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8 Reasons to Travel Colombia

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Since traveling around South America back in 2009 it has always been my dream to return to this magical continent and visit Colombia.

On our initial trip we chose to skip Colombia, feeling hesitant about the countries safely and political situation, and instead opted for the more central route of Peru, Bolivia, Brazil & Argentina.  I loved our trip and I would never wished to change it, but so many of the backpackers we met on route told us of the magic of Colombia and what incredible experiences they had there and the dream to explore Colombia was sparked in me.

This summer, nearly seven years after my first visit, we decided to finally make my Colombia dreams a reality.  We finished up work at the end of July, left our laptops at home and headed off on a three and a half week adventure that was one of the best experiences of my life.

It is an absolutely breathtaking place, full of colour, life, soul and some of the kindest people I have ever met.  Its a place of great contrasts, of poverty and wealth, creativity and corruption.  And it’s a place of awe-inspiring natural diversity with mountain ranges, amazon forest, cultural cities and Caribbeans beaches.  It is one of the best places I have traveled to, so I wanted to share 8 reasons to inspire you to travel to Colombia too…

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Unbelievable Bogota.

A city of contrasts, where anything really can happen, Bogota is exciting, lively, hectic and artsy.  Soak up culture in La Candelaria, see the cities creative side on a Graffiti tour, sample the incredible restaurants and bars or explore the markets and connect with the locals.  Bogota is a whirlwind that has so much to offer!

Beautiful Untouched Beaches.

Offering chilled Caribbean charm or rugged wilderness on the Pacific coast, Colombia’s beaches are a stunning mix of white sand, clear waters, coral reefs and aquatic wildlife.

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Some Incredible Coffee.

Colombia’s coffee is produced in the central ‘Zona Cafeteria’.  It’s lush, green landscape makes for some beautiful views and you can even have a relaxing stay in a Coffee Finca.  You can also find incredible coffee all over the country.  Try getting a freshly brewed cup from a street seller and drink it in a plaza watching the world go by.

It’s Home to the Kindest People.

Colombia’s are so friendly and kind.  They treat you like a family member and welcome you to their country with open arms.

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Inspirational Street Art.

Bogota’s legalization of graffiti in 2011 marked a creative boom for the city.  Sky scrapers, urban buildings and public walls are now the canvas space for street artists to express themselves and share their political viewpoints.  Everywhere you look, the city is an incredible mix of colors, patterns and murals.

Cultural Cartagena.

A World Heritage UNESCO Site, Cartagena is a colonial gem with cobbled streets, colourful houses, pretty plazas and a rich cultural offering of museums, churches and galleries.

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Diversity of Adventures.

Whatever type of adventure you like Colombia offers it all.  From sleeping in river-side lodges on Amazon excursions, climbing mountains in the Andes, trekking to the ancient Lost City or exploring one of the many National Parks, Colombia’s excitement and adventure comes in many forms.

Music & Dancing on Every Street Corner.

No matter where we were in Colombia there was always music booming from speaker systems and locals dancing together and having fun.  The energy for life is contagious and it’s one of the reasons why I love South America.

Have you ever traveled in Colombia? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below…

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Packing for a European Mini-Break…

I am really excited because this week I travel to rural Southern France to visit family and work with some new Image Consultation clients.  It will be my first holiday of the season and I couldn’t be happier about spending five days relaxing in the sun, exploring crumbing, rural villages and eating delicious French food.  It’s going to be beautiful.

As you know I love traveling and everything that it brings, except one thing – the packing!  I am a terrible packer!  Being a total fashion girl I want to take my whole wardrobe away with me every time and almost always end up over the weight limit and/or sitting on my suitcase to try and cram everything in!  This is especially difficult when, like for this trip, I only have carry on luggage so I really am limited to one small suitcase only!

Continue reading “Packing for a European Mini-Break…”

Must Have Pieces for Your Summer Wardrobe…

Temperatures are soaring here in Milan and summer has most definitely arrived.  I love the start of summer because it means holidays and travel are just around the corner and I am getting busy planning our summer trip.  But with it also comes the opportunity to inject some life into your wardrobe and add some key pieces to experiment and have fun with.

