L’origine modeste One Saturday morning in mid-May, I was sipping my first coffee of the day and flicking through Stylist magazine – a weekly ritual – when my gaze fell upon a little box in the bottom right corner of the page … Continue reading
Step 1: Open your wardrobe, grab every item of colour, and throw it away. Black, navy, grey, beige, cream and white are celebrated while hues with the slightest vivacity are scorned and abhorred. Think Chanel or Zara (circa 2012) and you’re … Continue reading
As capital cities go, Madrid is pretty inexpensive and, unless you’re planning on giving it the big one in Kapital on a Saturday night, nothing you choose to do is really going to break the bank. This considered, I’ve put together a list of … Continue reading
For a moment, let’s put aside all of the bad things I have ever said about Paris and just be completely superficial. Rustic, uniform, and architecturally exquisite, Paris is one of the most photogenic cities in the world come rain, shine … Continue reading
Many people think of Paris as the epitome of French cities; a prime example of fine foods and haute French fashion, laced with stunning Haussmann architecture and a healthy dash of culture. It’s not untrue that the French capital is representative … Continue reading
Obviously it’s a terrible idea… 1. You’ll be forced to sample all sorts of new and exciting foods… 2. …and you’ll probably get fat as all the delicious food moves towards your mouth, like a moth to a flame. … Continue reading
I have a few American friends and it’s fair to say that, on more than one occasion, things I’ve said have got completely lost in translation. My English accent has, of course, been admired by our transatlantic allies, but my … Continue reading
From the streetlights to café lighting, the buildings to the bridges, and all way down to the lighter end of a Parisian’s fashionably appropriate colour scheme. Paris is beige. The Palace of Versailles is beige. The Louvre is beige. The Musée d’Orsay … Continue reading
Let’s face it, Paris is expensive. With some museums charging entry in excess of €12 a ticket, and the average meal (main course + drink) costing approximately €20 per person, not everyone can fund their dream trip to the City … Continue reading
Oh the Parisian dream! When I was little I wanted nothing more than a Haussmann-style apartment overlooking the Jardin du Luxembourg and to take my obscenely small dog for walks along the Seine. I envisaged my twenty-something self rolling around around … Continue reading
My Little Paris (not to be confused with My Little Pony…) is probably the most adorable and stylish company ever created. Much like its spin-off versions in Lyon and Marseille, the company deals in all things Paris and Parisian. Online, … Continue reading
Being an English Language Assistant in a foreign country is entirely comparable to being a C-list celebrity. Going shopping, eating out or generally walking anywhere near your school at the weekend triggers a series of resounding “HELLO HEATHER”s and “BONJOUR … Continue reading
Je suis Charlie because radicalism and terrorism have poisoned the Parisian dream I have striven for since I was a child. Je suis Charlie because Paris is my current home and it came under attack. The events that occurred this week now … Continue reading
As the capital city of the most visited country in the world, Paris is a hot destination for travellers looking to celebrate the New Year (or Nouvel An) in style. In France, New Year’s Eve is traditionally celebrated with a simple but … Continue reading
To the untrained tongue, fluency is the idea of speaking a language without error or miscomprehension. The mere sound of the question “Oh, so are you fluent?” strikes fear into my heart, because such a question would never be asked by person … Continue reading
My fellow English Language Assistants and I have been set the challenge of discussing Christmas in the UK without mentioning any element of religion. Actually, I lie. The law in France prohibits us from talking about religion in the classroom, … Continue reading
For the past two months I’ve had the privilege to live and work in the Parisian suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. The commune is basically everything you’d expect from Paris (sans Tour Eiffel) except with 112,000 people squeezed into its two and … Continue reading
Send My Bag: The Hassle-Free Way to Transport Your Luggage Whether you’re moving to university or embarking on a year-long Erasmus adventure, you’ll probably be considering how to move all of your belongings to your new home. For some people, … Continue reading
Today, Friday 7th February 2014, saw the opening ceremony officially kick off the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but as you will no doubt be aware the games have already been shrouded in much controversy and unrest, both at … Continue reading
(Originally for Platform Online) Last Wednesday 11th December India’s LGBT community suffered a great blow when the Indian Supreme Court recriminalised certain sexual acts that it deemed to be “unnatural”. Back in 2009 the Delhi High Court overturned a ban … Continue reading
In an attempt to briefly escape the rain cascading down on Madrid for the entirety of the month of May, my flatmate and I headed south for a long weekend. Andalusia beckoned with its beautiful beaches, quaint cities and the … Continue reading
Send My Bag is a friendly, fast and reliable shipping service based in the UK that allows you to send baggage ahead and avoid the stress and sting of “cheap” airline luggage fares. Whether you’re moving between home and university or shipping internationally, you can send sports equipment or even pack up your life in boxes and cases to take the hassle out of travel. For £29 you can send up to 20kg, and for an extra pound you can send up to 30kg! That’s more allowance for less money than you’d find with the supposedly “budget’ airlines AND you don’t even have to haul it around with you. Genius.
