One of the great things in life is discovering new places, but there has to be something said for going somewhere you’ve been before that has that familiarity element.

Living like a local in another city seems like such a fun thing to do, and today I’ve compiled a list of all the places I would love to go back to that I’ve visited through my life.

1. New York

I went to New York back in 2008 on a school trip to the UN, and I’ve always wanted to go back. This year, I was looking at flights in December, but with buying a house and having a number of wedding and hen do’s, the responsibility took over me and I refrained. I would love to visit at Christmas and take in the city in all its glory.

2. Amsterdam

I visited Amsterdam as a celebration trip when I finished University. There were 5 of us who went in total, and we had such a fun time and still even talk about the memories to this day. There was so much of the city that we didn’t get to explore though, so on my next trip, I’d like to see all the sites that we missed – I believe autumn is a beautiful time to visit.

3. Lisbon

I went to Lisbon in 2014 with a couple of girls that I worked with. We went in November, which wasn’t the warmest month by any stretch, but the city itself was just stunning. Compared to other European capitals, it was much cheaper, but there was still so much to see and do. I’d love to go back in summer and visit the Time Out food market again and admire the beautifully tiled walls.

4. Barcelona

I went to Barcelona for my 21st birthday with a few friends and I remember thinking that I definitely wanted to go back there one day. We had about 4 full days there and crammed loads in, but I would love to go back and appreciate some of the sites that are off the beaten track.

5. Iceland

Iceland was one of the most surreal places I’ve ever been to in my life – but also absolutely incredible. I visited in June where it was sunlight for 24 hours (not something I’d recommend) so I would love to go back at the start of the year and hopefully see the Northern Lights.

6. Dubai

One of my closet friends lives in Dubai, which is why I went in the first place, but I ended up having one of the most fun weeks of my life. I visited with my friend, Phil, and we had so much fun going to brunch, quad biking across the desert and visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The next time I go, I would love a chilled beach holiday.

And there you have the 6 places I would love to visit again given the chance – donations welcome!

Have you been to any of these places? Is there anywhere you would love to go back to? 

xx

I love travelling to new places and this year I’ve been lucky enough to tick some cities off my bucket list, explore new places in the UK and make memories where I’ve been before.

Today I’ve rounded up 17 of my favourite travel moments from this year.

1. Visiting Oxford

One of my best friends was living in Oxford at the start of the year, so a couple of us went to visit her in January. It was really nice to spend time in a UK city that I’d never visited before, with people that I love spending time with. It definitely started the year making me want to explore more places.

2. Dinner By The Docks At Sunset

Back in February, I went to see Strictly Come Dancing at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Half of my family are from Liverpool, but it had been a few years since I had spent any time there. I took an afternoon off work and went over with my family. It was a gorgeous clear day, and I remember feeling really content whilst watching the sunset over the Albert Docks before the show.

3. Travelling On The Eurostar

I’d been to both Paris and Brussels before, but both times I flew. Back in March, Jordan and I went to Belgium on the Eurostar, and the whole experience was so seamless. There are no luggage restrictions, you can take liquids (and more importantly, alcohol) to drink on the train, and the journey flew by. I would definitely recommend the Eurostar if you’re going to either of these destinations.

4. Exploring The Old Town Of Bruges

As I mentioned, I’d been to Brussels a couple of times before, so when we went to Belgium, most of our time was spent exploring Bruges. Bruges was completely different to the capital, but there was still so much to do. I loved walking down all of the cobbled streets, sipping fruity beers while we people watched and our boat trip along the canals.

5. Admiring The Views From The TV Tower

The TV Tower was something I didn’t know existed until we landed in Berlin – Geography has never been my strong point. Once we had got our bearings on the first day, we made sure that a trip up to the top was on our agenda. I’m so glad we did it before the views were amazing, and we were up there just as the sky was changing from day to night which meant the sunset was amazing.

