5 European Countries to Visit After Lockdown

How much of the day do you spend planning for post-pandemic life? If the answer is more than you’d like to admit, you’re not alone. It feels like I spend half the day daydreaming of the next time I can see loved ones in the flesh or go to the pub. Just being able to pop into the supermarket without worrying about whether I brought my mask with me would be a blessing. But of course, one of the things I miss the most is travelling. And it looks like I’m not alone — holidays are the third most missed thing for Brits during lockdown.  

Whilst it’s still going to be a while before our next holiday, Monday’s optimistic exit plan announcement brings our next getaway a little bit closer. And in the meantime, we can still daydream about our next adventure. In fact, this is the perfect time to plan your trip, since most of us have suffered from a serious case of lockdown boredom. If you want to turn your holiday daydreaming into real life plans, these are the 5 best countries to visit post-lockdown. 


A shot of Santorini at sunset. The right of the image has white houses on a cliff, to the left is the sea.
Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay

If like me, you’ve been dreaming of an idyllic island getaway and sipping cocktails on the beach, then Greece should be your first port of call. Dazzling sunshine, clear blue sea, the laid-back atmosphere — there’s a reason that it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. But the best thing about the country is that despite the increase in tourism every year, it’s still easy to find somewhere peaceful and secluded. This is definitely something that you should consider for your next holiday, as the expected holiday boom means that the most touristy spots will be completely packed. If you’re after a tranquil break, then check out this list of the quietest Greek islands from The Mediterranian Traveller

A shot taken at Palaiokastritsa. There are cliffs covered in greenery, towering over the clear blue sea.
Palaiokastritsa is a little piece of paradise.

One of my favourite places for a peaceful Greek holiday has to be Paleokastritsa. This scenic village located in the North of Corfu island is seriously underrated in favour of more popular locations like Mykonos or Santorini. But Paleokastritsa is just as beautiful, and even more peaceful, so it’s definitely worth a visit. If you go, make sure to check out the monastery and buy yourself a bottle of olive oil that is made by the nuns themselves. 

Low angle photograph of the parthenon during the daytime.

Of course, Greece is about far more than just the beaches. The country has a rich and fascinating history, renowned not just in Europe but across the world. From the Olympics to the great Greek philosophers, there’s so much history to discover in the country. If you’re interested in learning more about Greece’s riveting history, check out Dave’s Travel Page’s list of the top 10 historical landmarks in the country. 


A city shot of white houses with red roofs in Portugal. The sky is bright blue and cloudless.
Image by Steffen Zimmermann from Pixabay

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t fall completely in love with Portugal after their visit. This fantastic country is often overlooked for its more touristy next-door neighbour Spain. But Portugal has become an increasingly popular holiday spot, and it’s hardly surprising to see why. The mouth-watering food, the beautiful beaches, the stunning cities, and the impressive 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites — it’s the perfect place to travel after lockdown. 

A beach shot. To the left are high cliffs towering over the sandy cove. To the right is the deep blue sea. The sky is clear.
Praia de Mahinha, Portugal.

If you’re after a relaxing beach getaway, then you’re in the perfect place as the Algarve has one of the best coastlines in the world. Long, sandy beaches, deep blue sea and stunning rock formations make this region the most beautiful one in the country. One of my personal favourite beaches in the area is Carvalho. It’s quite small, and popular amongst locals and tourists alike, so you need to make sure to get up early to pay it a visit, but it’s definitely worth it. To access it, there is a narrow staircase through the rocks. The beach itself is sheltered by cliffs on either side, making it the perfect spot to kick back and relax.  

Photo of Lisbon taken from a hill overlooking the city in daytime.
Lisbon, Portugal

For those of you who prefer city breaks, make sure to check out Lisbon, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There are so many fascinating landmarks in the city, from the remains of a 1000-year-old castle to the most beautiful lift in the world, created all the way back in 1902. Of course, one of the best things about Lisbon is the impressive architecture. Take a stroll through the city (or hop on a tram if you prefer), and take in the scenery. It’s simply unforgettable. 


A shot from the Old Town in Sarajevo.
Image by Chris Spencer-Payne from Pixabay

This country is easily one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Europe. Bosnia is far too often associated with war and violence, and some even think the Bosnian War is still going today — the fighting actually finished a quarter of a century ago in 1995. However, tourism to the country is increasing year on year, so hopefully, it will finally get the attention it deserves soon. 

By far the most popular tourist city in the country is the absolutely magical Mostar. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of visiting this city won’t be surprised. The gorgeous architecture, the charming shops, and the iconic Stari Most bridge make this city easily one of the most picturesque in the world. Walking through Mostar is like walking through a fairytale, it completely transports you to another world. 

Another city that’s definitely worth paying a visit to is Sarajevo. Compared to Mostar, the capital appears a bit rough around the edges, but it’s home to some amazing street art and fascinating history. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed next to the famous Latin Bridge, an event that is widely considered to have been the final straw for the start of the First World War. Sarajevo is also home to some fascinating museums and galleries which detail the city’s tragic past, so any history buffs would thrive here. 

One thing that Bosnia is less well-known for is its coastline. Yes, it may be just 12 miles long (making it the second shortest coastline in the world), but it’s actually a pretty great beach. The bay is sheltered making it comfortable and safe for swimming, and it’s extremely affordable too. Plus, the sea is absolutely beautiful. Whilst it’s not the best place to spend a whole holiday, it’s definitely worthy of a day trip. 


Aerial view of a Dubrovnik, Croatia at sunset.
Photo by Lucian Potlog from Pexels

Bosnia’s next-door neighbour is another great place for your first post-lockdown holiday. But unlike Bosnia, Croatia is far from being a hidden gem. Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the country, as demonstrated by the impressive 19 million visitors that flocked there in 2019. However, there are plenty of secluded beaches to visit thanks to the many islands and the impressive 3600-mile coastline (you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Bosnia and their tiny 12 miles!). 

A shot of the lake in Mljet, Croatia.
Mljet, Croatia

One of the most beautiful and serene Croatian islands is the absolutely beautiful Mljet. This little piece of paradise is Croatia’s greenest island, with the national park taking up a good chunk of the land, making it a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts. It’s also a great place for an outdoorsy adventure. Swim around Odysseus Cave, cycle around the scenic island, or go kayaking (and try not to flip the boat and lose both your flip flops like I did). But my favourite thing to do by far is to relax, lie back, and soak up the sun. 

A shot of Dubrovnik taken from the castle, featuring the Old Town walls.
Dubrovnik, Croatia

As well as the sublime coastline, there’s plenty of great cities to visit in the country too, the most popular being Dubrovnik. It certainly isn’t the best place for a quiet city break — almost 1.5 million tourists visited the city in 2019. The ever-increasing popularity of Dubrovnik is largely thanks to the stunning backdrop, which is what inspired the creators of Game of Thrones to film some of the hit series here. The city’s main tourist hotspot is the picturesque Old Town. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s an important piece of history too — it’s one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. Stepping foot in the Old Town is like travelling back in time. Learn more about the history of the UNESCO World Heritage Site by taking a walking tour and exploring the landmarks fascinating past. 

Aerial shot of Split, Croatia featuring the port.
Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

If you’re looking for a city that’s just as beautiful but without the crazy crowds, you should definitely check out Split. The second largest city in Croatia shares a lot of similarities with the tourist hotspot, Dubrovnik: a fascinating history, a well preserved Old Town, and a beautifully dramatic backdrop. Just a few of Split’s highlights include the Klis Fortress, Diocletian’s Palace, and the beautiful walk along the Riva harbour. Although Dubrovnik is a beautiful city, the laid-back vibe of Split just edges it as my favourite city in Croatia. 

Your Home Country

The Tyne bridge at dawn.
Image by Andrew Jacobs from Pixabay

I know you’ve probably been dreaming of jetting off as far away as possible, but you shouldn’t forget about your own country. If you want to take a holiday anytime soon, the chances are that it’ll be far easier to take a domestic one rather than an international one. You also need to consider the safety of international travel. Just because a country allows you to travel there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a good idea. Some countries are so desperate to get their tourist sectors back up and running that they don’t stop to think about the risk that having international visitors brings. Remember, you have a responsibility to protect not just your own health but the health of those around you too. 

Of course, it’s not just about the practicalities — domestic holidays are so fun! Many people rarely travel their own country like a tourist, so it’s a great way to see it in a new light. Visit the tourist spots that you’ve never even considered before, support the local economy, and have a great holiday. 

Which country do you want to travel after lockdown? Let me know in the comments below! 

How to Explore the World from Your Sofa

Remember how we all clung to hopeful optimism last December? Christmas was around the corner, and so was the end of the disaster that was 2020. We had rung in the New Year tired, drained, but hopeful — or maybe desperate. Surely 2021 couldn’t be worse than 2020, surely things could only get better? Well, I think it’s fair to say that December’s air of optimism was destroyed by the third national lockdown. It feels like the road to normality is a lot longer than any of us expected, and that’s really hit home this year. 

This unfortunately means that international travel, and even domestic travel, is out of the question for a while. There’s no getting around it: this sucks. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t have some fun in the meantime! If you’re craving adventure, use these tips to travel from home and take a journey around the world from your sofa. 

International food nights 

A pizza on a segment of baking paper. It is cut up into 8 slices. Half the slices are veg pizza and covered in greens, the other half is a margherita.
Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

Food is easily one of the best aspects of travel. I’ve had some of the best food of my life whilst backpacking. I’ve had pad thai from Bangkok, stuffed peppers from Greece, pizza from Italy… and pasta, risotto, focaccia, and gelato (my love for Italian food burns brighter than the sun). It’s definitely one of the things that backpackers miss most about travelling. If you feel the same, why not try to recreate one of your favourite holiday meals from the comfort of your own home? Or if you’d rather, try something new and cook a completely new meal from a cuisine that you don’t know too well — you might even find your new favourite dish!

