day 3 | my top five travel tips

Inspiration, July, Travel

travel tips

1. meet local people

the one thing i have learnt with my travel experiencing (granted this isn’t of the backpacking kind) is to meet the locals. booking via a couch-surfing type site like 9flats.com or airbnb.com you’ll certainly be able to. basic english is spoken in most countries so you can find a way to begin the dialogue. you can learn the best places to go (that won’t rip you off) and where to avoid.

2. wake up early

i believe in this whether you are going on a city break or beach holiday. even though i am not a morning person, getting up early can allow you to get in early on some tourist attractions and enjoy a sun lounger in a little peace. it can be a magical time for photos too!

3. take lots of photos

who cares if you look like a tourist? you are one! some places you might only get to visit once in your life time (gosh the thought of that just made me very sad). photos are priceless; easily shareable, do not cost you a penny and with the digital world these days, can last a life time.

4. eat local food

just as important as meeting the locals is eating like a local. to be honest, in my experience this is where i have found the best (and often cheaper) food. dig in, and taste a bit of everything.

5. break out of your comfort zone / slow down

i put these two together because i feel they connect. do not be afraid of trying something different. slow down to embrace and enjoy every. single. damn. moment. soak it up. drink it up. and don’t plan too much. it almost ruins the adventure.

wonderlust. it’s a beautiful thing.

blog signature

Advertisements

3 courses, 3 days, 3 countries | part II

2015, Culture, Food, June, Travel

happy first day of june. the weeks literally fly by, and i feel especially when

so apparently i started writing this post on june 1st. and 10 days later i’m actually completing it…i promise i wanted to get this up a lot earlier than that but at the moment i seem to posses an inability to post regularly. as in, more than once a month.

and for that i apologise.

to finish my 3 courses, 3 days, 3 countries post i close with brussels.

brussels is beautiful and quaint. and a cobbled streets-kind of charming.

IMG_5293 IMG_0450

^^that beautiful, coloured building right there is at grote markt or grand place. it lit up like that at night. i couldn’t believe my eyes. i had this overwhelming feeling that if i twirled i could be a princess.

that’s the only way i can describe what seeing that felt like.

we ate our dinner part of the trip at a sweet pub restaurant called skeivelat. caroline and i opted for the house ribs. and oh my.

IMG_0451 IMG_0443

can someone say lip smacking? or finger licking… well there i said it. because that’s what happened.

IMG_0440 IMG_0447

and you can’t leave brussles without sampling some kind of chocolate.

you just can’t.

IMG_0441

IMG_0446

IMG_0445 IMG_0449

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

blog signature

3 courses, 3 days, 3 countries | part I

2015, Culture, May, Travel

if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that one of the items i had on my 30 things before 30 list was to have 3 meals in 3 countries over 3 days.

it happened people. it actually happened.

i kept pinching myself…all the while thinking “is this real life..or just fantasy?”

ha. but yes. yes it was real life.

words can’t really express how i feel when i have the freedom to explore. explore cities that are beautiful to me. and to do that with food that is divine, decadent, delicious.

i was some kind of delirious.

{and apparently i get some kind of poetic when it comes to describing my travel and food experiences}.

london

london you sweet, sweet thing. we didn’t spend a lot of time here. {but that’s ok because i have plenty more london exploration trips planned this year}.

IMG_0423

we stayed near london victoria coach station and my friend caroline, who knew the area pretty well, chose this cute cafe just a 3 mins walk from the coach station entrance on elizabeth street.

IMG_0452

IMG_0424

thumbs up from me baker & spice.

we decided to take the megabus. lawd. cheap travel…but goodness gracious i was reminded why i don’t like the general public.  hey ho, we survived.

paris

we arrived early friday evening and headed straight to our accommodation. airbnb of course.

i fell in love with paris after my first trip there last summer. and it didn’t disappoint, even in the rain.

IMG_0431

saturday morning we went on the wego walking tour. i can’t give the tour enough cred. it’s run by french couple paul and paulina. paul is the guide while paulina takes the pictures. firstly they’re a cute couple, second….paul is a fantastic tour guide. he is energetic but mostly incredibly passionate about paris. they both are. just go to trip advisor and look up their tour. you’ll see what i mean.