6. Seeing The Berlin Wall In Real Life

The East Side Gallery had been on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I really enjoyed walking down the side of the river looking at all of the murals along the way. It’s crazy to think that the wall only came down a few months before I was born and that people lived in complete segregation up until then.

7. Visiting The White Island 

When my friend Emily suggest Ibiza for her hen do, I pictured booze cruises, rowdy tourists and everything in-between, but in reality, Ibiza was nothing like that. It exceeded all of my expectations and became one of my favourite trips ever. We had amazing company, great food, and incredible memories from our three days there. I especially enjoyed walking up to the castle through the old town and visiting Formentera island.


8. Watching The Sun Set Over The Eiffel Tower

One of the memories that stands out for this year is when Hannah and I went to Paris back in June. We were there to celebrate my birthday and leaving my job and had such a memorable few days. On the first evening, we were there, we were on a boat trip going past the Eiffel Tower just as the sun was setting and it was so beautiful seeing everything lit up by the golden rays.

9. Drinking Wine On A Roof Terrace

What says Paris more than sipping on wine on a roof terrace? We researched some of the best places to go when we were in Paris, and this terrace came highly recommended in the 15th Arrondissement. I remember watching the sky turn purpley pink, and the Eiffel Tower lighting up in the distance and feeling incredibly happy about my new chapter.

10. Getting Dressed Up For Royal Ascot

Jordan and I went to Royal Ascot back in June, and it was my first time attending the event. I had seen some of the fashion on TV previously, but that doesn’t do it justice of how amazing everyone looks in their posh dresses and suits. I really enjoy the atmosphere of the races and seeing the Queen topped it all off.

11. York Chocolate Story

I was lucky enough to be treated to a chocolate workshop at the York Chocolate story and brought Jordan along with me for a day out to York tied in with celebrating his birthday. We learnt all about the history of chocolate, sampled different types, experimented with colouring and flavours and got to make and decorate our own bar.

12. Chester Races

A little closer to home, a group of us went to Chester Races in summer, and I had such a fun day out with loads of my closest friends. Chester is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK, and it’s a bonus that it’s so close to home. Getting dressed up and day drinking is definitely one of my favourite things to do – plus it means I can still be in bed before 10pm!

13. Bingley Live Festival 

For my friend’s hen do back in September, a group of us travelled over to Yorkshire to the Bingley Live music festival. We were greeted to some late summer sun and spent the day playing games, listening to music and sunbathing. It was such a great weekend, and one that I will remember for a very long time.

14. Laughing At Our Drink Choices In Rome

I have so many amazing memories from Italy, but one that really stands out for me is sitting with Hannah in a bar after we’d been laughed at for ordering Negroni’s and we couldn’t understand why. For those of you who don’t know, a Negroni is a traditional Italian drink comprising of gin, vermouth and Campari, with no mixer (we didn’t realise this at the time…) I just remember having the take the smallest sips and not being able to keep a straight face whilst the waiters sniggered at us getting progressively drunker.

15. Listening To Beautiful Music In Florence

On the evening that we were in Florence, we had dinner next to the Duomo cathedral, whilst a quartet played beautiful classical music near to the restaurant. One of my favourite things to do is sit outside to have dinner, and with the amazing backdrop and beautiful music, it was up there with one of my favourite memories.

16. Seeing London Friends

I love visiting London for work, but I love it, even more, when I can tie it in with seeing my friends who live down there. Last time I had a conference, I tied it in with seeing two of my friends and visiting some cool bars and restaurants. London is one of those places where you can go to a million times, but there will always be a new place to visit, and that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.

17. Brighton Beach

Brighton is by far one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited, but the thing that stood out to me the most was the beautiful beach. There’s something about a pebble beach that is really pretty, and I really loved people watching – everyone seemed so happy to be by the sea.

Have you been to any of these destinations? Where have you enjoyed visiting this year? 

xx

Edinburgh is one of those places that holds a special place in my heart, mostly because of the great memories I’ve made there over the years. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the city a number of times all at different times of the year, and winter, was by far, my favourite.

