Everything to know before visiting Stockholm

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Stockholm is a beautiful city with its renowned blue skies, colourful buildings, natural appeal and endless things to see and do. I fell in love with roaming about the place and could happily spend hours sitting on one of the many canals with a bun and book in my hand.

Everything to know before visiting Stockholm

Whether you're new to Stockholm or thinking about planning a trip, here is everything to know before visiting Stockholm.

It's pretty much a cashless city

When heading to Stockholm, there's no point in bringing cash with you as a lot of places will only accept cards. To save yourself the transaction fee, order a Travel Money Card from the Post Office as it allows you to upload a range of different currencies without paying a fee every time you use it.

They used Swedish Krona

In terms of currency, their main one is Swedish Krona. This means I would advise getting to grips with the exchange rate so you know how much you're actually paying for things.

Stockholm is very expensive

This leads me to this point, Stockholm is on the expensive side and prices are very similar to London. I was quite taken aback by how much things cost, and even though, you can budget travel around, be prepared to spend a lot more than in other European cities. 

Coffee shops for the win

This has to be the city renowned for its cute and quirky coffee shops and you'll never be short of one to have your morning coffee in. If you think about Instagram worthy places for a coffee, the city is filled with them across the many different islands.

English is widely spoken

Although you can learn a few phrases in Swedish, English, in general, is spoken widely among the inhabitants of Stockholm which can make it a lot easier when asking questions to get around the city.

It's a vegetarian and vegan-friendly city

Despite being renowned for its meatballs and pickled herring, Stockholm is actually also famous for its vegetarian and vegan influence. You can order milk alternatives everywhere, there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants and you'll always be able to find something to suit the dietary needs of either vegetarian or vegan.

Fika is a must 

Fika is a way of life in the Swedish culture and means having time in your day with friends or family to share a coffee and pastry. The country as a whole is known for its epic buns, especially cinnamon buns and this is the main time of the day to enjoy them. Of course, you can eat them at whatever time you wish.

Walking is your best bet to save money

As I mentioned, it's a pretty expensive city to explore and with that in mind, if you're able to, I would suggest walking as much as possible. It is a large place, but in the main parts, you can easily walk around.

Or opt for a bike

You're bound to see bicycles everywhere in Stockholm, it's one of the things they're known for. If you'd like to embrace that, hire your own bike and see the city that way. You can also hire electric scooters as they're a pretty common mode of transport.

Choose the bus from the airport

Transportation from the Arlanda airport (there are four different airports) can be pretty pricey if you choose a taxi or the Arlanda Express. However, to save pennies, choose the bus Flygbussarna which is around £15 for a round trip. It takes about 45 minutes and stops in the centre of the city.

Prepare for the weather

Sweden as a whole is known for its beautiful summers and super cold winters so be prepared for the weather depending on the time of year you're travelling. I went end of April, which meant the city was kind of like warm winter/spring weather and in the day it was warm enough for a light jumper and jeans but in the evening, the temperatures would dramatically drop.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have any other tips?

Thank you for reading <3

6 things to help make the airport less stressful

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As many of you know, I am obsessed with travel. I love nothing more than booking my next trip and exploring somewhere new. It sets my soul on fire and is something, I'm glad to have back in my life after the hard two years many of us went through.

As I'm always travelling, going to the airport is second nature to me and genuinely still excites me every time I enter its doors. Saying this, I know for many the airport can be stressful and it's not always a rainbow experience. However, over the years, I've learnt some tips to make it a little bit less stressful.

Whether you're a newbie traveller or aren't a fan of the airport, here are 6 things to make the airport less stressful.

6 things to help make the airport less stressful

Organise your documents before you go

Documents can be a bit of a pain when travelling and that's why it's always important to be organised with them. I always like to have mine in one place, whether that's in a plastic sleeve or an easy accessible mini bag I can pull out from. Luckily, today you can get your boarding passes online which makes it pretty easy to have at hand. But for an extra precaution, it's always best to print off a copy of your boarding pass and store it in the same place as your passport.

Have all your liquids in one place

The whole liquid process is probably my least favourite thing about the airport, especially as I mostly travel with a small suitcase rather than checking in a big bag, as I find it's cheaper, quicker and I'm used to packing light. A tip I picked up and have been using over the years is to buy a see-through style makeup bag (size of 20cmx 20cm) and put all my liquids in there. I do this before I head to the airport as that way, there is no faffing when I get there and my liquids are ready to go through security. It has been a time saver and a half. Also, always remember to take any liquids out of your normal handbag and put them in there too as that's something which always catches me out.

