Favourite Travel Apps

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Round up of some of the Apps I find useful for both planning holidays and making them run smoother.

1. Kayak
I've tried lots of flight and hotel booking websites and apps, but Kayak is pretty much a one stop shop for all your travel needs. You can search and book flights and hotels and also car rentals. While this isn't a new concept, Kayak do it better than most of it's competitors. I only started using it recently and wish I knew about it sooner. Super user friendly.

2. Hipmunk
Hipmunk, whilst similar to Kayak, in that you can book flights, hotels,  it's major selling point is in the area of booking hotels. Hipmunk scans all the major booking sites, but also included AirBnB search results as well. If it wasn't for Hipmunk, I would've included AirBnB on this list, but I'm all about reducing the number of apps I have to use, so Hipmunk takes care of this.

3. GateGuru
GateGuru is your best friend at the airport, especially if you have a long layover. It includes airport maps, tips for the best place to eat, getting around the quickest, where to avoid and more. It also has a list of the amenities in every airport.

4. LoungeBuddy
Again your friend during a layover, Upload your itinerary, frequent flyer numbers and LoungeBuddy will let you know what Lounges you can access, or pay to access should the mood take you. It also has reviews and pictures of the different lounges in each airport, so you can decide if it's worth pay for Lounge access.

5. CityMapper
Once you've finally landed at your destination, CityMapper is your next stop. The app includes 17 major cities and gives you real time transit information. Subway, taxi, Uber, bike and walking routes. Get where you need to go in the quickest way possible.

Bonus App: Duolingo
One of the best things about traveling for me, is learning about a new place, culture and language. No one is expecting you to be fluent in every language before you go on holidays, but having a few words is always helpful, and the locals always appreciate the effort. Duolingo is a super easy to use and it's the best way of learning or updating a language that I have found so far.

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Oscars 2016: Best Picture

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As an avid film fan, the Oscars have always held a certain allure, a sense of prestige and wonder. I mean how many people have ever been handed an award or even something small, and then proceeded to well up and thank the Academy? I know I have. Regardless of the controversy surrounding the Oscars this year, they still hold a special place with me. 

A few years ago, I decided to make it a goal to watch all the films nominated for Best Picture. The idea being that then I could make an informed assessment of who should win (and in turn I could be accurately annoyed when my favourite film didn’t win). I thought this would be a fairly simple task, unfortunately I decided this around the same time the Academy decided to extend the Best Picture Nominee list.
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Languages, Learning & Love: Goals for 2016

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If you look at last years goals, you can pretty much say I failed miserably. So you could ask yourself, why would I bother creating a "2016 Goals" post? Well no matter how epically I failed last year, I still found it a good reflection on what my mindset was at the beginning of the year. 

So I decided to create goals for this year again. In the vain, naive and slightly delusional hope that this will be the year that I keep them. I've decided to be both vague and specific in my choices, which sounds completely contradictory, but it'll make more sense as you read them.

And so to begin...

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2015 Reflections

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Last year I did a post, reflecting on the events of 2014 and what made it a good year. 2014 wasn't the best year, but I chose to focus on the good that came out of it rather than the bad and I found it a great starting point for the new year. I felt it gave some breathing space and bookended the year nicely, so I said I would make it a tradition. 

With that, I give you 2015...

January - After over a year in my house, I had decorated nearly every room, I had made them my own, apart from the kitchen. I started the new year, by finally tackling the kitchen and finally put my own stamp on it. It may seem silly, but its a small victory for me.

The standout memory of February is my Birthday. Similar to last year, I went to Dublin to carry out the tradition of #GirlyRugby. We started the day watching the 6 Nations, with Prosecco and nibbles, then headed out to Clontarf for dinner in Kinara Indian Restaurant (so delicious!). After that, we went back into town for my first (grown-up) casino experience, where I quickly learnt that I really like Blackjack. After being dragged away from the Casino, we got a tuck-tuck around the city and finished the night with some drinks. Awesome birthday, to say the least!
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Everest & the Triumph of Character

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‘Human beings simply aren’t meant to function at the cruising altitudes of a seven-forty-seven’

Yet every year hundreds of people do just that.  

Everest (2015), stars a multitude of famous faces, including Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin, and focuses on the events that occurred in 1996. In May of that year, two commercial expeditions were hit by one of the most serve storms recorded. The film follows the true story of the mountaineers, as they try to survive on Mount Everest. 

One of the main things I love about films that are based a real events, is that it heightens the drama of the situation. As thrilling and captivating as fiction can be, it is pales in comparison to truth. In those heart-stopping moments, nothing is more terrifying than knowing that it actually happened to someone. That someone lived those moments. 

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Invictus: How Rugby Can Unite a Nation

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'Sport has the power to change the world’.

The immortal words of Nelson Mandela and a saying he lived by, during his tenure as President of South Africa.

His most famous success was relived in the 2009 film, Invictus. The story of how Nelson Mandela helped unite post apartheid South Africa by winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Morgan Freeman embodied the South African President and his journey to the World Cup Final, with Springbok Captain Francois Pienaar, played by Matt Damon. Mandela understood the importance of the Springboks to the white Afrikaners, but also the hatred it evoked in the black population. He saw it as an opportunity to unite all people in his newly declared Rainbow Nation. That year Nelson Mandela strode out onto the pitch at Ellis Park in Johannesburg at the World Cup Final, proudly wearing the green and gold jersey of the Springboks. Hand and heart outstretched, he openly welcomed those that had previously represented oppression in South Africa, and encouraged everyone else to do so too.

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Spectre & The Lasting Influence of James Bond

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The name's Bond, James Bond. 

With the release of Spectre, it's our 24th time to hear those infamous words. They have been said by nearly everyone at some point in their lives. Bond has become the ultimate spy, outlasting all his rivals.

With Spectre set to break box offices records, the latest version of Bond will be no different. With that, I thought it would be good to take a look back on the lasting influence of the James Bond franchise, and why it has been so successful. 

From it's incarnation in Ian Fleming's first book, Casino Royale in 1953, to it's cinematic debut in Dr. No in 1967, James Bond has endured in both forms for over half a century, capturing the hearts and imaginations of people the world over. 

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