Tag Archives: Advice

January in Review

Latte Art

January has, and will always be, a loooong month. And that’s mainly due to desperately waiting for the first payday in what feels like forever. It’s safe to say that after all the festive excitement it’s not surprising that more often than not we all get a little case of the January blues. It’s just inevitable that everything seems a little sadder, a little colder and a little duller and then with the shorter month of February and the approach of Spring things start to perk up again.

For the most part January has been great. For starters I moved into a new flat, meaning the first few weeks were pretty much taken up with unpacking, finding new homes for things and figuring out my new living arrangements. There’s still things to do, I am in desperate need of a desk and somewhere to put all my ‘important’ files. There are a lot of boxes everywhere, either packed or unpacked, that I’m not quite sure what to do with them all. I’m super excited to get things all sorted, gets some pictures on the walls and some plants around the place. There might even be a few interiors based post coming up.

January is also my birthday month, as nice little event to break up the cold, cold weeks. You can read all about it here, but it was a lovely low key affair, which I’m totally cool with as the more birthday’s that go by the more I realise that’s one of the best ways to celebrate. It was also great to spend sometime with one of my oldest friends – it really made me focus on all the amazing people that are in my life. It’s definitely something I’m going to think about on the days when I feel slightly too far away from everyone. The same can be said about the flying visit I made to my family home the other week. It’s one of my favourite things to do when I feel ever so slightly panicked about the distance. Ain’t nothing like a trip back to the ‘rents to bring you right back down to earth!

That’s about it for January, I hope you’ve enjoyed this months posts. As a side note the Weekly Thoughts feature is currently in transition stage to becoming… A Month in Review feature! Surprise, this is the first of twelve for 2016. It just didn’t seem right to only have one post in between a weekly thought – nobody needs to know every scrap of detail in my brain and this way I’m focussing more on some super cool, interesting posts that I hope you’ll love!

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Weekly Thoughts


What really is slow living?

It wasn’t that long ago that I heard about the concept of slow living, and to be perfectly honest I didn’t fully understand what it was all about. Living your life slowly? I mean, you can only live at the same pace as everyone else, right? The days are only so many hours long and we only get 24 each to do with as we please. Surely it couldn’t mean holding yourself back, slowing down your life and falling behind others?

And then I found out about slow blogging and the phrase ‘quality over quantity’ was used over and over again. The idea of not rushing out content at breakneck speed (because generally that’s the speed the internet moves at) and really taking your time in producing content. Content that has so much more to it than a quick review of a product and a few rushed words because we’ve all got things going on other than creating online content. The idea really did appeal to me and to be honest it would fit in a lot more with my life and my job, but then would I be falling behind? There are so many other great bloggers who manage their time so wisely that they produce amazing content, daily, as well as working full time. Perhaps not something that would really do me and my little blog that much good.

And then Sophie from Theprivatelifeofagirl introduce the idea of slow fashion. Now this. This is something I could really get into. The concept of holding out when buying new items, not finding a cheap ‘make do’ item from Primark and instead waiting until a slightly erm, better quality item is affordable to you. One that will actually last the season instead of either shrinking or becoming completely misshapen upon the first wash. This also applies to the idea of fast fashion that most shops live by these days, with constantly changing stock and trends to keep up with. Something I used to be very guilty of is buying without thinking of what other options I already have in my wardrobe. This year is going to be one where I carve out some kind of uniform/ personal style for myself, instead of mindlessly purchasing clothing and ending up with a mish-mash of colours, styles and trends to try and pair together.

So turns out that slow living isn’t so much to do with holding out, missing out or stagnation (something I’m personally trying to avoid this year). But more about careful thinking, personal style and durability. Plus, anything the uber-stylish Kinfolk are fans of is something I want to get involved in!

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A Detox(lite) To Try


So we’re now over a week into the new year. Personally I’ve finally finished off the last box of Celebrations, there’s a few chocolate coins left hanging around and I’ve got a chocolate teddybear that I’m saving for a rainy day/PMS nightmare. Sadly I have no excuses left and it’s time to start the ol’ healthy lifestyle again.