Try making a list of all your favourite cuisines, as well as some new ones that you want to try. Or if you’re really adventurous, close your eyes and point to a spot on the map and try out the local cuisine of the nearest country. If you’re stuck for ideas, use this list of the best countries for foodies to get some inspiration. And remember, the meal isn’t just about the food itself. Look up the most popular drinks in your favourite foodie country and pair them with your meal. You can even add a soundtrack to your meal of the country’s most popular songs too. Put your all into it and make your food night an experience to remember.

Binge-watch travel TV

On the right of the picture is a Samsung TV, with a plant next to it. In the left is a full bookcase, spanning 5 shelves.
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

No, we can’t go travelling ourselves, but we can still watch other people’s adventures. Not only will you see some amazing scenery and learn a great mix of history and cultures, but you might even find inspiration for your next big adventure! The best thing about travel TV is that there are so many programmes about, you’re bound to find one that you love.

One of the most popular types of travel TV is documentaries, so if you’re fascinated by the history of your travel destinations then you have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re a foodie, you should definitely check out Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on Netflix. The late, great Bourdain travelled all over the globe, sampling the local cuisine, and exploring the fascinating culture. As the title suggests, he visits the countries that are less well known for their cuisines, so most viewers will find out something new. Check out this article by The Gone Goat for a selection of the best travel documentaries on Netflix.

If you’re a fan of fast-paced and action-packed travel, you should definitely check out Race Across the World. In this competition, backpackers’ race against one another to reach from their starting point to a far-off destination, but there’s a twist. The only money they’re given to complete the race is the price of a plane ticket from the start to the end point. It’s entertaining, exhilarating, and judging the choices of the backpacking contestants is far more fun than it should be. Series one and two are on iPlayer, so make sure to check them out.

Read a travel book

Person holding a book, with two flower bouquets next to them.
Photo by Aline Viana Prado from Pexels

When people say that reading can transport you to another world, they really mean it. And we could all do with a bit of escapism at the minute. Travel TV is great, but don’t underestimate the power of the written word. There’s no better feeling than finding that perfect book that’s impossible to put down.

The good news is that there’s plenty of travel books for you to choose from. If you’re a fiction lover, ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac is a favourite amongst travellers and non-travellers alike. The Guardian even listed it as one of the 100 best books ever written! If the USA is on your bucket list, or if you’re a lover of jazz, then this is a definite must-read. Another great fictional travel book is ‘The Paris Hours’ by Alex George. The story follows 4 vastly different people’s lives over just 24 hours. Jump back in time to 1920’s Paris and discover their stories — you won’t regret it.

Of course, the best thing about travel books is getting inspiration for your next trip. If you want to do some research, head the Lonely Planet’s online shop to find your next source of inspiration. Their best-selling book ‘Ultimate Travel List’ ranks the writers 500 favourite destinations ever. This is a definite must-read if you want to take your advice from the experts. And if this is your first purchase from the Lonely Planet shop, don’t forget to subscribe for a 20% discount!

Visit a virtual museum 

A long and narrow room in an art gallery. Artwork is hanging from the walls and the room is filled with natural light from ceiling windows.
Photo by Riccardo Bresciani from Pexels

You don’t have to leave your own front door to soak up the culture and histories of countries across the world — all you need to do is go online! Since the pandemic began, museums across the world have been satisfying our culture craving by putting exhibits online, with some even putting on special online events too.

This isn’t small, obscure museums either, they’re some of the biggest in the world. So if you have a museum that’s on your bucket list, make sure to check whether they offer any virtual exhibits or special events. Some of the most popular online exhibits are the ones from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The museum covers 800 years of Dutch history, and it’s home to some world-renowned art. The exhibits give you a closer look at some artwork than you’d ever get in a museum, as well as a detailed history of it. The museum usually costs €20, so make sure to make the most of these completely free exhibits!

Another fascinating museum that you should pay a virtual visit to is Sao Paulo’s Museu de Arte. This non-profit art museum contains a wide collection of not just Brazilian artwork, but African and Asian artefacts too. Of course, not all 8000 pieces of work displayed in the museum can be put online, but make sure to check out all 6 exhibits available.

Relive your best travel memories 

Assorted photos and notebook laid in the floor.
Photo by charan sai from Pexels

We all love taking holiday snaps and sharing them online. But when was the last time you actually looked back at them yourself? If you can’t remember, don’t worry, it’s not just you. I know that I was guilty of this before starting Live To Be Lost. After taking the pictures and sharing them online. I’d rarely go back to look at them, if ever. But since I’ve started looking back, I’ve realised how many adventures I’ve had around the world. And more importantly, it gives me hope that someday soon I’ll be able to experience it again.

View of the sun setting from the Yellow Fortress, Sarajevo. The sky is light pink and there is a hill in the distance. Beneath is e view of the entire city.
The sunset from the Yellow Fortress, Sarajevo.

Reminiscing with photos can also help jog your memory of some of your best travel moments. I completely forgot about watching this beautiful sunset from the Yellow Fortress in Sarajevo, until I began scrolling back through my pictures. Seeing it cheered me up so much, and that’s something that we all need at the minute.

If you want to make something physical to remember your previous trips by, try making yourself a scrapbook or a photo album. For the photos on your phone, make sure to download the FreePrints app to get your photos for a reasonable price. If you’re creative, get yourself a cheap scrapbook, some colourful pens, and craft something beautiful. But if like me you’re not very artsy, just take the easy route and buy yourself a pretty photo album, like this travel themed one from WHSmith.

Plan your next trip

Two people pointing at a map laid flat on a wooden table, planning a trip.

Just because we aren’t going on holiday anytime soon, it doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare for our next big adventure! In fact, if you’re suffering from lockdown boredom then this is the perfect time to get your thinking cap on and do some travel planning. Following all the previous tips will probably give you plenty of inspiration to work with — the only thing you’ll struggle with is deciding where to go first! If you’ve never planned a big trip before, or even if you’re just a little rusty, make sure to check out my step-by-step guide to planning the perfect trip.

How do you like to travel without leaving your home? Let me know in the comments below!

Pancakes of the World: The Best Countries to Visit to Satisfy Your Breakfast Craving

Pancake Day is always an important date in any foodie’s yearly calendar. But after the past year, everyone should be treating themselves by going all out to celebrate the world’s best breakfast food. There are many different ways you can make this pancake day one to remember. You could try breaking the record for the highest pancake toss (just over 31 feet, in case you were wondering). Or you could try to make and flip the largest ever pancake, although you may need a bigger frying pan

If you’re looking for an easier way to celebrate pancake day, why not try making something a bit different? There are so many different types of pancakes, but most of us just stick to the same one every year. So rather than going for your usual recipe, mix it up. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this list of the best pancakes from around the world. 

American Pancakes 

When most people hear the word pancakes, their minds immediately go to the American buttermilk variety. It’s easy to see why — they’re fluffy, they’re filling, and like most food from the USA, they can fill you up just by looking at them. But despite their worldwide popularity, they aren’t the first ever version of the pancake. In fact, American pancakes are relatively new. The recipe for pancakes landed in the US in the late 1700’s. After being around for a few years, someone added a bulking agent to thicken the pancakes up, and the recipe for American pancakes was born. If you decide to opt for these pancakes, make sure to build up an appetite! Even the people with the strongest stomachs can struggle to polish off a portion. 

For a simple and easy recipe to make the best American pancakes, check out this blog post from Del’s Cooking Twist. The recipe is incredibly easy to follow, so you can’t go wrong. Popular toppings for American pancakes include blueberries, banana, chocolate sauce and chocolate chips. But if you want your pancake to be in true American style, opt for a simple topping of maple syrup with a side of crispy bacon. 

Poffertjes – Dutch Mini Pancakes 

These pancakes are as delicious as they are hard to pronounce. Although they’re not as well-known as other types of pancakes, they’re often found at European Christmas markets, so you’ll probably recognise them. Poffertjes are just a fraction of the size of American pancakes — they’re only around 5cm in diameter, which is why they’re also known as baby pancakes. But they’re easily as fluffy as the American variety, maybe even more so. Like many recipes, poffertjes were not an intentional creation. They were eaten at weekly communions at a Dutch Abbey, and originally made with wheat flour. But a shortage of wheat flour during the French Revolution led them to being made with buckwheat flour instead. This type of flour gave them their textbook fluffy texture. 

Today, many recipes use a mixture of buckwheat and plain flour so they don’t taste too bitter. Making poffertjes at home can be difficult, as they are traditionally cooked in a special pan — but it isn’t impossible.  Check out this guide from Recipe Pocket to make the pancakes, with or without a poffertjes pan. Opt for the traditional simple topping of icing sugar and butter to have the poffertjes in their most authentic form.  

Sri Lankan Wellawahum

Sri Lanka isn’t well known for pancakes, but they definitely should be. The crêpe I had in Sri Lanka are some of the best that I’ve ever had. There are a couple of ingredients that make wellawahum distinct. Turmeric is often used to give them their distinct yellow colouring, and coconut milk makes them a lot softer than traditional crêpes. But unlike the other pancakes on this list, the most important thing about wellawahum isn’t the batter but the incredibly tasty filling. The filling is called pan poli, and if you’ve never had it before, you need to change that ASAP. It consists of grated coconut, cinnamon, palm treacle, vanilla and palm sugar. It’s incredibly sweet and full of flavour — it’s the perfect pancake. 

Palm sugar can be difficult to find in some countries, but wellawahum still works well with dark brown sugar. And if you can’t find palm treacle, then golden syrup makes a great substitute. Use this step-by-step recipe from Peckish Me to make the tastiest wellawahum and fall completely in love with these pancakes. 

French Crêpes

Two long oval shaped plates, each one containing two rolled up crepes. Freshly cut orange and pomegranate is at the end of each plate.
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

There’s simply no beating a traditional French crêpe. They are easily one of the most popular forms of pancakes, as they can be found all over the world. They’re very much the antithesis of American pancakes. Rather than being big and bold, crêpes are delicate and paper-thin. But they’re easily just as delicious — and they’ve been around a lot longer too. Crêpes have been found to date back as early as the 13th century. Legend has it that they were made by mistake. The crêpe was supposedly born when a woman spilt a thin layer of porridge on a hot stove  and discovered that it actually tasted pretty good! 

