Day 27: Whats in my closet (or Tips for packing your hand luggage for a short haul flight!)

IMG_8218Whats in my closet nobody is bothered about whats in my closet, I’m not even bothered about whats in it so in homage to my impending holiday I am going to share with you all my necessities for a short haul european flight and a few tips for successful inflight entertainment.

Firstly, and most importantly, PASSPORT and MONEY. I am fully of the belief that if you have those two you can buy anything else.
My top tips for a short haul flight.

  • Have everything easy to get to. There are pockets inside your bag for a reason. Use them! Not necessarily for their intended purpose either so be creative. For example; ‘mobile phone sleeve’ aka lipstick and hand cream pocket. ‘zip pocket’ aka sweetie holder and passport protector you’ll need access to this on a few occasions, I hate being stuck behind someone who ‘cant find it’.
  • Take what you plan to use. Be realistic. If you’ve got a 1hr
    flight don’t pack 3 epic novels, your iPod and magazine and a cross stitch. Chances are you won’t look at anything bar one. Keep the magazine for the sun lounger and be mindful when choosing which book to pack and which one to carry.
  • Take your most valuable items on board. I’ve never been unfortunate enough to have my luggage go missing (famous last words) but the last thing you want is for you jewellary or your macbook to go to a different airport. How do you blog about your epic travel disaster if yor laptop is in Cyprus and you are in Germany?!
  • Know the details of your flight. If you are flying KLM there will be a drink and snack given to you on board therefore theres no need to
    do that mad dash into Boots for a meal deal ahead of the flight for anything more than a bottle of water (note: the best deal for water in airports always comes in the ‘buy two’ formation, not lone traveller friendly!). If you need to buy food on board make sure your purse is accessible. Nobody likes behind held up my some plonker repacking their entire hand luggage trying to find some cash, plus it will save you from the heart attack that someone has stolen it.
  • Make sure everything is charged! Best tip if taking electronics, don’t forget your chargers and make sure you always fly full of juice. If you plan to doze of midflight to the dulcet tones of Adelle and your iPod dies midway through Hometown Glory, you will be gutted!

If you’re jetting off anywhere to enjoy the last few weeks before the hard work towards the ‘Man-in-a-big-red suit’ or ‘he who shall not be named until the end of November’ have a wonderful holiday and I hope these little tips help make your onward journey run a little smoother.

Day 10: Best Trip of My Life

This is a hard one. I’ve been lucky enough to have many fabulous trips in my life. There are 3 that come to mind:

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Dublin 2013

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Amsterdam 201410524013_10152539554632593_4825519023957309604_n

On this day…

blog-ref-sherlockThis last few weeks have been full of blogging milestones for me so I couldn’t let this one go by without marking it.

Today marks my anniversary of the idea of my Dutch blog. Well actually it went live on the 1st August but on the 28th July 2014 I had the idea of sourcing an outlet for my Dutch obsession and it has stuck with me and superseded all other writing outlets I’ve ever used. Its become my hub for everything as well as my Dutch. So not only have I been forcing my opinions on the world for 5 years but I’ve been Dutching for 12 months too.

Here’s my first every dutch blog post  – Girls Weekend in Amsterdam! I’ve not been away with the girls since this trip either but it was an incredible trip and one we would all gladly make again. I probably wouldn’t stay above a Falafel shop again given the choice!  I thought I’d be in a better Dutch-speaking place by now but alas I’m not. Instead I’ve just become rather opinionated on Dutch things! The Dutch do weird stuff and I love them for that. I hope that comes across here at mariavictoriasmith.com. 10458806_10152545693802593_6158125469947159447_n

Bonus fact: Today is also the anniversary of me passing my driving test!! Woohoo!!

The importance of tea – A storm in a tea cup?

How you take it, for the purpose of this post, is irrelevant (although if you’re one of these that has more milk than water and half a pound of sugar you need to reassess your life choices!)

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Standard hangover cure after a particularly heavy night!

Tea sooths the soul; answers the questions when you don’t know what to say and poses as a perfect accompaniment to cake and gossip with friends. Full of natural anti-oxidants it’s the perfect beverage in terms of rehydration too! Be it black tea, fruit tea or some other strange concoction they are producing these days we can’t get enough of the stuff. Tea is an important English accompaniment to life, it’s the fuel of strength and fortitude (it can also be made to sound like a wonder drug too! In fact in my family tea can literally save or cure anything!)

Why is it important to me? I start and end my day with a cup. Come rain or shine I’m not myself until I’ve had at least one cup. On weekends I treat myself to pot full! Nothing beats my mom’s tea. I make it exactly the same way but it never quite tastes the same. Everyone has a different way of making tea and everyone tastes differently, for example my grandmothers is totally different to my moms and I would be able to spot it blindfolded but I love both equally as much.

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I take my tea very seriously and have been known to judge people by their tea making abilities and the cleanliness of their house will dictate my acceptance to an offer. There’s nothing worse than a dirty cup or a thick heavy mug. Oh and a little tip, if you don’t know how to make a good cup of tea, be honest about it, any self respecting tea drinker would much rather make it themselves than be handed a crap cuppa!

With English Breakfast Tea – it has to be twinings – half a spoon of sugar and a splash of milk.IMG_1076

As for Earl / Lady Grey tea I don’t like that too strong and it has to be drunk hot. There is nothing worse than luke warm tea and absolutely nothing worse than luke warm Earl Grey!

Dutch Tea – Pickwicks of course. It’s the subtle hint of orange that’s so special. If I need an extra little pick me up I add a little sugar, it lifts the flavor. The Dutch being expert blenders have really hit on to a winner with this one. Not sold in the UK and only in selected AH across the Netherlands, trust me I’ve hunted for it and I try to never let my stocks run too low.

I’m currently working my way through the different variations but I must admit I’m a little slow on the fruity ones. Current high rankers include Rooibos – Twinings Golden Caramel Rooibos is an absolute fave but only taken on special occasions and Chocolate Tea – doesn’t really taste anything like chocolate so in that sense its definitely false advertising.

All my best decision are made with a cup of tea in hand (it helps if I happen to be sat on the floor too but we’ll over look that). If in doubt put the kettle on. Tea is the medicine you don’t need a prescription for. It puts a smile on peoples faces and when made just right I think it could provide the fuel to the decision making that could change the world.

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p.s. Whilst putting together this post I realised that I seam to tai quite a few photographs of tea too! If you follow me on instagram you are guaranteed at least a weekly photo of my tea 🙂

What did the teapot say to his lover? Oh Darjeeling!

What do lady teapots wear? A string of Earls!  

Should prostitution be criminalised? – No bad women just bad laws.

Opinion is divided across the world with regards to the criminalisation of prostitution. In The Netherlands it is legalised and regulated whereas in the UK it is illegal. Now you’re not going to find an article anywhere online condoning prostitution. Trust me, I’ve looked for them, and this isn’t what this post is going to try and do. I’m not suggesting that prostitution is a career move to consider or any part of a persons ‘life plan’. What I am going to question in this post is the morality of prostitution. Does society still need to frown upon it to the extent it has done in the past? Are we more desensatised to sex than ever before? Can you genuinely argue the case for prostitution as a business? Why will there forever be an divide in opinion, is this generational, cultural or individual?

Europe has very different viewpoint and here on this blog you know how much I like to explore the big arguments of the day:

Is regulated prostitution really a bad thing?

Continue reading Should prostitution be criminalised? – No bad women just bad laws.