For me it’s not too difficult to stay on the healthier side of things – I do actually enjoy fruit and veg and exercise and often if I’m in a bad mood it’s becuase I’m aware that it’s slipped and I’m anticipating getting it back on track. The festive period is a slippery slope and it’s not uncommon that we all fall off the wagon and face first into the roast potatoes. I’m no health guru but I do know a few bits and pieces that make living a slightly healthier lifestyle all that bit easier to manage. They’re a few pointers in the right direction and make a transition from full-on elasticated clothing period, to one where you feel a whole lot brighter and lighter at the start of the week.

Despite the title of this post I’m not actually advocating a detox here. As I’ve already said it’s taken me a week to get rid of the last remaining treats (and of course I’ve eaten them, rather than taken them to work like others would have…) and going from zero to ten on January 1st seems to me like a sure fire way of falling at the first hurdle. So I give you a detox-lite instead.

Get back in the flow:

For me once I’m off my game it’s so much harder to get back into things. For a week or two before Christmas I completely stopped exercising adn going to the gym. I just didn’t want to. It was raining and grey and the thought of getting all sweaty – no thank you. So I stopped going and I felt worse for it but this week I’ve made it back to my lunchtime gym session. It was onlt twice a week but it was way better than nothing. You’ve just got to ease yourself back in gently to remind yourself of why it feels better to go.

Porridge (and healthy food in general!)

I can hear the groans all around! Porridge is not all that bad, guys. It is actually one of my favourite breakfasts and one that I have most mornings. It’s super quick to make, keeps you full all morning and one way to get around the general blandness of it is to add as many and as adventurous toppings as you care for. I’m talking honey, bananas, fruit, dried fruit, nuts,seeds, nut butters…

Clear desk, clear mind:

This may seem like an odd point but I feel it definitely comes into play when talking about a healthy lifestyle. With clean and tidy surroundings I generally feel so much more motivated to get things done. I’m not constantly trying to sort through papers and looking for my trainers under piles of clothes. This is also a good point for a bit of a mental detox – if there are certain things that you keep putting off and are weighing you down, then get them ticked off your to do list and carry on with your day on a positive note.

All this being said, I have fully enjoyed the festive period and don’t regret even one of my pigs-in-blankets. Life is all about balance and it’s something that we’re all still learning. Let’s focus on creating positivity in our lives and detox out the negatives. It’d be a pretty good way to start the year, even if it is a lite version.





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Weekly Thoughts

Weekly Thoughts

When staying is sometimes the better option.

While I was in the process of writing my Year Ahead post and looking back on what has been a fairly successful year of blogging (for the girl who’s started and stopped about three or more in the past) I realised that the one thing I don’t have over here, is something that’s unique to me. A couple of my favourite bloggers all have regular features, whether that’s a monthly round up, weekly favourites, or one of my personal favourites, The Fitness Files from Anna of Viviannadoesmakeup. I’ve decided my own offering will be a weekly post on what’s mostly been occupying my mind that week. A couple of thoughts and feelings, a few favourites, maybe something a bit more personal to me and will give a little snippet of my life.

The first one of the year is a topic that’s been on my mind and making me live in limbo for the last few weeks. When the decision of whether to move or stay first came up I thought I’d mull it over for a bit and answer would come to me. Life doesn’t really work like that for me and consequently I ended up hauling boxes up stairs, frantically bleaching everywhere and handing over keys before rushing homehome on Christmas Eve.

If you had bumped into me a few months ago, I would have told you that I wasn’t going to be here after Christmas. In my current town. I was sick of it, sick of all the weird things and people here. Tired of my flat above a noisy pub and the smoking area you had to fight your way through to get to the front door. I was bored of my job that, at the start of the year had seemed such a great foot in the door, and tired of the admin. I wanted a fresh start and something new in a place that wasn’t so unfamiliar and isolated. And yet where am I now? I’m still right here.

I’ve read so many articles that say if you’re not happy where you are or doing what you do, that you should just change it. Simple as that, just change your circumstances and life will give you a pat on the back and a go with the happy card. But what if you’re neither happy nor unhappy? What if the thought of changing everything makes you wonder if it will be for the better or the worse and there’s no way of telling what the outcome will be? In my case the option was either stay in Bristol, in said job and weird surroundings or move back home to London, find a new job, commute everyday and pay extortionate rent.