Here is my lowdown of six on-trend pieces to add to your wardrobe this summer.  Mix them in with your existing wardrobe for an easy trend update and use them as the foundation for building a new outfits.  It’s up to you! The important thing to remember when styling your summer outfits, make sure you have fun with it!

Continue reading “Must Have Pieces for Your Summer Wardrobe…”

The Cool Girls Summer To-Do List…

The start of June means summer is officially here!  I already feel like my summer has kicked off with a bang after my amazing week spent with vising friends exploring Italy and embracing the sun – blog post to follow soon!

We spent the week reminiscing about our beautiful summers past and catching up on what we have planned for the next few months.  And it confirmed my idea that summer’s are meant to be spent with friends, having fun, embracing all opportunities and creating amazing memories.  Here is my cool girls summer to-do list with ideas to make sure you have the best summer ever…

The Cool Girls Guide to Summer

Take a European City Break with Best Friends.

Taking a trip to a European city with your best friends is such a fun way to kick off your summer season.  Discover cute shops and cafes by walking around the city streets, feel inspired at exhibitions and museums, drink red wine in sunny plaza’s and try delicious foods.  Plus its a great way to bond with your friends and create cool memories together.

Go to a Music Festival.

Get your girl group together and hit up a music festival this summer.  You can go to a day festival in your city, spend a weekend camping at a cool hippie festival like Glastonbury or Bestival, or combine it with a beach holiday and hit up some of the festivals in Croatia, Spain or Portugal.

Go Strawberry Picking.

Strawberry picking in summer is so much fun and there are strawberry farms all over the countryside.  Put on vintage dresses and spend the afternoon with friends picking strawberries and chilling in the sun.  The best part is feasting on strawberries afterwards or having a baking session and making strawberry tarts.

Throw a Garden Party.  

Embrace sunny Sunday’s and throw a girls party in your garden.  Serve prosecco, summer fruits, cupcakes, mini sandwiches, healthy salads and tasty teas and ask everyone to wear cute dresses.  You can have fun getting creative by covering your garden in bunting and decorating the table in a cute vintage theme too.

Read an Inspirational Book.

Long summer days are the perfect time to get reading and feel inspired.  Don’t know what to read… Check out my Reading Guide for ideas.

Have an After-Work Picnic.

Even if you have to spend you days in the office, embrace summer evenings by organizing to meet your friends for an after-work picnic.  Go to a cool park in your city, get everyone to bring some food, pop some prosecco and have dinner together al-fresco.

Hit the Beach.

You have to hit the beach at least once during summer even if you don’t live by the sea.  Plan a girls holiday to a beautiful beach town, go island hopping somewhere exotic or take a road trip and visit a cute seaside town, then spend the days swimming in the sea, eating ice-creams and topping up your tan.

Check Out Some Exhibitions.

If travel isn’t possible for you this summer check out what cool things are going on in your local area.  Visit some exhibitions, check out new museums and see what fun events are happening.  Its a great way to feel inspired and excited about your summer plans without breaking your budget.

Find a Cool Summer Cocktail Spot.

Long summer nights are the perfect opportunity to have a girls night out with friends.  Plan to go somewhere you haven’t been to before like an artsy pub, an underground speedeasy or a cool rooftop bar.

Travel to a Country You’ve Never Seen Before.

Get somewhere ticked off you travel bucket list by organizing a trip to a country you have never seen before.  Traveling is a great way to get inspiration, open your mind and have an adventure and the best way to add some magic to your summer is going somewhere exciting and new!

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What to do When you have Itchy Feet…

If you read my blog regularly (thank you!) then you will know how much I love traveling and how I am always dreaming about new places I want to visit and discover.  Apart from fashion, traveling is my favorite thing to do with my time and I have invested so much time and energy into taking big trips and seeing the world.  That’s because traveling inspires me, the discovery and new experiences it brings helps me to grow and change the way I see the world and it makes me feel happy and excited about life.  I honestly feel so lucky for all the incredible places I have visited so far and I can’t wait for all the future trips I plan on taking.

