Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World 12

Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna

Windsor Castle

When planning your trip to London you need to take the trip to see Windsor Castle. You should allow for at least a half day. Everyone loves a good castle so why not go to the oldest one in the world? I promise it’s worth the 30 minute train ride. Stay tuned for how to best explore Windsor Castle! If you’re looking for other things to do in London check out this post, this post and this one about where to get the best views in London!

Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna

Logistics:

Getting There:

Taking a train is the easiest way to get to Windsor. If you’re already in the city just take the tube to Paddington Station. From there you’ll need to buy about a £10-15 train ticket to Windsor Central station. You’ll have to change over in Slough but it’s incredibly easy, just cross the platform. If you’ve bought the London Pass (which I highly recommend) you won’t need to buy a train ticket.

Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna

When to go: 

Between fall and spring are the best times to go as all of the attractions at Windsor will be open. Additionally, the changing of the guards only takes place on Monday, Wednesday or Friday and that’s a must see. Sunday would be the only day to not go to the castle as there are no guard changes and the Chapel are closed. Be sure to check the opening and closing times as they change depending on the season! 

Tickets:

Adult tickets are £20.50 (included in the London Pass if you’ve purchased that). A complimentary audio guide is included as well as a 30 minute Precinct tour if that interests you. There is security at Windsor Castle so be sure to pack light and don’t bring anything that wouldn’t be allowed in. If you have a large backpack you might need to check it at the coat closet. Most notably, you definitely need to wear comfortable walking shoes as most of the grounds are on an incline. 

 Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna

Why You Should Go:

Windsor Castle is the mother of all castles. Windsor is over 900 years old and is a full 13 acres of working palace. This is the place to envelop yourself in a piece of British history. Strolling through its massive walls makes it easy to imagine the castle as it was back in 1100A.D. Everywhere you turn is picture perfect. From the manicured lawns, to the stunning State Apartments, to St. George’s Chapel which sits in the middle of the massive grounds

The Queen herself resides at the castle most weekends and is there for a whole month during Easter. There are many times throughout the year when the Queen is in residence and all you have to do is check the flag atop the round tower. If the flag is flying, she’s in town! Even if the Queen isn’t around to catch a glimpse of in the windows allow yourself 2-3 hours to fully explore all the attractions. 

Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna

Changing of the Guards:

Watch the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle rather than at Buckingham Palace. The 30 minute (11 AM) ceremony isn’t as extravagant but the process is exactly the same and you’ll fight less to get a better view. After the ceremony is your chance to try and crack a smile on the new guards face. Best of luck!

State Apartments:

Home to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking art from the Royal Collection. If you’d like to see the amazing works of Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto be sure to check the calendar before you visit as they are periodically closed for events. 

Semi-State Rooms:

These are only open from September to March as they are used for official entertaining in the summer months. Not only will you get to walk in the same spots as old British Royalty but present royalty as well! 

Queen Mary’s Dollhouse

This particular exhibit I didn’t get a chance to check out and after reading up, I wish I had! Queen Mary’s Doll’s House is the largest doll house in the world. There are thousands of items in the doll house to take a peek at, including a wine cellar! Though not nearly as old as the rest of the castle (built in the 1920’s) it’s still worth a stroll through. 

Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna

St. George’s Chapel

You can’t miss this stunning Gothic chapel in the middle of Windsor Castle. Anyone interested in history will be thrilled to know that Henry VIII and Charles I are buried here, along with 8 other Monarchs. In addition to being an extravagant burial ground, St. George’s is home to the Order of the Garter which was established in 1348. Can you believe that? The Chapel is closed on Sundays but, if you plan on attending services you can still sneak in. Definitely be mindful of that when planning your visit. You won’t want to miss this. 

When it comes time to leave your new dream home, head down the hill into the equally charming town of Windsor. Grab a bite to eat with the stone facade of the castle watching over you. If you can’t wait to eat you can request re-admission from any of the interior shops. The surrounding town is stunningly beautiful and has an ample amount of cafes, restaurants and shops so 

Question of the Day: Have you been to Windsor or will you to go to Windsor Castle?