Bring a tote bag for security

I don't go anywhere without a tote bag, I find it the most useful thing to carry around as you never know when you may need it and they're very compact. To make the security process quicker, I store all the things I need to take out of my luggage in a tote bag so I can easily pull them out and put them in the trays. This includes liquids, electricals and appliances. Airports can vary on what you need to take out and put in the trays to be looked at - so I'd recommend checking before heading to the airport.

Get there with extra time in advance

They always recommend giving at least 2 hours before your flight leaves to arrive at the airport, but if I were you, I'd recommend more like 2.5/3, especially if you've got luggage to check-in. It may sound excessive, but you never know how busy it will be, whether there will be long queues or any other delayed scenario that can put you behind schedule. The extra time also gives you the opportunity to relax at the airport, rather than rushing from one thing to the next.

Map out your airport experience

This may seem a bit like over-planning but it can really help with your peace of mind and travel anxiety when going to the airport. I always like to map out the airport experience. For example, arrive, head to departures, go through security, grab some food, find somewhere to sit and wait for the gate then go to the toilet before heading to the gate. If you have a mini route in your head of what you're doing, you can gradually tick it off and it'll help you feel less overwhelmed.

Download a podcast/your favourite music

Airports can be rammed at any time in the day and that means lots of noise and people rushing about, which isn't exactly the most settling environment before you head to your flight. I would always recommend downloading a podcast or putting a playlist on which can help your experience some sort of zen and zone out all of that bustle.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Top 10 budget tips for visiting Stockholm

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Stockholm is one of the prettiest cities I've ever visited. With the gorgeous canals, pastel buildings, endless green areas and quirky old town, there is always something to see and do within its many islands. 

The city is notoriously known for its hefty price tag whilst you're there and I wanted to walk away and be like 'that wasn't true' but unfortunately it is. Stockholm had to be one of the most expensive cities I've visited, boasting prices similar to London - and that's why I would recommend being prepared to spend a little more than expected.

10 budget tips for visiting Stockholm

If you're heading to Stockholm or planning a trip, here are my 10 budget tips on how to keep your city break cheap.

Learn the exchange rate

I always find change rates deceiving when it's in large numbers and the Swedish Krona was no different. It's good to remember that £1 is around 12 SEK and so I would apply that knowledge to everything you're purchasing, which means you may need to do a little maths on your holiday (sorry about that).

Walk as much as you can (if possible)

Stockholm is a very walkable city and if you have the means to, I would recommend walking as much as you can. I probably walked most of the city on my trip and occasionally took public transport because the weather was gorgeous and even though it can get tiring, the sights are beautiful. Also, the main part of the old town and the nearby islands are close enough for walkable distance.

Utlitse the bus service from the airport

There are many different options to travel to and from the airports. I landed in Arlanda and instead of getting a taxi or the Arlanda Express, I took the Flygbussarna bus which worked out around £15 for a return. It was a little longer to get to the city than the express but was worth it for the price tag. The bus takes around 45 mins and you can catch it from the Arlanda bus station to the main city terminal which is in a central location of the city.

Take the metro when possible

If you're not one to walk lots or you don't have the means to, the metro can be a cheaper way to get around than taxis. A single ticket is 38 SEK which is around £3 and can be valid for up to 75 minutes. The metro station itself is very easy to navigate around and like London but with fewer tube lines.

Stay somewhere that offers free breakfast

This isn't something I'd usually recommend as I'm not someone who stays in hotels which offer breakfast as I like to try the cuisine on offer in the new city/country. However, as Stockholm proved to be very expensive overall, it was a blessing that the hotel offered free breakfast and I certainly made the most of it in the morning. I also didn't miss out on the Swedish buns as I ate them during Fika or for lunch instead.

Dine in cheaper restaurants (check prices before you go)

I found dining cheap in the evenings quite impossible as every restaurant had a hefty price tag, especially those of traditional Swedish or Nordic cuisine. I would therefore recommend Google search the area you're in for the cheapest restaurants and see what's on offer. As I mentioned previously, there are many islands so lots of different restaurants to choose from.