Right now we are starting to research for our summer trip and we are thinking Colombia in South America!  So I have been reading a lot of travel guides and searching travel blogs for tips about top places to visit in Colombia.  All this makes me super excited because Colombia sounds amazing!  And it also brings back beautiful memories of my gap year traveling around South America! But it is also giving me pretty itchy feet and making me yearn for my South American travels right now.

I am lucky because it will only be about ten weeks until we take our summer trip but I know there have been times when there have been no trips on the horizon and my life has been consumed by day to day things and working.  And in times like this its easy to feel like travel is far away and out of sync with your lifestyle.  So today I wanted to share with you my five easy ideas to do when you have itchy feet and how to bring adventure into your life when you can’t travel anywhere.

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Research.

Even if you don’t have any trips coming up in the immediate future always keep yourself open to the idea of traveling by doing research.  Read travel magazines and blogs, save and rip out articles of places you want to visit, make a Pinterest Board of travel ideas or make a travel book of places you dream of visiting.  Keeping you travel dreams in mind increase the chances of you actually making them a reality and gives you things to feel excited for in the future.

Inspire Yourself.

Search for new sources of inspiration by watching travel documentary’s, reading magazines like National Geographic, visiting photography and anthropology exhibitions, reading travel books and journals and watching adventure films.  Following the adventures of others will open you mind and bring you inspiration for exciting things you can to do in the future.

Embrace Your Local Scene.

Find out what exciting things your local scene has to offer and make an effort to visit them in your free time.  If you are really busy dedicate one day a month to having fun and take off for an adventure in your city or local area.  Visit museum or exhibitions, soak up the culture in another near-by town, go hiking or cycling and explore the countryside or check out local festivals and events.  You may be surprised how much your area has to offer and it will give you appreciation of the amazing place you live in.  To find out about whats going on check Trip Advisors of your town, blog posts, facebook events and local magazines and newspapers.

Push Yourself to Try New Things.

Create adventure in your day to day life by pushing yourself to try new things and create new experiences.  Eat out at new restaurants, take some fun classes, try new sports, experiment with cooking exotic foods, visit parts of your city you haven’t seen before.  Including new things in your life keeps you feeling inspired and energized, helps you learn and grow and can even open doors to new opportunities and introduce you to new people.

Get Creative.

Remember and feel gratitude for all the amazing trips you have always taking by finding creative ways to honor them.  Create scrap books or your trips or make a photo wall in your home showing all your favorite trips and experiences.  Honoring your past travels in this way will help to keep them alive and fill your life with positivity and achievement.

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How to Live Like a Milanese…

I have been living in Milan for nearly three years now, and although England is definitely still my home, I find it amazing to see how settled and homely Milan feels to me now.  I really noticed it on my recent trip home last month.  I was so excited to go home and had such strong feelings of being home when I arrived, but then when I got back to Milan a week later it felt like I was coming home too.  I found it so interested how both places can feel like home to me but in two very different ways, and it made me happy to think Milan has become my home away from home.

I started to think about all the little personalities traits and Milan-isms this city has for me that makes it different from home.  And though I am definitely still 100% English, I have noticed myself picking up on them and how they have become normal for me.  It reminds me how no two countries or even cities are the same which is why traveling is so exciting and eye opening for me.

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(Photo from Pinterest.com)

Here are some of the things that make up the personality of Milan for me…

Saying Ciao A Lot.   Especially when speaking on the telephone, which Italians love to do.  When you want to end the conversation you have to say Ciao Ciao Ciao and then they say Ciao Ciao Ciao and it goes on for a little while.

Taking Regular Espresso Breaks.  Italians go for espresso several times a day and there are so many coffee shops all over Milan.  You order and drink it standing at the bar and are in and out really fast.  It’s a great pick me up when you are on the run.  Normally there are lots of people bustling to get to the front but the coffee people always seem to know who’s drink is who’s!

