How to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Well hello to you my reader chums! There's no real secret that the environment needs help - and we all need to be a bit more sustainable in how we live our day to day lives. The saying 'reduce, reuse and recycle' has never been apter and it's a thing everyone should try and put into practice.

If you're trying to take the steps to be more sustainable or don't really know where to begin, here are some tips on how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

How to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Try not to waste as many things

One of the worst things you can do for the environment is lessened how many things you waste. Waste is a wide issue in terms of food, plastic, and clothing. We throw so many things out per day, that when you think over the course of a month or a year, we've added tonnes into landfill - and then, times that by everyone in the world and you're onto billions of tonnes.

However, there are ways we can combat this by trying to live a more waste-free lifestyle. For instance, buy beauty products with no packaging, food with no packing and invest in reusable and recyclable items that you can either reuse multiple times or that will get recycled and made into something new.

Opt for reusable products

Like I mentioned previously, reusable items are a great way to prevent the amount of waste we create. These days, there are lots of sustainable and reusable items on the market from water bottles, toothbrushes, lunchboxes, beeswax wrap to makeup products and meat alternatives. The products maybe a little more pricer but because they're reusable, you'll get your money worth. Or even better, items with no packaging at all work a treat. For instance, shampoo and conditioner bars.

Always carry a tote bag

It may be small, but having a tote bag in tow with you at all times will come in handy more than you think. It'll not only save you a few pennies here and there when shopping, but it will also prevent the need from wasting excess plastic shopping bags.

Take public transport more or carshare

Cars are probably the worst mode of transport for the environment and a major cause of global warming. They emit carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And although they can be essential for commuting or getting around, there are greener modes of transport to consider. Try and use public transport methods, buy a bicycle or car-sharing - all different ways will help lower the emissions.

Eat and buy locally

Local businesses are a lot more sustainable than larger, corporate firms. Instead of importing goods from abroad or driving it across the country, they source their goods locally or grow it themselves. By doing this, their companies are a lot more ethical - and that's a big reason why you should buy from local businesses.

Avoid bottled water

Bottled water is one of those things that are unnecessarily wasteful. We go through hundreds of thousands or even millions of bottles a day, which is isn't okay. When you can, try and avoid buying single-use plastics and invest in a reusable water bottle. You can then carry it around with you and fill it up for free at cafes or restaurants.

Buy second-hand clothing items

The fashion industry contributes to differing forms of environmental pollution including water, air, and soil pollution. It's majorly wasteful and not to mention, very unethical, especially for cheaper clothing stores. When it comes to shopping for clothes, it can be hard to be sustainable, especially as the clothes in high street stores are so cheap. However, to be more sustainable, you need to try and steer away from those and invest in clothing pieces that are made ethically. These usually cost a lot more but they do last longer - and it'll be a good investment. Shops such as Arket are a good place to begin - or look on the tag to see where/how they're made.

Buy more ethical products

Just like fashion, a lot of other products we buy aren't sustainable such as makeup, beauty products or even household items. When it comes to makeup, for instance, look out for the vegan brands as their products are made more ethically and not tested on animals.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What tips do you have for living more sustainably?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

Well hello to you my reader chums! Another day, another book. Now it's wintertime, cuddling up with a book has become one of my favourite things to do before bed. I love reading but when life is so busy, it can be hard to find the time to settle down with a good book.

A while ago, I got sent this book to review and it intrigued me, so after finishing it, here are my overall thoughts on the book.

Book review: The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva#


Plotline

The book is based around Amy and Amy's life and how she is just trying to be the most normal version of herself possible - and how she is trying to fit in. It's very prominent in the book that Amy suffers from a mental health condition which is preventing her from doing a lot of things but it isn't obvious what that is. And the book follows her journey with that, and how she leads her life, overcoming obstacles and pushing herself out of her comfort zone. The whole plot urges you to follow along with her story and gives you that want for her to do well.

Characters and relationships

The relationships in the book are what make it so strong - and allow you to learn the true value of friendship when it comes to someone dealing with their mental health. My favourite friendship in the book was between Amy and Ed. Ed cared for Amy in such a way that it was a friendship most of us would dream of having - and at first, you think there is more to their friendship.

 The other relationships in the book are predominate with people she works with and I like that - as your work colleagues are so influential on you because you are with them so often. Colleagues can become like family and help you deal with day to day things more than the people you have at home - and I like that this book emphasizes that.

Thoughts on the book

At first, I didn't know what to think of this book as it went straight into the deep end of Amy's thoughts and her life. It was very abrupt and honest but as the tale went on, I really liked that fact. It read like a diary and I was investing myself into someone's mindset and experiencing their journey. I found it relatable in a sense, as some of the things she spoke about related to my own anxiety - which made the tale more intriguing and made me read on. It's one of those books that people should read to get a little insight into what those with mental health problems are going through and how it can affect their lives.

Mental health has a lot more awareness these days but compared to physical health, it's still not treated the same and people are ashamed to speak out about their issues. It's okay not to be okay and go through stages where your mental health is in a dark place. Just know, you're stronger than you may think and you can get through it. And this book shares that message - and emphasizes the journey of what having a mental health condition is actually like.

Ending

The ending was my favourite part as I think the overall message speaks volumes that we all have people around us who truly care for us - and you can fight more than you ever believe you could. The last few pages were positive and happy - and everything I would have wanted them to be.

You can buy it here.

