Barcelona Travel Diary

Barcelona is such a beautiful city with lots to see and do. This blog post outlines a travel guide of my recommendations and experiences in Barcelona, enjoy!

Staying near the Magical Fountains

We stayed at Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza, which is in walking distance to the The Magic Fountains. It has the most stunning rooftop terrace and swimming pool ūüėć

The hotel is close to the train station and numerous bus stops, so it’s super handy for getting around. Taxis are also quite easy to get as the hotel is located just on¬†Pla√ßa Espanya.

I would recommend taking a walk up to the Magic Fountains by day and night, the views and architecture are amazing!

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Barceloneta, a Foodies Dream

Barceloneta is a must when visiting Barcelona, the beach is beautiful and there are so many fab places to eat and enjoy a tipple in the sunshine. I think I could easily spend every evening there eating out. You can also have a peek at all the massive yachts docked in the harbour.

Foodwise, tapas every day, I loved patatas bravas, the prawns and calamari! Don’t forget the ice cold Estrella and sangria! When in Barcelona it’s a must!

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Dancing and Martinis at W

One evening we went to Eclipse at W for cocktails and dancing. W is located at the end of Barceloneta and the cocktail bar is on the very top floor, so the views are amazing – day or night! The music was unreal, we danced all night long and drank numerous Passionfruit Martinis – these guys can make cocktails!

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Walk that Walk

On one of our last days, I went on a walking tour around the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona with Sandemans New Europe Tours, it was one of my absolute highlights! Our tour guide Patrick, was a fountain of knowledge. He took us around everything there was to see in the Gothic Quarter, giving us a backstory to the history and culture of the city.

If you do go to Barcelona, I recommend going on some of the walking tours on your first few days, as you get to know your way around and your guide can give you lots of fab recommendations for places to go. The walking tours are free, your guide just requests you tip what the tour is worth – believe me, it’s worth it! I’m gutted I missed out on the tapas tour!

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If you want to take a day trip out of the city, I would totally recommend Sitges, a quaint coastal town 30 minutes on the train from Barcelona, it’s stunning! You can read about Sitges on my blog.

Jess x

Best Young Digital Person at the DANIs

Just last month I picked up the award for Best Young Digital Person at The DANI Awards in Belfast. I still can’t believe it and it was certainly one of the biggest highlights of my career…SO FAR! For those who may not know what the DANI awards are, they celebrate Northern Irish talent in digital, technology and creative industries.

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I honestly hadn’t really thought of entering the category until a friend and previous colleague had encouraged me to do so (thank you, you know who you are). Entering was a great opportunity to reflect on how far I have come in my career to date, as well as a person. It also allowed me to gather some of my thoughts for the future.

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I have always worked hard, no matter what I put my mind to; throughout my Marketing degree at Newcastle University, my internship at Style Academy Model Agency, setting up my own social media marketing business ‘Social Circle’, right through to where I am today at The Tomorrow Lab.

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Since joining The Tomorrow Lab in 2015 as their Social Media Executive and establishing the social media side of the business, I have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic people and great brands. Having the drive to perfect projects and achieve great results keeps me motivated.

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Having a keen interest in events, I have been happy to drive and develop the agency’s digital marketing event series – The Tomorrow Lab Presents, which has grown from 15-120 attendees on average over the past two years. Our upcoming event on the 25th May on Social Media & Influencer Marketing is to be our biggest yet!

There is nothing I dislike more than the question ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’, I sort of take the view that you never know what is around the corner or what life might throw at you. But it is my intention to make the most of the opportunities that come my way and learn from my mistakes. I love what I do and I have the drive to be best in class, deliver award winning campaigns and head up my own innovative team some day.

As well as growing my blog, I also have another project that I hope to launch later in the year.

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Naomh put on a great event at the DANIs this year at Queen’s University Belfast, I am thoroughly looking forward to next year. Shout out to¬†Gr√°inne Maher¬†for designing the stunning awards, mine is taking pride of place in my living room¬†?¬†Thanks again to all those involved, those who supported me and all the lovely things people have said.

My Dream 2017

At the start of each year I write a handwritten list of goals and wishes for the year ahead, which allows me to keep track of my myself and my bucket list, as well as helping me achieve something new. Some goals might be bigger than others and I might not get covering everything on my list, but you have to aim high. If your dreams don’t scare you, you aren’t aiming high enough!

Travel

Every year I want to visit somewhere new. I had never been to Spain before, until last year when I visited Sitges, Barcelona, Torremolinos and Mijas – all of which were amazing in their own way.

jess-orr-lifestyle-blog-sitges-travel

This year I would love to to visit:

  • Berlin – which is already booked for the end of January ?
  • America – Miami & New Orleans
  • Rome

I also hope to get back to London, as well as meet up with my friends from University, wherever that might be, perhaps back in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Career

Come March 2017 I will have been at The Tomorrow Lab for two years, as their Social Media Executive, which is a milestone for me and I have learnt so much & worked with so many great clients. This year will see another year of working hard & developing myself and my skill-set.

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I launched jessorr.co.uk towards the end of 2016 & is something I want to focus on developing this year.

