19 October 2017

When In Rome




My last adventure of the year ended in the beautiful city of Rome, a belated birthday gift we spent a long weekend exploring the ancient Roman ruins and sipping wine in the sun. 

This is everything you need to know about Rome!

We flew to Rome Ciampino from Manchester, which is probably the smallest airport I've ever been to (minus Cornwall), we then got a bus to the Metro station and from then into the centre. The journey took us about an hour to get to our hotel, but I'd say working out how to use the Metro is pretty easy. You can buy tickets from the machines and they're relatively cheap, very similar to the Tubes in London and they are a quick solution to get you from A to B in a hurry. 






Our hotel was lovely, classic Italian architecture and decor was all that could be seen, a refreshing stay compared to modern hotels these days. Our hotel was called Hotel Quirinale and was a stones throw away from the Coliseum and the Trevi Fountain and all of Rome's hot spots (it was also opposite a McDonald's which in my eyes is always a plus)... 

The question I bet you're dying to know is how cheap was Rome? With horror stories about how expensive Rome was, I was pleasantly surprised with the prices here. I'm not saying it was cheap, but it definitely wasn't as expensive as everyone makes out to be. You were paying the normal prices for a cocktail as you would in a club in a UK bar. 

We took around $600 euro between us, which lasted us for three days, including everything. I'd say this is enough but it depends on what you're doing. My Number 1 tip would be find hidden gems rather than mainstream restaurants and bars, if you wish to eat in a beautiful square, then be prepared for sh*t food and hefty price tags. 







Our those who love a good cocktail or two, we stumbled across a bar named The Drunken Ship, a great little place which sells good cocktails and beer, they also have a student offer and is fun for meeting new people, especially if you're a lone traveller or backpacking around Europe. 

The Coliseum and the Vatican - This is obviously a must-see experience, I mean when in Rome, you can't avoid visiting these two famous places. I highly suggest booking your tickets online before you go as you get to skip the queue and it saves you waiting in line, those lines can get out of hand. The Vatican experience we had included entry to the Sistine Chapel, which again, is a must-see. 

My only critique is I did feel like this city was a little run-down in places, when you stepped away from the tourist hot-spots, there was a lot of rubbish and graffiti everywhere, not to mention the weird men who were harassing you constantly to buy things. No, I do not want a fidget spinner. 










Over-all, Rome is a quick-stop destination that is good for culture, food and having a good time. I wouldn't return as I feel like once you've done it, then you couldn't really go back but hey, I wouldn't say no to a free trip. This Italian city definitely has it's charms and I am super grateful I got to experience it as my belated 21st gift! 

If you've been to Rome or thinking of taking a trip, comment below. 

Until next time,

G x 


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24 August 2017

my love affair with venice


For those who are yet to discover Venice, this beautiful water city has to be one of my favourite places in the world. I don't know whether it's the amazing architecture, the old colourful streets or the freshly made gelato, there's something about the city of Venice that has part of my heart. 

I've been lucky enough to visit Venice three times, the first time was for my mums 50th birthday and our hotel was situated on the famous Grand Canal, my second time was with a friend of mine and we stayed a little out of the way from the main attractions, at a beautiful, budget hotel named the Palazzo Guardi. My third time was a day-trip, when I took a boat over from Croatia. 

It's true, something keeps pulling me back and I have no idea what it is. If you're a first timer or lucky enough to be a Venice veteran, here's some top things to do in the floating city: 

1. St Marks Square 
The hub of the city, St Marks Square is a large area which features amazing buildings such as the St Marks Basilica, I highly suggest visiting this famous land-mark along with Doge's Palace. 

2. Get around in a Gondola 
Pretty obvious, I know, but something you have to do if you're visiting Venice for the first time. If you're lucky, your Gondolier may even sing to you, this can be a little pricey so negotiate the price before you get into the boat. A great and relaxing way to see the city and experience it the real Venetian way! 

3. Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
Sadly, I didn't do this. But it's something I definitely want to do if I ever go back, Venice is also famous for Harry's Bar - a bar which invented the Bellini Cocktail. Here's the address if you fancy a cocktail or two... HARRY'S BAR, Calle Vallaresso 1323, 30124 San Marco 

4. Enjoy a birds eye view of Venice 
Go to the Campanile, which is the tallest building in the city reaching 99m and boasts 360 degree views of the city. In the summer it's open until 9pm and costs eight euro for adults. 




