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holidays

Christmas is approaching and yes, we are very excited about it and no, we’re not one bit ashamed.

We are more than ready to embrace the days of listening to Last Christmas on repeat, the tacky Christmas jumpers and cosy nights by the fire with Home Alone playing on the telly.

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It is called the most wonderful time of year for a reason.

We stand proudly with the people who are ready to celebrate the festive period in July. Are we a little crazy? Maybe… but science says people who start decorating for Christmas (can we put the tree up now?) are actually a lot happier than the Scrooges of the world.

Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told Unilad, "In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate to things that make them happy, and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

"Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extends the excitement!" 

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Is it a little bit early to be taking the decorations out of the attic? Maybe, but the Christmas spirit is infectious.

And now that we have the science to back us up we won’t feel guilty about it.

So for the Grinches out there, who complain whenever they see selection boxes in their local Tesco store or roll their eyes when they see the fairy lights appear on Grafton Street, don’t be such a Bah humbug.

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Ireland’s roads provide a great opportunity to see the country in all its glory, particularly during the summer months. This bank holiday weekend take a road trip with family or friends and explore all that the Irish landscape has to offer.

The car-buying experts at Carzone have put together a list of the best scenic driving routes which are perfect for this time of the year. Use this list as road trip inspiration and hop in the car and take a spin over the long weekend. 

The Sally Gap – Wicklow

The Wicklow mountains are home to the Sally Gap, perfect for a family drive. The drive features some incredible landscapes, lakes and mountain scenery. The route is close to Dublin so perfect for those who don’t want to travel far from the city, simply take the R759 east across the mountains and head north on the R115 to complete the drive.

This drive brings you past some of Wicklow’s most famous land marks like the stunning Powerscourt Waterfall, House and Gardens. You’ll also find the Great Sugar Loaf along the way, providing a great excuse to get out of the car and stretch your legs. The climb to the top of the Sugar Loaf is suitable for everyone and provides 360-degree view of the Dublin mountains and Dublin city.

Our recommended car for this drive is the BMW 8 Series

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Galway to Westport via Clifden

Head west on the Wild Atlantic Way and enjoy a road trip along the rugged west coast. Starting in Galway, you’ll make your way north-west winding through the stunning Twelve Bens to the picturesque town of Clifden where you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, pubs and shops. From Clifden head north to County Mayo to Doo Lough Valley which  has some breath-taking views along the route between Delphi and Louisburgh. Those interested in history should stop at the Doo Lough Famine Memorial. Continue your journey on to the lively town of Westport, a vibrant, colourful place with endless things to see and do.

Our recommended cars for this drive are the Opel Grandland X / Volkswagen T-Roc

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Ring of Cork

If you want to unveil a hidden gem this Bank Holiday forget the Ring of Kerry, try out the Ring of Cork.

This drive takes you through the spectacular coastal views and stunning landscapes of County Cork. It travels along rural roads which connect at various stages to national routes and its advised to allow plenty of time to take in the scenery. The towns of Cobh, Midleton and Youghal are also located along the route and are the perfect for a stop along the way.

Experience all East Cork offers, as you travel through Killeagh and Castlemartyr, down to the delightful seaside towns of Shanagarry and Ballycottton. From there, you can follow the coastal roads along to Cobh, Crosshaven, Carrigaline and Cork Harbour. The final leg of the journey will take you to Watergrasshill and through the serene riverside drive from Glanmire and Little Island on to Carrigtohill and Midleton.

Our recommended cars for this drive are the Audi A6 / Opel Insignia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Mourne Mountains

This landscape around The Mourne Mountains is simply breath-taking and provides spectacular coastline views for a perfect weekend road trip. Take in the beauty of the coastline and its quaint towns and villages by simply following the brown-signed Mourne Coastal Route, which runs between Belfast and Newry. Drive to St John’s Lighthouse and to take in impressive sights across Dundrum Bay towards the Mournes. A must see is the Slieve Gullion Forest Park which offers stunning views of the surrounding volcanic landscape.