In a case when both sides of the coin looked the same I did the opposite of what those articles suggested. I stayed. In the same job and place, but in a new flat with my boyfriend. And instead of feeling like I’m stuck, stale and stagnating, it suddenly feels fresher and more positive. I want to fill my new flat with plants, put photos on the walls and explore my new area. I want to talk to new people at work, find new opportunities and create something half resembling a network for myself.

Staying is often regarded as the easy way out, staying in your comfort zone and not taking risks. But staying and working with what you already have can be just as good for you. It’s improvement but without the added stress of literally starting from scratch.

Im very aware of my word count, and the fact that I intended this to be a positive post, so I’ll call it a day here. I guess the point of all these words is that sometimes you don’t need to change everything about your life in order to feel like you’re moving forward, you just need a new perspective.


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How to ‘Keep Your Chin Up’

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I feel like we’ve hit the time of year, between the end of autumn and the start of proper winter, when you’ve lost the joy and nostalgia of autumn but not yet in full festive swing of December. It’s a tough time of year. Maybe you’re saving all your pennies for Christmas, or maybe you’re trying to dodge the never ending rain that we seem to get this time every year. Whatever the case may be, it can be hard to ‘keep your chin up’, to coin my Mum’s favourite phrase. Here are a few ideas that I like to make sure I do each week, or whenever I feel I need a little cheering up and setting back upright.

  1. Fresh Air

Fresh air can really do wonders for you. It clears your head, helps you feel freer and if it’s particularly windy it can give you some nice rose-y cheeks that make you look like the picture of health even if you’re feeling the opposite. Whatever it is that’s worrying you, just leave it where it is and go for a brisk walk. When you get back you’ll have a clearer mind, a new perspective and things won’t seem so bad.

  1. Get Active, Stay Healthy

Similar to getting some fresh air a little bit of exercise can really help when you’re feeling less than energised. Going for a run or trying out a new gym class can really take your mind off what’s bothering you and by the end you’ll be left feeling ten times better for it. Likewise with staying healthy – I will admit that I sometimes don’t practise what I’m preaching here. For me when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed/stressed/sad, whatever the feeling, I have a really bad habit of thinking the answer is in the bottom of an ice cream tub. IT’S NOT and I guarantee I always feel worse after. It’s time to learn my lesson and go for a banana instead.

  1. Treat Yo’ Self

This may sound like I’m contradicting myself here but the key is to find other things to treat yourself with. There’s no sense in pushing yourself more and more when your unhappy – it’s time to take a step back, have a bath, buy that new bag you’ve been looking at for months or go to the cinema. Whatever you think you would make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside is exactly what you should do right now. Treat yo’ self!

  1. Friends

I don’t mean the TV show here, although that is also a sure-fire way of creating a happy atmosphere too. The worst thing you can do when you’re feeling sad is make yourself sad and alone. Invite some friends round, have a catchup, have some wine and maybe even a cry. By the end of the evening you’ll be really glad you did and you’ll probably have laughed more than you ever thought you would at this point.

  1. Set a Goal

This is not something that I do on a weekly basis, but have a think about something you really want to achieve and work out the steps to get you there. Maybe it’s a career goal, a personal goal, a fitness goal, or maybe you really want to go travelling in the near future. Break it down into small small steps and complete them every week, until you get to the end goal. You might learn something along the way, or the goal might even change. But change can definitely be a good thing, you just gotta get going!

These are just a few little ideas that I like to think about occasionally. My favourites are #1 and #4, possibly even #5 too. What are your tips and tricks to keeping a smile on your face? Let me know if there are any other points I should include!


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Independently Published.

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For longer than I will ever admit to anyone I have spent far too much money on magazines. From my childhood pocket money, earnt by managing to keep my bedroom from looking like a Barbie massacre had occurred, to my hard earned barista wages – if I didn’t have a hardcore magazine habit I could possibly be very rich by now.