I hope you enjoyed this book review. Have you read it?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things you can do to boost yourself up on a down day

Well hello to you my reader chums! Whether you deal with anxiety or depression or really are just feeling a bit blue, there can be times where things can get too much to handle mentally. And, that's okay. We all have days or weeks when we're not feeling ourselves - but it's how you snapback from that which is important. This time of year especially is hard to deal with your mental health considering the lack of light weather and the pressure which the festivities can bring.

If you're in this situation right now, here are 5 things you can do to boost you up on a down day.

5 things you can do to boost you up on a down day


Take some time for self-care

Self-care is different for everyone, but for me, self-care means time to myself and all things pampering. Self-care is about indulging and treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated- this means running yourself a nice bath and using all your fancy skincare products. I like to literally delve into my entire Lush collection - I'm talking bath bombs and fresh face masks. It can also mean taking the time to just be, practice meditation and mindfulness - and tune that positive energy into your brain.

Write 5 things good about your day

Even though you may have had the worst day in history, there's always something good or positive that would have happened. It can be as little as eating a really good lunch to having a fun chat with a work colleague. Although it may be hard to think in a negative headspace, it'll do you good to pick out the better things about your day. Then, read them before bed, and you'll fall asleep with positive thoughts.

Book something fun to do

When you're not feeling yourself, it's always good to have plans in place so you have something to look forward to. Whether it's a city break, going away for the night or heading uptown to the theatre. There are plenty of fun activities out there such as a bottomless brunch, castle visit, going to a theme park or ice skating.

Surround yourself with good people

You'd be surprised who'd come to you when you're not feeling your best. Over the past few weeks, I've been surrounded by so much love when my mental health hasn't been right. From my family to close friends and all the colleagues at work. In a time when you're not feeling good, keep busy by making plans with friends, phone people up and stay in the company of people, as it can distract you from how you're feeling.

Do something you enjoy

Even though it can be hard when you're not feeling your best, try and pursue something you enjoy. Whether that's creating a delicious meal, reading a book or dabbling in arts and crafts, hobbies will make you feel a lot better - and give you something joyful to focus on in your low moments. It's all about doing what makes your heart feel full as that'll put a smile on your face.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What things do you do when you're down?

Thank you for reading <3

How to Prepare for a Backpacking Trip

Well hello to you my reader chums! Backpacking around Asia was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I wouldn't change it for the world. It allowed me to experience a new culture, taste some of the yummiest foods and visit some of the most beautiful countries ever. The backpacking experience is something that I thought would never be up my street but I fell in love with that way of life and would love to do it again.

 If you're planning a backpacking trip, whether that's around Asia, Europe or America here are a few tips on how to prepare for a backpacking trip.

How to Prepare for a Backpacking Trip

Pick your location and length

The first step to any trip and any backpacking trip is picking where you're going and how long for. Some backpackers like to travel for a few weeks whilst others go for an entire year. When you've decided on a continent and time length, then you can figure out how many countries you can travel to and how long to spend there.

Write a loose agenda

This brings me to my next point of an agenda. Of course, you don't have to plan things to every detail but it's a good idea to have a rough idea of where you're going and how long for. Then you can research the places and map an outline for your trip. You may arrive in one place, fall in love and want to spend longer or, you may arrive somewhere else and not like it at all. It's all about giving yourself some leeway on the agenda.

Set a budget

Once you know the length and where you're going, you need to set a budget and have finances in mind. Whether that's because you need to start saving or you have some savings ready to spend on your trip. Roughly plan how much you'd like to spend on the entire trip and send an average everyday budget for spending money.

Book your flights and accommodation

Depending on how spontaneous you'd like to be can determine this next step. Once you've booked the flight to the initial location, you can also book the various accommodations and other flights. However, if you want to be fully spontaneous, then you can easily book flights and accommodation along the way. The majority of countries offer hostels, especially renowned backpacking spots like Asia that you won't be short of finding a place to stay. And flights can easily be booked online whilst you're away or at local travel agents.

Purchase your backpack and gear

Once you have a rough plan and a date to go, you need to physically start preparing for the trip. This means firstly going shopping for your backpack. Backpacks come in different sizes and the one I got for a 2-month trip was 65 Litres. It was a really good size and I think it's perfect for those travelling for two months or longer. As well as the backpack, packing cubes are a good investment (the best thing for organisation) - and then you need to sort out which type of clothes you want to bring. For more information, check out my backpacking packing guide and the beauty packing guide.

Write a must-see list

Even though travelling is about being spontaneous and going with the flow, on your trip, there will be things that you certainly want to see. For instance, the Colosseum in Rome or the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia. Before you go, make a list of things you definitely want to do and put them on your agenda. Then, when you're there, you will hear from locals and other fellow travellers about things to see and do. Travel blogs are also a great insight into what attractions there are as they usually give a more honest opinion to travel agency websites - especially off the beaten track type places.

How to Prepare for a Backpacking Trip

Vaccinations and visas

This again depends on where you're going as these can fluctuate immensely. Before you visit any new country, especially if it's in a new continent, you need to research if a visa is required and if there are any vaccinations you will need. This will save you time at the airport and be safer for your health.

Money and currencies

One of the other things you need to sort out is money. If you're going to a few countries with a different currency, then your best bet is a travel money card. You can get these at the post office and top them up with a variety of currencies on the app, and then get the cash out from an ATM in the chosen country. It's really handy and saves you carrying around lots of cash all the time.

Pack and have fun

Once everything is planned and you're ready to go, it's time for the fun part -packing. I absolutely love packing, I find the whole concept very exciting as it means the adventure is actually happening. Write yourself a list and try to under pack rather than overpack. I say this as you're easily able to buy clothes and toiletries along the way that you don't need to cram as many things in your backpack as possible. Use packing cubes and stay organised as it'll really help you out along the way from place to place. Once you're packed, get on that plane and have the best time of your life!