Our recommended cars for this drive are the Hyundai Tucson / Kia Sportage / Nissan Qashqai

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The weather right now leaves a lot to be desired, so dreaming of distant lands is our new favourite pastime.

There are plenty of travel bloggers out there who live charmed lives, being paid to venture from exotic place to exotic place. 

We've compiled a list of our favourites, who's sea and sun-soaked feeds are making us uber jealous. 

1. Gypsea Lust

 

A photo posted by LAUREN BULLEN (@gypsea_lust) on

Probably the most famous of travel bloggers, Lauren Bullen travels the wide world with her equally as cultured boyfriend (who also happens to be a travel blogger).

Her Instagram is literal goals, showing off more exotic destinations and blue seas than you could ever dream of.

2. World Wanderlust

 

A photo posted by Brooke Saward (@worldwanderlust) on

Brooke Saward is the author of travel tome World of Wanderlust and has the perfect Instagram to match. 

Hitting all the best holiday destinations, this Australian twenty-something definitely isn't afraid to fly solo.

3. Kirsten Alana

 

A photo posted by Kirsten Alana (@kirstenalana) on

Kirsten is a travel photographer, and her list of destinations is endless.

The unique and best thing about her Instagram page is the detailed descriptions of her travels which caption each striking image. 

4. Daniel Kordan

 

A photo posted by Daniel Kordan (@danielkordan) on

Landscape photographer Daniel takes the most unique and surreal images of one-of-a-kind terrains. 

You wont find your typical blue sea and cocktails snaps here, but intense and striking landscape imagery. 

5. Madeline Joy Relph

Madeline's 'gram is so envy-inducing, we kind of can't stand to look at it.

The blogger has roamed through India, Morocco, Turkey and Bali, and that's just in the last few weeks.

6. Emilie Ristevski

If you prefer a more rustic take on travel photography, Emelie's 'gram is for you.

Emelie also regularly discusses her travels through her photo captions, so the snaps are informative as well as stunning.

7. Jessica Stein

 

A photo posted by Jessica Stein (@tuulavintage) on

This blogger has a massive following and a huge list of travel destinations on her feed to go with it.

The globetrotting travel guru makes the most of all of her trips, taking pictures of food, friends and amazing scenery.

8. Round the World Girl

 

A photo posted by Elise  (@roundtheworldgirl) on

This Insta pro stands out from the crowd with her account that promotes active living.

Be it rock climbing, hiking, cave diving or scuba diving, this girl never stops.

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The most glamorous awards in the business are scheduled for this Sunday, and excitement is building; mainly because we're GAGGIN' to see what's in the notorious goodie bags.

The annual Academy Awards are filled with prestigious Oscar statuettes and celebrities dressed to the nines, and the nominees famously receive ridiculously boujée gift bags.

Why, you ask? Apparently, they need trips to exotic countries and hand-made chocolate truffles as well as awards and haute couture red carpet looks.

Last year, apparently the swag bags were worth a whopping $40,000. 2019 seems a little bit more extra, and more 'down-with-the-kids.'

Apparently, the $100,000 goodie bags include chocolate truffles infused with cannabis this year, and are distributed to the 25 nominees in acting and directing. The speeches could be pretty loose…

California has recently legalised the drug for recreational use, so the nominees can calm their awards ceremony nerves.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The 2019 swag bags also feature skin care products infused with the drug (cannabis facial moisturiser anyone?) and a free membership of the first cannabis-friendly social club in LA.

Private “phobia relief" sessions with "the world's number one phobia expert" are also on offer as a freebie for the Hollywood stars, according to The Telegraph.

They can also decide between a boat trip down the Amazon or to the Galapagos Islands, and a week in a California spa. Oh, and a holiday at luxury villas in Halkidiki, Greece, as well as an invitation to Flora Farms in Los Cabos, Mexico

A “Mister Poop" toilet plunger is also gifted, strangely, and up to $30,000 of treatments including fillers, botox and chemical peels at from Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The company who manufactures the chocolates warns anyone who is unused to cannabis to start low and go slow, instead of wolfing down the entire pack at once.