IMG_0432

actually i’m going to just give you the link. here. go check it out. i can absolutely promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

IMG_5266

IMG_5265
^
^caroline enjoying a yummy crepe^^

IMG_0429

IMG_0433
^
^this was right by the bridge where princess Di died. rather surreal^^

IMG_0428

the tour was 3.5 hours long, which flew by. and after a few eiffel tower photos we headed to le cafe du marche for lunch. le cafe du marche is a cute cafe right around the corner from the eiffel tower.

IMG_0435

IMG_0434

IMG_0437

we then headed over to another cafe for hot drinks and some kind of dessert. because. paris.

IMG_0427

la terrasse is in the same area as le cafe du marche and perhaps is my new favourite. great views, wonderful service and for me a great location. also their creme brulee is amazing.

IMG_0438

we weren’t leaving paris till sunday morning so it was a great opportunity to explore this beautiful city a little more. we wanted to get some touristy goodies to take back to the uk so we headed over to the sacre coeur in the montmartre area, north paris.

IMG_0436

IMG_0453

in the evening we headed back to la terrasse for food.

la terrasse also has the best non-alcoholic cocktails. period.

IMG_5270

you know what i love about the parisian restaurant service? they don’t rush you. we spent at least 3 hours here. a glorious, indulgent 3 hours.

IMG_0454

paris , vous avez un petit morceau de mon coeur.

watch this space for part II.

blog signature

london markets ¦ borough & camden

2015, April, Culture, Travel

in all the time i have grown up in the uk and have travelled to london, up until 2 weeks ago, i had never been to camden or borough market {i can hear the gasps}. one of my new year goals this year was to explore more.

because exploring …

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You

and believe me when i say… there is nothing like camden or borough market. i don’t think the following photos give you the best picure of each market because really, you’ll need to see it for yourself.

we were originally going to go just to camden but my fabulous childhood friend julia mentioned that she had never been to borough market. so we decided to do both in one day!

tip: leave plenty of time to explore if you’re going to do both in one day. we had planned to do so but by the time you drive into london {if that’s what you choose to do}, park the car and get the underground, you’ve used up a lot of time.

borough market

now borough market is more of a farmer’s market.

the smells tho. the wonderous scents wafting through the air like the perfume of a temptress.

so so good.

freshly baked bread, cheese glorious cheese {i love cheese —> take that dairy intolerance}… if i lived closer to london and in my total daydream “i could be the female version of jamie oliver” moment, i would absolutely, most definitely buy my weekly produce from borough market.

 IMG_0161

IMG_0159

IMG_0165

IMG_0167
^
^these vanilla custard doughnuts tho^^

IMG_0163

i was too much in awe to get any more shots. but borough market – i will be back {not in an arnie voice}.

camden market

camden market was something else. endless. and wonderful. and endless. i don’t think we got through all of it. in fact. we didn’t.

IMG_0170

but there was so much to see. so many stalls and so much “i won’t find this anywhere else”.

IMG_5241

the food stores are impressive. they are all of the cooked food type, plus drinks and desserts. i could have stayed there all day just to eat. you all know how much i love food.

IMG_5240

everyone needs to visit the jerk station. just saying.

IMG_5242

freshly made waffles? yes please. made by two suberb french chefs.

IMG_0158
^
^because one must pose when in camden

london has several other markets. and according to visit london there 12 that absolutely must be seen.

3 down, 9 more to go. check them out here.

here’s to exploring.

blog signature

3 courses, 3 countries, 3 days | #comingsoon

2015, April, Blogging, Culture, Food, Travel

it’s 1.18am and i’m still awake. i don’t know whyyyyyy.

anyway.since i am awake…

roughly {and i mean really roughly} two years ago, i had an idea.

it was mostly around the time when i was living in america and was feeling incredibly europe-sick. i missed how easy AND quick it is to get to a different country on this side of the world. as in —> 2 hours and 30mins from london to paris #eurostar

so i thought… 

why not combine my love for food and passion for travelling into one?

