Hello & Hvala – Slovenia Travel Diary
Whether it’s foregoing a rain coat, or getting rid of a gigantic backpack, we all try to avoid looking like a tourist when we travel. Not only for safety, but because we want to experience a country like a local. Well, at least I do anyway. I don’t mind doing all the usual tourist sights when I visit a new city. But I also want to eat where the locals eat, visit the galleries hidden down side streets, and while away my day in the little coffee shop that only the coolest “millennials” know about.
It was this – among other things – that led me to me saying yes, when my friend invited me to join him for his birthday party in Slovenia.
Living Like a Local – Slovenia Travel Diary
I was lucky enough to travel with a big group of friends this time, which meant plenty of laughs, and some new travel companions. We all hopped on a plane from London, and in less than 2 hours we were in Trieste, Italy. Wait, what? Well my friend’s hometown is actually right by the border of Italy. The neighbouring villages/towns in Slovenia reminded me of a mix of Italy and the region around the French Alps. Lots of cute cafes, local food, mountains, sun and sea. The perfect combination!
I’ve not travelled to Eastern Europe, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Slovenia. I really enjoyed my trip though. Maybe it was because I got to spend time with my friends and with my Slovenian friend’s families. It felt comfortable, and casual. With no pressure to “make the most of the holiday” or anything like that. Highlights included: home-cooked meals, as well as trying local delicacies in some well-loved restaurants. Tip: be prepared to eat a ton of meat! We were chauffeured around some of the prettiest sights I’ve ever seen. I tried a lot of homemade alcohol (…yeah). And we partied. What better way is there to spend a holiday with friends?
In a way it felt like Slovenia was a home-away-from-home. I’ll definitely be going back, and I’ll be taking my
thanksgiving eating pants with me!
Don’t forget to check out more of my travel posts.
Old Friends & New Beginnings – Cyprus Travel Diary
Friendship is a funny thing. There are the acquaintances you meet once a year, the work colleagues, close friends, uni friends, best friends… The list goes on.
My recent trip to Cyprus was for a university friend’s wedding. This urged me to get in touch with some old friends who were also invited. You see even though we all live in London – albeit it opposite ends – we hadn’t seen each other since we graduated. I believe that friendships last the test of time, and that you don’t need to see someone everyday in order to stay friends. If you can meet someone once in a while, but it feels like nothing has changed, and you pick up exactly where you left off…well that’s ‘real friendship’. Still, part of me wondered whether the “banter” would be the same. Would we still get each other, especially with us all being at different stages in our life?
Old Friends – Cyprus Travel Diary
Weddings are always emotionally charged, but this one was different. We laughed, we even shed a few tears (read: I shed a few tears) – thanks to a beautiful ceremony/reception, and the father of the Bride’s speech. But more than that, it felt good to be amongst people I’d spent 3 days a week with for almost 4 years. It was as though things had never changed, although in actuality things had changed a lot.
New Beginnings – Cyprus Travel Diary
Seeing old friends made me realise just how far I’ve come in the past few years. I’ve moved to a new city, had some wonderful experiences, and created some awesome memories with the people closest to me.
It also got me thinking about where I’ll go next. What’s in store for little ol’ me? Maybe I’ll finally get round to planning my own wedding (I know, I’ve been lazy). Perhaps I’ll do that whilst flying around the world and creating some new memories. Whatever happens, I know that I’ll be doing it with some of the best friends anyone could ask for.
Don’t forget that you can also check out my Cyprus Travel Guide.
I always have so much fun when writing my ’24 Hours In…’ posts. Of course most of us choose to spend slightly more than one day in a city, when travelling. However I like the idea of compressing everything into such a short amount of time. After all, if it doesn’t make it into my 24 Hour guide, is it even worth doing at all? So here is my Cyprus travel guide, and my recommendations for spending 24 hours in the city of Limassol!
24 Hours in Limassol: A Cyprus Travel Guide
- Grab breakfast from a kiosk
- The streets of Cyprus are lined with kiosks (mini supermarkets), that sell anything and everything. My go-to is a can of iced coffee & a doughnut for breakfast. The doughnuts in Cyprus are some of the best you’ll ever have!
- Walk along the beach
- The promenade in Limassol is very people-friendly. Long stretches of footpath take you along the sea front, which is lined with cafes and the chance to dive into the crystal clear water whenever you fancy it.
- If you get tired, hop in a taxi
- It shouldn’t cost more than €10 to get around the city, and it’s much easier to flag down a taxi than navigate the complicated bus system.