Today, crêperies ensure that the crêpes are made as thin and delicate as possible by using a batter spreader. To make the perfect crêpes, use this step-by-step recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Enjoy crêpes like the French by topping them with butter and granulated sugar. 

English Pancakes

Yes, these are probably your go-to pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. But if none of the other pancakes take your fancy, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with a classic. English pancakes — and the tradition of flipping them — have been found to date back to the 1400’s. They share a lot of similarities with crêpes — so many in fact that I didn’t even realise they were two different types of pancake until rather (embarrassingly) recently. However, the batter for these pancakes is a little thicker than crêpe batter which makes them easier to make — and more importantly easier to flip.

The recipe is incredibly simple, made up of a handful of food staples. It was originally developed by Christians as a way to use up ingredients before fasting for lent, so they wouldn’t have temptation in the house. For the best English pancake recipe, use this simple one from The Spruce Eats. Top it with lemon and sugar to enjoy the pancake in its traditional form. It’s the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, which makes it my favourite way to enjoy a pancake. 

What’s your favourite type of pancake? Will you be trying a new recipe this Shrove Tuesday? Let me know in the comments below! 

The Top 5 Romantic European Cities for Valentine’s Day

I can’t think of any yearly celebration that’s quite as divisive as Valentine’s Day. Whilst some love all the romance and passion, others detest the day and see it as a marketing ploy to sell fancy chocolate and pricey roses. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I’m not a fan of the cringey, sickly declarations of love — however, I am a fan of chocolate. But whether you love or loathe the day, it’s the perfect excuse to treat you and your partner to a weekend getaway! Of course, most of us won’t be travelling further than the living room this Valentine’s Day. So this is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the game and start planning a romantic city break for 2022. After the last year, you both deserve it! 

  1. Ljubljana
A cityscape of Ljubljana on a cold, cloudy day.
Image by warpmike from Pixabay

This quaint, picturesque city is one of the most underrated in Europe. There’s a reason that Ljubljana sounds so much like the Slovenian word ‘ljubljena’ — it translates to ‘the beloved’. And anyone who’s been to the city knows how easy it is to fall in love with it. It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway, as it’s so irresistibly charming. It isn’t a city for rushing — take your time to stroll through the scenic old town, admire the magnificent architecture, and pack yourself a picnic to enjoy at the beautiful Tivoli Park. And don’t forget to bring a padlock with you to Ljubljana’s Bridge of Love (also known as the Butcher’s bridge… which may sound a little less romantic).  

Lake Bled at sunset. The sky is tinged with orange and pink, which is reflected in the water.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Whilst you’re in the area, make sure to pay a visit to Lake Bled. If you don’t, you’ll seriously regret it — this tourist hotspot is even more beautiful in person. Visitors from all over the world come flocking to see this popular European landmark, and it’s easy to see why. Take a stroll around the lake to soak up the gorgeous views, explore the lake by rowboat, and make sure to visit the Church of Mary the Queen, dotted on a small island in the middle of the lake. It’s definitely worth it, as legend says that those who ring the church bell have their wishes come true

  1. Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik cityscape at distance at sunset.
Image by Hrvoje Margaretić from Pixabay

There is something so special about this medieval city. And it’s not just me that thinks that either — more than a million tourists flock there every year, making it the most popular tourist destination in Croatia. Start your trip by visiting the most popular spot in the city — the old town. This little piece of history is what earnt the city its UNESCO World Heritage status, so it’s a definite must see. Setting foot in this area of the city instantly transports you back in time. Make sure to explore the artsy shops and markets to find the best souvenirs. For lunch, opt for one of the many small and charming restaurants nestled away in the narrow side streets. There are so many great things to see and do in the old town. For a full list, check out this article from Culture Trip

A hand holding an almost empty glass of wine, on a long wooden table.
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

If you’re up for trying something different and a bit fancy, why not give wine tasting a go? Croatian wine is loved by everyone who tastes it, from the wine connoisseurs to the people who’d be happy with a bottle of Echo Falls (I’m definitely one of the latter). There are plenty of wine tours available, both in and around the city. If you want to have a bit of adventure too, this sea kayaking and wine tasting tour is one of the most popular, and costs just £31.40. Watching the sun set over the Adriatic sea with a glass of wine in your hand is the perfect way to end your romantic Dubrovnik getaway. 

  1. Lisbon 
A narrow street in Lisbon at sunset.
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

I never planned on going to Lisbon, I didn’t really know anything about it. But a last-minute change of plans brought me to the city, and it felt like fate. I landed after being awake for 30 hours thanks to a flight cancellation. My phone was dead, I hadn’t eaten, I was seriously fed up. But after seeing this beautiful city for the first time, my anger melted away. Anyone who’s been there can attest to this. The beautifully bright buildings, the amazing intricate tiles, the cloudless deep blue skies — it’s impossible not to fall in love. Before you do anything in the city, take the time to explore it. Wander around, soak up the atmosphere and admire the amazing views. There really is nowhere else like it. 

To get the best view of the city, head up to São Jorge Castle. The first version of the castle dates all the way back to the 200 BC, although King Afonso I turned the castle into a Royal Palace in the 11th century. An earthquake destroyed much of the building in the 1700’s, but after being declared a national monument, it was restored in the 1940’s. Not long after, it became a major tourist attraction. As well as admiring the stunning views, take time to explore the castle grounds — there’s so much to see for an entry price of just €10.00. 

Drinking cocktails by the water, watching the sunset.
Cocktails in Lisbon, Portugal

As beautiful as the city is during the day, nothing beats the city at sunset. Head down to the riverside just before the sun starts to set, grab a cocktail (or several), and admire the breath-taking view. If you’d rather be on the water than just admiring it, book yourself a sunset cruise and make a memory that you’ll never forget. 

  1. Bath
A drone shot of Bath crescent on a sunny day. Two hot air balloons are floating in the sky.

Bath isn’t just the one of the most picturesque cities in the UK, but it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. There’s something in the city that suits everyone, so whether you want to splurge on a big shopping trip or have a relaxing, easy weekend, it’s the perfect place for you. To start your trip off with a fun couple activity, hire a rowboat to sail along the Kennet and Avon canal and admire the leafy scenery. After you’ve worked up an appetite, get yourself a picnic and head to the peaceful Royal Victoria park for lunch with a view. 

Of course, no trip to Bath would be complete without a visit to the Roman Baths. This is a must-see for history buffs, as the Baths are considered to be the best-preserved Roman remains in the world. In 45AD, the Romans took advantage of the only hot spring in Britain by using the water to create the bathing complex. It was an important part of their everyday life, as it was used as a social gathering spot. However, the baths stopped being used after Roman withdrawal in the 5th century. Adult tickets range from £17.00 to £21.00 depending on the season, but the price is well worth it for the amazing experience.

Although you can’t swim in the baths due to the poor water quality, you can still experience the natural thermal waters for yourself by visiting Thermae Bath Spa. Take a dip in the rooftop pool (which is always around a toasty 33.5°C) and treat the pair of you to a treatment too. It’s the perfect relaxing experience to round off your trip. 

  1. Paris 
A shot of Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Image by edmondlafoto from Pixabay

Yes, it may sound cliché, but there’s no denying it — Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. After all, it must be called the city of love for a reason. The city is even home to a temple of love! The temple is situated on an island in the middle of Bois de Vincennes, the largest park in Paris. It was constructed in 1778 under the instruction of Queen Marie-Antoinette, to celebrate the love of herself and the King. Legend says that couples who share a kiss in the temple have their love strengthened for each other, so it’s definitely worth a go. Make sure to explore the rest of the park as well and admire the beautiful scenery. 

If your visit ends up being a washout, be sure to visit Studio 28. This art house cinema is one of the best hidden gems in the city. Founded in 1928, the cinema has a reputation for showing some of the best avant-garde films around. Although it was modernised in the 90’s, it has still managed to keep the charm that made it so popular amongst film lovers in the first place. If you’re a film buff, it’s definitely worth a visit as a scene of the critically acclaimed romantic comedy ‘Amélie’ was filmed in the cinema. The cosy atmosphere makes Studio 28 one of the best places to spend a rainy afternoon in Paris. 

Me and Robin visiting Paris together for the first time in November, 2018.
Me and Robin visiting Paris together for the first time in November, 2018.

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Paris, but the best by far is to just wander through the city. Soak up the atmosphere, admire the views and visit the landmarks. Stroll along a few of the city’s most beautiful bridges, sample a selection of the most mouth-watering food and drink the city has to offer, and of course, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Eiffel Tower. You can pay to climb to the top if that’s what you fancy, but I much prefer seeing the tower from the outside to soak up the beauty of it. No matter how many times you’ve seen, it never gets any less beautiful.  

Where is your favourite romantic getaway? Let me know in the comments below!

Travel Tips That Women Need to Know

The world is a beautiful place. But it can be a scary one too. This isn’t news to anyone, but especially not to female travellers. Most female backpackers that I’ve spoken with, and pretty much every female travel blogger that I follow has had to face a dangerous situation on their travels. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping yourself safe on the road. Of course, no one likes to expect the worst, and most of the time you don’t need to. But taking these precautions is just like taking out travel insurance — a lot of the time you end up not needing it, but when you do, you really need it. So if you’re planning a backpacking adventure, don’t forget to use these tips to protect your safety and give you the confidence to travel worry-free. 

Do your homework on your destination 

Two people are pointing to the same point on a map, laid flat on a table. Surrounding the map is an old-fashioned camera, a sunhat, a toy plane and a plant.

Deciding on your destination is hands down the best part of the planning process — but that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. Because it’s not just about where you want to go, but about where you can go. There are a number of things that can hold you back from visiting your dream destination, and sadly one of the factors that affects women the most is safety.  

