When each chapter is around 30 minutes, it gives you more reason to carry on for a good amount of time. I’d always want to finish the chapter before I stopped running. Same goes for podcasts – I haven’t actually listened to one whilst running yet, but I know I will do next time I go! I think it just gives you something else to focus on, rather than the shortness of breath or aching legs.

    Reviews/Recaps

    Have a favourite TV show? I bet you there’s a podcast about it… People talking about the latest episode, theories, and all that sort of thing. I’ve just started doing this with Vampire Diaries, but I think a podcast about PLL would be pretty interesting. So many theories and things to talk about with that show, right? I’m someone who likes to google episodes after they’ve aired to see what others thought and to gain more insight into things that I didn’t really understand.

    There are also podcasts for reviews. I’ve spotted a few film and book ones, generally focusing on one genre. The most interesting I have seen though is The Disney Movie Review. These guys are talking about all new Disney films that come out, with the most recent being Star Wars. It’s good because there are episodes that say non-spoiler and spoiler, so you don’t have to worry about finding something out too soon!

    They are free!

    Yep, they cost nothing to watch. (Though, make sure you’re not streaming them over your data – that will cost you!) There are plenty of apps available to use on android and ios, and they’re updated regularly with new episodes. Once you’ve downloaded a couple of episodes you can listen to them wherever you want, and you can easily delete them again from your downloads once you’ve listened. Easy!

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