So how does it work? First of all you visit www.sendmybag.com where there are all sorts of FAQs, videos and brief Twitter reviews outlining what the company is all about and the kind of service they offer. On the homepage you will find a Quick Quote calculator that allows you to calculate the cost of your desired shipment based upon collection and delivery destinations, date, and the weight of the item to be sent. As an example I have completed the form as I recently did for a shipment from Madrid (Spain) to Lincoln (UK).
When I first looked into using the Send My Bag service I was a little dubious about the security and reliability of the company owing to its relatively small size and the fact that I had never even heard of it, but I was not disappointed. My first shipment went absolutely perfectly and without the slightest hitch. My back-breaking 27kg suitcase was collected from my apartment in Madrid at 1.30pm (CET) and was delivered to my new address in the UK at 11.30am (BST) – that’s not even 24 hours! – and the service is fully trackable allowing you to keep tabs on your goods from door to van (to plane) to van to door. Well worth my £30 for an even more relaxed British Airways flight (I treated myself to a minor luxury for my final flight home).
My second shipment wasn’t so smooth sailing. Due to a minor computer glitch I ended up needing to reschedule my collection in the middle of the night which proved particularly difficult owing to the fact that I was flying out of Spain at 7am the following morning. Usually a rescheduled collection (due to absence) would incur a small fee to cover the driver’s return, however the Send My Bag team were very understanding and accommodating and helped me to rearrange a collection at a time suitable for my flatmate.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the only glitch, but fortunately SMB weren’t to blame. As I later discovered upon recovering my tracking number from Spain, DHL had somehow managed to put my box onto the wrong plane and it had ended up in Barcelona before passing through Gatwick and eventually arriving at East Midlands Airport. One whole week later, after a European mini-break, my box and I were ecstatically reunited much to the bemusement of the DHL delivery driver and thanks to the outstanding support of the SMB team who made numerous calls to DHL in order to locate my shipment and who then tracked it all the way to my house.
All in all Send My Bag is an absolutely fantastic service offering value for money, reliability and outstanding customer service and support. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to cheaply and stresslessly ship excess baggage abroad or to university. They have pretty much saved my life. 10/10, 5 stars, A+, 100% amazing. THANK YOU.
Click HERE to sign up and earn a 10% discount on your first order!
Check out my new 2014 review of Send My Bag’s updated website and features!
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to begin writing about this, but way back in January I embarked on one of the most eagerly awaited trips of my life so far, and in the following weeks I was … Continue reading
It’s astounding how one place can be so paradoxically exquisite and outrageous. Ibiza, the White Isle, la Isla Blanca, is one of the most stunningly beautiful places I’ve ever visited where white houses reflect the sun against a backdrop of glistening turquoise sea. At night the mountains form charcoal silhouettes against the lilac sky and the cool, white waves lap gently against the still and silent rocks. Yachts, ferries and cruise liners come and go from the island’s numerous harbours while onlookers catch rays upon the hot, white sand.
Ibiza’s reputation preceded it and the combination of party and paradise seemed like the perfect end to my Erasmus year in Spain. It was everything and nothing I’d expected. It was every bit as crazy outrageous as I’d imagined, yet far more breathtakingly beautiful than could ever have hoped for. The parties are big and the prices are bigger with the average club entry fee rolling in at a jaw-dropping 40 euros; don’t even get me started on the drinks… Every cloud has a silver lining, however, and boy did I cash in on those silver linings! On island plagued by boisterously ignorant teenage British binge-drinkers, a British-born resident of Spain with a decent grasp on the language is certainly a novel and welcomed guest. If I had a euro for every time someone expressed shock/confusion/gratitude at this little gringa’s language skills I’d be…well I’d only have about five euros but that’s beside the point. Respect, empathy and a little cultural understanding can take you a lot farther than the Balearic Islands, but in this instance the gratitude of an Ibizan bartender for my speaking Spanish got me 24 euros’ worth of free shots. ¡Toma!
Watch this space for my Ibiza mini guide!
(Originally for Platform Magazine) My first double-page spread! (May 2013)