IMG_4991

and so the 3 courses, 3 countries, 1 day trip was born.

however. when i moved back home to england last year and i started the planning the trip, i quickly realised that trying to do breakfast, lunch and dinner in 3 countries in one day was going to be a challenge. flights and train times were working against me. i also wanted to make sure i enjoyed and savoured each moment … i mean who wants to rush a meal in paris? #nah

so i decided it would be better to spread it across 3 days. 3 days of glorious food and sight seeing in 3 beautiful cities.

when #wonderlust comes to life.

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”
Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

dsc00751

of course i will be blogging about it. so watch this space. and catch it real time on my twitter and instagram feeds.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
Mark Twain

#lifeisforliving

i’m coining it #3xc

#comingsoon

blog signature

for the new year

2014, Blogging, December, Inspiration, Travel

last year i talked about having more faith in 2014. and i’m still working on it.

2014 has been a year of ups and downs, but it’s also been a steady wave. does that even make sense?

it’s been a year of transitioning and learning and i don’t think this transitioning is over. to be honest i don’t think i’m ever going to get off the transitioning train!

because life is a constant transition.

“look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
― tom stoppard, rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead

what have i learned in 2014?

that i can’t control everything. but also that the act of letting go requires some kind of stability.

a sense stability in a state of instability.

“i’ve always believed there are moments in our lives which can be defined as a transition between the before and after, between the cause and the effect.”
― benjamin x. wretlind, castles: a fictional memoir of a girl with scissors

i learnt that laughter has great healing power.

and forgiveness is strength.

i learnt that i love frosty mornings and crunchy leaves as much as i love lazy afternoons on a humid july day.

Image-1

i realised that it is never too late. and giving things a second go can be all the more worth it.

for 2015 i promise to wear even more lipstick. choose laughter over anger (counting to 10 helps right?). travel…

…wait no. what i really mean is explore. text less, call more. spend time. take risks. take photos. i need to take more photos.

“life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
confucius

i promise to unplug more often.

here’s to a happier, transitional, gorgeous 2015.

blog signature

thirty things before THREE-0 *** plus a life update

2014, Blogging, Career, December, Inspiration, Travel

hiiii there.

i managed 6 days of the 12 days of christmas. i know that every time i do a blog-every-day style series i usually pre-write the posts because i know life can sometimes get crazy busy. and with christmas it sure did! with prepping for christmas day, family, and work (oh boy work……sooooooo busy) i barely had a moment to breath.

so with that i apologise.

christmas was good. quiet this year. but i definitely can’t complain when i got (amongst other things) harry potter books 1-7 (the bookworm in me seriously did the electric slide), a fabulous new (and much needed) handbag & gorgeous shoes from the bf….and a spongbob squarepants onesie from my brother — A SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS ONSIE PEOPLE.

30 things before 30

i also wanted to give you a quick update on my 30 things before 30 list. remember when i gave you the list this past july? well you can check out it here. i did say that wouldn’t update/change the list but let’s face it. i like to be able to actually tick things off a list and with 6 months to go till the big three-o (6 MONTHS!!!!!) – i thought i could change the list a little to include things that i have already achieved (that i think are 30-things-before-30 list worthy).

so here we go, my updated 30 things before 30 list:

  1. visit paris
  2. three courses, three countries: breakfast in london, lunch in paris, dinner in brussels
  3. eat at a mitchelin starred restaurant in london
  4. try something i wouldn’t normally eat
  5. start a small business
  6. run a 5k (this one scares me to death)
  7. unplug for a full day (or maybe a week!): no phone, social media, tv etc.
  8. kiss someone on nye at midnight
  9. live abroad for at least a year
  10. buy a meal for a homeless person
  11. lose 2 stone / 12.7 kg / 28 lbs
  12. have a morning routine
  13. climb to the top of the eiffel tower
  14. go the cinema on my own
  15. see a play at shakespeare’s globe in london
  16. sort out a pension and life insurance (eek!)
  17. go to a music festival
  18. learn to speak conversational french
  19. do a “once-in-a-lifetime” thing
  20. splurge on an item i can’t afford  but that will last a life-time
  21. serve at a soup kitchen
  22. take a poetry class
  23. re-read all 7 harry potter books (hello christmas present)
  24. start a work-out routine
  25. write a short story
  26. go a on british countryside walk
  27. serve a full-time mission for the lds church
  28. re-watch fringe
  29. visit new york
  30. go hot-tubbing under the stars