Today I’m going to be talking about the 12 reasons I think you should visit Edinburgh this winter.

1. Christmas Markets

If you know me, you’ll know that my Achilles heel is a Christmas market. I love everything festive, and Edinburgh does this so well. From the markets themselves (located literally opposite the train station) to the Christmas lights decorating the streets, there is always something to put you in the Christmas spirit.

2. Gin

Edinburgh is famous for a number of things, including gin! If you’re a lover of the spirit, then you’re in luck. The gin distillery is a great place to visit if you’re interested in how they make the gin, and you get samples of the different flavours as well (just maybe have a bite to eat first…) They also have an amazing cocktail bar too!

3. Sunshine

This one is a bit down to luck, but the last time I visited Edinburgh, we were greeted with three gorgeous days of winter sun, and the most amazing sunsets. Golden hour is always one of my favourite times of the day and it’s even more beautiful because of the stunning backdrop of the architecture in the city.

4. Food

As Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the number of restaurants it has, including independent brunch places to worldwide brands, is up there with London and Manchester, meaning you’ll never go hungry. My favourites that we visited were Viva Mexico, The White Hart Inn, and The Boozy Cow.

5. Arthur’s Seat

If you’ve ever seen the film ‘One Day’ you’ll know of Arthur’s Seat – it’s basically the main peak of a collection of hills. It’s not the easiest of walks, but it also doesn’t take ages, so one to do if you’ve got the time: The views are also pretty amazing from the top.

6. Castle

Another place for amazing views is Edinburgh castle which is at the top of The Royal Mile, and looks out over the whole of the city – the picture at the top of this post is taken from up there. There is also Camera Obscura on the same road, which is a world of different illusions and interactive spaces.

7. Old Town

Think of Harry Potter and you’re pretty much thinking of the Old Town in Edinburgh. Lots of independent shops painted in different colours lined by cobbled streets and market stalls. We stayed at the end of Grassmarket, which is one of the main streets in the old town with pubs, cafes and restaurants, and it was the perfect base to explore further.

8. Tea Break

After a long day exploring, you’re going to be needing a bit of a caffeine fix, and Edinburgh does traditional tea rooms and fancy coffee joints incredibly well. If you visit in the winter, you’ll need something to warm your insides.

9. Side Streets

One of the most beautiful things about Edinburgh is that you can turn off any road and be greeted by quaint little side streets. My favourite thing to do in big cities is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourists and experience different parts of the city that you usually might not get to.

10. Pubs

If there’s one thing that Edinburgh does right, it’s pubs. You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice when it comes to watering holes, but that’s never a problem in my eyes. The people of Edinburgh were some of the loveliest people too, who make you feel so welcome.

11. Light Tunnel

This was something I wasn’t expecting in Edinburgh, so it was a pretty cool surprise when we found it. The tunnel itself is situated on George Street in the New Town and is made up of 60,000 different coloured lights. There are also bars underneath it selling mulled wine and cider if you need something to warm your insides.

12. Traditional Food

No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without trying haggis, neeps and tatties, which will definitely warm you up on a cold winter’s day. We went to The Royal McGregor to try the dish and a place I would recommend if that’s what you’re after.

So there you have it, my 12 reasons to visit Edinburgh this winter.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh? Where would you recommend? 


xx

It’s been a couple of weeks since our stay in Brighton, so I thought I would round up all my recommendations into one post for you all. Brighton has been on my ‘to visit’ list for as long as I can remember, so when I had a few days off in October, I thought it would be the perfect place for an autumn getaway.

The one thing I found with booking so close to when we were planning on visiting is that the hotel prices were sky high, which meant we settled on an Air BnB just outside of the city.

We were there for four days and three nights and visited quite a few different places during our time, but I would have loved to have had more time to explore as there was so much to do and see. Brighton is often referred to as ‘London by the sea’ and it was easy to see why after only spending a handful of days there because of the bustle of the place.

