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winter blues

January is really a month for the winter blues. Christmas is a hazy memory, you can't quite shake that cold that's been bothering you, and summer seems like an eternity away.

Why not escape for a weekend to see some of Europe's most incredible sights, and stay in the best Airbnb's you can find. Treat yo'self, gowan.

Luckily for you, we've curated a list of some of the continent's best apartment finds.

We've already booked our flights straight out of Dublin airport, ASAP….

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1. Zagreb, Croatia

This new stylish apartment is in the perfect location in the centre of the beautiful Zagreb, on Križanićeva street.

For a quiet and safe space which is still central, this is one of the best areas to stay in. Close to the main city square, central bus and train station, everything is easily within walking distance.

A modern, contemporary apartment with a monochromatic décor theme, yet still so comfortable, this apartment is perfect. It can host three guests, and has two beds and a bath. 

New stylish central apartment
Price: €37 per night

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is an incredible city to visit, the Old Town is stunning and has a huge amount of history, and most of the town is within walking distance.

It also is home to some of the best pub crawls in the world, just sayin'. This gorgeous boutique apartment has us DROOLING.

The spacious design, the window panels allowing light to stream in, we just need to stay here ASAP.

The boutique apartment is located in the Bohemian Zizkov district, packed with unreal cafés, bars, restaurants and bars with some amazing views of Prague.

3. Paris, France

We have found a sunny, cosy studio apartment LITERALLY just down the road from the Eiffel Tower. What more would you need?

The charming apartment is ideal for an escape to the Parisian life; it's both residential and family-oriented.

There are windows throughout the apartment to let in the French sun, and the location is absolutely perfect; the seventh district of Les Invalides

Just picture yourself having a coffee and croissant downstairs, looking out the window at the Parisian aesthetic. We can.

4. Berlin, Germany

A 'superhost' owns this GORGEOUS Berlin apartment, which can house four guests and his also an absolute bargain of an offer for what you're getting.

The apartment is a short walking distance away from some of Berlin's top spots, with restaurants, shops and bars surrounding the area.

The subway station is only a seven minute walk away, and the location is both safe and central. You'll be prancing around Alexanderplatz in no time…

Design apartment
Price: €34 per night

5. Barcelona, Spain

This spacious loft is on Airbnb Plus, and for a good reason.

The stunning studio apartment has an actual JETTED TUB. Be still my beating travel heart. The location is extremely central; with the city's main sights within walking distance.

The New York-style space has exposed brick walls, high ceilings of rustic Catalan wood and bold modern art.

Catch some rays on the balcony and make use of the space's incredible amenities.

Spacious loft
€70 per night

6. Rome, Italy

This 'superhost' certified apartment in the centre of one of Europe's most renowned cities is GOALS.

The apartment can house up to four guests, and is located on the first floor of a beautiful palatial residence just minutes from the Piazza Della Repubblica.

The studio home is freshly renovated, filled with light and more luxurious than our future. We LOVE.

7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This stunning Georgian apartment in Edinburgh's New Town is one of the best Airbnb's on the market.

The loft is a ground floor flat in the famous area, with absolutely every part of the city within walking distance. The apartment is spacious, has fantastic amenities such as a bath, and even an indoor fireplace for those cold January months.

The beautiful home as Wi-Fi, free parking down the road and houses two guests easily, with comfort being the essential promise. 

New Town apartment 
€54 per night

8. Vienna, Austria

This sunny apartment is extremely sought after, for it's dedication to space and light.

It can house four guests, and they can each experience the unique, warm decor of the apartment while being close to the most famous parts of Vienna.

The metro station at Ober-St. Veit is only a seven minute walk away, with the home featuring a spacious living room with a kitchen, one bedroom and a bathroom.

The terrace can be used in summer to soak in that European sun that we Irish can never seem to get.

Sunny apartment in Vienna
Price: €69 per night

9. Krakow, Poland

Poland is a great country to escape to, especially because of how affordable it is.

This chic loft apartment in central Krakow is only €18 PER NIGHT, we cannot believe how great it is.

Beautiful, modern studio for one or two people has air conditioning for the hot summer months, and is located on Bonerowska Street in Krakow city centre. 

The space is less than five minutes walking distance away from Krakow's main historical sights including main square, Wawel Castle, the Jewish Quarter and more.

Loft apartment
Price: €18 per night

10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The hosts don't call it the 'stairway to heaven' for no reason. Amsterdam is one of Europe's most interesting cities, with a huge amount to do and some immensely picturesque locations to visit.

Little loft apartments near the canals and boats are such a dream come true, and this luxury apartment with warm, modern décor is perfect for a weekend away with someone special.

The private trendy studio is built in the attic of an authentic 1880 Amsterdam house, and is located in the cool neighbourhood near the food hall and outdoor markets. I wouldn't book this if stairs aren't suitable for you, however, it's a steep climb up.

Stairway to Heaven
Price: €80

You all deserve a holiday, and January is the perfect time to escape the winter blues and catch the travel bug.

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Whether you're down because of the crappy weather, had an argument with your BFF or this time of year just isn't your fave, it's safe to say this season can bring on a whole range of emotions.

And while this won't cure your blues indefinitely, it will make you feel a little bit better.

According to the Journal of Positive Psychology, people who bake every now and again are much more relaxed compared to people who don't.

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The researchers followed 658 people for two weeks. Each participant had to write a diary, which was read by the researchers afterwards. They discovered that each person who baked or cooked at the end of most days felt that they were "flourishing," and advancing in their personal growth.

The study's lead author author, Tamlin Conner said: "There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning.

"However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional well-being.

Image result for baking gif

"There is genuinely something very therapeutic about baking."

Whether you're going to take this on board or not, we have to admit, we'll be whipping up a few cupcakes next time we're feeling low.

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With the evenings getting darker and the weather getting worse it's only natural that you may notice some change in your mood and general wellbeing. Summer sun automatically makes us feel more cheerful and energetic and as the colder seasons set in our mental health can suffer too.

Here are a few tips to ensure you stay on top of things this winter. Remember that the changing seasons can affect us all differently, and if you feel you're not coping well, don't be afraid to talk to someone or ask for help.

1. Stay fit
Exercising might be the last thing you want to do on a wet and windy day, but it's a great way of clearing your head and relieving stress. If you can fit in a morning workout, you'll feel more focused and fresh throughout the day. Check out our pick of the best winter workout gear here.

2. Get outdoors
Even if the sun isn't shining, your body and mind will still benefit from a Vitamin D boost and some natural light. If you find it's dark as you go to work and dark when you get home, try to get out for a stroll on your lunch break, or sit near a window in your office if possible.

3. Stay warm
Chills and coldness will only worsen your mood, so stay cosy with hot food and warm clothes. At home, try to keep the temperature around 18C – 21C for optimum levels of heat.

4. Light it up
Light therapy is an extremely effective way of helping seasonal mood disorders – experts say it's effective in four out of five cases. If you don't want to splash out on a light box (they start at around €130), opt for "full spectrum" bulbs in your lights at home. These micic natural light even in the evenings. A dawn simulator is another great option for increasing your exposure to light – this connects to your alarm clock and gently brightens bit by bit in the minutes before your alarm goes off.

5. Get social
If you're feeling low, meeting large groups of people can feel overwhelming, but even seeing a friend for a cuppa can make all the difference. Try not to isolate yourself – draw on your support network when you can.

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