that’s 10 things out of the 30 – yay! i’ve started to watch fringe again, love that show. the eating something i wouldn’t normally eat was escargot (aka snails) in paris – check it out here. i started an online shoe business in 2011 – neneh stiletto.

neneh stiletto

and check out an interview i did for the business here!

i lived in utah for 2 and a bit years.

and the once in a lifetime thing? being a participant in the 2014 miss africa utah pageant

IMG_0590

from twenty to thirty. it’s been phenomenal and not what i expected. a non-stop ride. and it’s not over yet!

here’s to making lists. being 30. and embracing and enjoying the ride.

blog signature

life lately.

2014, Blogging, Culture, Family and Friends, Food, October, Travel

gahhhhhhh

that’s how i feel since it’s been 13 days since my last post.

oops.

anyway, these lovelies make me want to have braids again #hairenvy

0ba8045c869a63499e6fc6346bb50857 23448cbdd22153f6ba84746d35594d17 42e51087ea47b4784240a31c03a21752

these ladies remind me why i started my natural hair journey…

bf65309956add1cbeb0b75726558a014 bf0e23226b2e458aca36ff04675644c5 633ce6b6eb201321a4361d7c40afb2c3

which i haven’t really talked about much on this blog of mine. but these are my inspirations. and i’m over a year free of hair chemicals. yay me.

and thank you pinterest.

this past weekend one of my very good friends visited from the states. well he’s actually brazilian but he lives in utah, where we met. it was his first time in the uk so of course, london was a must. on his first morning here i decided what better way to be introduced to british life than a big full english breakfast. after a bit of browsing i stumbled on a cute cafe (thanks tripadvisor). mimo’s cafe is a fabulous italian cafe bar just outside of paddington station. you can’t beat £4.50 for a good breakfast. especially in london. mimo’s gets a huge thumbs up from me!

 IMG_4444

IMG_4445

oh did i tell you that this happened?

IMG_4311

never in a million years did i think i would see my name on a coke bottle. i celebrated by not drinking it and posting a picture of it on instagram instead. besides, i’m not drinking anything fizzy anymore remember?

while i spent the majority of the weekend in london this past weekend my mum and niece had a fashion show without me. i loved the photos!

IMG_4437

with my fedora and floppy hat they definitely wore it better.

talking of my niece….we caught her watching cartoons on her dad’s phone rather than napping….which is what she was supposed to be doing.

IMG_4365

and this is my favourite quote on pinterest from this week…

b9a5795f33560101d35c9a6df823a1ba

i hope you’ve had a lovely start to october. here’s to autumn days, halloween, nights in, lots of hot chocolate, duvet covers on rainy/windy nights and 5th november. i do love autumn in the uk.

blog signature

only two things keep me on facebook | part I

2014, Culture, Inspiration, September, Travel

well actually, three things. but as i’ve mentioned before, facebook often gets my goat. then one of these things pops up on my newsfeed or i get an email and i remember that i don’t want to leave.

today i share with you the first.

1. humans of new york aka HONY

brandon. that’s all i know him by. but he left his high flying chicago job to focus on something he loved. photography. it started off as just portraits of new yorkers, then he moved onto doing short interviews with questions like “what is your greatest fear?”, “what is your happiest memory?” and “what’s your greatest struggle right now?”. read more of his story here.

the interviews and portraits of the new yorkers made me realise a couple of things; we are all going through something, we are all not that different and humans, humanity, it’s a beautiful thing.

recently brandon embarked on a HONY UN world tour. so far he’s been to iraq, jordan, kenya, democratic republic of congo, uganda and he is now in south sudan. HONY was already a place of enlightenment, laughter, perspective and so much more for me.

and now. now, i don’t even know how to describe it.

it’s a kind of beauty that seems so impossible that i just sit and marvel at it’s existence.

i really wanted to share some of his work. along with the interviews. so here are a handful, i can’t even say “of my favourites” because they all are.