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Windsor Castle: Planning A Visit To The Oldest Castle In The World // Being Leanna


Treat Yo’ Self: Friday Night Pamper Session 16

Treat Yo' Self:  Friday Night Pamper Session // Being Leanna

Treat Yo’ Self: Friday Night Pamper Session

Every Friday evening I like to teat my skin to a little extra pampering. I’ll do my normal evening skincare routine and with a couple extra steps to make the night extra special. I love doing this because it’s such a relaxing way to end a long week at work. Today, I thought i’d share the special products I add to my nightly routine to add in a bit of extra pamper to my normal routine. 

Let me just start by saying that my skin has been a nightmare lately. Winter always is harsh on your skin but this year it’s been unbearable. My skin is dry and dull and i’m trying everything to fix it. 

Treat Yo' Self:  Friday Night Pamper Session // Being Leanna

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

I start my routine with my usual makeup wipes and then I head into the bathroom to cleanse my skin with my favorite hydrating cleanser. The First Aid Beauty Facial Cleanser is my favorite gentile cleanser. Every teeny tiny speck of dirt, every fleck of leftover mascara and even a lip stain comes off with this stuff. The creamy formula feels extra lush on your skin and it’ll leave no residue. The best part? Your skin stays nice and plump, no dehydration at all, talk about pampering.

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Foaming Mask

Bubble masks have been all the  rage lately and while I was curious, I never really thought that they would be effective. Turns out, I was way wrong. I’ve got the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Foaming Mask and it has worked wonders on my dull, dry skin. The formula contains Vitamins C&E, aloe, and soy protein which work in conjunction to whisk away the old cells and make room for the new, deeply hydrated ones. Use between 3-5 pumps and massage evenly into your skin. You’ll notice the orange gel turn into a thin white film on your skin. Don’t worry, it’ll soon start to tingle and expand on your face. It feels like thousands of tiny pop rocks are going off on your skin. Leave this on for 5 minutes or for all of the bubbles to dissipate and then rinse it off. You’ll notice instantly brighter and plumper skin with just one use.

Lush Lip Scrub- Bubblegum

This has been my go to lip treatment for years and years now. After using a mask and before moisturizer I like to slather this all over my lips. Only a small amount is needed and the pot will last you forever. Scrub the sugar into your lips and either rinse or lick it off. Your lips will be left feeling plump and free of any dead skin cells. Toss on your favorite lip balm (mine is anything from Nivea) and get ready for extra super duper luscious lips in the AM. After your lips are taken care of it’s time to go back to the rest of your face.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask

I love me a hydrating mask always but especially in the winter. I purchased this overnight mask for the first time over a year ago when I was flying to Europe. Airplanes are known for drying out your skin so I picked this baby up to combat that. Boy did it ever work. Now, I use this once a week in the winter to keep my skin plump and happy. I apply about a dime sized amount all over my face (except my eye area) and bring down any excess to my neck. This absorbs pretty quickly and it continues to hydrate your skin as you sleep. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you’ll remember me raving about it multiple times. Like here, here and even here.

VII Code O2M Oxygen Eye Mask

If you’re wondering why I said I avoided my eye area when applying that First Aid Beauty mask this would be why. I’ve been trying out these eye masks and have become obsessed with them. They’ll be getting their own post in a few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for that. Here’s a little sneak peek though, they work well! I was happy that I found an eye mask that didn’t just slide right off of my face. Does that happen to you guys, or just me? Usually eye masks are so gooey that they just slip right down my face. That’s not the case with these.

That is my Friday evening pamper routine. I just add those 5 products to my normal evening routine and it feels extra special. Let me know what products you use when you’re looking to pamper yourself!

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Treat Yo' Self:  Friday Night Pamper Session // Being Leanna

 


Travel Tips: How I Plan and Book Vacations 23

Travel Tips: How I Plan and Book Vacations // Being Leanna

Happy Monday, friends!

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while. It’s not sponsored (although I’d love it to be!) and it’s all things I actually do. I want to tell you all my best travel tips for planning and booking vacations! Each trip is different and requires different amounts of time to plan and I take the same steps every time. So what is my process? What are my best travel tips? Look no further!