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you going backpacking?

Thank you for reading <3

Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

Well hello to you my reader chums! Florence has become my new favourite city. It's packed with medieval buildings, an incredible art scene, the most glorious food, and prettiest streets to roam around. It's a place I could happily revisit over and over again and would recommend everyone to visit at least once in their life.

If you're planning a trip to Florence or heading there soon, here is everything to know about the city.

Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

It can be done on a budget

Florence is renowned for its designer shopping and expensive eateries, however, it can easily be done on a budget. Despite some food places overcharging, you can easily find spots with budget-friendly things to do, food to eat and shops too. For instance, Florence has plenty of places where you can buy a slice of pizza on the go, or slightly away from the main sights, all the restaurants a very reasonably priced. In terms of shops, Florence has a few markets where you're able to haggle for gorgeous leather bags and souvenirs also.

Save money, take the tram or walk

With a budget in mind, you can save a lot of money as you travel around Florence. Florence is a big city but small enough that you're able to do it all on foot - and that means walking from sight to sight. The only time you really need to take transport is to get to and from the airport - but again, to save money, you can hop on the tram rather than pay for an overpriced taxi. In Florence, taxis are very expensive and it'll probably cost you around 60 euro to get into the centre from the airport, whilst a tram is a couple of euros.

The sights aren't overrated (in my opinion)

For many cities worldwide, you get a lot of people saying sights are overrated such as the leaning tower of Pisa. However, every single sight I went to in Florence was worth the penny and I would 100% recommend seeing as many as possible. The city is packed with a rich history and the sights are one of beauty.

Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

Florence is accessible wherever you stay 

Florence may be a large city, but that doesn't mean it's inaccessible. Usually, when it comes to cities, you should stay in a certain area to get the most out of the city, however, with Florence you don't. The city has all the sights within walking distance that wherever you stay, you're able to reach the attractions - and all the different areas are stunning. If you want to be the absolute centre, I would then suggest staying near the Duomo.

The train is a great way to get around

Florence is a beautiful city to see but it doesn't mean you should spend your time in Tuscany only in Florence. As Italy is the perfect place to interrail around, from Florence, you're able to visit cities including Pisa, Lucca, Siena and many, many more.

Pre-book your tickets to the museums

As Florence is an incredibly popular city, it's important to be one step of the game and book your museum tickets - especially in peak times. I bought mine when I was in the city but it meant going up the Duomo was all booked up so we missed out. If you book them beforehand, you won't be disappointed and can see everything on your trip.


Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

Italians dine later

Something to note is eating times in Florence. Italians tend to eat later in the day as it's cooler then, that you won't see many restaurants open for dinner until 7pm and sometimes later (it depends on the restaurants.)

The Duomo is free

The Duomo, one of the most beautiful sights in Florence is actually free to enter. Inside isn't as extravagant as the exterior, but it's completely worth going to look inside. If you'd like to go up to the top of the Duomo or visiting the museums, you will have to pay, however.

Visit both sides of the city

Florence is broken up in two by the river Arno, however, both sides have plenty in store. The mains side with the Duomo is the most popular, but over the other side, there are lots to see. There are the palace and gardens as well as loads of tucked away eateries. The other side of the bridge is quieter and not as touristy so you get an authentic taste of the city.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. When are you going to Florence?

Thank you for reading <3

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Well hello to you my reader chums! Christmas is a time of glimmering lights, delicious foods and all the fun festivities which fill us all with joy. However, there's a less joyous side of Christmas that isn't spoken about as much as it should - and that's the effect it has on the environment.

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Christmas is one of the most wasteful times of the year when you take into account how much packaging, food, and plastic we throw out. Every year, the UK alone throws out hundreds of thousands of plastic waste, Christmas cards and many other unrecyclable goods - which are added to our landfills.

The stats are very shocking when you give them a Google about how much waste there is, but that is the reality - and it's important for everyone to do their bit and reduce the waste. Otherwise, it's going to add more and more to our landfill until there is no more room!

Whether you're an advocate for the environment or simply trying to do your bit to help the planet, here are some tips on having a sustainable Christmas.

Shop locally

One of the main wasteful factors when it comes to Christmas is the bulk of goods sold in-store- and imported/delivered across the country. A lot of shops will sell the same products which have been made in bulk in factories and then shipped in huge lorries across the country to sell them. This in itself adds to the emissions - as well as delivery service. When you really think about it, if you order one dress online, for instance, it's got to go in a lorry which will go across the UK to deliver lots of individual items - a very wasteful method.

To combat this, one way would be to shop locally. This won't only prevent the need to deliver excessively, but also support the local economy. You can go visit local Christmas markets, support local/homemade businesses and enjoy a good old fashion shopping trip as you do so. When you buy a gift from a chain, you're supporting a huge corporation, but when you do so from a local business, you're supporting someone's dream. It's not only sustainable but helping out your community.

Create homemade gifts

Christmas is a really fun time of year so why not enjoy the thrill and make your own gifts? The saying goes 'it's the thought that counts' and that's so true. Whether it's some homemade cakes a scrapbook or even knitting a scarf, the homemade element will make people's day - and they'll know it came from the heart more than a shop-bought gift. Creating something homemade will also lessen the waste element.

Go virtual with Paperless Post

Christmas cards are a tradition we all know and love, whether you send them to everyone you know or only to your partner. However, cards can contribute to a huge amount of Christmas waste every year that's adding to our landfill sites. If you do love the feel of a Christmas card, then try and opt for a card made of recycled paper - or there's the option of a virtual card.