- Walk around Limassol Marina
- Have lunch at Pixida
- Fresh seafood…by the sea. What more could you ask for?
- Check out the modern architecture at Limassol Marina
- Form meets function in the city’s newest development. It will certainly please your inner minimalist.
- Walk back through the old town
- The old buildings are a stark contrast to the modern architecture of LM, but equally as beautiful (and with a history to match).
- Do dinner at a local taverna
- You can’t come all this way without having a mezze!
- Finish the night at a local bar with drinks & shisha
- I’d suggest the Amathus hotel or Coya, but there are many accommodating bars & hotels along the strip.
Cyprus Travel Guide – Helpful Tips
- Hire a car or take a shuttle from Paphos/Larnaca airport – You’ll find the usual hire car companies, but if you don’t drive I’d suggest Shuttle Direct. SD is an affordable taxi service that makes you feel at ease.
- There are LOTS of friendly stray cats, and they’re all fed well by the local residents. As adorable as they are, some of them are sick/carry fleas, so if you do touch them, make sure you wash your hands afterwards.
- Toilet roll doesn’t go down the toilet in Cyprus. The pipes can’t handle toilet roll, and so you need to put it in the bins located next to the toilets. It might seem gross, but it’s really not that bad.
- Drinking water from the tap isn’t really encouraged, and tap water isn’t a thing in restaurants here. Just make sure you have a bottle on hand (it’s super cheap at around €0.50).
Well there you have it, my Cyprus travel guide to 24 Hours in Limassol!
Don’t forget to check out the my other 24 Hours In… guides.
Is This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?
Instagram is going through a bit a shit storm as of late, and that’s putting it nicely (sorry for the expletives). First it started with people liking old photos, then the confusing off topic comments came along, and suddenly a new algorithm. And now, well now we’ve got the constant following and unfollowing. And it’s left a lot of us feeling pretty jaded. Am I right, or am I right?
How & Why is it happening?
I’ve seen a lot of confusion on social, and people aren’t entirely certain what is going on. They’re seeing their follower numbers increase and decrease daily, whilst not actually moving at all. Big accounts have seen engagement drop (in fact we all have), and it’s left everyone asking why and how.
- The New Algorithm Ever since Facebook bought out Instagram, they’ve constantly been adding and taking away features. The latest big addition was the new FB-feed style algorithm. Meaning we don’t get to see a chronological feed anymore. Instead we see the people Instagram thinks we want to see.
- Follow, Unfollow Tools Yes, those people are not manually following and unfollowing 100 people a day. Well not the savvy ones anyway. For those of you that are up to date on your social tools, you’ll already know all about this. There are tons of sites and apps out there offering free or paid services that will automatically follow, unfollow, like, comment or send DMs for you via Instagram.
- People Buying Followers This has become all too common. You’d be surprised at how many of the 10K+ crowd have actually earned their followers naturally and organically. The tell-tale sign is when someone has a lot of ‘ghost followers’. A ghost follower is an account that doesn’t have many photos, isn’t very active, but follows an awful lot of people. You can usually spot them by the lack of profile photo.
- It’s Become Saturated There are just too many accounts now (over 600 million), which means it’s harder than ever to get yourself noticed.
- But It’s Still a Big Accounts Game Even if people did want to get themselves noticed, it’s still pretty difficult when the big accounts are the ones being featured and mentioned.
Is This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?
Well this may not be the official death of Instagram, but it has definitely taken a fair few blows. It’s not safe to say yet whether it will come out of this whole, but with over 300 million daily users* it seems as though people aren’t completely tired of Instagram just yet.
Keep an eye out for my post on how you can save your Instagram account!
Celebrating Chinese New Year in London
I am always up for celebrating an occasion, particularly those that involve food. You might remember Chinese New Year 2016, where I visited Yauatcha. Yauatcha is a dim sum teahouse offering contemporary Cantonese dim sum, and patisserie inspired by European culinary techniques and Asian ingredients. And every year their top chefs create a special opulent CNY menu. This year is no different, as it sees a variety of high-end ingredients and techniques make their way on to the menu.
I decided to stop by again with VA (chopstickpanorama), to check out what they had to offer for the Year of the Rooster – 2017.