Below is an overview of some of the things I hope to achieve in 2017:

  • Get my Facebook Blueprint certification
  • Read four business, marketing & social media related books – first up will be Gary Vaynerchuk‘s ‘Jab, Jab, Hook’ & ‘#AskGaryVee’
  • Grow jessorr.co.uk by posting a blog post at least once per week and posting 3-4 times per week on my social channels
  • Keep finding ways at being better at time management
  • Get a good camera and learn how to take great photos

Relationships

Friends, family and relationships is something that is very important to me. As mentioned in my previous post, it is important to be a good friend because true friends are hard to come by.

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This year I’m going to:

  • Get better at keeping in contact with my friends & family
  • See more of my friends & family
  • ‘Always trust that the ones who are supposed to be in your life, will always find a way’ – a great piece of advice from Erika Fox from Retro Flame
  • Enjoy the little moments with my favourite people

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Health, Life & Wellbeing

One of the most important things in life is your health and is something many can take for granted. This year I am turning 25 (SCARY), over the past 2-3 years I have come to have a greater appreciation for my health and the need to take action to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle. So this year I hope to do the following:

  • Look after my skin
  • Go to the gym/exercise regularly to relieve stress and get fitter and leaner – at least 2-3 times per week
  • Try out yoga or pilates – something I wanted to do last year and never did
  • Have regular checkups with the doctor & the dentist
  • Drink more water every day. I think I will invest in one of those motivating water bottles to help with this goal.
  • Eat well, but still allow myself to be indulgent when I want to be
  • Read more. As well as reading my business books, I also want to read 3-4 books that have nothing to do with business. Reading a book before bed will help me unwind as opposed to scrolling through my phone.
  • Go for more walks in beautiful places across Northern Ireland
  • Pamper myself more – have long bubble baths more often or a face mask to unwind & relax.

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I do have some more goals that I will keep to myself ?

I know YOLO is thrown about a lot, but it is so true! Life is to be lived and we should all make the most of it and every new experience we have. I hope you all have a fab 2017 & that you fulfil your goals & have lots of fun!

Jess x

2016: A End of Year Reflection

It’s the final day of 2016 and a day for reflection on the year past and to look ahead to the new year. I always look forward to a fresh start to a new year and making a list of goals and wishes I hope to achieve.

Many feel this year has been the worst year ever, I wouldn’t go as far to say that, each year has its challenges, darker days and problems, but there are also plenty of good times to remember. Some years are better than others, we can all relate, but each year teaches us lessons which shape us as a person.

2016 has taught me a number of lessons, which I thought I would share here.

1.Be a Good Friend

My friends live across the UK and I don’t get to see them as much as I would like, but one thing I do treasure is that every time we do get together, even if it is only twice or a few times a year it is like we saw each other yesterday. We all care deeply for each other and what is going on in each others lives. Good friends are very hard to come by, so it is important to be the best possible friend you can.

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Credit – Karosh Bond

2. Be Kind

It doesn’t take much to be kind people, in fact it takes more effort not to be. Dealing with people has been a big part of my working life, starting back in my waitressing and bartender days. You will get farther in life and working life if you are kind to people, it builds relationships and friendships and can genuinely make someones day better and easier.

3. Look After Yourself

I can be a bit of a perfectionist and I take pride in my work, so work can stay in my mind a lot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when it affects your sleep and stress levels, that is when it becomes an issue and can lead to burn out. I have learnt this year that it is important to look after yourself, whether it be taking time to do exercise to blow off some steam, eating better to feel better or treating yourself to a long bubble bath and a face mask at the end of a long day.

4. Never Give Up

Nothing worth having in life comes easy or without action. There are many things I want out of my life and plenty more things I want to learn. So this year I am going to take action towards helping me achieve what I want and to learn more to help progress myself in my career.

5. Travel More

I know almost everyone wants to ‘travel more’. But I think the whole uncertainty with Brexit and not knowing the impact it will have on traveling throughout the EU hit something with me. I want to travel more this year because I enjoy it and I love discovering some place new. Each year I always want to visit somewhere or a country I have never been to before and this year is no different. In 2016 I had the pleasure of visiting Barcelona, Sitges and Torremolinos in Spain. If the opportunity arises to travel somewhere new, take it! You only live once ?

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6. Save More

Something everyone tells themselves they need to do more of. For me, this year has seen some unexpected financial challenges ? Next year I want to set myself up for some new adventures and allow myself backup for when those challenges come a-calling.

7. Be Thankful

I am a big believer that things happen for a reason, but sometimes the things that happen are cruel and hard to understand. A lesson I have learnt this year, is that life is short, so it is important to be thankful for everything and everyone you have and realise that pointless fights and grudges are a waste of precious time.

8. Enjoy the Little Things

Social media is my job and is a big part of my life and others around me. But one thing I can’t stand, is forgetting to enjoy the little things and moments in life without a mobile in hand. My pet hate it going to a gig and everyone there is experiencing the performance through a mobile phone. Or when at a bar or a restaurant and couples and friends aren’t talking to each other, but on their phones swiping and messaging. This year I am going to be on my phone less, to enjoy the little things and the big things for the moments they are.