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Paperless Post is an online card service where you're able to send customizable cards virtually to your family and friends. They got in touch and gifted me tokens to purchase some cards - and I couldn't wait to get started. The website offers a wide range of different cards from seasonal cards, birthday cards to wedding invite and note cards - and all can be customized in any way possible. As this is about Christmas, I used the opportunity to buy and send Christmas cards for all my friends, ready for the festive season.


How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

The process of buying the cards is really simple. You're able to choose a design, customize it in any way you like including the message, font and adding in stickers. You can even personalise the envelope and send it off via email. It's a really fun process!

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Use recyclable paper

A lot of people don't realise that most wrapping paper is actually not recyclable - and that means a huge amount of paper waste at Christmas is essentially put in the landfill. To reduce the amount of waste, invest in the recyclable paper which has been made out of recycled materials - this can then be recycled again and won't amount to the usual Christmas waste. Recycled paper is usually branded with FSC certified. When you go to recycle it, make sure to remove the sellotape and decoration as often that's not recyclable.

Say no to glitter 

The majority of glitter used on packaging and cards isn't biodegradable (even though you can buy biodegradable glitter.) With that in mind, when buying gifts or cards, sway away from the glitter and opt to not purchase into it. If glitter is your thing, then invest in biodegradable glitter and make your own cards/gifts.

Go on nature-themed days out

When it comes to Christmas time, a lot of activities aren't eco-friendly and you need to keep in mind when you're planning things to do. Think about more natural activities such as walks on the beach or in the park, baking Christmas treats or doing arts and crafts.

*This post contains gifted items*

I hope you enjoyed this post. What things are you doing to be more sustainable at Christmas time?

Thank you for reading <3


7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

Well hello to you my reader chums! With its rolling hills, endless vineyards and renowned for the incredible art scene, Tuscany is a central region in Italy everyone needs to visit. I fell in love with the region as soon as I stepped off the plane and can't wait to explore even more one day. On my trip, I was there for 7 days and tried to see as many places in the region as possible over the week.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

If you're planning a week in the city, here's where you should go.

Florence: 3-4 days

Florence, the capital and heart of Tuscany should be first on our list when visiting the region. The capital is as beautiful as you would expect every capital city to be. The impressive architecture, art scene, cobbled streets, quaint shops and incredible places to dine. I absolutely loved exploring the city and it became moreish seeing more and more as I ventured round.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

Florence is packed with plenty of things to see and do from museums, galleries, churches, stunning buildings, tours to simply wandering the pretty streets. As it's such an amazing city, I would recommend spending longer than shorter in it - as that way you won't only see the main sights, you can immerse yourself into all the hidden away gems and venture away from the main hub.

I would say you could fit in all the main sights into 2-3 days even only 2 at a push but would recommend staying longer so you won't need to rush around the sights and can take your time, and soak in all its beauty. Florence is a city that will steal your heart and leave you in love with the Italian culture, food, and architecture.

For more information on what to see and do, here is my 3-day guide to Florence.

Pisa: Afternoon/day trip

Pisa is renowned for its leaning tower and when you're in Tuscany, its something you have to see - even just for the candid photo. The city of Pisa is surprisingly very small and doesn't take too long to look at the main sights. As it's a very tourist area, there isn't much beyond the tower to see that you could easily spend an afternoon to a day there.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

Depending on how you like to travel, I would either suggest booking a tour to take you around the sights and have a tight schedule or hop on a train to the city and explore at your own pace. Pisa can be easily reached by train from Florence.

For more information, check out my 24 hour guide to Pisa.

Lucca: 1 day

Lucca, the quaint and humble city is a place I think everybody should get the opportunity to see on their trip to Tuscany. The main hub of Lucca is located in castle-like city walls and wherever you stroll around looks like a medieval fairytale. Lucca is renowned for its architecture, quaint walkways and plenty of authentic restaurants.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go

I fell in love with Lucca as soon as I arrived. It had the same heart Florence had but on a much smaller scale, with fewer tourists and a quiet appeal. It was everything I hoped it would be. As the city isn't huge, you can easily see everything within a day and I would recommend staying a night there so you're able to soak up the whole city as well as grabbing some breakfast before you move onto the next location.

Despite the size, there are quite a few things to see and do as well as some of the prettiest streets you'll ever set your eyes on. Can you tell I absolutely adored it? Lucca can be reached via train but the main station is a way out of the centre.

For more information about the city, have a look at my 1-day guide to Lucca.

Siena: 1-2 days 

Siena is renowned for its medieval buildings and makes for the perfect place to explore and set a base or for day trips. I really loved Siena; there were plenty of things to see and do, hidden gems wherever you look and a lot of opportunities for walking. The city is very hilly so that's something to keep in mind if you're not the best walker. Siena has iconic buildings, the cutest shops you'll ever see and too many pizza shops to count.

7 day guide to Tuscany: where to go


The actual city of Siena, you could easily see all the sights in a day, however, I would recommend a second day there to either explore the off-the-beaten-track areas or to go on a day trip. Siena is a prime location for day trips and you can use the second day to go on one of them.

For the day trips, I would recommend Monterggioni as it's only 20 minutes away on the bus and the most incredible little place you'll ever see with great views of the Tuscan hills.

Other day trips include San Gimignano, Montalcino, a Chianti wine tour (which usually takes around 5 hours to a whole day trip), Livorno, Assisi or simply returning back to one of the previous cities I've mentioned.

