A Winter Adventure In Iceland

Happy weekend! I’m currently sitting at the airport, a cup of hot chocolate in hand as I try my best to keep warm. Reykjavik’s outside temperature is still coursing through my body and I’m more than ready to be back in a slightly warmer London. I shouldn’t complain though, I chose this destination for it’s winter wonders and even though the last four days have been unbelievably cold and unbelievably expensive, they have also been unbelievably breathtaking. 

Day One… arrival

Prior to my trip, I heard three things about Iceland. Firstly, tap water is safe to drink and extremely fresh. Secondly, tipping is not a thing so no need to do it and thirdly, Iceland is one of those places that will suck your bank account dry. Ha.

Keeping the third point in mind, I tried my best to save money wherever I could. I wasn’t planning on hiring a car so I booked myself accommodation right in the heart of Reykjavik. The place was a hostel of sorts, I had a private room with a shared bathroom and a fully functioning shared kitchen. This was perfect, as I saved a lot of money cooking the majority of my meals.

Wanting to make the most of my first day, I checked in and then took to exploring the town. It’s easily done by foot as it’s a pretty small town and one of the safest I’ve visited as a solo traveller.

As I wondered the streets, I saw everything from Hallgrimskirkja and the Sun Voyager, to the unique architecture of Harpa Concert Hall and the various artworks painted throughout the town.

Day Two… Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon Tour

The first stop on the tour was to Gullfoss Waterfall. I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls over the years, but nothing compared to the epic beauty that was Gullfoss. I’ve never seen anything like it and although the stop was a quick one, it was worth every second. Also, my photos do not do this place justice.

The second stop was a bonus stop to see the Icelandic Ponies. This wasn’t on the schedule but our driver thought it would be nice surprise. The ponies are cute, although not the friendliest if you don’t have food. As soon as I approached them empty handed, one tried to eat my coat!

After the ponies, we ventured on to Strokkur Geysir. Erupting every 6-10 minutes, this particular Geysir can reach heights of up to 65 feet.

The fourth and final stop on the tour was to a secret lagoon and the perfect way to end the day in my opinion. It’s a shock to the system getting into the lagoon from the change rooms because the outside temperature is ridiculously freezing, but once you’re in the there it’s well worth it.

One thing to note with the lagoon, is that prior to entering you are required to shower naked to remove any oils from your skin that might upset the balance of the water, so just an FYI, you can’t be afraid of nudity around complete strangers.

Day Three… South Coast and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Driving along the south coast, this tour is a long one. Almost sixteen hours in total. I was lucky to get a window seat, so for me, I didn’t mind the journey.

First up on the schedule was Skogafoss Waterfall. If you’re there at the right time of year, you can actually walk behind the waterfall, getting a unique perspective. For me, it was too wet when I visited, but the view from the front was more than enough to keep me happy.

After the falls, we set off to Diamond Beach. Upon arrival, I made my way down, only to encounter gale force winds. I’m not exaggerating when I say the winds were so strong, not only was it pushing me sideways but I lost my hat, my backpack rain cover and my camera case within seconds. Not wanting to lose anything else, I took a quick picture then headed into a nearby tourist shop until the tour bus was ready to depart.

Back on the bus, we headed to our last stop of the day, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This particular attraction was the whole reason I booked this tour and it did not disappoint! To see nature like this, was a truly remarkable experience and the highlight of my entire trip.

Day Four… northern lights and the blue lagoon

From the day I arrived up until the day I left, I tried to see the northern lights. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on my side. You see, when you book a tour, if the company believe on the evening that it’s not ideal viewing weather, they’ll cancel the tour. Every night my tour was cancelled. As a result, my advice would be, visit Iceland without the intention of seeing them. Then if you do, it’s a bonus.

With the lights a no go, I was off to the Blue Lagoon. I booked the 10am session and it was already super busy, so if you’re after a less crowded experience, I’d recommend the sunrise session.

For me, the lagoon wasn’t anything special. It was quite touristy and commercialised compared the lagoon experience I had on the Golden Circle tour. You do get a free drink at the lagoon bar and a mud mask as part of your entry, but with the price you pay for the entry ticket, I didn’t feel it made it worthwhile.

Day Five… cafe’s and departure

I had most of this morning free, so I spent it eating some yummy Icelandic pastries. First stop was Braud & Co where I opted for a delicious custard pastry. Made fresh on location, you can see the bakers busy at work, through the stores glass windows.