Stay

Kemp Town

As I mentioned, we settled on an Air BnB I found about 20 minutes walk from the centre of Brighton, which suited us perfectly. Kemp Town reminded me of the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and had a lot of trendy bars and restaurants; I think it also had the biggest student population in the city, meaning there was always something going on.

The apartment was easy to find and had on-street parking, which was a dream in a city full of permit-only roads. It was nestled in a residential part of the city, two roads back from the sea. It was in a gorgeous converted townhouse on the 5th floor so the views were pretty good. We both commented on how spacious it was, and the host even left us tea, coffee, bread, milk and eggs, which was lovely.

The walk into town was either via the main high street in Kemp Town, which was full of bars, cafes and independent shops, or walking along the coastline, which was lovely and peaceful.

Brighton was a mix of old cobbled streets (known as the lanes), sandwiched between modern buildings, white-washed townhouses and a seaside. I loved the fact you could wander down any street and discover something new and end the day watching the sunset on the pebbled beach.

Visit

Lewes

This was a place that was on my list to visit after one of my favourite bloggers, The Anna Edit, went there with her husband for a roast dinner. We decided to go on Saturday morning after we had had breakfast, and it took us about 15-minutes from where we were staying.

Although we found it quite hard to park with it being a Saturday morning, I’m definitely glad we persevered because the town was lovely and worth a visit: It was full of independent shops, cute coffee shops and there was also a castle which we had a wander up to.

Hove

Although Brighton is technically called Brighton and Hove, the two are separate towns, albeit next door to each other. Hove was slightly further away from us than Brighton, so we decided to get the bus there from Kemp Town, which took about 40 minutes because of the amount of traffic.

Of the two, Hove was my favourite because it was less busy, but had the same amount of shops, restaurants and bars and the beach was just as lovely. Also, if you’re looking for the famous pastel-coloured beach huts, head that way!

Eat

Curry Leaf Cafe

I’d heard of this restaurant before as I follow quite a few bloggers who live in Brighton, but it was actually someone I used to go to school with who now lives there, who recommended it on Instagram. There was one about five minutes from us in Kemp Town, but it was actually the one in the lanes in the city centre that we visited.

I was worried that we wouldn’t get a table because we hadn’t booked and it was a Friday night, but luckily we were there quite early and they seated us within 10 minutes. The cuisine is Indian street food with a modern twist and is delicious. We shared the poppadum starter, chicken malai tikka and the chicken kori gassi curry with rice and a naan and we were stuffed.

The food was definitely some of the best Indian food I have ever had, and the staff were amazing; I would highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area, and I would go back in a heartbeat if I was to visit Brighton again.

Wood Box Pizza

We stumbled on this place when we were walking home one afternoon to get changed only about 10 minutes from our apartment: It was also recommended to us by our Air BnB host, and it looked so amazing that I convinced Jordan to go back two hours later.

I’m a big fan of wood-fired pizzas and the fact that you can see your food being made in front of you. Although Wood Box wasn’t huge, the restaurant was really cosy and smelt amazing because of their good quality ingredients. We shared the Nduja and the Black Forest Ham.

Shogun Ramen

This was another restaurant that we stumbled upon by chance, but after a quick google search, we found out that it was voted one of the best Japanese restaurants in Brighton, and I can hands down see why.

I love Japanese food; I’d even go as far as saying it’s one of my favourite cuisines, and our meal at Shogun was definitely up there with one of the best I’ve had. We shared Gyoza, Char Siu BBQ Pork Ramen and a Chicken Katsu Curry and had a Japanese beer.

Drink

The Cocktail Shack At Artist Residence

This is a place I wanted to go to as soon as I found out we were going to Brighton as I’ve seen a few bloggers doing photo shoots and filming at the hotel. The bar is next door and is done out with neon lights with a tiki vibe with a view of the sea.

When we went in, we were lucky to get a table by the window because it was really busy in there. All of the cocktails were plays on celebrity’s names: I went for the Rhubarbara Streisand and Peaches Goldof.