For more information about the city, here is my 2-day guide to Siena.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. When are you planning to go to Tuscany?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis

Well hello to you my reader chums! Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies is the book every single person needs to read at least once in their lifetime. It's a book that not only educates but highlights pressing issues that the majority of people aren't aware of regarding feminism and the patriarchy. And is one of the most inspiring and sassy books I've ever read.

Book review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis

The book came out last year and I've been wanting it for ages that when I finally got my hands on it, I couldn't wait to delve in as I heard so many good things - and I'd already fallen in love with the accompanying podcast.

This book contains essays or poems on what feminism means to each writer and offers an insight into the individual's views. There's everything from feminism in the workplace, period poverty, sexual harassment, to being a girl boss and owning being a woman. I loved the variety of topics and how every page could not only educate myself but also open my eyes to some issues I wasn't even aware of.

What does feminism mean to me?

When I was younger, I wasn't really aware of what feminism was or what it meant. Every time the word did pop up, I always remember people pulling faces or there was a negative connotation around it, however, I was always intrigued. It wasn't until my English class in the sixth form when I really learned about what feminism meant and my English teacher said we were all feminists. At the time, we were learning about the Bloody Chambers which is feminist fiction and opened my eyes to the whole matter.

Feminism isn't man-hating (a terrible stereotype), feminism is simply the equality of men and women - and wanting women to have the same rights and privileges as men. This goes within the workplace and how society views us. But on the flip side, it also means that men are allowed to show their emotions and be exactly what they want to be - again not conforming to the stereotypes of what society expects of men too. We shouldn't judge people on their genders and allow the freedom of expression. Feminism is fighting for the minorities and aiming for everybody to be accepted into society so we can all be free in our choices and how we are treated.

I've always been an active pro-women type of gal, boosting my best friends up and always encouraging them to do and be exactly whatever they want to be, not allowing barriers or stereotypes to get in their way. In a world that is so against women, I think it's important to help boost the ones around you and the ones you see on social media.

I've also always been someone who's never understood why there is a divide between women and men and why we aren't just equal. Why does the gender pay gap exist? Why have women always been treated less than men and still continue to be in modern society? To me, feminism is about fighting for everyone to feel accepted and not lesser than anyone else.

Book review: Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies curated by Scarlett Curtis

Thoughts on the book

As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but feel incredibly empowered. Every single woman in the book shared their raw view whether it was serious or a comical piece, either way, it made me proud to be a woman. I absolutely loved the book and wanted to read on even when the pages ran out. It's incredibly interesting hearing women from all walks of life telling their stories and sharing insight into the world in essay format. I couldn't help but be hooked on each word and feel inspired by the powerful women in the book. Hearing their stories made me feel grateful for what I had and inspired to do something more for equal rights.

I would recommend this book to everyone. To the feminists of the world who feel empowered, to those who don't understand feminism and for those people who think feminism is a negative word. We all need to feel inspired and empowered and this book shows how strong us women are even when hell is chucked in our faces. The book makes me incredibly proud to be a woman and has made me realize how strong we are. Here's to girl power!

I hope you enjoyed this book. What are your thoughts on it?

Thank you for reading <3

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Siena is a beautiful city in Tuscany known for its hilly cobbled streets and medieval buildings. I absolutely loved Siena; it was like a larger version with Lucca with all the Italian beauty. I loved exploring it (even with the steep hills.) Siena is a charming place, full of history, pretty walkways, and the best restaurants.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

If you're planning to visit Siena on your trip to Tuscany and going for a day or two, here is everything I got up to.

Day 1: Sightseeing and exploring the city

Duomo di Siena - The cathedrals in Italy are a vision of beauty and Siena's was no different. It's one of the main attractions in Siena and completely worth the visit. The cathedral is split up into sections that you can pay to get into. On my trip, I went into the main area and saw the cathedral in all its glory.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Complesso Museale Santa Maria della Scala -  This museum was once a civic hospital which cared for abandoned children, the sick, the poor and the pilgrims. Now it's a place with a rich history and some interesting exhibits to see. As I walked around the museum, I found a mixed bag of things to learn about. There were the art murals, a church, underground tunnels, chapels and so much more to see. For the Santa Maria della Scala, you can get a combined ticket with the Duomo. There are a lot of different ticket options to choose from.

Piazza del Campo - This is the main square (or oval) in Siena and a hub for restaurants, cafes, and the location where people sit down with an ice cream in hand. The square is home to Torre del Mangia, which dates back to the 1300s. It's Siena's most popular square and a vision of beauty with the medieval architecture.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do


2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Torre del Mangia - Dating back to the 1300s and located in Piazza del Campo, this tower was originally the tallest in medieval Italy. It looks over the square and you're able to climb up it for a beautiful view of the city.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Going for a walk - As I always say, the best way to see a city and find the hidden gems is by going for a walk without following Google maps. Siena is a beautiful place to roam around as you come across some tucked away restaurants, little shops, and some really pretty streets.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Day two: More exploring and a day trip to Monteriggioni

Siena isn't a huge city so you're able to see all the sights within a day that on the second day, I would recommend a day trip. Dan and I chose to visit Monteriggioni, a small walled town known for its medieval architecture. The castle walls of which hold the town, offer a 360 view of the Tuscan hills and honestly, I've never seen anything so beautiful.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Monteriggioni is located about a 20-minute bus journey from Siena. You can get the bus from Piazza Gramsci which is the main bus hub in Siena. Look out for bus 130 or 131 as they will both take you to Monterggioni - just make sure you get off at the right stop! Bus tickets can be bought at any newsagent style shop or cafe with the large T symbol outside.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

On the walk up to Castello di Monteriggioni, I was presented with the most incredible views of Tuscany which got better as I walked further up. Monteriggioni is the quaintest place I've ever seen and I'm so happy we added onto our itinerary. It's not the biggest place so an afternoon there would be enough time to soak up the glory.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Museo Monteriggioni in Arme - If history is your thing, make sure to take some time to look around this museum. It offers an insight into the war of Siena and all the army wear/weapons used in medieval times. It's also a lot of fun to try on all the gear.