Find out what we ordered below:
- Red Cocktail
- Truffle Crabmeat Dumpling
- Fried Wagyu Beef Dumpling
- Mala Lamb Salad with Jellyfish
- Lunar Chicken Pot with Cured Pork
- Seafood Braised Rice in Lotus Leaf
- Jasmine Honey
- Coffee Hazelnut
- Coconut Lime
- Apple Vanilla Choux
As per usual I’ve bolded my favourite dishes above, to give you an idea of what I enjoyed and would order again. Whereas a couple of the mains were too spicy for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the dumplings and the rice. The desserts – as always – were a delight, and it wouldn’t be a trip to Yauatcha without sampling one…or two. Our meal came to just over £140 (£70 each), including drinks. It’s certainly not inexpensive, but I can understand people parting with their cash for a special occasion.
Celebrating Chinese New Year in London
Yauatcha will offer their Chinese New Year menu through 16th Jan – 11th Feb. As well as their CNY menu, the restaurants will be laden with glowing red Chinese lanterns. It’s not all about the interior though. A traditional lion dance, said to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck for the following year, will be held at Yauatcha City on 27th January and Yauatcha Soho on 29th January.
If you fancy celebrating Chinese New Year in London, head to Yauatcha to view their Chinese New Year menu and make a reservation.
This post is in collaboration with Yauatcha however all views, photos and words are my own.
A Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions
2017 has started a little differently than 2016. Last year I decided I wanted to say “yes” to as many things as possible. That actually went pretty well…well, in the sense that I did it. Unfortunately it also meant my social calendar became pretty hectic. I had to balance my social life and work. And I burnt myself out. So 2017 has seen me saying “no” to things instead.
Why? Because I soon learnt that saying yes, and wanting to please everyone was really not the way to go. Unless of course I wanted to stress myself out to the point where I knocked 10 years off my life.
A Year of Self Help
You see, I’m highly susceptible to stress. The last few years have seen me manage it relatively well, but sadly last year I didn’t give myself the time to re-energise. Something which is extremely important when it comes to keeping my sanity. Because of this, at the end of 2016 I saw my mental and physical health plummet. This isn’t entirely to do with my social life, of course. There was a death in my family, a close family member was taken ill, and other factors came in to play (again, thanks Trump/Brexit).
So I decided that this year I want to make some big changes, and some bigger decisions:
- Take better care of myself
- Both my mental & physical health
- Be happier
- Travel more
- Seriously consider moving abroad
- London life is a big contributor to stress
- It’s something I’ve been considering for a couple of years
- Amsterdam & Copenhagen are on the table
- Think about buying a house
- Ben and I have been wanting to buy somewhere for a while
- It would give us a project to work on
- No noisy upstairs-neighbours
I might mess up a little along the way. In fact I can almost definitely say I will. But if I keep my main goal in mind – take better care of myself – then I believe I can make a difference in 2017. And at least I can say I had good intentions.
Mini Beauchamp travel bag by Knomo London *
Last year I made some travel resolutions, only they weren’t really resolutions. You see I’m not really into that. However I do like to set myself little goals and challenges throughout the year. Not only does it keep me motivated, but it gives me more of a purpose when I have something to work towards. In recent years, my main goal has been to travel as much as possible.
In 2016 I ticked off:
- Tokyo, Japan
- Osaka, Japan
- Kyoto, Japan
- Pembrokeshire, Wales
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Naples, Italy
- Sorrento, Italy
- Barcelona, Spain
- Paris, France
It was pretty damn awesome, and I loved every minute of it.
I’ve got the travel bag…I mean bug!
Let’s get a little practical for a minute. Travelling, especially when you only have cabin baggage, is not easy. I’ve been trying to hone my suitcase packing skills in recent years. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro, but I don’t do too bad. Of course having a trusty travel bag that you can take on your holiday is super important too. I like backpacks because I can easily shove all of my stuff for the day inside (read: camera, snacks & phone).
However I’ve always gone towards large backpacks. These can be difficult when the airline you’re flying with only allows one cabin bag. So this year I’m swapping my big backpack, for something a bit lighter – the Mini Beauchamp by Knomo London. It has a ton of pockets, which means I can fit a whole bunch of stuff inside. It’s also small enough that no one is really going to make a fuss about you bringing it on the plane with your case. Not that I’m suggesting people ignore this rule, but a tiny backpack never did anyone any harm, right? And if you are caught out, you can always pop it inside your perfectly packed case.
2017 Travel Resolutions
So what’s in store for 2017? Well I already have plans to visit:
Phew, that’s a lot. Anyone would think I’ve got the travel bug.
Keep an eye out on my travel tag for more!