That'll be a hard one, considering the celebs barely eat for the entire day of the Oscars. This years' nominees including Glenn Close, Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Richard E Grant.

A company called Distinctive Assets are putting together the cannabis gifts this year, with the founder saying they decided to include them after the drug was legalised.

Lash Fary said: "This year, we are so excited about the legalisation of cannabis in California so we will be including a number of items in that category." Gowan, Lash, you mad scone.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mr Fary added: "These are folks who have access to everything and can afford to buy anything they want, so we just want this to be fun for them. Hopefully we are also introducing them to some new brands and experiences they wouldn’t otherwise know about.”

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon admitted in 2013 that she was high on cannabis at many Hollywood events; “I would say almost all, except the Oscars."

The 2019 Oscars ceremony is already facing controversy, after Kevin Hart dropped out as host.

Feature image: TimeZone forum

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This news is set to brighten this miserable and cold Thursday. Rumour has it Ireland is about to get ANOTHER bank holiday. There are currently nine bank holidays throughout the year but we’re set to be enjoying a tenth one very soon.

The new bank holiday would be on May 9, meaning we will be revelling in two bank holidays during the month of May.

This bank holiday will be known as Europe Day. The aim of this new bank holiday will be to streghten European sentiment across EU state members.

Croatian MP Ivan Jakovčić said: “Having 9 May as a public holiday is not for the sake of holidays but so that we can show our unity and fight for our values."

The chances of this holiday being passed are quite strong with Spanish Liberal MEP Maite Pagazaurtundua saying it "will most probably be passed" next month.

It is understood that there’s huge support behind the idea of making May 9 an official bank holiday.

May is going to be one hell of a wonderful month.

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It's happened to many of us…we're travelling to the most Instagram-able spots in the world, yet there's nobody to take photos of us in all our cultured glory.

Whether it's Niagara Falls, the Colosseum of Rome or the white sand beaches in Bali, sometimes a great candid is all we crave. Why waste the opportunity?

If your own significant other can barely hold a camera, or if you're a single solo traveller, finding somebody to capture us at our finest moment can be tedious at best. 

Not all of us have a John Legend to work his magic on the lens for the sake of our followers:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

Luckily for us, specialist tour operators Roma Experience are now (hilariously) offering an Instagram boyfriend to follow you around all day and get those #travelgoals snaps you've always wanted.

They spotted a gap in the market, that's for sure. Their timing couldn't be better, seeing as social media is playing a massive role in the lives of global youth.

Instagram is even acting as an influential factor in choosing a travel destination, with a ludicrous 40.1% of millennials deeming the site an important factor when considering a holiday. My God, what have we become?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Roma Experience's 'boyfriend of Instagram' is sure to be a sell-out, offering the unsung heroes of 'likes' to women (and fellow men) from every corner of the world. Bless them.

The Instagram Boyfriend has become an obsession in its own right, with countless pages dedicated to the men who play their part in giving a partner the PERFECT shot for the feed.

Not all heroes wear capes, just selfie sticks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Boyfriends Of Instagram (@boyfriends_of_insta) on

The wonderful service allows travellers to hire a profesh photographer to join them on their tour for three hours, taking pictures of them around some of the most picturesque Italian sites the gorgeous country has to offer.

You will then be emailed the iconic new pictures of you at your fiercest, fresh and ready for the gram. Or just your fridge?

The service is an additional €350 on top of the price for the full-day tour of Rome, but can you put a price on insta-worthy images? Hell no. It's 2019, this is our lifestyle now people.

Roma Experience’s Full Day Tour of Rome and Vatican City costs from €643, including all entrance fees, and private transfer from the city centre to the Vatican. The photographic service is an option extra, priced at €355.

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There is nothing quite like a holiday – first we have all the planning, which can be semi-stressful but oh so satisfying. 