Grabbing my pastry to go, I then headed to Sandholt for some dine in deliciousness. I’d never had a Swiss mocha before, so I order one alongside a toasted sandwich and a white chocolate, raspberry passionfruit cake. My verdict? I have never tasted anything so good! After that first bite, I didn’t care what the price was, I was more than happy to pay.

Overall my trip to Iceland was a huge success. I packed a lot into five days and yet I din’t feel rushed. I relaxed in the evenings and now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to get back to my daily life in London. 

An Unforgettable South African Safari

Morning lovelies. This post has been a long time coming and I’m so glad I’m finally able to write it!

There’s so much I want to share with you about my ten day South African extravaganza, however to do so, we’d need about two hours and a bottle of wine. Or a pot of tea if that’s more to your liking! So instead, I’m going to keep this short and sweet and give you more of a visual diary rather than a text heavy post.

Booking my trip to South Africa was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made when it comes to travel. Everyday was a new adventure, filled with incredible memories that I’ll treasure forever.

Day One… Waterfront and Robben Island

Day Two… Table Mountain, Boulders Beach and Cape of Good Hope

Day Three… Townships, Lions Head, Bo–Kaap

Day Four… Inverdoorn Safari Lodge, Kuganha Tented Camp

Day Five… elephant safari

Day Six… springbok, giraffe and more

Day Seven… sunsets and lions

Day Eight… zebras and horse riding

Day Nine… hippo safari

Day Ten… Rhino Safari

Solo In Italy: Exploring Tuscany

How is everyone today? I hope well and feeling nothing but positive vibes. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this already, but earlier this year I quit my 9-5 job to pursue my dream of writing a novel. Between my last day in the office and writing non stop, I knew I needed a break of some sort, so I booked myself a ticket to Florence.

Italy, being one of my favourite countries to visit, I knew I was in for nothing short of, good food, good wine and even better scenery. I spent an entire week visiting Florence’s surrounding areas and stuffing my face with gelato every chance I got. It was the perfect post job holiday.

Florence Photo Diary

Cinque Terre Photo Diary

Sienna Photo Diary

Chianti Wine Region Photo Diary

San Gimignano Photo Diary

Pisa Photo Diary

Mini Getaway – Vienna To Prague

Morning all! Usually I’m not a morning person but today I’m awake and ready to go, so thought I’d be super productive and get this post out before work. Considering my trip to Vienna and Prague was over the Easter break, this post is somewhat delayed, but I wanted to share it with you nonetheless.

Day One… exploring Vienna

These days, it’s rare when my trips involve another person, but after a brief conversation with my cousin, there we were booking a four day trip together. Neither of us had ever been to Vienna or Prague and since they’re only a few hours apart by train, we thought why not.

After arriving at our Airbnb in the heart of Vienna’s city, we set off exploring. From Michaelerplatz and Schonbrunn Palace to cute little cafes and everything in between, Vienna was as beautiful, if not more, than I imagined.

After a full day of taking in the sites, we wanted to end our evening with a traditional Austrian meal, snitzle! Growing up with a German mother, snitzle was pretty much a staple in our household, but since moving to London I hadn’t had it once, so we went to Figlmuller a popular Austrian place for snitzle and potato salad and it did not disappoint.

Day Two… historical libraries, butterflies and colourful houses

This day, was by far my favourite of the trip. If you know me well, you know I love books, beautiful libraries and butteflies. Within the space of a few hours I was lucky enough to see all three. After grabbing a quick breakfast, we headed to the Austrian National Library and words can’t begin to describe the beauty that surrounded us. Arched ceilings, detailed artwork, every inch had me wide eyed and mesmerised. 

From the library, we headed to a nearby butterfly sanctuary and from there to Hundertwasser House. A popular spot with tourists, you’ll have to battle the crowds to get a glimpse of the colourful architecture, but being a short walk from the city centre, a must visit if you have the time.

Day Three… Prague and rooftop views

Making our way from Vienna to Prague, we were beyond excited to learn we’d been given a free room upgrade. I’ve never been upgraded before and this was the best of the best. They gave us the penthouse with our own private rooftop terrace, overlooking the entire city. It was breathtaking. 

Due to our unexpected, but welcomed upgrade, we decided to stay in for the evening. We made our own rooftop picnic and soaked up the sun for hours, as we caught up and took in the city views.

Day Four… easter markets and historical landmarks

Our flight back to our respective cities wasn’t until the evening, so we had an entire day to do a little shopping and see what Prague was all about.

First up, was the easter markets. After perusing the various stalls and grabbing some yummy treats, we headed to the Astronomical Clock for its hourly show. The crowds at the clock get ridiculously busy leading up to the show and if I’m completely honest, in my opinion, it’s not worth the wait. I’d advise watching it on YouTube instead and taking a picture of the clock as you pass by.