Travel Tips:

Travel Tips: How I Plan and Book Vacations // Being Leanna

How I Plan My Trips:

Start with a list of destinations: I constantly have a list of places that i’d like to go bumbling around in my head as i’m sure a lot of you do as well. Write that list down. Prioritize it if you can and go from there. Do you want a solo trip, a trip with friends or a loved one? A great travel tip of mine is to sort your must see destinations by how you’d like to travel. Put your solo trips in one column and your “buddy travel” trips in another. 

Logistics. Once you have a list of destinations in mind, figure out how long your trip will be. I always like to go away for at least a week but sometimes a long weekend is nice for a closer trip. For a trip abroad I like to allow myself any time over a week. After you figure out how much time you’re going to take off you need to figure out when. Consider the destinations on your list and figure out when the best times to travel are. For example, I prefer to go to Europe in the spring. it’s cheaper than the summertime and the weather is still nice. Plus, have you ever seen London covered in daffodils? It’s incredibly beautiful. 

Browse flights/hotels: After you’ve got a time frame for your trip it’s time to hop online and search for flights, hotels, events etc. When I was planning a trip last October I was deciding between Texas, California and Iceland. Texas was in my price range for the dates I wanted to travel and had the Texas State Fair going on. California was decently priced but it also had the added cost of renting a car. That pushed the trip out of my price range. Iceland was expensive as expected.

Pick your destination! Yes, step 4 is pick your destination. Not step 1. I’m not sure how normal that is, but it’s my process and it always works so well. I ended up going to Texas as i’m sure most of you will remember from my Houston, San Antonio and Dallas recaps. The state fair won me over and i’m too restless to stay in one place for a whole week so San Antonio and Houston were quickly added to the list of destinations. 

Travel Tips: How I Plan and Book Vacations // Being Leanna

How I Book My Trips:

Shop around for deals: Once you’ve picked your destination and dates it’s time to shop around for deals! For me this is the most fun. I really like searching Skip Lagged for flights but I always end up booking through Expedia. Each airline has their own booking so definitely check those out. Same goes for hotels. If you’re going to be staying at a chain their own website generally has some good deals. 

Book your flight/hotel/etc. A lot of the time when I travel I end up flying into one place and out of another and Expedia has been the best site for me that accommodates that. I hear Southwest is amazing but you can’t fly into one place and out of another without booking separately. Talk about annoying. Another great thing about Expedia (or Kayak or any of those sites) is that you can book everything all at once. Booking everything through one site can make your travel experience so much easier. 

Don’t stop shopping around for deals: This might be the best travel tip I have today. Expedia has a great price guarantee program. As you get closer and closer to your trip just keep looking for deals. If you find a flight or a room that’s exactly the same they’ll refund you the difference and give you a $50 credit for your next purchase. A lot of the “all in one” booking sites have features just like this so.

Book the fun stuff: Now that you’ve got your tip booked you need to do the day to day planning like where to eat, what sites to see, etc. I really love using blogs for inspiration as well as Pinterest. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Trip Advisor, and if not, get your butt on their site immediatly. Trip Advisor ranks all the best things to do by popularity so you’ll know all the hot spots to visit. City Pass is another great site for booking activities. City Pass groups together a bunch of tickets all in once price. At this point I also highly suggest looking into public transportation at your destination. Can you easily get from your hotel to a metro stop or will you be using Uber the whole time? It’s good to plan ahead. 

Write up an Itinerary: This isn’t the most fun part (for some) but I think it’s incredibly important. I like to write down my destination, where i’m staying, what time i’m arriving and all the relevant details. A lot of the time i’ll go a step further and write out what things I want to do on what days so I don’t forget. Trust me, you don’t want to get home from vacation and realize you forgot something that you really wanted to see.

Hit up social media: Once I’ve got my trip booked and all the fun stuff taken care of I like to ask my friends on social media for recommendations on where to eat and spots that I might not necessarily know about. If you know anyone that has been to or lives at your travel destination, hit them up for recommendations! Locals know their town better than any travel website will. 

There you have it! The best travel tips for planning and booking your next trip. Remember, the destination doesn’t have to be your first choice! Focus on your budget and your time-frame, then pick where to go.

Question of the day: What’s on the top of your destination list right now?