But I have no regrets, I love spending my time and money on a number of great publications and I probably always will. It’s the combination of words and design that keep me coming back on a weekly or monthly basis, ready for all the fresh new content that’s been carefully curated and beautifully put together. Of course, some were not so carefully chosen and far more to do with my need to know what’s going on in Kim K’s life (I am not ashamed). On the whole, although I’ll never say never to another celebrity mag, my tastes have improved and matured enough to move on to a totally different kettle of published fish. The independent titles.


I first came across these publications by finding Cereal magazine and even then I think it was only through my publishing course and proximity to Bristol, the mags birth place, that I heard about it. This was then followed by a long Insta-stalk before finally getting my keen little hands on a copy of my own. Primarily a travel mag, it’s mostly a combination of beautiful photography and articles about places that are now secured on my ‘Must Visit’ list. They also have really fab little guides for a number of cities, with the best and most stylish places to sleep, eat, see and shop – all can be found on their equally stylish website.

So what started as a one independent magazine habit quickly turned into more when Suitcase mag came trotting happily into my life. Another Travel + Fashion themed beauty of a publication that has a style closer to your traditional fashion mags, but even more pretty and interesting to read. If you’re anything like me a quick flick through these pages will induce a wanderlust so bad that you immediately start checking flight prices and finding a fab Airbnb. Ahhh to be able to just fly away…

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The final mag from my little selection here is another new one to me. Unlike the others this is a free journal covering multiple areas across South East London. Since I hail from this particular region and having heard about its growing regeneration, this little publication is far better than any local newspaper. Not only am I excited to see something far more interesting design-wise, but all the contributors are actually from the SE neighbourhoods too and promoting any independent coffee shops or smaller fashion outlets is something I’m very keen to support. I mean, can you get much more authentic. It’s making me think I should throw my hat into the ring for the next issue.

As far as my magazine habit goes I’m also looking to get hold of Betty magazine, maybe even a copy of Frankie too just to boast my collection and give more than a little inspiration for when I’m lacking. Are there any other titles I should keep an eye out for?


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Bristol Coffee Guide

Ice coffee

I distinctly remember hating coffee. I tried a sip of my mum’s latte, hated the bitterness and vowed never to try it again. At the tender age of 16 I started my first job, trained as a barista in a local coffee shop and so began my love story with flat white’s. And latte’s. And the occasional cappuccino. Having now worked in a number of coffee joints and sampled a lot of free coffees, my aversion to the beverage went out the window pretty quickly. My favourite kind of caffeinated beverage often comes from the independent places, rather than your usual high street chain numbers, and Bristol is just full of options. Here are a few of my faves:

Paper Gallery

Star Wars cups


Co-LAB – Paper Gallery:

Co-LAB is a coffee shop with a bit of a difference. Firstly it’s a collaboration with Paper Gallery, a creative enterprise to set up to create and enhance new opportunities for creatives. They have a pretty cool set up going on, with half the shop selling pieces by local businesses and half creative space used by local artists and for workshops. Sitting pretty in the corner is a little coffee shop, ready to convert the shopping masses away from their chain coffee. Until recently Ape About Coffee has been in residence – not worry though, they may be moving on but CoLab will still be there providing for all your caffeine needs.

Crazy Fox front

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The Crazy Fox:

The Crazy Fox is another central place saving us from the evil high street giants (that’s a joke btw, I have been known to visit Costa once or twice). At the moment they’re serving Roasted Rituals coffee, a locally sourced and very popular coffee served at various spots across Bristol. Situated right in the centre of the shopping area with a nice little seating area outside, it’s the perfect spot for a well-earned retail break or a bit of people watching.

Small St

Small St Inside

Small St Coffee

Small St. Espresso:

Small St is small. It’s a genius name really. Found on Small Street in the old town, and housed in a tiny cavernous little shop, it definitely lives up to it’s name. Small St is fast becoming one of my new faves, partly due to the fab coffee and wooden interiors, but also because if you pick the right time of day you can grab a little corner seat where the bright sunlight pours through the massive windows.