Church of Santa Maria - This church stands in the middle of the square of the town. The town itself is very small and there are a select few restaurants which are located by the church.

Quaint shops - Monteriggioni was home to some of the quaintest shops I've seen on my Italy travels with them full of homemade items including bags, clothes, and jewelry. They're the perfect place to pick up a souvenir and take a browse.

Monteriggioni wall's - On two sides of the castle edge, you're able to climb up and see all the Tuscan hills- it's honestly stunning. Tickets for this can be bought at the entrance on either side of the walls and are worth it - and you'll get entrance to the museum with these tickets too.

Ristorante le Torri Monteriggioni - As I previously mentioned, the town only had a select few restaurants and we dined there on our visit. The pasta here was delicious! I had a ragu and Dan, pesto - and they offered a complimentary soup starter and bread.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

Where to stay

Siena is rather small that wherever you stay, you'll be able to reach the main sights on foot, however, the more central, the better. We stayed at Hotel La Perla, which was within walking distance to pretty much anything (even the train station - about half-hour away.) The hotel was pretty modern and ideal to venture around the city from.

Where to eat 

Ristorante Al Mangia - Ever since coming back from Italy, I've raved about this restaurant. It was located in a tucked-away alley from the Piazza del Campo and opened in 1937. The food here was top quality and some of the best I tried in Italy. We both ordered the bolognese style pasta and it was incredibly rich and moreish with a chocolate fondant dessert to follow. It's the type of family-run restaurant where locals visit more than tourists and I like that as you can fully immerse into its authenticity.

2 days in Siena, Italy: what to see and do

How to get there

Siena is very easy to get to from surrounding cities. You can either get a train from places like Florence, Lucca, etc or the bus. We took a train from Lucca and it took around 2 and a half hours. It was the longest train journey out of them all but completely worth it. You can also drive to the city but may find trouble parking near hotels in the centre.

Day trips from Siena

Florence - Florence is the heart of Tuscany and always worth another visit, even if you've been plenty of times. The train from Siena to Florence takes an hour and a half which will give you plenty of time to explore the city.

Pisa - Pisa is quite a small city that you're able to see all the main sights in an afternoon visit. From Siena, it takes around an hour and 45 minutes per train.

Lucca - Lucca is the quaintest city and small enough to soak up all the beauty within a day. It's quite a long train journey. however, at 2 and a half hours.

Monteriggioni - I've raved about this a lot in this article, but honestly, his would be top of my list for anyone visiting Siena as it's only a 20-minute journey away.

Chianti region - The Chianti region is renowned for its wine and the best vineyards to see in Tuscany. From Siena, you can easily book a tour of the vineyards which usually lasts 5 hours between 2pm-7pm. Look online or at the local travel agents whilst you're in the city to book- or even ask your hotel.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Is there anything you'd recommend to see in Siena?

Thank you for reading <3

How to travel more sustainably

Well hello to you my reader chums! The planet and its climate are a real issue today, which needs to be changed and reversed as soon as possible. I may sound dramatic, however, I need to be. It's crucial for us to make some big changes in order to save the planet. Although as individuals we don't have the power to do something on a large scale, we can help out on a smaller level - and that comes with living sustainably.

How to travel more sustainably

Travel obviously isn't the biggest way to live sustainably and it has bad effects on the environment, however, there are a few things you can do to travel sustainably. 

Try alternative methods of transport

As convenient as getting a plane is, there are alternative methods of travel. Obviously, if you're going across the world, then a plane will be your first port of call. However, if it's a shorter trip away or you want to get around a country, then consider getting a train or bus for your holiday. Train travel is so simple, especially across Europe. If you're under 26 as well, then you can buy a train youth ticket which is a lot cheaper than an adult ticket.

Pack sustainably

When it comes to packing for your trip, it's important to be aware of what you're putting in your case or backpack. Think about how you're being wasteful and what reusable things you can bring along on your trip. If you're wondering what to pack, here's my eco-friendly guide to packing.

Research the companies you're booking with 

Something a lot of people don't realise when they're booking their holiday or excursion is the company isn't very ethical. This could be for a number of reasons, but one reason is if the company book tours that harm animals whether that's elephant trekking or monkey shows. With that in mind, it's important to do an overall check of who you're booking with and their ethical stance. 

Avoid animal shows/ look into sanctuaries

This goes hand in hand with booking your holiday. When you're abroad in warmer countries, they'll often put on animal shows as a way to entertain tourists. This can be something like elephant riding, whale shows, alligator wrestling or anything bizarre and horrible you can think of. All of these shows or things you can do will harm the animals or the animals aren't being treated properly. To prevent this, don't endorse the shows and actively try to look for more ethical measures to see the animals. This can be through animal sanctuaries who rescue animals and actually look after them - again research into this as some claim to be sanctuaries and really aren't.

Eat like a local 

Eating like a local gives you the opportunity to not only taste local delicacies but also lets you help local communities and even the economy. By paying out for global chains, you're paying for the food products to be imported which are adding fuel to the fire essentially. This is because of the CO2 emissions that are caused to ship all this food over to different countries. If you eat things that are sourced locally, you're preventing the importing from happening and helping towards an overall larger movement.