5. Take a trip down the Grand Canal 
This famous waterway is the heart of Venice, think of it like a motorway on water. The best way to see this is on a Vaporetto (water bus) and as I remember you can buy a ticket on board for around 5 euros (but don't quote me on that one). You can also hop on and hop off at different stops that take your fancy. 

6. Visit the other islands 
Venice is built on a lagoon which has other islands such as Burano and Murano, every heard of Murano glass? This is where Murano glass is made and you can pay to visit a glassblowing demonstration. Burano is a beautiful, colourful little island and is a must-see! You can get a Vaporetto to each island and buy your ticket on the boat. 

7. Cool down with Gelato 
You know what they say, Italy is also famous for it's delicious ice-cream. Try a scoop in St Marks Square, enjoy a glass of vino and watch the world go by. 

8. Experience Italian Shopping 
Italy is also famous for it's luxury shopping scenes and if you're in for a serious spending spree, then enjoy the likes of Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and other big Italian fashion houses. 




So, if you're thinking of booking a trip to Venice, then trust me, you will not regret it. 

Been before, recommendations? Comment below! 

G x

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21 August 2017

Why you need to try meditation, at least once



For anyone considering meditation or just want to know more about it, then continue reading. For those who think it’s a load of mumbo jumbo, then continue reading…

Firstly, I bet your sat there wondering what meditation actually is, so I’ll answer the question for you, by definition, ‘Focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.’
In my own words, meditation is a form of relaxation and becoming aware of your thought process, this means you are able to think more clearly and positively, which will ultimately lead you to the thing we are all seeking… happiness.

And no, in a meditation we do not all sit there holding hands, chanting or with our legs crossed in uncomfortable positions. My meditation teacher asks us to lie or sit comfortably, with a blanket, with our eyes closed and in relaxed state. My meditation class is guided, which means the teacher guides you with a ‘story’ or ‘message’ and you basically just follow, fully focusing on what the teacher is saying, which should switch off your brain from thinking things it shouldn’t; this could be personal things or work related.

The art of meditation has been practiced for centuries, including those of Buddhist Monks, it also has a variety of proven health benefits including: reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, controls anxiety, may reduce age-related memory loss, improves sleep, can fight addictions and increases self-awareness.

Another good thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere, whether you’re on a train, plane or walking, you can practice it in your everyday life. I highly recommend purchasing the app called Calm, you get a 7-day trial and if you decide you like it, it’s £10 per month. Within the app there are different guided meditations including 7 days of happiness, forgiveness, sleep and anxiety. They also feature Sleep Stories, which you can listen to as you fall asleep; I highly suggest this if you’re a person who overthinks before you sleep.

Meditation also comes hand in hand with the Law of Attraction, which if you haven’t heard of it, is a law of the universe; in short, if you think positive things then the universe will give you a positive life. If you think negative things, negative things will be attracted to you. If you want to know more, I suggest reading the Law of Attraction by Rhonda Byrne to fully-understand this theory.

If I still haven’t managed to convince you, then please try the 7-day trial on Calm or try-out a guided meditation class. I guarantee you will see the difference!

Have you tried meditation? Have any questions?
Comment below!

G x


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16 August 2017

Amsterdam on a budget


Anyone who has been to Amsterdam will tell you they either love it or hate it, I am a huge fan of this vibrant city and went on a short break here from the 7th - 10th August, my second visit since January, earlier this year. 

Although this city is always packed full of tourists, there's something about Amsterdam that I love. This city is free spirited, the atmosphere is great and there's something for everyone. Whether you want to get a taste of Dutch culture, dive into the Amsterdam nightlife scene or a mix of both, this city is diverse and is one for all types of people.

Being a lover of cheap and cheerful holidays, Amsterdam is a cheap destination and if booked in advance, you'll pay around £200 for flights and accommodation. We stayed in the Europa 92 Hotel, situated just outside the centre near Vondelpark. 

Eating in Amsterdam can be cheap as there are many fast food restaurants and wallet-friendly eateries that won't break the bank. I'm all for eating like a pauper and spending my money on something better. Overall I spent around approx 150-80 euros. 



