It's been a whirlwind few months for Mollie King having reached the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing, so it's not surprising she's planning to go 'off the grid' for a few days. The 30-year-old is jetting away for a treehouse escape in Sweden ahead of the National Day of Unplugging (9-10 March), and is encouraging fans to do the same by launching a new competition with Booking.com.
We caught up with Mollie ahead of her trip to talk relaxation, top travel destinations and holiday plans for 2018, and we're more than a little envious of what she has lined up! Read on for Mollie's top tips...
You've had a busy few months with Strictly Come Dancing, how do you handle your full schedule?
I'm so lucky that I love my job, so I can hardly call it work! I've always been used to working really hard though as I'm dyslexic, so at school I had to put in the extra hours because of it. I think that if you work hard and put your mind to it then you can achieve great things, and that's always the kind of message I like to tell people. In between working, I also try to make sure I spend quality time with family and friends, as that's really important and gives you a chance to focus on other things. That's why my trip with Booking.com to a treehouse in remote Sweden is perfect! I cannot wait to just get off the grid and switch off properly. I find that exercise is also a great way for me to concentrate on something else and not worry, I can just plug in and sweat it out!
What is your favourite way to unwind?
I'm so focused on work that I just find I'm thinking about it all the time, so by going away and just being with family or friends it gives me that chance to unwind, de-stress and switch off from work. No matter how much you like your day job, sometimes you really need that time to unplug. I also think reading a book or listening to an audio book is a great idea. I've never meditated but I know people rave about it so I would love to get into it. My new year's resolution is actually not to use social media for an hour before bed to help me unwind, so I just need to get into the habit of not being on my phone!
Describe your perfect holiday
My dream holiday would be somewhere that I can lap up culture, be it for the local food or just by going out and really indulging in the local way of life. You want to feel like you've gone away to somewhere different, so I love trying different cuisines. I do think I like holidays where there is an option to do activities though – I couldn't just lie on a beach for seven days straight. I always book accommodation where there is the choice to do different things, even if you're going to a city somewhere to explore or simply going off the grid somewhere remote where you can go on walks surrounded by amazing nature.
What is your most memorable holiday?
I still laugh about my sister's hen do a couple of years back, when she got a group of us on a banana boat. I was signalling to the driver of the speed boat to slow down but I actually thought I wanted to go faster so we were all clinging on for dear life until finally I think I went, then everyone went flying! It was just one of those moments where you think 'what is going on?!' Other than that I've had some amazing holidays where I've been really active, like one time where I did a ski jump afternoon and that was absolutely terrifying.
Who are your favourite holiday companions?
Holiday companions are so important. You can go anywhere and still have the most amazing time with them. Travelling with my family is always so much fun, especially when we go skiing and just eat our body weight in fondue. If I was going to choose a celebrity companion, I'd pick David Attenborough. Imagine the knowledge he'd bring to a trip – unreal!
Is there a particular place you'd love to visit?
I would love to go to Australia or New Zealand as I've never been there but I know there are loads of activities and it's really outdoorsy, which is right up my street. My sisters went out there and did bungee jumping which I was very jealous of, so I would love to do that. I would also love to go to Hawaii for different reasons – that would be just to relax and soak up the cool atmosphere!
Where is your favourite place for a city break?
I would say LA – it does feel like a second home because I go there so much. I can go to the beach on the weekend and the people are very friendly. It just seems quite relaxing and the food is amazing – there is so much pan-Asian food there which I love. In contrast though, I also love the hustle and bustle of New York. It's a completely different vibe to LA but feels quite exciting for a shorter break. I'd like to go back there and check out cool apartments in Greenwich next time.
What are your suitcase essentials for a holiday?
I would have to say always a pair of sunglasses, always. I think they're just an essential holiday thing. And a good big hat - I'm often that person in the airport who is already wearing their holiday hat! I also take the basic things too, like a nice denim shirt that you can just throw over your shoulders if you're somewhere hot and it starts to get chilly at night, or a maxi dress too and obviously some great swimwear like a nice bikini. Oh and sun cream – always factor 50 for my face!
What holidays do you have planned for 2018?
I'm going away to the coolest treehouse in Sweden with Booking.com, and having a digital detox for a few days, which will be amazing. Aside from this, I might be going out to LA for a week in April but it's all about it. I used to live there for four months with the band - we filmed a TV series out there back in 2012, so I've always been back and forth and my best friend lives out there so it's nice to go out there hang with her. I know the place really well so it kind of feels like a home from home.
Mollie King and Booking.com are encouraging Brits to unwind and enjoy remote destinations around the world. To win your own off the grid escape with Booking.com to a luxury treehouse in Sweden, enter here: booking.com/win/offthegrid?aid=1480423