Then the lead up, the packing and the scrolling through Instagram at the location tag wishing you were there already. Finally theres the actual trip – the cocktails, the beach, the sun and the relaxation. 

The aftermath is also beneficial, you get to come back to work feeling well rested and with a spring in your step – however, taking time off work for a vacay can do much more than elevate your mood and outlook on life. 

In fact, having a nice long holiday from work can add years to your life expectancy, according to a new study. 

As if we needed an excuse, but the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing, suggests a reasonably strong connection exists between time off and a later mortality rate. 

1,222 middle-aged male executives in Finland, born between 1919 and 1934, were studied over a whopping 40 year period

The participants recorded when they were going on vacations from work throughout the study.

Many of the original participants have since passed away, and the data they left behind is pretty damn interesting. 

Within the group, men that took three weeks or less annual holiday days had a 37% higher risk of dying between 1974 and 2004 than those who took more time off. 

The men who contributed to the data were healthy, with regular check ups and limited health issues, and it seems that their healthy lifestyles combined with adequate time off work to truly relax on holidays benefited them astronomically. 

So, if you're lucky enough to have paid vacation time, you better be taking it. 

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If you're headed to the airport, you may want to look away now.

Ryanair pilots in Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands are staging a 24-hour strike over pay and conditions.

The industrial action taken by the five European countries has been described as the largest walkout for the airline.

Consequently, around 15 percent of Ryanair's flight schedule has experienced disruptions. 

Ryanair said they were forced to cancel 250 flights to and from Germany, on Friday, August 10.

However, there is good news for those flying in and out of the Netherlands.

The low-cost airline said their schedule for August 10 will operate as normal. 

In a morning tweet update, the airline stated that 2,000 flights will take off and will carry almost 400,000 passengers today.

AFP is reporting that a total of around 400 flights have been cancelled throughout Europe.

This means an estimated 55,000 passengers will be impacted, according to the news agency.

Understandably, passengers who are bearing the brunt of the cancellations have expressed their grievances on Twitter.

One user wrote: "Hi Ryanair my flight from Rome Ciampino to London Stansted has been cancelled. There's no information and no staff to be seen at the airport. I'm stuck at the gate. Some information (food and compensation) would be great!"

Another Twitter account posted a video of a number of people awaiting delayed luggage in the early hours of the morning.

The user tweeted "Can you explain [to] all of us (people from seven different flights) why, after a two hour plus delay, we have been waiting for another hour and a half for our luggage? At 2 am? Are you serious?" 

Ryanair have been attempting to manage pilot strikes throughout Europe since early July.

The airline has requested striking unions to "continue negotiations."

We hope if you're flying with Ryanair, you get to go on your holibobs.

A good cocktail and some sunshine will soon make you forget your travel stress.

If you're one of the unlucky ones – enjoy your wine, angry tweets and a good cry. 

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More bad news for anyone planning on flying with Ryanair this Friday.

The airline have just announced the cancellation of 24 flights today, which will affect thousands of passengers.

This decision comes after a pilot union refused to postpone its planned strike action for this Friday.

Ryanair had invited representatives of trade union Fórsa, who are behind the upcoming strike, to discuss the ongoing row over how transfers, holidays and promotions are allocated among their pilots.

Ryanair said that unless the pilots postponed their strike by 5pm yesterday, the airline would be forced to cancel 24 flights today, mainly between Ireland and the UK, for this Friday, July 20th. 

According to The Independent, a spokesperson for the trade union confirmed  that this deadline was not met.

“We needed more notice than what they had asked. We’re in the business of solving an industrial dispute. The earliest we can meet them is on either Wednesday or Thursday,” they said. 

Eddie Wilson, chief people officer at Ryanair, said many of the proposals made by Fórsa at a meeting with airline management last week were “contradictory and work to the disadvantage of Irish pilots and our business model.''

Passengers are understandably  upset at this further disruption with many taking to social media to vent their frustration. 

One wrote, ''Why does anyone still book with that joke of an airline?'' while others showed their support for the pilots striking, saying, ''absolutely no one gives up a days pay without good reason. Ryanair pilots are changing the game for all staff in the company and deserve nothing but support.''

