Tag: Travel

South America’s 8 Must Visit Places…

My love of travel began back in the year 2000, and in the past seven years since then I have traveled to countless places, had numerous adventures and made many memories.  Over time the details of these trips can begin to blur and the emotion and excitement originally felt can fade into a distant memory. However my experiences in South America are made up of rare moments that I will hold in my heart forever.

It is a continent of magic, enchantment, inspiration & love and somewhere which evokes a great sence of wanderlust within me.  Though I have traveled there extensively it is a place I always long to return to and on trips back I have always had the feeling of my soul somehow coming home.  For me, that’s the bewitching allure of travel, and the thing that always drives me to keep exploring new corners of the world.

So here is my list of South America’s 8 must visit places… May they be as awe-inspiring for you as they were for me!

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1 – Cycle the ‘Road of Death’ in Bolivia.

‘The Road of Death’ is a twisting 80km mountainside trail, considered the world’s most dangerous road. Get a major adrenaline rush as you dodge trucks and local filled buses while admiring the incredible views of the sweeping mountains.

2 – Visit the Amazon Forest.

Bolivia’s ‘Las Pampas’ is one of the lesser visited areas of the amazon where you can get up close and observe capybara, monkeys and caimens in their natural habitat.  Plus hike through the forest, fish for piranha and swim with pink dolphins.

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3 – Samba Dance Around Colourful Brazil.

A visit to Brazil any time between Christmas and mid-February guarantees you a party as they prepare for, or celebrate, the famous Carnival. From Rio de Janiero’s Bloco Parties & Sambadrome, to all-night beach parties in Bahia, or the soulful drum beats of street parties in Salvador.

4 – Dance the Tango in Buenos Aires.

Explore Buenos Aires, the city of colour, vibrancy and romance offering incredible food & wine, beautiful architecture, fascinating culture and of course tango dancing.

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5 – Experience the Power of the Iguazu Falls.

A cascade of hundreds of waterfalls emerging from the jungle in a powerful mass over the Brazilian & Argentinian boarders.  Explore the falls by boat ride or walk up to ‘The Devils Throat’ and see views from the top of the biggest fall.

6- Get Lost in Bolivia’s Salt Desert.

Uyuni’s salt desert was once a great lake that dried into giant mysterious salt flats.  Stretching as far as the eye can see the white of the salt reflects light in an amazing way, making it appear like you are walking through the clouds.

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7 – Hike to the Ancient Aztec City of Machu Picchu.

Walk along Peru’s ancient Inca Trail which winds through mountains peaks, cloud topped forests and old Aztec ruins to finish at the ancient city of Machu Picchu.   

8 – Explore Hidden Islands on Lake Titicaca.

For an off the beaten track experience take an over-night trip to the hidden islands on Lake Titicaca.  Hike across the island by day and stay in family run guest houses by night to see beautiful views of natures and experience local life.

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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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How to Create a Home When you Love Travelling…

As you will well know if you have been reading my blog for a while – I love to travel! Along with fashion it is one of my favorite things.  Before starting university I took a year out with my best friends and traveled South America, Australia and part of Asia.  During summer breaks at university I traveled to Morocco and more of South East Asia and I also studied in Italy.  All of these experiences have been incredible and have shaped who I am as a person and I feel really lucky to have already experienced so much in my life.

Now I live in Milan, Italy – where I moved nearly three years ago.  This experience is a little different from my other travels because I am based in one place and hold down a normal (ish) job.  I still have the adventure of traveling but I am also building a life and a home here and developing my career.  As much as I like to find excitement in taking trips and visiting new places I also love how much I feel at home in Milan.  And I love the beautiful apartment that we live in and are redecorating to make our own.  Maybe we wont be here forever, we might move back to England or move to somewhere completely new, but the more I travel the more I believe it’s important to have somewhere that feels like home to come back to.  Somewhere that leaves me feeling balanced and relaxed and where I can recharge before my next big adventure.  So in today’s post I want to share with you five tips for creating a home when you love to travel…

Display Photos & Souvenirs taken from your Adventures.  These will serve as visual reminders of all the amazing adventures you have already had and make your home feel rich with memories.