{the following images and interviews are from humansofnewyork.com and it’s facebook page, i do not own them}.

1909756_740017759405660_1174859600027899563_n
“We live in a very conservative culture, but I want my children to be open minded. I try to bring them to as many places as possible: big malls, art galleries, concerts. We want them to see as many types of people as possible, and as many types of ideas as possible.” (Erbil, Iraq) 

11256_741954292545340_5775443207782807280_n
“She raised us on her own. So when I graduated, I viewed it more as her accomplishment than mine.” (Amman, Jordan)

10547640_742954389111997_1496886046815719305_n
“My grandmother remembers the Arab world much differently than people view it today. She remembers a place known for its music, innovation, and intellectual abilities. I may be naive, but I want to help work toward unity in the Arab world– both between our countries and within our countries– so that we can get back to that place again.” (Amman, Jordan)

from this picture my favourite comments are:
“Pulitzer, Oscar, Nobel, just give this man a prize already. This page deserves everything.”
“In just a few days these photographs have done more to humanize the Middle East than forty years of US media coverage. Thank you HONY.”

10606471_746715182069251_335692293232582708_n
“What is your biggest dream?”
“To have my own house. With two stories.”
(Kasangulu, Democratic Republic of Congo)

10441132_748511115222991_1690642062098759652_n
“What’s your favorite thing about your brother?”
“He does all the work.”
(Limuru, Kenya)

10577136_750519798355456_1220970866185630958_n
“When they don’t think I’m watching, they do the funniest things. They are always dancing together. I found them in the kitchen yesterday, pretending to cook.”
“What’s your greatest worry as a parent?”
“Their health. They’re always getting sick from the cold and the dust. Sometimes the dust gets so bad, they lose their voices.”
(Nairobi, Kenya)

10620612_753532274720875_6652838834881858287_n
“Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?”
“One day, I was sent home from my final exams because my mother had not been able to pay the registration fees. On the way home, a man came up to me and asked what was wrong. ‘Nothing,’ I told him. He asked me again. So I told him that I’d been sent home from school. He then gave me the money I needed to take my exams. I’d never seen him before, and I’ve never seen him again.”
(Entebbe, Uganda)

10653281_755931511147618_4458907075778738593_n
“The thing we need most is security. Without security, nothing works. We are only out here playing chess because right now, in this place, we have a little bit of security. But that’s just for right now– just this moment. In this country things have never been secure for long. In America, there is always security. And that’s why America works.”
(Juba, South Sudan)

there are calls to turn HONY into HOPE, humans of planet earth. i agree.

and a pultzer prize, a nobel peace prize or something of that nature to brandon.

go to the HONY website or the facebook page. click ‘like’ or follow along. you won’t regret it. promise.

m.

je t’aime paris

Culture, September, Travel

it’s september – SEPTEMBER. when did that happen?

 dsc00840_2

it’s taken me over a month to get this up, but better late than never right? i’d also like to add that i coudn’t find my camera’s usb cord to upload my photos so that added to the delay.

as usual, i digress.

you will remember i used to live in utah, usa (if you’re new then hey i used to live in utah!) and having been back in the uk since march, time has flown by incredibly. two of my friends promised that they would come visit and they sure did. at the end of july my friends sara and sarah (!) flew over the pond for their first european trip.

