View of Porto from Dom Luis I Bridge

3 Days in Porto

Last Thursday I flew to Porto, and found the perfect city for a long weekend. Smaller and, so I was told, more soulful than Lisbon, Porto is interesting enough to fill three days, but not so large that you have to race around ticking things off your to-do list. You can take your time, stop for long lunches of drinks without feeling guilt, and return home feeling like you’ve actually been on holiday. My Porto itinerary actually fitted very neatly into three days – here’s what I got up to. Continue reading

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Places I Can’t Wait to Revisit

As a rule I don’t like to go back to the same places when I travel – my reasoning is that there are so many amazing things to see and do in the world, revisiting places I’ve already been to is a waste of my limited money and annual leave. But sometimes I go to a place and know that I’ll have to come back one day, whether it’s to see different parts of a country, have an experience I missed the first time around, or just to dip back into a culture that I loved so much. So today I want to talk about all the places I know I’ll go back to someday, and am already excited to revisit. Continue reading

View of Lake Bled from Ojstrica , Slovenia

How to Get the Most Out of Lake Bled

It’s been a while but I finally got around to compiling my second post about my trip to Slovenia in June (so many photos, so little time). After a couple of days in Ljubljana I took the bus to Bled, which I soon found I had mixed feelings about. The lake is breathtakingly beautiful and that is an indisputable fact, but the town is pretty touristy and the number of loud 19-year old backpackers around did start to get to me whenever I was in the town.

The trick is to zone out all the touristy rubbish and find the quiet spots it hasn’t quite reached yet. The real magic of Lake Bled is in the roads less travelled, the understated restaurants and the footpaths you’re not sure anyone else has found yet, and I want to share my tips for discovering them. Continue reading

View of Ljubljana, Slovenia

A Love Letter to Ljubljana

Those who know me know that I’m not a romantic person. I’m not good at going out on a limb with my feelings and tend to inch slowly into relationships, cautiously dipping a toe into the water before I dive in. I view the idea of love at first sight with an overwhelming sense of cynicism; while some couples claim they knew they were meant to be from the moment they met, that instant, instinctive attraction is something I’ve never experienced and don’t expect I ever will. It’s just not in my nature.

But then last week I arrived in Ljubljana and was reminded that this isn’t completely true. As soon as I stepped out of my taxi and made my way through the cobbled streets to my hostel, a familiar feeling of calm contentment settled in my stomach. It was the elusive but unmistakable sensation of belonging, of arriving in a place and knowing in your bones that it’s a match made in heaven. I might not fall fast for people, but places can seduce me in no time at all. Continue reading

Stepping stones at Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire

A Day Out at Bolton Abbey

We’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing weather recently, and I’ve been loving it. There’s something about the sunshine which makes it almost impossible to feel down or stressed – when the weather is good all I want to do is get outside and enjoy it. Last Sunday Bolton Abbey was my chosen spot for a day of adventuring, and it felt so therapeutic to get out of the house, breathe in some fresh countryside air and enjoy the beautiful Yorkshire scenery. Continue reading

Essential Sites I Used to Book my Trip to Slovenia

So if you follow me on Twitter or even *gasp* know me ‘IRL’, you’ll know that I’m finding it hard to shut up about my holiday to Slovenia that I’m jetting off on this Saturday. I’m so excited because it’s somewhere I’ve been dreaming of going for a couple of years now, but a big part of my excitement process if the actual planning of the trip.

I’ve always known that package holidays are not for me, and one of the main reasons is that I genuinely enjoy putting the trip together myself. Booking flights, finding hotels, researching where to go and how to get there – these things are all part of the holiday experience for me and really help build my anticipation! As I’ve never been to Slovenia and am travelling alone with a very limited timescale this 1-week trip has required quite a lot of forward planning, and these are the sites I’ve used to help me arrange my precious 7 days. Continue reading

Zadar bell tower view

Why I’m Going On Holiday Alone

My next holiday is a fairly monumental one for me – for the first time in my life I’m going away by myself, winging it alone for a whole week. I’ve been wanting to take the solo holiday plunge for a while now – I even picked a destination and started considering dates – but I think in the back of my mind I was always doubting my own conviction, worried that in the end I’d wimp out, find a reason why it wasn’t possible and promise to try again next year. So I felt hugely proud of myself when I booked my flights to Slovenia a few weeks ago, on a non-refundable basis. No going back now.

As expected, several people have expressed concern, surprise or even confusion about my decision to go on holiday by myself. The worries for my safety expressed by my grandparents I accept as their duty, but more irritating are the assumptions that this isn’t a choice – that I’m being forced to travel solo due to a lack of other options. So like many before me, I’m setting the record straight about why I want to try going on holiday alone. Continue reading

Buddha at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

First Impressions of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Are you ready for a shocking revelation? Ok, here goes. I have lived in Leeds almost my entire life and until a couple of weeks ago I’d never visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I’m going to just assume that you gasped after that sentence, because it is pretty incredible. I blame my schools to be honest – why they insisted on doing all those trips to the Royal Armouries when there was another free attraction so close, I will never know. Anyway, I’m supposed to be sharing my first impressions of the Park aren’t I? Apologies, I digress… Continue reading

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Underwater Exploring in Belize

For the second half of our Central America holiday, my friends and I headed to the islands of Belize for some well deserved relaxation time after our action-packed week in Guatemala. Our plan was to take a boat from Belize City and spend a couple of days each on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, sunbathing, snorkelling and consuming our weight in Caribbean food and rum. Sounds like heaven right? It was. Continue reading

Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint, Antigua, Guatemala

How to Spend a Week in Guatemala

It’s been 10 days since I got back from my whirlwind 2-week holiday around Guatemala and Belize, but in some ways it already seems like a lifetime ago. Sitting here now in my flat still half in my office clothes, it seems hard to believe that this time 2 weeks ago I was sunning myself on a boat in the Caribbean Sea, jumping off the side to swim next to turtles and snorkel on a reef…I’m going to stop before I start sobbing into my duvet.

Anyway, this post documents the first half of my first Central American adventure, plotting my route around the highlights of Guatemala. There are Mayan ruins and volcanoes, ancient cities and the world’s most beautiful lake…but I won’t ruin the stories just yet. Everyone hates a spoiler. Continue reading