Tradewind Espresso:

The newest recruit to the Bristol coffee scene is Tradewind, high up on Whiteladies road. They are the original inventors of Roasted Rituals coffee, and having served the coffee shops of the South West for too long, they’ve now (thankfully) decided to join in. I’ve spoken their praises before over on my Instagram @becca_cart93 but they’re worth a mention here too. They have a beautiful shop front with original stained-glass windows and a great little decking area out back. I sampled the French toast topped with peaches on my visit, whilst my boyf went for a savoury option that gave me serious ordering envy. Oh my lordy is a return visit needed.


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Playground Coffee

Playground Coffee:

Playground Coffee intrigued me for a long time before I made my first visit. The reason I held off for so long is purely because I always found myself there around lunch time when I needed something a little more than a flat white to keep me going. Once I did finally make it, it was fully worth the wait and finding myself there on a rainy Sunday afternoon meant I had full choice of which swing seat to sit it. Yes, a swing seat. The coffee was so smooth and gently rocking on an inside swing might sound a bit odd, but was actually very therapeutic and enjoyable. And it’s not just the swings that call for the name Playground coffee, but more to do with the games room found on the second level.

This is just a quick round up of the places I end up visiting most often, but I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new. Any other places I should add to my list, just lemme know!


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Ten Signs You’re Doing A-Okay.

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Recently I read an article in which the author talked about ‘surviving’ her twenties. That’s crazy, right? Aren’t your twenties supposed to be the time of your life (Dirty Dancing routine included)? Aren’t we all supposed to be in our fab graduate jobs, living better than we ever had and letting loose on the weekends?

I have to say I did agree with the article, having shared many a thought at least once before, if not once a week. The main argument here is that while everyone prepares you for your teenage years, telling you that all the worry and angst and ridiculous hormones flying around will all be worth it once you’ve been to uni, graduated and properly started your life, but actually no one bothers to tell you what it’s like once it’s all over, that your just left astray in the big bad world.

My generation (God, that makes me sound super old) are crashing down to reality after all the hat tossing at graduation and realising that the post uni come-down is a real thing and that putting yourself out there in a harsh world is just as hard as dragging your hungover self into a 9am lecture. This all sounds very negative and as I’ve mentioned before, I prefer to keep it as positive as I can, so in order to prove that actually you’re doing okay, I’ve written a few points down to help you push on through.

  1. You’ve made rent this month – It’s been a long month of working hard (probably in an under paid job) and now it’s reached rent day. The money’s in your account, there was no overdraft needed or a call to the Parental bank. Now you’ve just got to do it all over again next month. If you didn’t make rent, that’s okay, you’re getting there and there will always be next month to try again.
  2. There’s a plant in your house and it’s still alive – mine might be a cactus, the most low maintenance plant out there but nevertheless it’s alive! Sadly, the same can’t be said for the succulent.
  3. Birthday cards are posted on time – With all my friends spread out across the country now, birthday cards/ presents arrive courtesy of the Royal Mail, rather than a knock on the door, bottle of vodka in hand, and party dress on. Which brings me on to my next point.
  4. You have stamps on your person. Either in your purse or in your desk or just floating around with the rest of the crap at the bottom of your handbag. Doesn’t matter which applies, the point is you always prepared for that letter you might have to send.
  5. There are three or more types of tea in your cupboard. Because these days you prefer the choice of everyday tea, green, peppermint, maybe a lemon and ginger. Gone are the days of Tesco value tea bags being the only option for a hot beverage.
  6. Hand cream has become a staple in your life. You have a tube that comes along with you and you rejoice in applying it multiple times a day. Because if you’re past 21 now, then your hands are old and wrinkly obviously.
  7. Likewise with the hand cream, you’ve finally given in and are carry plasters around with you. I should have learnt this lesson long ago but I was too stubborn in my youth, instead preferring to hobble around with multiple blisters. No more I tell you. I will stop in the street and apply those life-saving bad boys.
  8. You actually enjoy making your bed every morning. There’s so much difference between throwing yourself out of bed and running for your morning lecture, and just climbing out of bed, straightening the sheets and getting on with your day. Trust me on this one.
  9. You eat what you like. There’s something quite satisfying with being able to eat anything off the menu, or saying ‘It’s okay, I’ll eat anything’. Except raw tomatoes, because I’m never getting over that one.
  10. You’re moving on and things can only get better. This is a nice point to end on.