There are a number of things you can do to find out if your destination is safe for solo female travellers. Firstly, make sure to check the travel advice provided by your country’s government. For example, UK citizens should use the GOV.UK website to see if travel is recommended to your destination of choice. Although these resources don’t usually give safety advice specifically for female travellers, they are useful for getting a general overview of the country’s safety. 

A woman is looking at a temple in Myanmar from afar. She is in a field, wearing a sunhat, beige cardigan and long skirt.
Image by Myo Min Kyaw from Pixabay

To find advice specifically for female travellers, there’s a great selection of articles online which list the best and worst countries for female backpackers. Make sure the lists have been published fairly recently to get the most up to date advice. One of the best articles I found is this amazingly detailed list from Asher and Lyric, which looks at the statistically best and worst countries for women’s safety. 

However, sometimes you’ll find that the lists differ a lot from the experiences shared by the female travel community. For example, I absolutely loved my time in Sri Lanka, but after my time there, I wouldn’t recommend travelling through the country alone. However, Hostel World has listed it as one of the safest destinations for female travelers. So make sure to not solely rely on lists — explore travel forums to find out the experiences of other female travelers. Of course, everyone’s experience will be different, but it’s important to gather as much information as possible before you make your final decision. 

Always come prepared 

IMAGE: https://pixabay.com/photos/travel-vacation-travelling-packing-4438268/ 

An open suitcase, containing a map, headphones, a camera, a sunset and a smart phone.
Image by Stefan Coders from Pixabay

No one wants to imagine the unthinkable happening when they’re supposed to be having the adventure of a lifetime. But the reality is that there are many things that can go wrong on the road, so taking the right precautions is vital. Make sure to prepare for every eventuality by making safety a top priority whilst packing for your trip.

One of the most important things to do is split up your money. Having all your cash in one place is a serious safety risk and should be avoided at all costs. When one of the contestants on Race Across the World kept £1000 in one bag, I literally gasped. This wasn’t a novice traveller either — they’d been backpacking for years! Losing any money puts you in a vulnerable position but losing a big chunk of will no doubt cause you some serious issues. When packing your cash, make sure to split it between your main backpack and hand luggage, and don’t forget to carry some on your person too. 

A passport and wallet on a wooden table. The wallet is open, and four notes are sticking out.
Image by Natasha Chebanoo from Pixabay

There are a few other things that you should always carry on you for safety. A rape alarm is an absolute necessity. They take up no room, you can get them for just a fiver, and they can save your life. It’s also worth taking a spare phone with you, as there’s nothing more terrifying than being stranded in an unfamiliar country with no way of contacting anyone. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a £10 Nokia brick will do the job. Plus, they’re so hefty you could probably use it as self-defence. 

And speaking of self-defence, you should always carry something on you to use in case of attack. Most women probably already know about the keys between the knuckles trick, but an alternative to this is a cat self-defence keychain. If you do end up using it, it could be a life saver, and if you don’t, you still end up with a pretty new key ring — there’s really no downside. 

Tell people where you are 

A woman in a red jumper, looking at her smartphone.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

No matter where you’re going, make sure that someone knows where you are at all times. Even if you’re just popping to the shop down the road, it’s still vital that someone knows the direction you’re heading just in case anything goes wrong. There’s a number of ways you can do this, the easiest being via text or instant messaging. Make sure to set a general rule with your check in buddy for how long they should wait before seeking help. 

Or if you’re tech savvy, why not try using an app to do the hard work for you? There’s plenty of apps that you can use to share your location with your loved ones automatically, without you having to press a single button. Find My Friends is the most popular location tracker app. Your loved ones will be able to see your location on a map, and if you ever feel unsafe, you can send out an alert that shows your contacts your current location, the time and your battery life. The app is completely free and compatible with all smartphones, so it’s definitely worth a download. 

As well as letting someone know about your short-term travel plans, you should also give them a copy of your itinerary. This gives them a sense of the direction that you’re going in case you somehow lose contact. Make sure to include contact details for all the accommodation that you plan on staying at, so they’ll always have someone to contact in case something goes wrong. 

Connect with other female travellers 

Two women sitting on a rock facing a body of water and a mountain.
Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

Making friends on the road is one of the best parts about travelling. It’s so easy to click with other travellers since you get to know each other inside out in no time at all. And not only does your newfound friendship make travelling a lot more fun, but it can make it a lot safer too. Having someone to watch your luggage, keep an eye on your drink and just generally watch your back is so useful. Plus, you’re far less likely to be a prime target when you’re in a group, so don’t underestimate the power of a travel companion. 

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to make friends on the road. If you’re staying in a hostel, try getting to know other visitors. Most hostels have social events, like film nights or bar crawls, which makes it easy to get to know people in a short space of time. If you’re not a fan of hostels, try using technology to find a few travel companions. There’s a great Facebook group called Travel Meet Ups – The Solo Female Traveler Network that connects female backpackers around the globe. Or you could try downloading Bumble BFF to find fellow female backpackers near you. 

Group of people sitting on a hostel floor in their pyjamas.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

As well as linking up with other backpackers, it’s also worth getting to know local women too. They’ll be more knowledgeable when it comes to local safety, and they can give you some great recommendations for what to do in the local area. Why not try striking up a conversation with the hostel staff? They’re bound to be helpful, and they probably love to travel too so you’ll become friends in no time.  

Watch what you wear 

Clothes hanging on a clothes rack in a white room. Potted plants are dotted throughout the room.
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

What you wear can have a huge impact on the way you’re treated when travelling, especially if you’re a woman. It may not be fair, but it is the reality — so you need to be prepared. When doing your research on your travel destination, don’t forget to look into how the local women dress. You should aim to blend in as much as you can with the locals to avoid any unnecessary attention. And don’t forget that in many countries, this tip isn’t just about your own safety, but respecting local customs too. 

When creating your packing list, you should include plenty of long-sleeved tops. If you’re travelling to a hot country, make sure that they’re loose and made out of breathable fabric, such as linen or cotton. The thought of wearing long sleeves in a hot country may sound unbearable, but as long as the clothing is loose enough then you shouldn’t overheat. Plus, the sleeves will protect your skin from the sun, so it’s a win-win! Another travel essential is a big scarf or shawl. The list of uses for this accessory is endless! You can use it as a head covering, a shoulder covering, a leg covering, a sarong on the beach and even a blanket to protect you from the chill of the AC that’s always blasted on the plane. 

A hand stretched out, with two wedding bands resting on the palm.
Photo by Lucas Fiorini Fotografias from Pexels

Another tip that’s popular amongst solo female travellers is wearing a fake wedding band. If you feel like a man is putting you in a dangerous situation, you can point to the band to make them think that you aren’t travelling alone. In a lot of cases, this is enough to make a man back off, so you can continue to enjoy your trip.  

Be cautious of overnight travel 

Woman wearing pink and black scoop neck t-shirt and black pants standing in front of train in train station.
Photo by Cassiano Psomas from Pexels

Overnight transport is easily one of the most convenient forms of travel. The tickets are usually cheaper, you save some exploring time, and you save money on a night’s accommodation. Aside from an uncomfortable night’s sleep, it seems like the perfect way to get around. But for women, it can be anything but. Travelling can make you feel vulnerable enough, let alone doing it whilst you’re asleep. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid overnight travel altogether — just make sure to take the necessary precautions. The absolute best thing that you can do is make a female friend on the road who can travel with you, as there’s always safety in numbers. That way, if things seem really dodgy you can take it in turns to stay awake and keep watch. If you don’t have any companions to travel with, try to make friends with whoever you’re sitting next to (who should ideally be a woman, if you can choose your seat). 

A backpack laid flat on a wooden surface. On top of it is a pair of white over-ear headphones and sunglasses. Next to it is a camera and international driving permit.
Image by JayMantri from Pixabay

You should also make sure to have your essentials with you at all times. If you just have a few, you can store them on your person. But the chances are that you have more than you can fit in your pockets, so make sure to put them all in a small bag of hand luggage. To keep it safe whilst you’re sleeping, loop the strap of the bag around your leg so it can’t be taken without you noticing. 

Finally, and most importantly, make sure to research the route before you take it. Some transport companies are safer than others, and some routes are safer than others. A lot of the time, it’s best to go by reviews from travellers who have personally experienced taking the specific route that you want to take. If it looks dangerous or unsafe, always make sure to take day transport instead. Yes, it can take up more time and money, but it’s always worth it for your safety. 

Don’t forget to have fun! 

A woman in a kayak. The water is bright blue, and she is admiring the mountains in front of her.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t painted the cheeriest picture for female travellers. But this doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom for women on the road! I’m not sharing these tips to stop you from travelling — I’m sharing them so that you can make your trip as fun and as worry free as possible. Because there’s going to be an element of risk in every country that you travel to, only by being prepared can you mitigate against these risks. So be safe, but don’t forget to have fun too! Use these tips to make your next trip the best one yet. 

Do you have any travel tips that you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below!

5 Top Tips to Boost Your Holiday Savings

Whether you’re treating yourself to a weekend getaway or a month-long luxury trip, the chances are that you’ll need to splash a fair bit of cash to make it happen. And because holidays eat into our budgets so much, most of us need to build our bank balance beforehand. Yes, this process can feel like a drag and it might seem like it will never end. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Use the following tips to quickly boost your holiday budget without having to make big sacrifices. 

  1. Check your subscriptions  
A man using Netflix on the television.
Image by Andrés Rodríguez from Pixabay

Starting us off is this big money saving tip that won’t just help us with our holiday budget, but our long-term savings too. Be honest with yourself — when was the last time you actually used your Netflix account? If you’re struggling to answer, that’s a sign that it’s been too long. So it may be worth cancelling that membership, especially now the prices are rising for UK customers. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be forever! If you find yourself craving the content that your streaming provider has put out since you left, you can always go back. But there’s no point of paying £9.99 a month for an account that has been lying dormant for longer than you can remember. 