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Buy Cushions, Throws & Fabrics on your Travels to Decorate your House.  Whenever I travel to a new place I always look for traditional, ethnic fabrics to buy and place around my house.  We have cushions on our sofa from Sri Lanka and throws on the beds from Costa Rica.  We mixed these with more minimal, neutral items to create colorful focus pieces that remind us of our travels.

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Bring the Things from Home you Care About.  Moving to another country normally involves cramming everything you own into one suitcase and means anything ‘non-essential’ needs to be left behind. But try to make room for a few of the things you really care about – like old photographs, letters from friends or jewellery & trinkets from family.  Having these things close to hand in your new space will make you feel comforted and create a feeling of being home.

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Include Some Inspiration.  Think about what you dream of achieving in your life and fill your home with items that align with that.  My home is filled with travel guides and maps to plan my next adventures and photography & fashion books so I can always find inspiration close by.

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Fill your Home with Love & Happiness.  Don’t just see your house as a go-to base in between trips or as somewhere you are only staying for the duration of your trip.  Fill your home with love & happiness and create positive memories there too.  Play music, cook tasty food, burn beautiful smelling candles, buy fresh flowers and invite friends over for dinners and parties.  All these things will bring life and love into your home so your adventures continue even when you are not traveling.

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(all photos taken from pinterest.com)

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Positive Vibes – Dream Big

Ever since I was young I have always thought it was important to dream big.  That’s why I took a year out and went traveling around South America with my best friends.  That’s why I did a study exchange to Milan.  That’s why I started my career as a Fashion Stylist.  And its something I always try to share and encourage through this blog.

We only live once so I think it’s really important to make sure our lives are as beautiful and exceptional as possible.  And a great way to do that is to dream big, visualize our ideas and work hard to achieve them!   Even the biggest of dreams is possible to achieve if you believe in yourself, have a plan and keep focused.

When I turned twenty I wrote a list of dreams I wanted to achieve before I turned thirty.  Some of those (like living abroad, starting my own business & traveling Sri Lanka I have done) but I have still got quite a few things I need to tick off.  So for today’s posts I thought I would share with you nine dreams I want to achieve.  I hope it gives you some inspiration and I invite you to share your dreams in the comments below…

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(traveling in colombia)

1 – Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Ever since one of my friends did this in her gap year I have been fantasizing about climbing to the summit of this incredible mountain in Africa.  It is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and from the top you can see beautiful views over Tanzania.

2 – Travel around Columbia.

Even though I have visited a lot of South American countries I have never had the chance to go to Columbia yet.  Everything I hear about this place sounds amazing and I dream about spending a summer backpacking here.

3 – Become a Master at Cooking.

This is something I am always working on.  I love trying new foods and I think a great way to learn about a culture is through the food.  Whenever I travel I like to study the food and learn how to cook something special.

4 – Go to Coachella & Glastonbury.

Ok I know this is technically two dreams.  But as a huge lover of both fashion & music I have always wanted to live the bohemian dream at these two festivals.

5 – Work in New York.

New York is one of the most inspirational cities for fashion and in the future I would love to work regularly over there styling Editorials and Photo Shoots.

6 – Visit India.

The colours, the food, the people and the culture.  Everything about India fascinates me and I have always dreamed about making a big trip around this country.

7 – Work with a Women’s Support Charity.

As a girl who is building her own business I believe it is so important girls & women are empowered and have the support they need to achieve their dreams and make a positive impact on the world and I would love to work closely with a charity who advocates this.

8 – Write a Book.

As a Blogger and a passionate writer, having my own book published and being able to inspire others would be incredible.

9 – Shoot an Editorial for Vogue.

As a Fashion Stylist who works with lots of international magazines working with Vogue is the ultimate dream!

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Why Traveling is Good for the Soul

Hello friends,

I hope you are all great after an amazing Easter weekend!

We had a really great time and five amazing days visiting my family in England! Even though I was technically going home, the whole weekend felt like a holiday.  I felt so excited all last week in the build up to going away and it was amazing to have long, fun filled days together without having to think about responsibilities or work.  We went out for lunch, watched the rugby with friends, ate amazing food, caught up with family at our big party on Easter Sunday and had long walks in the countryside.  It was so much fun!