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Credit – Karosh Bond

I hope you all have a fab NYE and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017 full of great memories ?

Jess x

 

Christmas Tree Picking

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

Christmas with a Real Christmas Tree

It’s that time of year again, for getting the Christmas decorations out and choosing that special Christmas tree!

I have a bit of a thing for real Christmas trees, I just love the smell of them and it isn’t Christmas for me without a real tree¬†?

Greenmount Christmas Tree Farm

For the past three years we have got our Christmas tree from Greenmount Christmas Tree Farm on the Comber Road, not far from Hillsborough. It is such a quaint place…you will be sure to spot some geese pottering about the yard. They have a selection of Christmas trees to choose from, big and small, as well as some gorgeous Christmas wreaths.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Greenmount Christmas Tree Farm

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

We chose a lovely 6ft Noble Fir Christmas tree that has a blue green foliage and great shape ?The guys at the farm are a great help, they pack your tree and get it tucked into your car for you to take home.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree Farm

We got the tree home and up in the living room, got the decorations out, fire on and a wee hot whiskey – a great way to start December! ?

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Tree

Her Christmas Wish List

I am guilty of making a ‘Santa list’ ??¬†every year in my Notes on my phone (I can’t be the only one). I love shopping at the best of times, but at Christmas retailers pull out all the stops to get you inspired for Christmas gifting ?, as well as key pieces for your winter wardrobe & I just love it!

I have come across a number of fab pieces while doing my Christmas shopping over the past few weeks, as well as some bits for my own little wish list. So if you need some inspiration for purchasing a gift for a friend, family member, girlfriend or you simply want to treat yourself and don’t know where to start, here are some of my top picks…

Fashion Gifts

A winter wardrobe staple for every girl, a pair of black ankle boots. These black leather sock boots from Next are just stunning and have a nice twist with the colouring in the heel.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Next Black Sock Boots

If like me your giftee likes to dress down a little and loves a good pair of runners, these Adidas NMDs are perfect.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Adidas NMDs

You can’t go wrong with something velvet for the festive season. This party dress from Zara and t-shirt from Missguided won’t break the bank and would make a great Christmas gift.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Zara velvet dressJess Orr Lifestyle Blog Missguided velvet t-shirt

Don’t forget the Christmas jumper! I try to get one each year now if I can, I recently purchased this one from notonthehighstreet.com (one of my besties had it on recently and I just had to have it too – sorry not sorry). How could I resist proseccho ho ho!

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Christmas Sweater

Accessorie Gifts

I am loving the CLUSE watches this season. Being in need of a black and gold watch and loving a bit of marble print this CLUSE La Roche black watch is just gorge.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Black and Gold Cluse Watch

Last Christmas I treated myself to a rose gold Storie locket charm necklace from Argento and I wear it all the time. Their new T-bar locket bracelets are divine, a great choice for a personable Christmas gift for someone special.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Storie locket

If you are buying for someone who has been particularly good this year, the Mini Lily Mulberry bags are gorgeous.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Mulberry Mini Lily bag

Beauty Gifts

This little baby is definitely on my Santa list this year! What girl doesn’t need or love matte eyeshadows in their life? Urban Decay recently launched their new Naked Ultimate Basics palette, which has every matte eyeshadow you could wish for, particularly the nudes we all love! Urban Decay’s Naked palettes are always an great investment, she will love it!

Jess Orr Blog Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics

Lush always have a fab selection of gifts¬†boxes at Christmas. Their Christmas bath bomb knot-wraps make for a great stocking filler or secret santa gift, like this Little Sprout one which contains their ‘So White’ bath bomb. The scarfs are 100% organic cotton and all of Lush’s products are handmade, ethically approved, vegetarian and cruelty-free.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Lush Christmas gift

The Body Shop ‘Gifts to Go Wild For’ campaign is one that hasn’t gone unnoticed this Christmas. For every specially selected Christmas gift you purchase this year from The Body Shop will help protect endangered creatures and restore one square metre of rainforest. You can find more information about the campaign here.

In-store you can also get personalised ‘Wild For’ stickers for any body butters you purchase – the perfect stocking filler this Christmas!

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog The Body Shop Christmas Body Butter

Source: The Body Shop Facebook

You won’t see any ladies disappointed after opening a gift from Jo Malone, their gifts are so beautifully wrapped, smell gorgeous and you can even build your own bespoke gift from their product collection.

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Jo Malone Christmas Gift

Nightwear Gifts

Every girl loves getting home and putting their comfies on and getting cosy, particularly in the winter by the fire with a cuppa in hand. Christmas nightwear is out in force in the shops at the moment, my personal favs have to be from Next!

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Next pyjamas

Primark also have a cute selection of Disney nightwear ?

Irish bloggers Louise Cooney and Lauren Arthurs recently did a shoot for this range at Disney land, be sure to check out Louise’s blog post, it looked amazing!

Jess Orr Lifestyle Blog Primark Tinkerbell slippers

I hope this sparked a few ideas, enjoy the Christmas shopping! Be sure to treat yourself! ?

Jess x