If you’re paying for more than one streaming service, you’re not alone — in fact, over half of us do this. But if you do, it’s time to ask yourself whether you really need them. Because although streaming services are now focussing on original content, a lot of us use them just for the content that they’ve acquired from other networks. So it’s worth checking whether the content you watch is covered by all of your streaming service providers. For example, if you’re a sitcom fan, The Office US, Community and Modern Family are on both Netflix and Amazon Prime. So cut your costs by sticking to just one streaming service. 

And don’t forget to make sure that you’re on the best deal too! Some subscription-based services, such as Spotify and Now TV offer cheaper deals for students, so that’s definitely worth checking out. And if you’re the only one who uses your Netflix account, there’s no need to splash out on the premium or even standard plan. I’ve always used the basic plan and it’s worked out fine for me. But if you’re after an even better deal, consider splitting the cost of the premium plan between 3 friends to reduce the price you pay to just £3.50. Just don’t let Netflix know that I gave you this advice — I still haven’t watched Bridgerton!

  1. Every penny counts 
Coins spilling out of a sideways jar.
Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

Although it doesn’t always seem like it, small change can add up pretty fast if you put it aside often enough. Take the 1 penny saving challenge for example. In this challenge, you start off by putting just a penny away. The next day put in 2p, then 3p, and so on and so on. One your last day when you put £3.65 away, you’ll have collected an impressive total of £667.95! This can easily cover the cost of a weekend getaway, and it goes a long way to covering larger trips too. To put it in perspective, a return flight from London to Sydney costs around £600. With your savings, you’ll have the flight cost covered, and a bit left over too! 

If this challenge doesn’t take your fancy, why not try the Save the Change challenge? The aim is simple: round up every purchase you make to the nearest pound, and put the extra change away in savings. This change can be saved wherever you want. If you prefer the old-fashioned way, keep a savings jar for the spare pennies. But if you prefer to do things digitally, consider downloading an app that will help you reach your goal. Tandem is one of the most popular apps used to round up spare change. It’s completely free, and you can store up to £85,000 there (although if you have this much already, you could probably live without the app!). 

Rounding up change from your purchases is a great way to save, and it may work faster than the penny saving challenge, depending on often you make a purchase. For example, it takes over a week before you save 50p in the penny saver challenge, but with the change you could purchase something worth £2.50 on your first day and already be much further ahead. However, the penny saving challenge is a lot more consistent, and you have a guaranteed amount that you’ll walk away with at the end of the year. Whichever method you choose, it’s a great step towards saving for your much deserved getaway. 

  1. Take your time 
An hourglass rests on a stone in a shallow river.
Image by Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay

You may find it tempting to go all in and save as much as you can in a short space of time. But in the long run, all you’re doing is making yourself miserable. Yes, making that dream getaway come around even sooner does sound great, but you still want to be able to enjoy your life in the meantime. Scrimping back completely and not treating yourself to nice things on occasion may make that holiday come sooner, but it really isn’t worth it. You don’t want to waste your time and energy on extreme saving, just to get on the holiday and realise you’re too drained to enjoy any of it. So don’t sprint to the finish line, because you’ll get there eventually. And it’s definitely worth the wait. Plus, a lot of us aren’t going on holiday anytime soon, so why rush it? 

As well as taking time with your savings, you should also take time when trying to find the best deals. When booking your holiday, there are so many things to consider. Where are you going?  When are you going? Are you getting a package deal or planning the trip yourself? It’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all, so don’t be afraid to take your time to figure it all out. Not only will you get more saved in the meantime, but you’re more likely to get a better deal if you do a thorough search. Good things come to those who wait! 

  1. Hide it away 
Someone putting a note into a piggy bank.
Image by Horst Koenemund from Pixabay

So you’ve scrimped back on streaming service, rounded up your loose change, and you think that all your saving has finally paid off. And then you check your bank account. Somehow, all of that money that you’ve saved managed to disappear into thin air. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common. Boring life often gets in the way of the things that make life fun. The cost of car problems, broken electronics, house repairs, and other boring life things tend to add up pretty quickly, and the money that you’ve put effort into saving can easily vanish in between pay cheques. 

To make sure that you keep your holiday fund safe and untouched, put it into a separate account that’s safe, secure, and can’t be touched. Of course, you could do this with cash if you prefer. But holidays are expensive and having a lot of cash stored in the house isn’t too safe (no matter how well you’ve hidden it!), so it’s best to stick your savings into an online account. The easiest way to go about it is to stick with your current bank. You’ll probably be able to set up a separate savings account with your current bank without too much trouble, and it can be easier to transfer money between the two accounts too. You may even be able to receive interest on your savings if you’re keeping it in the account for long enough. Make sure to do your research to find the best deal for you

  1. Don’t spend more than you can afford 
4 deck chairs on a pebble beach. Seagulls are flying low.
Image by Steve Bidmead from Pixabay

As nice as a two week, all-inclusive luxury trip to a far-flung destination sounds, it’s something that a lot of us won’t be able to afford for a long time, if ever. But the good news is that you’ll probably have a good time on your holiday no matter where you go. In fact, some of the cheapest holidays I’ve been on are the ones that I remember the most fondly. So make sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew by spending thousands that you don’t even have. You’ll only end up broke and unhappy. Yes, the trip itself might be amazing, but it won’t last forever. You don’t want to return from your trip to a pile of debt and money worries. Why not have a domestic holiday to save on transport costs? Or if you love the outdoors, camping is a cheap holiday and fun for all of the family. Whatever you choose, just make sure to relax and have fun. You’ve worked hard to save up for it — you deserve it!

Do you have any money saving tips that you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Holiday Destinations in England 2021

Remember all the way back in March when we were buzzing about being able to work from home for a couple of weeks? How things have changed in the past year. Although a few people managed to get away in the summer of 2020, a lot of us were stuck in the same 4 walls for months on end. And whilst it looks like it’s going to be a while before we can escape again, we can use this time to plan ahead. If you want some inspiration for your 2021 getaway, read on to discover the best places for a city break or a rural retreat. 

City Breaks 

Do you crave culture, architecture, and a vibrant nightlife? If so, a city break is the perfect getaway for you. Read on to discover 3 of the most underrated city breaks in England. 


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Bristol is a city that has been consistently on the up for the past few years. Although the city once got overlooked in favour of its next door neighbour, Bath, it is now getting the attention that it deserves. Bristol has something for everyone, so whether you’re an architecture admirer, shopping enthusiast or culture connoisseur, this might just be the perfect city break for you. 

If you’re looking to splash the cash or treat yourself to a new wardrobe whilst you’re there, your first port of call should be Cabot Circus. This shopping centre has all the biggest brands and best eateries, making it the perfect place to spend a few hours and splash the cash. And if you’re travelling with kids, make sure to check out the crazy golf to get some quality family bonding time (or more likely some fierce competition and a few tantrums!). 

If independent shops are more your thing, you’re certainly not short of choice in Bristol! To start with, check out BAM. This shop has a bit of everything, from art, to beauty, to books. It’s a non-profit shop that supports the community and local artists. And as if that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, the products are amazing too! It’s the best place to get high quality, affordable goods, so make sure to check it out. Rhubarb Jumble is another great independent shop that sells a variety of quirky vintage clothing and furniture. Not only is this vintage paradise popular with Bristolians, but they have an Etsy store with hundreds of highly rated products, so make sure to pay them a virtual visit too! To find more independent Bristol shops, check out this extremely comprehensive list from This Bristol Brood

Of course, there’s far more to the city than just shopping. Bristol is known for having an electric music and arts scene. Exchange is a pioneering venue, as it’s the first ever one to be owned by the local community. And the Fleece is a music lovers paradise, which has played host to countless big names, including Oasis, Radiohead, Amy Winehouse and many, many more. The last unmissable place to visit in this wonderful city is the Clifton suspension bridge. This mightily impressive feat of engineering was created in the 19th century, and it’s now the symbol of the city. Head up to Clifton Observatory to see it from afar and get the best view in Bristol.


Image by Dave Noonan from Pixabay

If you’ve never visited Leeds before, you’re really in for a treat. This city has so much to offer, but unfortunately much like the next city on the list, it’s criminally underrated. To start your day off, take a stroll around Roundhay Park. Not only is this one of Europe’s largest parks, but there’s plenty to keep you entertained here too. Bring your knee pads with you to check out the impressive skate park and show off your skill (or lack of it!). If you’re travelling with children, they’ll never forgive you if you don’t visit the park’s highly impressive playground (that was organised by a group of fundraisers!). And if all this activity has left your stomach grumbling, head over to Lakeside Cafe for some great views and tasty treats. 

To get your fill of culture, Leeds Art Gallery is the number one place to visit. Good news for those of you who are watching your budget — entrance is completely free! The gallery is full of modern and contemporary art, which comes in a variety of forms. There’s a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibits, so even if you’ve been before you’ll always find something new to see. Make sure to check out the Central Court to get a real feast for the eyes. This space uses natural light to enhance the beauty of the artwork shown — the court alone makes this gallery a must visit. 

If history is more your thing, then Leeds City Museum is definitely worth a visit. The museum is full of information on not just Leeds, but the entire world. A particular highlight is the Voices of Asia gallery. Located on the first floor, this exhibit details the fascinating history of Asain communities in the city, and how they have developed over time. Entrance to the museum is also completely free, so it’s a definite must-see — and you’ll get a chance to splurge the money that you saved at your next stop!

Image by Dave Noonan from Pixabay

The Corn Exchange is a shopping centre, but it’s far, far more than just that. The Victorian grade 1 listed building is absolutely remarkable. In fact, it’s worth paying it a visit just for the building alone! The interior of this grand building is oval shaped and it runs over several floors. What truly makes the structure special is the magnificent dome shaped roof that fills the building with natural light. But the most important part of any shopping centre is, of course, the shops! And fortunately, Leeds Corn Exchange doesn’t let us down on this front either! There are a range of fabulous shops which offer a variety of goods. Just a small sample of the offerings include jewelry, prom dresses, tattoos, ceramics, plants, and so much more. The highest quality goods and the beautiful surroundings certainly make this shopping trip one to remember. 