And it reminded me of the main reason I love traveling – because it is good for the soul!  Having a packed out work schedule, a long to-do list and a whole load of boring responsibilities can sometimes mean we get stuck in the day to day stuff and forgot to make the most out of life.  Having an exceptional and beautiful life is something I am always working for and traveling reminds me of how important that is.  So just in case you needed a little reminder or wanted some inspiration to go traveling, here is my list of why traveling is good for the soul…

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(sigiriya – sri lanka – summer 2015)

Traveling opens your mind to new cultures, ideas and ways of thinking.

It allows you to build amazing memories with new people and places.

Traveling gives you the freedom to make the most of every opportunity and fill your day with exciting new experiences.

It can push you out of your comfort zone, boost your confidence and help you discover all the amazing things you can achieve.

With all the incredible experiences and challenges you are faced with, traveling helps you to get prospective and give you inspiration on the kind of life you want to live.

Traveling teaches you to live in the moment, enjoy every experience to its fullest and let go of negativity from the past.

Traveling lets you chill out and take a break from our crazy, fast paced lives…

which can give you the head space you need to reflect on your life and feel inspired to make some positive changes for the future.

And it teaches you to trust your instincts, your ability and your ambitions and goals, which leads to a full and happy life.

I decided pretty early on that I wanted my life to be adventurous, beautiful, exciting and interesting and traveling is one of my favorite ways to do that.  I hope it does the same for you!

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Unique Places to Visit in Northern Italy

I have been living in Italy now for three years, and every year I spend here I discover new and exciting thing about this magical and enchanting country.

I started off my experience here much like everyone else and my travel list was to be expected – Rome, Venice, Florence, Vatican City.  These places were undeniably amazing, but sharing the experience of seeing the Sistine Chapel shared with 50 other tourists or waiting over an hour in line to see Venice cathedral makes the experience a little less special.  The longer I have lived in Italy the more I have discovered the real gems of this country are the places less known of, that you have to search to find, or that involve a degree of adventure.  It’s in these moments that you see the real Italy.  The Italy with a big heart and amazing food that welcomes you in like a long lost family member.

If you want to experience a little of that (and why wouldn’t you?!) then here are my favorite unique places to travel in Northern Italy.  Maybe you can try and squeeze some in on your next visit to Milan, Venice or Florence…

Unique Places to Visit in Northern Italy

Parma.

The region of Parma is known for its incredible food – specifically it’s hams, cheeses and olive oil.  The best time to visit is in November when the Fall food festivals are in full swing and you can combine a morning of city site seeing with a local foodie festival.  We combined our visit with ‘November Pork’ a festival which celebrates food from local farms including cheeses, home-made pastas, wine and of course ham, salami and pork.

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Lake Como.

Located only an hour from Milan on the train, Lake Como is a perfect place to escape from the city and pass a day relaxing by the water.  Take a boat ride on the lake to visit the old villa’s and mansion’s of old Italian aristocracy or get lost walking around one of the little villages dotted along the lake’s edge.

Verona

Arguably one of the more touristy locations, Verona is definitely still worth a visit.  Take a local bike or walking tour around the city and take in the mix of ancient roman architecture and renaissance art dotted around the city center.  Visit the Amphitheater and Juliette’s (of Romeo & Juliette) balcony and then finish your day at a open air restaurant in one of the cites beautiful plazas.

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Lake Garda.

Located between Verona & Venice, Lake Garda is a beautiful, tranquil spot with little villages lining to shore of the lake.  Two places worth visiting are Peschiera del Garda and Sirmione where you can spend a day walking around their quiet streets, taking boat rides on the lake and eating seafood in sunny plazas.

Alba.

Another place to visit during the Fall, Alba comes alive through the month of November for the International Truffle Festival.  Plan your visit so you can spend a day exploring the exhibition, tasting the truffles and visiting local deli’s and wine stores.  Then finish up by visiting vineyards and farm based restaurants in the surrounding countryside to experience truffle eating at its best.

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Torino.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, Torino is an elegant and characteristic city 120km north of Milan.  The city has a more local feel but still offers lots of museums, churches, restaurants and sunny plazas so you can get your culture fix.  Strolling around the city and exploring its piazza’s and cobbled streets is a fun way to spend a day out of Milan.

Are you planning a trip to Northern Italy? Let me know where you are thinking about going in the comments below…

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