There was also a secret bar downstairs behind a bookcase, but there was a private event on so we couldn’t go in, but it looked cool from the outside.

The Gin Tub

This was easily my favourite place we visited on our trip because it was one of the coolest bar experiences ever. The bar itself is actually in Hove about a 10-minute walk from the train station or a 15-minute walk from Brighton.

We were seated by one of the waiters on a booth that had a vintage telephone on it. He told us that to order a drink, you had to dial zero, and it would be brought to us. I had an Edinburgh rhubarb gin with ginger beer and a raspberry flavoured one with mint and elderflower – both were amazing.

Twisted Lemon

Another one of my favourites that we visited was Twisted Lemon, based in The Lanes. It was very easy to miss as you walk through a side gate and the bar is at the back.

It was really quirky, bright and yellow inside, and although it was busy with it being a Saturday evening, we were served straight away.

Brunch

Marmalade

We didn’t visit Marmalade until our last morning in Brighton, which was a shame because it was my favourite brunch spot. It was less than five minutes form where we were staying, and had a rustic vibe to it with tiles and bare walls, and the menu handwritten on a piece of wallpaper.

It was a really cool place to go for brunch, and the cakes, sandwiches and pasties that were on display looked incredible. I went for a sausage and egg sandwich with a wake me up smoothie, which had banana, granola, yoghurt, milk and honey in.

The Breakfast Club

I’d been to the London branch of this a few years ago, but the Brighton one was definitely my favourite. We had to queue for about 20 minutes to get a table, but it was worth it for the overall feel of the restaurant.

If you’ve never visited, most of the locations are in London. It is done out like an American diner. with bright leather sofas, green ceilings and yellow brick outside. We both went for pancakes, which had banana, vanilla cream, salted caramel and chocolate sauce. It’s safe to say that I was in a sugar coma for most of the day.

Six

We went to Six for more of a lunch than a breakfast, but we both ended up getting avocado on sourdough toast, because lol, basic. I went for the avocado royale which came with halloumi and cherry tomatoes – any breakfast with cheese gets a thumbs up from me.

They also did a selection of smoothies, which I wasn’t going to order until I saw the table next to us get one. I went for the ‘temptation’ one, which was banana, raw cacao, cacao nibs, walnuts, dates and almond milk. They also did an option for bottomless drinks, which I’d be doing next time for sure.

The restaurant is right in the middle of Brighton and Hove, so can be walked to from either of the towns. The day we visited was really sunny and warm and we ended up sitting on a table outside.

Coffee & Cake

Flour Pot Bakery

This place was an Instagrammers dream – whitewashed walls, pretty tiles and wooden tables amidst perfect pastries and coffees. I loved this place because it was so cute and cosy inside, but didn’t feel squished at all.

We stopped here on our walk around Hove, but they also have locations in The Lanes, Seven Dials and a couple more dotted about the Brighton area, all of which look just as adorable. They also sold fresh bread and pastries that were baked on site to takeaway which meant it smelt amazing too.

Red Roaster

This place was one that we walked past on our first walk into Brighton and I commented on how cool it looked inside. The door into it was a full-length glass door (which I struggled to open…) and inside it was done out in black and white tiles with pops of green everywhere from plants.

We only stopped here to get our caffeine kick on the way into town, but the cakes looked amazing too. It was slightly more expensive than the other places we visited, but worth a visit if you’re in the Kemp Town area.

Trading Post

Trading Post was on a road that was no entry, meaning that all of the tables that were outside were full of people enjoying the autumn sunshine, including us. We went to Trading Post after a morning shopping, and needing a little pick me up.

I went for a tea and slice of lemon drizzle cake, and Jordan went for a beer, which did make me extremely jealous when he came back with it. This is a good choice if you’re around The Lanes or the shopping centre area.

Sugar Dough

I thought I would mention this one, although we didn’t get a chance to visit it, because it was such a cute little cafe in the middle of The Lanes. From the outside it was painted pastel green and white and looked like the inside of a lollipop.