Newcastle upon Tyne 

Image by Geoff Duke from Pixabay

Yes, I know — my hometown bias is showing again. But I can’t help myself! Newcastle has the architecture, the nightlife, the arts scene, the best food — yet it’s always overlooked as a tourist destination. So I’ve taken personal responsibility to hype the city up! 

For the art lovers out there, your first port of call should be to the Baltic. This contemporary art centre can be found on the city’s Quayside. Before the gallery opened in 2002, the building was a disused former flour mill. The abandoned building was certainly put to good use, as the gallery is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Entrance to the Baltic is completely free, although there is a donations box that you should consider contributing to if you can afford it. The best thing about the arts centre is that there are no permanent exhibits, so there’s always something new to see. And even for those who aren’t keen on modern art, you should still visit just for the amazing panorama that you get from the viewing platform. And make sure to check out the onsite shop too. There’s a wide variety of  goods on offer, and there’s something to suit every budget. To get an idea of what’s on offer, check out the online shop here

Once you’ve finished your visit, take a stroll down the quayside for some of the best views in the city. Not only are you walking beside the famous Tyne river, but you get a fantastic view of the symbol of Newcastle: the Tyne Bridge. Although you can walk along the bridge itself, to truly capture the beauty of the structure make sure to view it from afar too. It can be seen from all along the quayside, but the best spot to see it in full is from the Millennium bridge, which is a work of art in itself

When it comes to finding somewhere to eat, you’re completely spoilt for choice in this foodie city. For breakfast, you should definitely pay Olive and Bean a visit. I’ve sampled a range of products on their vast menu, and I’ve been impressed every time! It’s got plenty of options for those of you with big appetites, such as The Business (their take on a full English) and waffles. Smaller appetites are catered for too, with their range of egg dishes and toasts. 

Another great eatery (possibly my favourite in the entire city) is Uno’s. This gorgeous Italian restaurant can be found  on the quayside, nestled away underground. The basement location and the warm lights make this restaurant feel so cosy and inviting. And the food itself simply cannot be beaten — it’s filling, full of flavour, and absolutely delicious. A meal at Uno’s is the best way to round off a visit to this beautiful city. 

Rural Retreats

If you prefer exploring the great outdoors, you’re probably looking to make your next getaway a rural retreat. Whether you’re after a tranquil rural weekend, or an outdoor adventure, the next two destinations will be perfect for you. 

Northumberland National Park 

If you really want to get away from it all, there’s nowhere better to visit than England’s northernmost national park. It’s the least populated area of the country, and surprisingly the least visited of our 10 national parks. Although the park is shockingly underrated, this can actually work to your advantage. It’s the perfect place to explore nature without the bustling crowds that you often find in the Lake District.    

One of the best parts (and most well-known) parts of the park is the section of Hadrian’s Wall that runs through it. This famous defensive wall was built by the Romans in 122 AD, and it stretches an impressive 73 miles long. This historical masterpiece has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the North East. For some of the most scenic walks along the wall, make sure to check out the Northumberland National Park website

Richie’s photography is absolutely stunning – make sure to check out more of his work on his Instagram account!

One of the most popular walks along Hadrian’s Wall by far, is the bewitching Sycamore Gap. The striking image of a single tree emerging from the dip in the land which Hadrian’s Wall runs along is so simple, but so beautiful. It’s a sight to behold in every season, no matter what the weather, so don’t let the rains top you from visiting this masterpiece. If you can, pay a visit to the gap at sunset. The silhouette of the tree standing in front of a striking, colourful sunset is an image that you’ll never forget.  

If you’d rather take a stroll by the river, you’re not short of options either. Hareshaw Linn is one of the most striking waterfalls I’ve ever seen. This 2 hour walk has so many gorgeous views on the way, so don’t be surprised if it ends up being a bit longer than you think! And of course, you’ll need to factor in some time to admire the staggering 30 foot drop waterfall. To find out more about this amazing walk, check out my article on it here. Another gorgeous waterfall in the park that’s a definite must-see is Linhope Spout. This waterfall has an impressive 60 foot drop, and it’s surroundings of tall, spindly trees and flat rocks make it so peaceful. Click here to find out more about the walk and the waterfall itself.

Jurassic Coast 

Image by Tom Workman from Pixabay

Taking up the final spot on this list is one of the most gorgeous coastlines in the country. The Jurassic Coast stretches an impressive 95 miles over two of the South West’s most popular counties, Devon and Dorset. There are so many remarkable places to visit along this coastline. I’ll just be focussing on a handful, but if you want a detailed guide then check out the Official Guide to the Jurassic Coast for only £4.95. 

Starting us off with the most well-known stretch of the coastline, is Durdle Door. This is one of the most iconic landmarks in the UK, and tourists flock from all over the world to see this natural wonder. The iconic stone arch was formed by soft rock eroding behind the hard limestone. When it crumbled beneath the harsh and rocky waves, the arch was formed. The iconic symbol of the South West has been used in a number of music videos, including Loverboy by Billy Ocean. Make sure to bring a camera, as you won’t want to miss picturing this iconic spot. To make the most of your time there, take a picnic, sit back and enjoy the view. 

Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay

Just half an hour’s walk away from Durdle Door is your next stop. Perhaps not as iconic, but still just as beautiful, is the breath-taking Lulworth Cove. The always mesmerizing deep blue water makes this spot picture perfect all year round. The oval shape of the cove makes it the perfect place to go swimming, especially if you’re taking the little ones with you. When the tide is low, make sure to keep an eye out for sea creatures hidden in the rock pools!

The last spot on the list is a little further away — it takes around an hour and a half to drive there from Lulworth Cove. But it’s seriously worth it. Beer (yes, you read that right) is a quaint and picturesque fishing town situated on the Jurassic Coast. If you asked an artist to paint you a picture of a stereotypical English village, they would simply recreate Beer. It’s completely idyllic and the perfect place to unwind. Relax on the village’s picture perfect beach, and make sure to bring a picnic — it’s the perfect place to have one according to Countryfile! Or if you’d rather, grab yourself some fish and chips in the evening and watch the sun set over the sea. A perfect way to end any English holiday. 

Where are you going for your next English getaway? Let me know in the comments down below!

8 Unconventional Travel Tips That No One Else Talks About

A quick Google search of top travel tips will bring you millions of results. All of the tips that you’ll find from these results are useful and practical, and you should definitely try them out on your next big adventure. But you’ll also find that the same handful of tips tend to be repeated in most of the articles. If you’re fed up of getting the same advice over and over again, read on to discover the 8 best kept secret travel tips. 

Splurge on your first night 

Image by ming dai from Pixabay

If you’re travelling on a budget, it can be tempting to make all of your accommodation cheap and cheerful. But for your first night away, it’s definitely worth spending a little extra. Whether you’ve come by plane, train, boat or any other mode of transport, the chances are that you’ve had a long and tiring journey and all you want to do is sleep. 

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love staying at hostels. They have an atmosphere like no other, and it’s the easiest place to make new friends on the road. But after a 12 hour flight, all you want to do is get into your cosiest pyjamas and crawl into bed. The last thing you need is to make small talk with your dorm mates or deal with drunk partygoers. 

It’s not like you need to splash out on 5 star accommodation. Just make sure you have a room to yourself for your first night, with a big comfy bed for you to rest and recover in. If you want to spend a little extra on your first night but you don’t know which accommodation to book, play it safe and stick with a chain hotel. When my partner and I travelled through Chile last year, we spent our first night in the Holiday Inn next to Santiago airport. It was one of the best decisions that we made. We successfully slept off our jet lag and we were ready to head out and start exploring the very next day. 

Shoulder season is the way to go

Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

When looking for the best time to travel, it can be very tricky to find the perfect balance. You don’t want your chosen location to be too busy, but you don’t want a dead atmosphere. You don’t want to deal with impossible heat, but you don’t want to have to wear 5 layers just to pop to the shops. Like Goldilocks, you want everything about your trip to be just right. Well fear not, your prayers have been answered — and they come in the form of shoulder season. 

If you don’t already know, shoulder season is basically the in-between bit of the year. It’s the time when the tourist spots aren’t heaving, but most things are still open so there’s enough for you to explore. For most countries, spring and autumn are the shoulder seasons, as although the weather is no longer optimal, it’s still warm and dry enough to spend plenty of time outside. 

Some of the benefits of shoulder season include cheaper accommodation, cheaper transport, shorter queues for tourist attractions, comfortable temperatures, quieter beaches, and so much more. Travelling in the shoulder season makes your experience far less stressful and so much more interesting — it’s definitely something to consider when booking your next getaway. 

Solid shampoo is a must 

Whether you’re going away for a long weekend or 6 months, it can be so difficult not to overpack. Do you get stressed when there are so many things you need to bring, and for some reason your suitcase is half the size it was the last time you saw it? If so, you’re not alone. 

For me, it’s my toiletries that always seem to take up much more room than they should. Seriously, how does my boyfriend manage to fit all of his into a half empty wash bag whilst I’m struggling to cut it down to 2 full ones? If you’re like me, let me share with you the best space saver ever: a solid shampoo bar. 

I know it doesn’t sound great, and I was hesitant the first time I used it too. But now I wouldn’t go travelling without it. Not only does it work just as well as liquid shampoo, but it’s much better value for money too. They can last for weeks at a time, and they’re great for the environment as well! Plus, if you only use cruelty free products like me, it can be difficult to find shampoo that hasn’t been tested on animals abroad when your liquid shampoo inevitably runs out. Lush have some great cruelty free shampoo bars at a reasonable price, so make sure to check them out. 