Stay at greener hotels 

These days, a lot of hotels are trying their best to be more sustainable and green to help out the planet. With the greener options out there, try and choose them over a chain hotel or one that is very wasteful.

Make ethical choices

As we're travelling, we often get lost in the moment and don't really think about doing our bit for the planet. We get stuck in the idea of living our best lives and living for the moment. However, when you are venturing around, be mindful of your choices, whether that's to do with food, how you're travelling or what you're doing.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are you doing to try to make your trip more sustainable?

Thank you for reading <3

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy: what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Italy will forever have my heart; the cuisine and culture brings me so much joy - I absolutely love it. On my trip around Tuscany, I also stopped off at Lucca for a day and it's become one of my favourite places ever. Lucca to me was like the more humble and quiet Florence with the same cobbled streets and beautiful architecture.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

The main city of Lucca is located in city walls which makes the location even cooler. In the walls, you'll find intertwined cobbles streets, rustic restaurants, sights to see and even nicer people to speak to. Out of all the places I visited in Tuscany, it was the least touristy and that's what gave it the authentic vibe I fell in love with.

We arrived to Lucca late morning and after checking into our hotel, had the entire day to explore. Lucca isn't huge so you can easily fit all the sights in one day and soak up the hidden gems too.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy


What to see and do 

Get a feel of the city - My favourite thing to do in Lucca was to explore every single corner possible. It's one of those places where every turn you make, it's all beautiful. Dan and I easily found ourselves spending hours walking around, admiring the city and chatting - it's the perfect thing to do, whoever you may be with (even if you're a solo traveller.)

Torre Guinigi - If you read through my guides to Tuscany then you may have realised we did a lot of climbing towers and up tall buildings throughout our trip to get a view of the city. This tower was on my list but we came across it as we were browsing the city. As you go up the tower, it has that traditional look and true Italian vibe of a building - and the view is even better. There's something so amazing about seeing an entire city up high.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Piazza dell'Anfiteatro - One of the most iconic squares (well circles) in Lucca was this one. The oval-shaped area is filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops - and makes for the cutest place to dine at night.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Palazzo Pfanner - I love visiting a palace and learning about the history that I couldn't miss this one in Lucca. Dating back to 1667, the palace is now converted into a museum of arts and artifacts with a beautifully manicured garden at the back. I loved this palace a lot as it wasn't over the top but grand in its own way, and hidden away that you wouldn't think it had such a significant meaning.


Chiesa di San Michele in Foro - Piazza San Michele is a beautiful square and has a cathedral in the middle of it which you're able to go in. The square has plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby to stop off and admire its beauty.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Where to stay

Lucca is quite a small city that wherever you stay, you're able to get to the main part quite easily whether that's by foot or taxi. Our hotel, La Bella Addormentata, and Prince Calaf was located out of the city walls and about a 10-15 minute walk away. It was in the ideal location as the area was residential and quiet but we were close enough to explore the main sights. Also, the breakfast here was incredible - there was literally everything you;d need in a buffet spread.

Where to eat

La Cranceria - Pizza is everything in Italy and when we were there, we had it for lunch every single day. Ths pizza shop serves up a variety of pizza flavours for as cheap as 2 Euro per slice and it's honestly so delicious! It had my favourite ever tomato sauce on a pizza and I'm certainly craving it right now as I type this post.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Matta gelato - Italy is the place where gelato is born and this was my favourite gelato place in Lucca. I had both chocolate and stracciatella and it tasted like top-quality ice cream.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

Piazza dell'Anfiteatro - Even though this square is probably one of the most touristy places and the food isn't as authentic, it's a perfect spot for night time dining when all the restaurants are lit up.

24 Hours in Lucca, Italy

How to get there 

Lucca is really easy to get to. You can either get the train from nearby cities including Florence, Pisa or Siena or drive to the city (but just make sure your hotel has parking). We went from Pisa to Lucca which only took half an hour on the train.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Are you planning to visit Lucca?

Thank you for reading <3

Everything to know before visiting Vietnam

Well hello to you my reader chums! Vietnam was one of my favourite countries in South East Asia and I really wish I spent longer than the 10 days there. On my trip, I visited 3 different locations, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, and Hanoi and loved exploring them. If you're planning a trip to Vietnam, here is everything you need to know.

Everything to know before visiting Vietnam

The north is different from the south

Similar to England, the culture up north is completely different from the south and people are also different. When I spoke to locals in the south, they were explaining how things are more laid back down there and the people are a lot friendlier and tend not to scam tourists as much. You'll notice the vibe in Ho Chi Minh city isn't nowhere near as wild as Hanoi.

Vietnamese cuisine is super cheap and delicious

The food in Vietnam is one of the tastiest you'll ever try and also extremely cheap. There's plenty of different street vendors, quick stop restaurants and fine dining places where you can try lots of different meals and flavours. My favourite meal in Vietnam was the Beef Pho soup. You'll find they specialize in ramen style soups which are packed with flavour.

The weather can be temperamental

South East Asia is renowned for being hot all year round, however, this doesn't mean rain never occurs. Because of the high heat, it also means there can be very heavy rainfalls, especially in Vietnam. Out of all the places in Asia, Vietnam was the only place where I found the weather to be quite temperamental. There were cloudier and rainy days that it's best to be prepared with a rain mac in your backpack. Down south, between May and October, it's best to be prepared for hot weather and rain too. However, Hanoi has four seasons ranging from hot summers to cold winters.