The cakes looked unreal – tiers of sponge and buttercream with crazy toppings – perfect for any sweettooths out there, like me! They also have a bakery in Hove if you’re over that way.

La Mucca Nera

Technically not coffee and cake, but worth a mention. If you were following me on Instagram (here if you’re interested) you’ll know that the first thing we did once we arrived in Brighton was to go for an ice cream.

We found a gelateria on the walk into town, and couldn’t resist: I went for cherry and Nutella and it was so smooth and creamy – some of the best gelato I have had outside of Italy.

And there you have it, all of my recommendations for a short stay in Brighton. I would 100% go back for another visit and hopefully for longer next time, preferably when its warm enough to go in the sea – it was so peaceful and calm being by the beach, and I enjoyed walking through different villages every day, seeing how different they all were from each other.

Have you been to Brighton? Where would you recommend? 

xx

If you haven’t caught up with the first instalment of my Italy travel diary post, you can find the Rome run down right here – now it’s time to talk about what we got up to for the last two days of our trip.

We’d pre-booked our train from Rome to Florence, which was a good idea seen as it was completely full. The journey lasted about an hour and a half, and the views of the Italian countryside were incredible: I’d do the journey again just for that reason alone.

We were staying in another Air BnB in Florence which was about a five-minute walk from the centre. After getting off the train, we walked the 20 minutes to the apartment through the centre of the city. We were both amazed at how different Florence was to Rome, although some of the architecture was similar.

The Air BnB we were staying in was on a quiet road in a residential district, and the owner lived upstairs so it was really easy to get in touch. He showed us the best way to get around, and all of the sites to see. We quickly changed and went out for a mooch.

The buildings in the city reminded us both of Barcelona’s gothic quarter and were much more dark and striking than Rome. We walked to the Duomo in the middle of the city, which was a dark green colour, and was breathtaking.

The thing I noticed most about Florence is the array of designer shops they had on offer – you could tell that people definitely fled to the city for this reason. We wandered about for around 3 hours and crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the other side before heading back to get changed for dinner.

We thought it would be nice to watch the sunset on the riverbank, so after a couple of glasses of wine in the apartment, we headed out to do this. We went to another bar before going for dinner in a restaurant that overlooked the main square.

 

 

The next day we woke up quite early to take in the views at Piazza Di Michelangelo. The walk up to the top of the hill took us about 30 minutes, but it was worth it. We took our time strolling back through the city before getting lunch and heading for the train to Pisa.

I didn’t know much about Pisa, apart from its famous landmark. Our lovely Air BnB host picked us up from the train station and showed us around the apartment we were staying in, which was bigger than my first flat! He showed us the best route into the city, and what else there was to see.

Our first port of call was the Leaning Tower. The best thing about seeing it in real life was the amount of tourists trying to get the perfect snap. We wandered around the city walls and visited the Piazza Dei Cavalieri at golden hour. We saw the building that Galileo studied in, and wandered down the banks of the Arno river.

Although the pizza and pasta were out of this world in Italy, we were carbed out and decided to try and find an alternative meal for our last one. We settled on a restaurant down a little side street and had one of the best meals of the whole trip. I went all out and got a steak with Italian beans and roast veg and potatoes – it was honestly one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life!

Of all the cities, Pisa was definitely the quietest, but even for a Sunday night, the streets were still full of performers, locals and tourists, which gave it a good buzz. The walk home was very peaceful, even though we passed through the student district.

 

If I’m honest, I wouldn’t rush back to Florence or Pisa: Although they were both beautiful in their own way, I felt as though a day in each was enough and we saw all the sites that we wanted to. I would, however, use the cities as a base to discover more of Tuscany, but overall I was slightly underwhelmed, especially with how highly regarded they both are.

That said, the trip was one of the best ever and Italy still holds the title of my favourite country in the world – I just can’t wait to explore more of it in the coming years.

xx