Bag it up 

Image by gh gfhgf from Pixabay

Before I first went travelling, I thought “living out of your backpack” was just a phrase. But when you’re moving from one hostel to the next every few days, there’s little point unpacking your entire bag, just to end up trying to squeeze everything back in shortly after. Plus, it’s extremely rare that you’ll find a hostel with a wardrobe for you to unpack your clothes in, so the chances are that you won’t be able to do it in the first place. 

Living out of your backpack does have its benefits — it makes it easier to move on when you’re ready to do so, and when you only get out what you need, you’re less likely to leave things behind. But unless you’re a packing maestro, it can be completely impossible to find anything in your backpack, even if it has a bunch of different compartments. 

To make the process easier and a lot less stressful, organise your stuff by separating your packing into a bunch of smaller bags. For example, when I travel, I split my packing into 8 sections: tops, bottoms, dresses and jumpsuits, shoes, toiletries, makeup, electronics and other. Not only does it make finding less of an ordeal, but it’s so much easier to plan an outfit too! Some people use packing cubes to organise their backpack. Whilst everyone I know who uses them seems to love them, I just use a mixture of plastic bags and tote plastic bags instead. They may not be as practical or resilient as packing cubes, but they’re free and they get the job done! 

Technology is your friend 

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

If I had a shot everyone time I heard someone complain about how smartphones have ruined travel, I’d have alcohol poisoning. Whenever we talk about technology, many of us seem to see it as a hindrance which gets in the way of life, rather than something that can let us live it to the full. Of course, this isn’t 100% false. Technology can get in the way when it comes to travel, but this isn’t inevitable. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you use it. 

One of the best ways to use technology when travelling is to make the most of Google Maps. Yes, you can rely on just a printed map, but navigating using an online map is so much easier. I’m pretty awful with directions — if I had to rely on a printed map alone, I’d have no idea where I was going 99% of the time. But with Google Maps, you can see where you are and which way you’re heading, which makes the process a whole lot easier. Plus, if you get split up from your travel companion, you can send them a pin to show where you are, and they’ll be able to find you in an instant. 

But technology isn’t just useful for practical travel — it can be a great source of entertainment too. Imagine having to endure an 18 hour bus journey without having your phone, kindle or any other technology to keep you going? Of course, you can spend a part of the journey speaking with your fellow travellers, but after a few hours you’ll probably want some me-time. This is the perfect time to turn to your phone and get cracking on your list of Netflix downloads. So, save yourself from hours of boredom and don’t shun tech when you travel. 

Guidebooks can’t help you all of the time

Image by PaulinaH from Pixabay

When my partner and I go travelling, the Lonely Planet is practically glued to his hand. I ask him where we should eat, he checks the Lonely Planet guide. I ask him what he fancies doing today, he checks the Lonely Planet guide. I ask him if he’s seen my phone, he checks the Lonely Planet guide. It. is. infuriating. (Sorry, Robin). 

Don’t get me wrong, guidebooks can be great. When it comes to travel (and pretty much anything else in life), I’m a planner. Guidebooks are so helpful when it comes to planning my trip. And they still come in handy even after the planning stage is complete, as they’re chock-full of helpful advice and recommendations for when you’re on the road. But there is such a thing as too much Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, or whatever travel guide that you rely on. 

Because as good a job as they do, it’s impossible for you to only rely on them. Firstly, the guides are written by just a handful of people. When you have resources like TripAdvisor, Booking.com and HostelWorld, relying solely on your travel guides recommendations seems like a waste. There are so many amazing restaurants, hostels and attractions that the writers can’t fit in, or simply haven’t visited. Make sure to check out a wide range of reviews from a range of different people before committing yourself to your decision. 

And secondly, guides can get pretty old pretty fast. The author might have had an amazing experience at a charming local restaurant a year or two ago. But if that restaurant has a new chef, new staff, or is under new management, you can have a completely different experience. So, make sure to read your guidebook — it’s a fantastic resource. But remember that it isn’t your only resource. Make sure to rely on online reviews, word of mouth, and your own intuition to make sure you have the best time travelling. 

Don’t skip the touristy areas 

As much as I love travel, there’s no getting around one particular fact: many travellers can be snobby. Not snobby in the stereotypical posh way. In fact, if anything, they’re the complete opposite. They relish in sharing stories of the roughest areas they’ve been and the grimmest hostels that they’ve stayed at. They wear their awful experiences as some sort of badge of honour, as if this is the only way that they can become a “genuine” traveller. 

No, they’re not snobby in the normal sense — they’re snobby when it comes to the “right” and the “wrong” kind of travel. Many backpackers shun what are considered to be “tourist traps”. One of the most popular places for “real” travellers to look down on is Times Square. And I can see why — it’s big, it’s loud, it’s a capitalist paradise and it must be hell on earth for New York natives. But there’s no denying that it looks like an experience, and it’s somewhere I’ve always dreamed of going. 

Yes, the restaurants in the area will undoubtedly be overpriced, and you’re almost certain to find stalls selling cheap and tacky souvenirs for 4 times the price that they’re actually worth. But for me, that’s just part of the fun. Whenever I visit Amsterdam, I always end up filling my suitcase full of tacky and distasteful souvenirs. And I never regret it! I think the problem is that many travellers like to take themselves a bit too seriously. It becomes so important for them to have a truly “authentic” experience, that they lose track of why they went travelling in the first place — for a fun adventure! 

Do cheap and gaudy souvenirs give tourists an accurate insight into life in Amsterdam? Of course they don’t. But is there room for tourists to experience the cultural history of a city alongside the tourist traps and tacky souvenirs? Absolutely. 

Take all the photos 

This last one is hands down the most important, not just for travel but life in general. When Robin took this picture, I told him to delete it. It’s blurry, and I hated the way I looked in it. But he didn’t, and I’m so glad for that. Since I’ve started Live To Be Lost, I’ve spent a lot of time scrolling through my gallery for my daily Instagram upload. It’s made me realise how important taking pictures is, and I’m so glad that I’ve taken so many. 

But this is where travel snobbery rears its ugly head again. When an “authentic” backpacker sees you taking a selfie, they might chastise you for living life through a screen, and not “living in the moment”. If anyone tells you this, just tell them to piss off. Because we can’t rely on memory alone when looking back on our time travelling. 

I thought I remembered the moment in this picture well before I saw it. I remember sitting at the deck chairs at our hostel, with a sea view. I remember Robin having an absolutely enormous Sri Lankan breakfast (of course), and I remember the adorable dog that was snoozing in front of us. But until looking back at this picture, I didn’t remember drinking from a coconut. It was the first time I’d ever drank straight from the shell, and now I can remember how good it tasted. And I remember our host bringing it to me, I remember how kind and lovely they were and how much I enjoyed my stay there — it was one of the highlights of my trip. 

So, don’t be afraid of not “living in the moment”, whatever that even means. Take the pictures, and make sure to look back on them. No, they won’t all end up on Instagram. But one day you’ll look back at that blurry, unflattering photo and smile. 

Do you have any unconventional travel tips that you think the world should know? Don’t be shy, leave a comment down below!

Featured Image by นิธิ วีระสันติ from Pixabay

New Year’s Travel Resolutions For Nomads

We’ve finally made it — the year that has lasted a lifetime has finally come to an end. But as much as we all wanted the world to heal itself at the stroke of midnight on the 31st, it looks like we still have a way to go yet. Even though 2021 doesn’t look like the promising year that we all need right now, this doesn’t mean that we’re stuck with another 12 months of doom and gloom. Because the dawn of the year brings with it something that so many of us are craving right now — a fresh start. Although we can’t change the state of the world, we can make the changes that we need in our own life. If you’re looking for ways to improve yourself and make the most of 2021, these 5 travel based New Year’s resolutions could be exactly what you need right now. 

Learn a new language

Image by Oli Lynch from Pixabay

Yes, this one has been on my resolutions list for the past few years and it’s always forgotten about by the end of January. But this year, I’m determined to stick with it. And with lockdown the third undoubtedly making an appearance in the near future, I’ll have plenty of time to do it too!

Learning a language is probably the best travel related New Year’s resolution that you can do. How many times have you been left looking completely gormless when trying to communicate with locals whilst on holiday? Don’t worry, it isn’t just you. I’ve been left in this situation more times than I can count, and I’m definitely not alone. People from Britain are the worst at learning languages in Europe, with the majority of us only being able to speak English.  And I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of that majority (unless you count the smattering of Spanish and French phrases that I somehow still remember from my GCSE’s). 

So, this year I will finally begin my language learning quest. If you want to join me but you don’t know where to start, there are some great apps available that can help you achieve your resolution. Duolingo is the world’s most popular language learning app. This is hardly surprising — it’s completely free, it’s accessible and it’s seriously addictive. But it doesn’t come without criticism. Some feel that it can be repetitive, whilst others consider it to be too simplistic

Whilst Duolingo is great for grasping the basics of a language, it certainly won’t make you fluent. If you only want to grasp the basics of a language, then that’s great. But if you want to become bilingual, you may need to splash out a bit. If you can afford it, Rosetta Stone is one of the longest running language-learning websites and it is well-loved by many. It goes into more detail than Duolingo and other similar apps, whilst still managing to be accessible and easy to follow. If you’re thinking about trying it out but you aren’t sure whether it’s right for you, you can try before you buy with a 3 day free trial, so you may as well give it a go!

Take a photography course 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

When you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed, do you get pangs of jealousy when you see how well other people’s holiday snaps have turned out? If you want to take your pictures to the next level, take up a photography course in 2021 and wow your followers with gorgeous images. 

Doing a course in person would be preferable, but for many of us this won’t be possible for a good while. Fortunately, there are plenty of courses that can be accessed online that are of just as good quality. However, they can range a lot in price so it’s important to do your research and decide how seriously you want to take your resolution. If you’re hoping to make living from your photography, it’s worth investing in a top quality course. The Institute of Photography’s course comes with a hefty price tag of £450, but the top notch reviews and 5 star rating on Trustpilot indicate that it’s more than worth it. If you’re serious about photography and you’d like to earn some money from it, this course is the best place to start. 