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Travel Tips: How I Plan and Book Vacations // Being Leanna

 

 


Spending Ban Update: What Worked and What Didn’t – January 11

Spending Ban Update: What Worked and What Didn't - January // Being Leanna

Hey ya’ll! It’s time for my first monthly spending ban update

If you didn’t read that post, or just need a recap, I’ve put myself on a spending ban because I want to buy a house! And soon. I’m participating in a grant and the money is available to me starting April 1st. I want to put down some of my own money on top of the grant money for the house. I have a set goal that I want to have in my savings so that I can put a certain amount down and still have a safety net. Because I want to have a set dollar amount in my savings by the end of March, I needed to put myself on a spending ban. 

My Monthly Spending Ban Update!

Set a dollar amount that’s doable.

You want to pick a goal that’s difficult but still attainable. My savings goal was an additional $400 per month. Normally I have a certain amount every paycheck that goes into savings and I wanted to put $400 on top of that. 

Go through your budget and decide what is a necessary expense and what isn’t.

Obviously bills are non-negotiable. I did end up getting a small deduction in my cell phone bill which was great. I wasn’t using nearly as much data as I was paying for so I changed my plan. $10 a month doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s $120 per year!

Set an allowance. 

You can’t just not spend any money for three months. I already set aside $40 from each of my paychecks to go into a vacation account and I’ve decided that for the next three months i’ll be allowing myself to use that as my allowance. If I need a new toothbrush, a dinner with a friend or just really need to go to happy hour I can use my allowance and not feel guilty. This ended up not working so well. I never ended up doing the allowance thing. I had some cash from Christmas that I used up and my brother gave me cash that he owed me so I used that as my allowance and never took a withdrawal from my account. 

Cash is king.

Keeping your allowance in cash helps you to realize just how much you’re spending. I always keep a credit card on hand for emergencies but I leave the debit card at home. Cash is king for sure. I really thought about the purchases I did make because I was watching my wallet empty. Below i’m going to lay out every. single. thing. I spent money on in January.

Keep the temptations away. 

Lots of stores have sales right after the new year. Unsubscribe from emails, uninstall any shopping apps on your phone and don’t clip any coupons! Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you’re saving money. If you weren’t going to buy it in the first place you aren’t saving anything. Use a holiday gift card to shop if it’s an absolute must. I don’t want to go three months without new makeup or clothes but I know I’ve got plenty of both. My inbox has never looked nicer! I couldn’t give up my Ulta emails (I’ve got a gift card burning a hole in my pocket) but everything else went away. 

Eye that checking account. 

If you’re like me, you pay all of your bills online. To make things easier, add up what you need to have to pay your bills for the month and transfer the rest out into your savings. If you’re on a bi-weekly pay schedule figure out what bills get paid out of which check and transfer the extra to your savings accordingly. The less extra money you leave in your checking account the less likely you’ll be to spend it. If you can, setting up automatic transfers into your savings account will greatly help. I sort of did this, and sort of didn’t. I logged into my checking account online the day before each paycheck and transferred out the money I didn’t need. 

So, what did I buy?

On Amazon I bought Buffering by Hannah Hart ($3.99). It has been on my reading list and the price was too good to pass up. PicMonkey– ($33.00) I pay for a yearly subscription and it just happened to be up in January. Sunoco gas – $26.33. 1TB Harddrive ($57.23) I picked this for my mother for her birthday, she’s been needing one and I had gotten our home movies digitized for Christmas. DMV Vehicle Registration ($57.00) this only happens every 2 years and it just happened to occur during my spending ban. Groceries ($55.74) yes, I am aware at how lucky I am that I don’t have to pay for most of my food (thanks mom, i’m eternally grateful!). SiteGround Domain 1yr ($14.99) I recently switched hosts and had to pay for the domain. Phone charger ($28.34), mine finally died. It had had been holding on for dear life for months. Housing Class ($70.00) this was required by my grant program and was a one time expense. I bought Towels ($47.20) at Target. They were having a white sale and I have no towels for my new house. No excuses and I don’t feel guilty. Sunoco gas ($25.62). I went out to eat and had 2 beers and shared a pizza at Browns Brewery ($20.00). And finally, I went to an Ice Bar and got myself a beer ($7.00). 

