I’m shortlisted for a Northern Blog Award! And I’m begging for your vote in a totally not desperate manner!

So… I’ve somehow ended up shortlisted for a Northern Blog Award for this here travel blog! What is going on in the world?! I don’t know how this has happened. But obviously now here I am begging you, my lovely readers, for your vote (and not sounding at all desperate, right?).

Here’s a bit of background to it and how you can vote for me. If you want to. No pressure. I just won’t ever speak to you again if you don’t. Ahem…

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42 first impressions and weird things about America

Weird things about America you might find on your first visit | PACK THE SUITCASES

Before I start this huge post about all the interesting, surprising and weird things about America that I found on our first ever trip there recently, I just want to do a bit of a disclaimer. Here it is:

DISCLAIMER!!!

1. These things are based on my first ever trip to the USA. We went to San Francisco and Boston, with a few day trips to their nearby towns. So this first impression is gathered from visiting just two cities out of a whopping massive country that’s completely different from one area to the next. I’m very much aware that no one, two, three or even 10 cities can be representative of an entire country, especially one that ginormous. However, ‘Amusing first impressions and funny/weird things I found when visiting San Francisco and Boston and some of their nearby towns’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. And who doesn’t love sweeping generalisations about everything from toilet water quantities to the pronunciation of ‘herbs’?!
2. Also, I absolutely loved both places we went and had a right hoot there. So this is a highly positive/light hearted post for the most part. There are of course, some negative aspects to the US – like anywhere.

Disclaimer over, here are 42 (I tried to stop at 40, soz) weird things about America, or rather things that I found amusing/odd and general first impressions on my first ever trip to the USA…

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A day trip to Porto da Cruz, Madeira

How to do a day trip to Porto da Cruz, Madeira | PACK THE SUITCASES

My absolute favourite day trip from Funchal is to get the bus to the little seaside village of Porto Da Cruz, Madeira. We only discovered it on our second trip to the island, but I quickly fell in love with it and often picture myself sat there with a beer watching the waves crashing when I’m stuck in work.

So I thought I’d put together this very short guide on visiting Porto da Cruz (Port of the Cross) for anyone thinking of exploring the area…

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Circus Lane, Edinburgh: a quick guide for visiting this pretty spot

Circus Lane, Edinburgh: the best photo spot | PACK THE SUITCASES

Circus Lane, Edinburgh is my new favourite spot in the city for a quiet walk and some lovely photographs.

This is one thing I really love about Edinburgh and one of the many reasons I keep going back over the years: no matter how many times I’ve been, there’s always another little hidden gem to discover. Brilliant stuff.

So I thought I’d whack out this short post about Circus Lane, Edinburgh with a bit of useful information if you’re planning a visit to it while you’re in Edinburgh…

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A day trip to the Valley of the Nuns (Curral das Freiras), Madeira

A day trip to the Valley of the Nuns (Curral das Freiras), Madeira | PACK THE SUITCASES

Getting the bus up to the Valley of the Nuns, Madeira (or Curral das Freiras in Portuguese) was one of the first short day trips we did from Funchal, back on our first ever visit to Madeira. Since then, we’ve been back to the valley several times and always enjoyed it. There’s not much there, but the views are spectacular.

So I thought I’d put together this little guide on visiting Curral das Freiras in case anyone else is thinking of exploring the area…

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What to pack for a spring city break

What to pack for a spring city break | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s a few tips for what to pack for a spring city break. Typically, it’s going to be warm-ish in the day and bloody cold at night and RyanAir somehow expect you to cope with this MADNESS within 15kg. I don’t normally do packing guides but I was just pondering what a faff packing is in changeable spring weather.

You know that thing when it’s the week before you go away and you empty the entire contents of your wardrobe all over your bed yet still you have NOTHING to wear? So you end up chucking all sorts of mismatched crap into your suitcase? And then you get to where you’re going and nothing is right?

Yeah, that.

That’s something you don’t need to do. I promise. Sort of. To be honest, I still find packing hard in spring (or autumn, TBH). But we always tend to do a city break in April/May so I’ve learned some things over the years. If this helps anyone with packing, I’ll feel I’ve done some kind of heroic good deed for the world.

Right. Here are my tips…

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