Becoming a Regular at Your Favorite Cafe or Restaurant.  If you keep going back to the same place and they get to know you they will greet you like family, bring you things to try from the kitchen and make you feel so welcome every time you stop by.

Having Good Shoes and Handbags is Essential.  Milanese girls always have beautiful shoes and handbags made of high quality leather.  Its a great way to transform a basic outfit into something elegant and chic.

Skipping Happy Hour For Aperitivo Instead.  Nearly every bar in Milan does Aperitvo in the evenings and its so good.  Order a Spritz or Prosecco and get served yummy snacks of olives, cheeses, salads, pasta and savory pastries with your drinks.

The Rules are Made to be Broken.  Italians follow the rules up until a point but they are very comfortable bending them when they need to and are totally fine with you doing the same.  Need to park in the middle of the road while you run into a store to pick something up – no problem.  Don’t have time to buy a ticket before you jump on the train – no problem.  Just flash them a smile and its always fine.

Dressing Stylish is a Priority.  In Milan everyone loves fashion and being stylish and chic is a major priority.  I love it because everyone of all generations always looks beautiful and you can get so much style inspiration from the people you see on the streets.

Taking your Dog Everywhere.  Milanese people love dogs and they bring there little dogs out with them everywhere they go.  In restaurants, cafes, on the trams – once I even saw people bringing their dogs around Ikea!!

Sushi is Everyone’s Favorite International Food.  Italians are really proud of their heritage and their food and don’t often eat the food of other cultures.  However the exception to this in Milan is Sushi which everyone loves and there are sushi places all over the city.

Picking up on these things makes me feel like I am starting to live a little more like the Milanese and makes me so happy Milan has become my second home.

What are your favorite differences about living abroad? Let me know in the comments below…

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Must Have Fashion Items for Spring…

I love to see the new trends at the start of every season and I think it provides a great opportunity to experiment with your style and try something new.  A great way to do this is to choose some of the seasons key pieces and add those into your wardrobe for an easy, on-trend update.  You can mix them into your favorite outfits or use them to breath some life into your wardrobe staples.

Here is my lowdown of eight beautiful on trend pieces for Spring…

Continue reading “Must Have Fashion Items for Spring…”

My Spring Reading List

Spring is upon us here is Milan! The weather has been amazing recently with sunshine and blue skies nearly everyday.  Its only April and the weather is as good as an English summer! This makes me so happy because it means summer is on its way.  And makes me long for lazy weekends spent chilling in the park and reading lots of books.

So with that in mind I thought I would share with you my Spring reading list.  What are you reading at the moment? I love book recommendations so please share your favorite books in the comments below…

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(photo from pinterest.com)

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff – Set between Copenhagen, Paris & Dresden in the 1920’s ‘The Danish Girl’ explores ideas of love, gender, marriage and discovering true identities.  The story expresses a beautiful insight into the main characters feelings and emotions during his transgender journey and becoming one with himself.  I can’t wait to watch the film too.

Self by Yann Martel – Written by the author of Life of Pi, ‘Self’ explores the differences between women & man, violence & happiness and life & death through his half autobiographical-half fictional novel.  I am intrigued to see what this book will be like, but as I loved Life of Pi I am expecting it to be great!

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie – This book tells the story of an abandoned kitten rescued from the New Delhi streets and taken to live with a Dalai Lama in Tibet.  The cat spends it days sitting next to the Dalai Lama and listens to his conversations & teachings with Hollywood Stars, Buddhist Masters, Professors, Philanthropists and all who come to visit the Dalai Lama.  Over time the cat gains an insight into finding peace in a busy and challenging world and shares interesting ideas on finding happiness from his own perspective.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg –  Ever since reading Sophia Amoruso’s book I am all about the Girl Boss! So Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In went straight on my reading list.  Her autobiography speaks about building a career, being a powerful women in business and getting to the top of your field.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

If you want some more book recommendations check out my post ‘My Winter Reading Guide’