However, not everyone is looking to turn their passion for photography into a career. If you’re interested in learning the skill just for fun, there are plenty of free online courses that you can take a look at. Shaw Academy are offering 4 weeks of their professional photography course for free, so that’s a great place to start. If you prefer to learn via reading rather than visual methods, this comprehensive guide of photography basics from lifehacker is a great resource. There are 5 sections to this guide, and they can be downloaded as PDF files too.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

 If you’ve read my article on travel gifts for backpackers, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Udemy. From personal experience, the several courses that I’ve taken have been fantastic and I can’t recommend them highly enough. And if you’re interested in learning more about photography but you don’t want to spend a fortune on a top of the range camera, they offer a range of courses on smartphone photography that are perfect for beginners. Two of the top rated ones include: 

Find something new near you every month 

St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay.

The chances are that it will be a while before we can travel internationally. But in the meantime, most of us are still able to explore our local area. So, make sure to make the most of it! If this hellish, miserable year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of loving where you live. 

If you have access to a car, you’re in the perfect position to explore the world around you. One of the best and safest things we can do right now is explore nature by going on long, peaceful walks. Not only will it give you a health boost, but it’s the best way to enjoy yourself whilst still keeping your distance from others. There are a number of websites that you can use to find the best walks near you. The National Trust has a wide range of walks available, including challenging ones for expert hikers and family friendly, accessible strolls. If you can’t find the perfect walk for you here, make sure to check out this tool from the Ramblers website. It’s easy to navigate and it has a huge range of walks to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that takes your fancy. 

Image by Susanne Pälmer from Pixabay

However, if you’re a city dweller like me, you may not have access to a car. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t go exploring and make the most of your local area. Many of us tend not to do the touristy things in our own town — myself included. So why not take a wander through your local area and visit the tourist hot spots and monuments? Maybe there’s some stunning architecture in your town that you always seem to miss. Or maybe there’s a famous historical landmark that you used to pass on your way to work but you’ve never taken the time to appreciate it. Well, now’s your chance. Make a list of all the things you want to see in your local area in 2021 and get cracking! 

Travel with food 

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Do you often find yourself stuck in a rut when it comes to food? After a long day at work, it’s easy to end up cooking jacket potato and beans three nights in a row. But why not try pushing yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while? Travel the world from your own kitchen by experimenting with a whole host of different cuisines. 

Not only will this resolution give you travel inspiration, but you might even learn a bit of history too. Food is an important part of many cultures, so recipes often have rich and detailed histories which play a big role in cultural identity. For example, Turkey and many of its surrounding countries have such strong coffee cultures as the Ottomans were once in charge of coffee trading routes. But your experimental cuisine resolution isn’t all about travel. Trying new foods has been proven to be beneficial for your health too — so tuck in! 

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

If you’re stuck for recipe ideas, don’t fret as there are so many different ways to find them. If you prefer to read a recipe the good old fashioned way on paper, invest in a decent cookbook with a range of international recipes. One of the most popular is Rukmini Iyer’s cookbook, “The Roasting Tin: Around The World Recipe Book.” This is great for those of you who want to experiment but don’t like the thought of any extra washing up. If there’s a particular cuisine that you’re interested in, make sure to check out the Lonely Planet Shop for books that cover recipes from a range of different countries, such as “From the Source: Japan.” 

And if you prefer to view your recipe on a screen, give the app “All Free Recipes: World Cuisines” a go. This app allows you to find a diverse assortment of international recipes at the click of the button, and you can even find a recipe based on what you already have in your fridge. It makes international cuisine far easier to find, so make sure to give it a try!

Keep on keeping on

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

IMAGE: https://pixabay.com/photos/grass-sunrise-sun-nature-546794/ 

Okay, so this last one isn’t strictly travel based. But after this year, it’s definitely necessary. If you want to give any of the above resolutions a go, that’s great! And you definitely should. But if it all feels a bit much right now and you can’t even think as far in advance as tomorrow let alone the rest of the year, that’s fine too. 2020 has been exhausting, draining and heart-breaking. So, don’t be afraid to give yourself a rest in 2021 — you deserve it! The world will still be there for you to explore whenever you’re ready. 

Which of these resolutions are you planning on bringing with you into the new year? Do you have any resolutions that you want to share? Don’t be shy! Let me know in the comments section below.

Featured Image by Fiete Becher from Pixabay

How To Spend A Day In Glastonbury

Glastonbury is a town that is known throughout the world. The famous festival draws in over 200’000 visitors every year, far more than the population of the town itself. And the festival is even bigger in popularity as it is in size — entry tickets often sell out in record time. Despite living in the South West for over 10 years, I’ve never attended the festival. But I’ve paid frequent visits to the town itself, and it always leaves me wanting to come back for more. The magical and vibrant atmosphere makes it the best town in the South West by far. There’s something so captivating about the area, it really has to be seen to be believed. If you’re interested in visiting this wonderfully weird town, read on to find out how to spend a perfect day there. 

Visit the Abbey 

Image by lovelygrey from Pixabay

Start your day in the town by visiting the famous Glastonbury Abbey and learn all about its connections to ancient legends. As well as being the alleged resting place of King Arthur, the Abbey is one of the oldest and most significant religious places in the UK. There’s even an urban myth that claims that Jesus visited the Abbey, which inspired one of the most recognisable pieces of music in the country, Jerusalem. Considering its spiritual significance, it’s no surprise that it was once the richest monastery in the country

The Abbey is still considered one of the most important Christian sites in the UK, and one of the most beautiful ones too. Wandering around the undisturbed grounds is such a serene experience. The surroundings are beautiful all year round, but I most enjoy visiting the Abbey on a cold winter’s morning. The low hanging fog and the icy frost clinging to the ancient ruins makes the experience feel even more mystical and magic. As well as the magnificent grounds, you’ll also find a site museum which will give you a short but sweet account of the history of the site. With adult tickets costing just £8.50, it’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to the history of this spiritual town. 

Go Shopping

Image by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

This is something that I could spend all day doing in Glastonbury. There are so many gorgeous and quirky independent shops, you’ll struggle to choose where to go first! If you’re interested in crystals and eye-catching jewellery, you should definitely check out StoneAge. Even the journey to get here is an experience, as to get to the shop you must first pass through an archway embedded with all different kinds of crystals. When it comes to the cost, StoneAge has something for people on every budget, so you’re sure to find something beautiful that’s in your price range. 

If you’re more interested in decorating your house than yourself, make sure to check out Art of Africa. This shop has been selling breath-taking art since 1989, and it’s one of the most popular places to visit on the high street. From personal experience, I know that the products are of the highest quality, no picture can do them justice! This shop is a definite must visit. 

There’s a ridiculously wide range of great shops in Glastonbury, such as The Speaking Tree Bookshop, Goddess Temple Gifts and so many others. But my absolute favourite has to be Earthfare. Is choosing a grocery store as my favourite shopping experience a bit boring? I’d usually say yes — but not when it comes to Earthfare. As a vegetarian, this shop is my paradise. It’s full to the brim of mouth-watering and nutritious vegetarian and vegan food, and it’s a great place to find eco-friendly and cruelty free makeup and skincare too. Check out their online shop to get a taste of the products that they stock. 

Grab a Bite to Eat 

If you’ve never had the pleasure of dining out in Glastonbury, you’re in for a treat. There are so many great places to eat here, you’ll want to keep coming back until you’ve tried them all! Starting off with my personal favourite, The Blue Note Cafe is a must-visit. This is one of my favourite cafes in the country, let alone in Glastonbury! The highlight of the menu is by far the amazing range of veggie burgers. My burger of choice is the Jamie — a spicy vegetarian schnitzel topped with cheese and salad. But if you’re not into burgers, there’s still plenty on the menu from you to choose from, including filling sandwiches, nutritious salads and a selection of mouth-watering cakes. 

Another one of the best foodie places in Glastonbury is Hundred Monkeys Cafe. This ethical eatery uses local and in-season products to reduce their carbon footprint, and the eggs and meat they use are free range. But eating here isn’t just about cleansing your conscience — the food is absolutely delicious too. The menu is very hearty and nutritious — warming soups, jacket potatoes, filling sandwiches and the delectable cakes are just some of the highlights. And if you visit on a cold day, make sure to ask for a cuddle. Don’t worry, you won’t get kicked out — that’s the name of the best drink on the menu. 

If you don’t have a big appetite and you want to grab something quick and easy before your next stop, pay a visit to Burns the Bread, the best bakery in town. There’s a wide range of food on offer here, including savoury pastries, sweet treats and delicious sandwiches. You’ll find some great vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options here too, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re in the mood for a picnic, buy a selection of snacks here to take to your final stop. 

Climb the Tor 

Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay

Last, but by no means least, is Glastonbury Tor, one of the most spiritual places in the country. Make sure to have your lunch before you go, as it’s a steep climb! The Tor is a phenomenon, as it stands so 158 meters above the rest of the flat and low-lying levels of the area. In fact, the Tor used to be an island, as the Somerset levels once lay below sea level. The landmark was once a settlement for Pagan’s and Christians, and it’s still celebrated as a religious site today. 

It’s also believed that the hill lies on top of ley-lines, which give the landmark a powerful spiritual energy. Cynics may advise you to take this claim with a pinch of salt. But people who have visited Glastonbury know that it has a mysterious and mystic atmosphere. One thing’s for sure, there’s definitely something different about this town.  

When you get to the summit, you’ll find the ruins of a 14th century chapel. Make sure to look out for engravings in the stone left by the people who settled their centuries ago. And of course, the views you get up here are like no other. The surrounding land is so flat and stretches for as far as the eye can see. Although it’s a steep climb, it’s definitely worth it. And my mum did it when she was pregnant with me, so you can too! Reaching the summit of the Tor feels like you’re on top of the world, and it’s the perfect way to end your day in Glastonbury, a town like no other. 

Have you ever been to Glastonbury? What’s your favourite thing to do there? Let me know in the comments below!