Sara and Sarah
sarah (l) and sara (r) enjoying their first kebab experience. when one travels to the uk one must devour a kebab. 

we did start off with a few days in london and windsor but i’m going to start with our trip to paris.

we took the eurostar from london (kings cross station), which took a marvellous 2 hours and 20 mins. we arrived pretty late at night and our host’s sister met us to give us the key to our flat (rented via airbnb.com – highly recommended). we stayed in montmartre, just north of paris.

our trip was short, just tuesday night to thursday afternoon but we wanted to make sure we got the most out of our trip during our short stay.

dsc00708

wednesday morning we booked ourselves onto a 3 1/2 hour walking tour. honestly, at first i thought it was going to be a drag. but goodness. i was so glad i was so wrong. we booked we go walking tours, a FREE walking tour of paris covering notre dame, la sainte chappelle, the louvre, lovers locks, napoleons tomb and of course the eiffel tower {and much more}. did i mention it was free? FREE. you have the option of tipping your guide how much you think the tour is worth. believe me when i say it is an excellent way to be introduced to the city of lights.

you meet the tour guide at notre dame cathedral and finish at the eiffel tower, and it honestly felt like 30mins than 3 1/2 hours.

dsc00653
^^it is good luck to stand on and turn around this little golden gem outside notre dame. this is i believe the very centre of paris!

dsc00674

dsc00668
^^the love locks bridge

dsc00683

^^outside the louvre

dsc00695

dsc00699
^^of course when you go to paris you need to try a street crepe!

dsc00677
^^and this happened on our tour! the city of love indeed 🙂

after the tour we headed to a gorgeous little cobbled street and found a cute quintessentially french restaurant for lunch.

dsc00722
^^ these fun little men on the stop signs were everywhere!

after lunch we headed back to the eiffel tower. now here’s a tip for you. the queues were incredibly long, with it being summer and everyone and their mother was in paris (or so it felt) the queues were 4+ hours long, and in that parisian heat it sounded slightly torturous {when you’re in paris though it’s not too bad 🙂 }. a friend of mine had told me that we could save a lot of time by walking up to first level then getting the lift from there. well we decided to be a bit more adventurous and we walked up the 669 steps to the second level. it was a definite work out. but. oh. so. worth. it.

dsc00736

dsc00751

Fotor090101933

we were exhausted but so glad we did it. it took us about 1 hour 30mins instead of over 4 hours. that my dear readers i call an achievement.

after a long day of walking we wanted to rest a little. you see this stretch of gorgeous green up ^^there? we picked a spot right at the back, grabbed some freshly baked baguettes, meat and cheese from the local supermarket and slumped out tired selves as we watched the sun go down. there were several parisians and tourists out, it had been a beautiful summer day and the evening sun was glorious.

sunset picnic at the eiffel tower? perfection.

at 10pm {and every hour on the hour from then until about 2am} the eiffel tower sparkles. i can’t even describe what that looks like, but magical is the only word that comes to mind right now.

dsc00788

absolutely magical.

we headed back to the flat soon after for a well needed rest.

thursday morning and afternoon was spent catching up on some of the sights we hadn’t yet seen and of course just soaking up our last few hours of paris.

dsc00803

dsc00814

and i could not leave paris without trying escargot. aka snails.

dsc00861

that green deliciousness you see there^^ is garlic sauce, they were divine. if you like mussels, you won’t mind snails at all.

we headed back to our flat to gather our things and leave the key with our host’s sister.

i also decided that i need some of these stickers in my life…

dsc00792

dsc00791

the flat was perfect for the 3 of us and if you’ve never used airbnb i highly recommend it.

dsc00793

dsc00857

i want to leave you with a couple of tips for paris:

  • if you don’t speak french that’s ok, make sure to apologise before you ask for what you need at a restaurant, tourist shop, everywhere really.
  • be prepared to walk. a lot. but it’s the best way to see the city. (buy a map and have great walking shoes!)
  • definitely walk up to the 2nd level of the eiffel tower and catch the lift up from there.
  • airbnb.co.uk for booking a whole flat or room, i think this is so much better than a hotel, and adds to getting a real parisian experience.
  • for cheaper travel from london try easyjet.com, ryanair.com or if you’re ok with a 4+ hour coach ride use meagbus.co.uk

i hope to get you the london post tomorrow.

travel is my live, c’est la vie.

m.