Top things to do in Amsterdam: 
  1. Bike ride around Vondelpark 
  2. Heineken Experience (book in advance to avoid the queues) 
  3. Visit Dam Square (a vibrant, central point of Amsterdam) 
  4. Canal Cruise 
  5. Visit the Red Light District 
  6. Red Light Secrets - Museum of Prostitution 
  7. Coffee Shops - Please note, no alcohol is served in Coffee Shops 
  8. Amsterdam Bar Crawl 
  9. Amsterdam Dungeons 
  10. Sex Museum
  11. Ann Frank Haus 
  12. Van Gough Museum 
  13. Amsterdam Ice Bar 
  14. Madame Tussaud's 






I highly recommend booking everything in advance to avoid the queues , you can buy tickets for the majority of attractions at tourist shops located around Amsterdam. 

If you end up visiting, then have fun! 

Comment any recommendations and attractions below! 

G x
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The Wedding | 4th Aug 2017


Hands up if you love a good wedding! On the 4th August, my cousin Rebecca got married! We spent the weekend in South Wales, where my Dad's side of the family are from, to celebrate the wedding of Rebecca & Rhys. 

Here are a few snaps from their big day!








The theme at the wedding breakfast was famous love story characters such as Romeo & Juliet, Jack & Rose and Cathy & Heathcliff. 




Outfit details: 
Dress - Pretty Little Thing SALE
Shoes - Primark 
Shawl - Vintage 
Hair - Foxy Locks Extensions 

G x 

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Review | Gucci Ace Sneakers


I've been wanting to do a post about these for soooo long as I had such a bad experience with Gucci regarding these shoes. Please note that this review is completely my own opinion. 

So I turned 21 in June had some birthday money sat in my bank (which was not a good idea) and me being me, decided that I was going to treat myself to a pair of Gucci Ace sneakers that I'd been eyeing up for about 6 months. 

I finally plucked up the courage to buy them, paying a whopping £395 for a pair of shoes. Can I just add that I have NEVER bought anything designer before as I always think it's just a waste of money. However, being a late birthday present from myself to myself, I had a moment of weakness and thought screw it, life's too short. 



The whole process of buying the shoes was the most complicated I had ever experienced, I'm warning you now... Do not buy from Gucci Online as the customer service is the WORST I have ever come across! They never reply to emails, can't get through to their phone and when they do they just don't seem to help you. 

Anyway... Long story short, Gucci actually ended up charging me twice for the shoes, so I was a broke ass woman for a week or so. (I was so pissed off and had to ring the Bank of Mum & Dad to bail me out while I waited for my refund). 

The positive part of this is when the shoes arrived I was pleasantly surprised with the care and attention, I'm a sucker for fancy packaging so this being my first big purchase, I felt like a little kid at Christmas. 




When the shoes arrived they came in a monochrome box with an embossed GUCCI logo on the front, along with a neatly tied black bow (eek.) Inside the box was an extravagant display of white tissue paper along with my pristine shoes. 

There was also 3 envelopes (they looked more like beautifully hand-written letters) explaining the returns process and thanking me for my order as well as two silk dust-bags to put my trainers in while I'm on the move. The shoes also came with a note of authenticity. 




I went for the Gucci Ace Bee Sneakers, which were a UK Size 5. Ladies, I recommend going down a size as Gucci's sizes run big, I am usually a UK 6 however these fit like a glove and I still have a little room. 

The leather is soft and they are extremely comfortable, definitely a purchase I haven't regretted making so far. I've also had quite a few compliments from people telling me how much they like my shoes. The leather is really soft as well and the embroidered Bee is really well done. 

Would I recommend getting your hands on a pair of these? Yes. But only if you're a trainer fan like myself as I think you have to wear them a lot in order to justify the hefty £395 price tag. Also, try and purchase them from a store, rather than Gucci Online to save the hassle that I had to go through. You can also try them on, which is always a plus. 




I would certainly buy from Gucci again and the extravagant packaging really made me feel special, as stupid as that sounds. You can definitely see the difference between designer brands and high-street (as you should), I just wish Gucci's customer service was much better as I think it would've made the whole experience much more pleasant. 

G

Do you have these shoes? What do you think? Comment below xo 


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