What did I save?

I mentioned earlier that my goal for the month was to save $400. That’s an additional amount from what I normally put in the bank. I ended up depositing $383.11 extra into my savings account which I think is pretty awesome.

What did I learn?

Not to be so hard on myself when I spend money! Some of those expenses I listed above were a bummer (the phone charger, DMV and the housing class) but, they were all necessary expenses. Things are going to come up and it’s good to be prepared. I also learned that I can still have fun and not spend a lot of money! I still went out with friends and managed to have a great time. 

What are my February goals?

Same as January, save $400 on top of what I already put into savings. I’d like to to be able to put $200 extra onto my car bill for the month. Over President’s Day weekend i’ll be going on a mini vacation. I know i’ll be spending some money (I got my hotel for free using my credit card rewards!) so i’m going to try to not be too hard on myself. I do have a “vacation” fund that should cover me fully though. It’s also tax season! While I haven’t filed my taxes yet I know that if I get a refund I’ll be adding to my savings.

Do you guys have any plans for your tax return? I also really want to know if you’ve been on a spending ban before! Let me know in the comments!

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Spending Ban Update: What Worked and What Didn't - January // Being Leanna

 


January Recap and Favorites! 14

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna

Happy February ya’ll! I am so excited that we are slowly moving out of winter. It was still light out when I got home from work today! So, in all of my cheeriness, I thought it would be a great time to recap what I’ve been up to in January and to toss in some of the things I’ve been loving.

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna 

January I’ve been….

Drinking: Some sleepy time tea! I have been sleeping horribly lately and am doing everything I can to to get to sleep and stay asleep. I even gave up my bedtime Snapchat (BeingLeanna) watching because i’m sure it keeps me awake at night.

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna

Cooking/Baking: Nothing. I am fully reverting back to childhood and relishing in what are hopefully my last few months living with my mom and enjoying all of her cooking. I did make my mom chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting for her birthday though! Oh, and I did help my stepmom make a cauliflower crust pizza tonight :-]

Wearing: My warmest winter apparel. We have had a wacky winter up here in the Northeast. Weeks where it’s warm followed by weeks where it’s frigid. My winter boots from Bass have been my go to in January. Plus, I fit right in at this ice bar in my toastiest clothes.

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna

Feeling: Ready for February! I’ll be seriously looking for a house for myself and i’ll be going to Philadelphia for a long weekend at the end of the month! Let me know if you have any suggestions for things to do in Philly!

Buying: Not a lot! I’ll have a full update soon on my spending ban. I’ll list out everything I spent money on and how I saved my cash this month. I spent more than i’d like to have but, I just couldn’t pass up the white sale at Target, so sue me :-]

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna

Listening To: I’ve been listening to a lot of Podcasts lately. The Young House Love podcast is probably my favorite right now. Plus, I downloaded this app Pzizz that’s supposed to help you sleep. I’ve been using it for a week or so after hearing the girls from Of A Kind mention it on their podcast.

Excited About: Finding a house!! So exciting and terrifying all at once. I’m also super excited about all these products below. My skin has been incredibly dry this winter and the combination of these 5 products has been helping tremendously. There’s the First Aid Beauty Facial Cleanser, the Bliss Tripe Oxygen mask, Lush Bubblegum lip scrub, First Aid Beauty Overnight mask and the VII Eye Mask. I’ll be talking more about these later in the month!

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna

Watching: I finally started watching Pretty Little Liars. I know i’m about a decade behind but I figured it’s still relevant enough to start up. It’s my treadmill show. I’ve told myself I can only watch it if i’m walking on the treadmill so we’ll see how long it takes me to get through the first season haha. Also, i’ve started watching This Is Us. I’m a few episodes in and and I now get what all the hype is about. So good. 

Pinning: Anything and everything home related. I’ve been cleaning out my Pinterest page lately and making room for things that fit my style now. Leave your Pinterest page in the comments so I can follow you!

January Recap and Favorites // Being Leanna

Thankful For: Everything. The fact that i’m financially ready to buy a home most especially.

 

If you’re wondering, these pictures are all from my Instagram lately, if you’re not following along, you’re missing out! @BeingLeanna