How is 2017 going for you so far? International politics getting you down?

Thought so.

What you need is a holiday. Something like this:

travel secret of happiness

Because who could fail to be cheered by having a casual bit of watermelon on a lilo? I’m not sure of the practicalities of trying to eat such a large piece of fruit on water like that but hey, no one said living the dream was meant to be easy did they?

According to new research from Booking.com, over three quarters of people (77%) book a holiday when they need cheering up and 70% of us believe that travel brings more lasting happiness than material possessions. In fact, according to the results of the research, holidays top most things when it comes to happiness – 49% of the people surveyed even said they get more pleasure from a holiday than from their own wedding day!

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the buzz. There’s almost as much happiness to be found in researching and planning a holiday as there is actually being on it – it isn’t just about lying on the beach, gazing into the sunset. (Although that bit is probably pretty nice too.)

travel secret of happiness

If you want to get the most from your holiday in terms of happiness, then planning is everything. Even just writing this, looking at these pictures and imagining where I might go has given me a little boost, and I’m not alone – nearly three quarters of people (72%) say they get a kick of excitement just from researching where to go on holiday.

If you’re thinking about booking a holiday, why not try these tips to get you in the mood and maximise happiness:

  • Make a bucket list of places you’d like to visit or create some holiday Pinterest boards full of pictures of dream destinations. Like this one.
  • Have a look at Booking.com’s destination finder. It allows you to browse holidays by interest rather than destination, so you can find places to go based on the fact that you like photography, local history, or whatever it might be.
  • Don’t be afraid to daydream. Holidays are meant to be the chance to experience something new so let your imagination run wild should you feel so inclined. I quite fancy watching the Northern lights from a glass igloo in Finland.
  • Share your holidays plans and dreams with friends and family. Dreams are more likely to come true when you say them out loud and talking about plans as a family will help to get you all excited. (75% of people surveyed by Booking.com said travelling with family makes them happier than travelling on their own.)

Once you’ve booked your holiday, then you can really get excited. You get to plan your wardrobe, look at maps, research trips – the works. Reading reviews of where you’re going and looking at other people’s pictures is a favourite way to give holiday happiness a boost and if you were going somewhere like this then you can see why:

travel secret of happiness

Once I have a holiday booked, these are my favourite things to do:

  • If I’m going by train or plane, I like to plan what I’m going to do on the way – I might download a film or maybe buy a new notebook. The travelling should be fun too.
  • Look up local restaurant reviews and think about all the yummy food I’m going to eat.
  • Pack about four different books, imagining I will read them all. (I never do – I am too busy posting pictures of my holiday on Instagram.)
  • Imagine that I will have some kind of Reese Witherspoon/Julia Roberts style ‘moment’ abroad where I suddenly find myself and the meaning of life becomes clear. (Never happens.)
travel secret of happiness

I wish this was from my Instagram feed

Belle’s favourite bits are:

  • Deciding what make-up look she is going to do for going away day.
  • Organising her toiletries into an airport friendly bag.
  • Being the first one into the accommodation – heaven forbid she doesn’t get first dibs on the key. (83% of people in the survey said that the first day of a holiday and seeing their accommodation for the first time are the happiest holiday moments, so she’s not alone there.)
  • Discovering the wifi password.

Do you enjoy planning and researching holidays? Which is your favourite bit about travelling?

Visit Booking.com for more inspiration and holiday your way to happiness!

travel secret of happiness

Sponsored post. Images – Alena OzerovaBalate DorinChantal de Bruijnestockphoto-graf and haveseen – all from shutterstock.

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When I was younger I was never really a coffee drinker. I thought that whole ‘first coffee of the day’ thing was totally blown out of proportion and, if I’m honest, I probably looked down a little bit on the kind of people who were all like ‘Oooh, let me just get a coffee and then I can think about it!’ Jeez, can you not just think on your own without some kind of stimulant?

(I do still hate this approach from a PR mentioning flat whites mind.)

In the last few years though I have become something of a convert. Perhaps it’s age. Perhaps I can’t just leap out of bed in the morning now and feel instantly excited about life. Most mornings I wake up feeling a teeny bit bleurgh about the world, and have to remind myself that it’s really okay, and that once I get out of bed, get moving, and have a coffee, I’ll be fine.

God, I’ve become one of those people.

Ah well, best embrace it I figure, so I’ve got a month’s supply of coffee to give away!

Cold brew from Minor Figures

The coffee I have for you is rather special. It’s a cold brew coffee from a small company called Minor Figures and having tried it, I can confirm that it’s amazing. The chocolate is especially ace, but I think my favourite is the milk. It has this wonderful smoothness to it that doesn’t give you any of that shuddery feeling that bad coffee can. It packs just the right punch to get me going without making my face twitchy.

Basically I love it, and I want you to share the coffee joy.

Oh and they look great too. Very Instagrammable, if that affects your coffee choices. (And why would it not?)

free cold brew coffee competition View Post

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I was finding it hard to concentrate this morning, so instead I thought I would have a brief daydream about built in furniture.

It might not seem like the sexiest of things to spend your time fantasising about, but there is something about the idea of built in furniture that seems so glamorous and grown up, that sometimes I just like to take a moment. Because I’ve never owned my own house it’s one of those things that other people do. My step-sister for example has these amazing built in drawers in her stairs. Each steps pulls out to reveal a huge drawer where they can keep things like shoes, hats and scarves – it’s amazing.

For me, built in bookcases have always been a bit of a dream. I like ones that fit into funny spaces and my absolute goal is bookcases built in around a door like this:

*swoons*

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Is your life sorted

Is your life sorted?

More to the point, what does it even mean to have your life sorted? According to research from Compare Cover, most people don’t feel like they have their life sorted until the age of 37. Well, I’m 38, so I should be all good by now shouldn’t I?

I suspect that I’m not your typical 38 year old though when it comes to life plans.

According to the Compare Cover research, a lot of people, when they think about having their life sorted, think about things like getting married and having a family. For the majority of people I imagine that these events normally come after stuff like building a satisfying career, feeling financially secure, finishing their A-levels… I’ve done life a bit backwards though, and it’s only now that my youngest child is on the brink of leaving home – (four years feels like a relative brink…) – that I’m almost in the position to do things like buy a house.

Whoops.

Compare Cover’s research, which included opinions from 2,000 people, found that top of the list in terms of feeling like your life is sorted, is having your finances in order. 78% of women picked this as their number one.  View Post

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How good is the 90p Primark lipstick

I walked past Primark on my way to work this morning. In the window was a big poster, telling me about the Primark must have 90p lipstick. I didn’t have to be at work until 10.56am (I had one of those stupid ‘your parcel will arrive between 10.56am and 11.56am’ things), so I thought I’d do a bit of research on your behalf.

Primark 90p lipstick review

What I wanted to know is, how good really is a 90p lipstick from Primark?

First up, I should say that I am the least well qualified person in the world to write this post. I hardly ever wear make-up, and never wear lipstick. I did once buy a dark purple Mac lipstick, but when I put it on fiancé nearly cried. Belle said I looked sassy, but I think in reality it just drew attention to my teeth. View Post

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