Visas

If you're British and staying longer than 15 days then you'll need a visa which you can easily apply for online. Or, you can buy one on arrival but that will be more time consuming and mean queuing up. For those visiting Vietnam for under 15 days, UK visitors have a free pass to enter and travel.

Currency 

Vietnamese Dong and US dollars are both widely used in Vietnam that you can get away with using both throughout your travels in the country. Dollars are used for larger purchases such as hotels, tours, and transport, whilst Dong can be used for pretty much anything.

Everything to know before visiting Vietnam

Learn the language 

When visiting Vietnam, it's not necessary to speak fluently as a lot of people do speak English. However, it will come in handy if you know a few phases as it'll help you get around and speak to the locals easier.

Safety first 

Like in all poorer countries, it's best to be aware wherever you go and that means taking extra measures. Try to avoid having your phone out in public, keep your eyes on your valuables and try to avoid bringing expensive items out and about.

 Hotel details

Some taxi drivers in Vietnam won't speak very good English and not know the area too well. This is why it's important to bring the hotel details including the address with you so the taxi driver can be fully aware of where you are going.

Crossing the street

In Vietnam, traffic can be wild especially in the bigger cities where you'll often see a sea of motorbikes. A lot of the motorbikes in Vietnam tend to drive aimlessly and not pay attention to traffic lights as such. With this in mind, it's important to be wary when you're crossing the road. Try and join crowds of local people when crossing the road to help navigate yourself across.

Use cash only

Vietnam is quite old school when it comes to a lot of things and that goes with money too. When travelling, try and leave your cards at home. You're more than able to get around easily with only cash at hand.

I hope you enjoyed this Vietnam post. When are you planning to visit the country?

Thank you for reading <3

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! Pisa is ultimately renowned for its leaning tower and the monument you've got to see whilst travelling around the Tuscany region. It may be touristy, but you'll have a lot of fun getting the candid photo that every other person there will be trying to take too.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

Pisa wasn't my favourite part of Tuscany as it was smaller than I expected with the square of tourist spots as the main hub. However, it's not to say I didn't like it because in Italy everywhere is beautiful. I don't think it's essential to spend a whole day in Pisa, you can see the main sights in an afternoon, but a whole day allows you to immerse into what is past the leaning tower.

My boyfriend and I stayed 4 nights in Florence previously and took the train to Pisa the next day and it took around an hour. Out of all the train journeys in Tuscany, this was the busiest!

Here's everything we got up to in Pisa:

The main sights

As I mentioned previously, Pisa is pretty small and the main hub of it is the Leaning Tower and the surrounding sights including the cathedral, baptistery, and Camposanto. This square is pretty much crowded all the time (depending on the time of year) so it's best to head down as soon as each monument opens as you have a better chance of avoiding the queues.

For all the sights you can get one ticket which will give you entrance to them and to go up the leaning tower. I believe it was around 18 Euro each and was completely worth it - especially going up the tower.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

Leaning Tower of Pisa - I saw this in a million pictures prior to my trip so it was pretty cool seeing it in person and walking up to the top. It's quite a long walk up and at first, I felt a little disorientate due to the lean. Still, once we got to the top, the view was insane and you can see the whole of Pisa including all the other monuments. For your 'up the tower' ticket, you're given a set time to climb the tower.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

Cathedral - I love entering cathedrals, there's something so beautiful about them and this one was no different. The cathedral was huge and had the most gorgeous detailing with lots of mosaics and gold everywhere.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do


Baptistery - The Baptistery was just as beautiful; it's a huge domed building with two layers and a very similar matching interior to the cathedral. You could see the square from all the windows as you walk around the dome.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

Camposanto - I think this was the most interesting building to walk around. The entire building was filled with historical statues and artwork which I loved learning about. I always find it incredible how monuments can last for the centuries and still be standing today - I just love learning the history behind it.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

Hub of shops and restaurants

Pisa isn't the biggest place, however, there was the main strip of restaurants and shops which I loved to stroll around. This strip was located down one of the roads by the leaning tower. This is where you'll find the best amount of buzz and some incredible restaurants to dine at and cute market stalls to buy souvenirs.

Going for a stroll

The more you walk around the city, the more you'll get a feel of Pisa and soak up the culture. There are many quaint streets and Pisa has quite a residential feel when you step away from the main tourist attractions. I liked that as you could feel at home walking around rather than being in a constant tourist trap spot. If it's sunny too, it makes for the perfect romantic walk in a place destined to be explored.

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

How to get there

Pisa is incredibly easy to get to from a lot of Italian cities and towns including Florence and Siena. You can get a direct train and the tickets are super cheap. I got mine on the Omio train app and managed to get them discounted by buying an under 26-year-old ticket. You can also easily arrive by car or book a tour for an afternoon or day visit.

Where to stay

24 hours in Pisa, Italy: what to see and do

On our trip, we stayed for one night at the Can San Tommaso hotel. I loved this hotel; it was located about a 5-minute walk from the tower and was near everything. The station was probably around a 20-minute walk from there. They offered the best breakfast (lots of cake) too!

Where to eat

As we were only in Pisa for a day, we only dined at one proper restaurant in the evening and that was Il Peperoncino, This restaurant was owned by the loveliest man who taught us some Italian and really got chatting to us as we dined. The food was also superb! I loved my mushroom pasta dish and our shared bruschetta starter - I'd highly recommend it.

Places to go from Pisa

Pisa is in a great location to visit other towns and cities. The best places to go either on a day trip or move onto for a few days are Florence, Lucca, Siena, Cinque Terre, Bologna, and even the Chianti Region. All of these places are accessible by train or car (besides Chianti).

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you visited Pisa before?

Thank you for reading <3