Keep on eye out for any updates and fingers crossed that you're not affected!

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Holidaymakers don't fear!

Industrial action for Ryanair pilots is underway this morning.

Despite the strike, the majority flights are still going ahead. (YASSS)

An agreement between trade union representatives couldn't be thrashed out after seven hours of talks.

Check your phone: Ryanair has said any customers affected by the 30 of 290 flights cancelled, have been notified. 

Don't worry if you haven't received an alert, you will be sipping cocktails in no time, as you should continue with your travel plans as usual. 

Yesterday, the airline took to Twitter and posted a letter detailing the discussions.

It read: "Ryanair pilot union talks conclude without agreement.

"Ryanair expects a strike by 27% of Irish pilots to proceed tomorrow."

Last week, the union representing the pilots indicated that 99 percent of their members were in favour of seeking industrial action after a ballot.

Ryanair tweeted this morning, that they 'regret the decision' taken by a quarter of their Irish pilots to strike. 

They said they believe that the pilots should "take up our offer of working groups" to come to a solution. 

Spare us a thought when you're pool-side, the Irish summer is back. (Cue internal crying.)

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Listen up, Ryanair fliers.

Ialpa pilot union members who work for Ryanair are planning to strike for 24 hours next Thursday, 12th July. 

The strike will begin at 1am on the 12th and continue until 1am the next day. 

Ryanair has responded  to this announcement by saying that they are ''disappointed'' in this ''unnecessary'' course of action yet they believes that the majority of Ryanair passengers will be unaffected by this.  

July is a busy summer month for airlines, with huge numbers headed off to sunnier climates for their holidays. 

Understandably, many people who have booked with Ryanair are panicking about the consequences that this may have on their travel plans. 

People are voicing their concerns on Twitter, with one user saying, ''you're basically giving me two days or 48 hours to arrange alternative flights.''

After negotiations with the airline broke down, the Ialpa Union said that a landslide 99% of their members had supported the industrial action in a ballot.

The dispute is over management’s approach to the transferring of pilots between it's African and European bases.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association has also released a statement giving notice of the strike.

It states that, ''our member pilots directly employed by Ryanair complain that there is no transparent system for the determination of important matters including voluntary/involuntary base transfer/allocation, command upgrade, allocation of annual leave and promotion.'' 

With the strike action set to take place next week, let's hope that this mess gets sorted before then. 

Otherwise, there's going to be a lot of unhappy Ryanair customers. 

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As much as we love having a golden tan when we're travelling, bringing our tanning supplies along can be tricky.

The products are too big for our carry-on bag, or we're worried they'll accidentally spill all over the clothes in our checked luggage.

Thankfully though, as many people are beginning to jet off on summer holidays (or sitting at home, hoping the sun will stay out), Cocoa Brown by Marissa Carter decided to swoop in and save the day.

No longer will people be asking if you're Casper when they look at photos from your trip to Ibiza, all thanks to Cocoa 2 Go Travel Size 1 Hour Tan Mousse.

It does exactly what it says on the tin: gives you a beautiful bronzed look in just ONE hour – with a fresh holiday scent to boot.

At 95ml, you can just toss it into your carry-on, no worries. Stay gold, ponyboy.

 

A post shared by Cocoa Brown Tan (@cocoabrowntan) on

CEO and founder of Cocoa Brown Marissa Carter says of the new product, ''Cocoa 2 Go Travel Size 1 Hour Tan Mousse is 95ml and will slide into your carry-on luggage so staying wonderfully bronzed has never been easier.  

"As with all Cocoa Brown products, Cocoa 2 Go simply glides on with an instant colour and develops into a rich Cocoa Brown colour in just one hour for a false tan that lasts on the skin for up to five to seven days.''

The Cocoa 2 Go Travel Size 1 Hour Tan Mousse is available in Original Medium, Dark and Extra Dark from €5.95 at stockists nationwide.

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