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Current Hair Heroes

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I have a tiny little tendency to hang on to things for way longer than necessary. It’s not quite hoarder style, but let’s just say I have quite a lot of things. Recently I’ve been trying to de-clutter a bit, create some space and a slightly more minimal living space. What has this got to do with hair, I hear you cry! Well thanks to my habit of hanging on to things with the intention that it will probably come into use at some point in the future, my hair has a bit less frizz and marginally more shine going on.

The first product here actually came to me as a free sample with a magazine. Admittedly it was a long time ago (it’s that clinging on to things habit) but now I’ve got round to using it it’s become a member of my daily routine. The Percy & Reed Wonder Balm is not a product I would have used in the past – I used to be a much more ‘wash ‘n’ go’ kinda gal, but since my foray into hair dye, it takes a bit more effort to get things in order. A small blob of this stuff onto damp hair makes sure my hair smooth and what might even be called sleek.

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Elvive Extraordinary Oil is a product I ‘borrowed’ off my mum, back when I was too poor to buy my own. It’s by no means something that will break the bank, and I would definitely buy my own bottle now. Except I’m still on the same one! This stuff goes a long long way, and a tiny spot is all you need to give your hair some nourishment that might be missing.

My final hero of the batch is the Charles Worthington Shine Spray. This is my fail safe option that never lets me down. Should I happened to have skipped both of the previous steps, then a little spray of shine spray will smooth my hair down to a more manageable state. Anything that requires little effort and time, but does a mighty fine job is a hero in my book.

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Travel Planning 101

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First off I’d like to say that I am in no way an expert on this topic, but in recent months I’ve been doing slightly more in the way of planning than I have done before and I think I might have a few pointers that any beginner travellers out there could fine useful. These are mainly budget orientated, since my life is currently ruled by my ever decreasing bank balance, but I’ve still managed a good few adventures on my minimal amount of dollar.

I guess the first thing to say is to expect a little bit (read: a whole lot) of compromise. Sure, I would love to travel in style and would make full use of British Airways and their complimentary on-board snacks if I had the budget for it. But it’s always good to have something to aspire towards and until that day there are always alternatives.

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Coach travel is the one thing to consider. It’s a much slower option but it’s not particularly strenuous, there’s none of that trying to squeeze your liquids in a tiny clear bag, you just hop on and enjoy the ride. Price wise it can often be a fair amount cheaper than trains and planes, probably due to the slower travel pace, but you can’t enjoy the countryside views from the aisle seat of a plane, can you? I took an overnight coach from London to Paris and as expected it was not the most comfortable night of my life – but a little lack of sleep never hurt nobody and the price included the ferry fare too.

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Another tip I’ve learned is that when you can, don’t bother with hold luggage. On most of the budget airlines they whack an expensive extra charge on for baggage, which is probably why the ticket was so cheap in the first place. But depending on how long you’re travelling for and how much of an over packer you are (guilty!), there is usually enough space in a cabin bag for all your belongings. This also cuts down your time at your destination airport, when you glide on through to passport control and leave all the losers behind while they wait forever for their bags to come through. So long suckers!

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Accommodation can often rack up the cost of your trip if you’re not too careful and there are a lot of options out there, offering a much more low cost alternative to hotels. I’m a huge fan of AirBnB, so much so that I might even dedicate a whole post to it sometime. But having used it twice now and had really great experiences both times I can’t really recommend it enough. I love something that’s a bit quirky, and I promise you it’s not as weird as you might think to stay in someone else’s house for a few days. Often the whole apartment is available for you to stay in, which is possibly even more convenient and private than a hotel. You can grab yourself something from a local shop or deli for breakfast and make yourself a little picnic too – it’ll be far more cost effective than multiple restaurants for three meals a day. And yeah, maybe I’m just a bit nosey and enjoy having a little look around!

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Right now, I’m out and about in Italy. I cannot say how much I’ve been looking forward to this trip – I’m in desperate need of some warmth and some vitamin D and I plan on eating all the pasta and all the pizza. Watch out for some food envy posts!

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