Next up on our schedule was Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the best trdelnik from the Good Food Coffee & Bakery. Soft sugary pastry with a delicious ice cream filling. I was in sugar heaven.

Not far from the Good Food Coffee & Bakery is Charles Bridge. One of the most popular attractions in Prague. It can take some time to cross the bridge, especially if it’s peak tourist season, but with musicians entertaining you along the way, it’s a pretty pleasant walk.

From the bridge, we explored the various streets, sat along the river and visited the John Lennon wall. The wall can change at any moment with new messages and images from artists around the world, so much so, that when we arrived, the wall was being painted over.

Vienna and Prague, two completely different cities, but equally beautiful in their own way. I’m so grateful to have been able to visit both and not solo for once! I do love my solo travels, but it’s always a bonus when I get to share the experience with someone else.

My Birthday Weekend In Paris

Bounjour my lovlies. I’m currently on the Eurostar stuffing my face with all the pastries I bought today in Paris. I’m in food heaven! This weekend has been incredible and I can’t think of a better way to have spent my birthday. I’m so excited for what the year ahead has in store for me!

This trip marks my fifth to Paris and I’m already buzzing for a sixth. When I think of what draws me to this beautiful Parisian city, it’s nothing specific, it’s more the feeling I get as I walk down the cobblestone paths, smelling freshly baked goods and hearing the foreign language around me. I believe there are just some places you connect with and for me, Paris is one of them. 

Arrival… a chic and affordable Parisian hotel

Accommodation wise, my friend and I chose to stay in a budget friendly hotel, waking distance from Gare du Nord station. Knowing that we’d be out exploring all day, we didn’t feel the need to splash out on anything too luxurious.

Based on the low room rate, we didn’t have high expectations on what we’d end up with, but as we checked in and located our room, we were more than pleasantly surprised. Modern chic decor, spacious and street facing. It was absolutely perfect.

Day One… croissants, the Louvre and Notre Dam Cathedral 

Pulling out our most Parisian attire we hit the streets for a day of exploring. Within five minutes we discovered a quaint little bakery, tucked away in a quiet street serving the most delicious mouth watering croissants. Our day couldn’t have started out better. 

Croissants in hand, we ventured off in the direction of the Louvre, stopping to admire the architecture and various markets along the way. As we reached the Louvre, the weather took a turn for the worst, but there was no way we were going to let it damper our moods. In fact, it actually worked out in our favour, as the crowds around the famous pyramids were almost non existent compared to what I know they can be. 

From the Louvre, we headed over to Notre Danm Cathedral. We opted not to go up the cathedral as I’d done so on a previous trip, but if you’re considering it, I say go for it. The view from above is incredible.

Around the corner from the cathedral is a cafe called Au Vieux Paris. Locals often visit here to enjoy a glass of wine and a small bite to eat, whereas tourists stop by to catch a glimpse of the beautiful exterior.

Day Two… the Eiffel Tower and famous chestnut pastries

Food wise, we decided to skip the research on top places to eat, instead opting for whatever caught our eye. As we wandered the streets, we came across a cafe called Marlette so we popped in for breakfast and it was absolutely divine. Simple dishes packed full of flavour, it was defiantly a winner in my eyes.

After breakfast we grabbed a take away coffee and began our walk to the Eiffel Tower. This wasn’t my first trip to the iconic landmark, but I wanted to see the structure from a different angle. My sense of direction isn’t the best, so I let my friend take the lead and being the star she is, she found the exact spot I was looking for.

Twenty minutes later, photo shoot now complete, we were ready to get out of the rain and into somewhere warm. The walk took us over two hours, many because we got lost, but when arrived back in the centre, we knew exactly where we wanted to go. Angelina’s! Also known as, pastry heaven!

As we sat down and admired the historical interior, it wasn’t long before our table was full of French onion soup, pastries, wine, you name it, it was there. The waiter even brought me a macaroon with a candle in it when he found out it was my birthday. So sweet! 

Pastry wise everything is good, but if you want to try something a little different, then Angelina’s famous chestnut pastry is the way to go. For me, the taste took a little getting used too and although I wouldn’t order it again, I’m glad I tried it. Everything else, I could eat a million times over.

For this trip we took a really relaxed approach. We walked, explored and let the day take us wherever our hearts desired. Doing this in places I’m fortunate enough to re visit, really gives me a new perspective of the city, which I absolutely love.

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