Go to food markets

I'm a big sucker for food markets, I love nothing more than trying out street food as there is always so much variety on offer. I also find them to be cheaper than dining in restaurants and in a pricey city like Stockholm, utilise the markets as much as possible such as Hornstulls marknad ( a weekend flea market with food trucks. Open April - September).

Avoid drinking any alcohol

Alcohol in Stockholm is incredibly pricey and if I was you, I'd avoid it altogether unless you want to be paying a silly amount for a beer or glass of wine. Stick to soft drink options and coffee on your trip to save ££.

Make use of the free attractions

Despite the high price tag, Stockholm is actually home to many free attractions such as the stunning architecture, free walking tours, an endless amount of parks, a cathedral, a gorgeous old town and a metro art exhibit. There are plenty of different things you can see and do for free or at a cheap price tag. Plus, the city is gorgeous, even walking around is like an attraction.

Pick which museums you'd prefer

There are quite a few museums, especially on Djurgården Island and I would recommend choosing the ones you'd like to go to as the prices really can pile up. I visited the Vasa Museum and Skansen open-air museum and both were worth the price I paid. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you have any other tips?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Accident by C.L Taylor

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As many of you may know, I adore a good thriller, especially one where you don't see the ending coming and I can get fully engrossed in the plot. I love the addictive element of them and how I'm always surprised one way or another. My latest read was The Accident, a book I didn't expect to get as hooked in as I expected.

If you're looking for a new thriller recommendation, here is my full review of The Accident by C.L Taylor.

This post contains affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.

Book review: The Accident by C.L Taylor

Plotline

The book follows Sue Jackson who appears to have the perfect family until her daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and lands in a coma - and Sue is forced to face a dark reality. Sue is desperate to figure out why Charlotte would do this and retraces her steps, realising she may not know her daughter as much as she thought. And, the answer to what happened to her daughter could lie in her own secrets. 

Characters and relationships

This book was very much focused on the protagonist Sue who told the story from the past and the present. The book flipped from chapter to chapter with the past being entries of Sue's diary and what happened to her twenty years ago and to the present day. Sue was a character to who my heart went out to. Reading her past experience and relating to a lot of what she went through, made me admire her even more, especially in the present day as she got through some terrible times. Her strength and perseverance are apparent in the search to find her daughter, despite it bringing up lots of dark secrets.

Sue's relationship with her husband Brian is realistic and wholesome. It shows what a long marriage should be like and how much two people can care for each other when they've been through a lot together. Her daughter Charlotte is spoken more about than actually to and you learn who Charlotte is as Sue uncovers parts of her life throughout the plot. To me, Charlotte is a typical teenager, testing things out for the first time, pushing boundaries, and ultimately wanting to have fun, but ends up getting twisted up in a bad situation. Charlotte's friends were typical teenagers. Ella, her ex-best friend took a while to warm up to Sue but I could just tell it was because she had been hurt from the friendship and eventually opened up. 

One of the most notable characters is Sue's ex James, which is what the majority of the past chapters are about - their relationship and what happened between them. I hated him as a character and as the plot went on, my stomach turned with what he was like. I didn't understand why their relationship was relevant at first but as the plot pans out, it becomes apparent.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I loved this book a lot! It's a book that gripped me with every page and for a while had that intrigue about it, to what the actual mystery was. Because this element was held back for so long, it made me more excited to find out what actually happened as I had no idea. I loved the pace of this book, I loved how the past and present tense were separated and the detail of each of the characters. It's a tense read, with twists and turns I wouldn't have expected. I would 100% recommend it to anyone.

One thing I would however note is that this book can be triggering and you should be mindful of that before purchasing. It contains themes of emotional abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.

Ending

The ending really hooked me in and was incredible. The author of this book really did build the intensity up so much throughout the novel that the last few chapters were just genius. I love how the ending unfolded with so much drama and scary moments. But, it was a brilliant and right ending for an epic novel.

You can pick up your copy of The Accident here.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Is this book on your to-be-read list?

Thank you for reading <3

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Stockholm is one of those beautiful European cities which has been on my list for the longest time. After visiting Copenhagen, I knew I wanted to experience more of Scandinavia and its lifestyle.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

When I landed in Stockholm, I knew I was going to love this city because wherever I looked it was incredibly stunning, the canals were a great spot to ponder, its nature scene was everything and I loved how spacious and sparse it felt.

If you're planning a trip to Stockholm or unsure what there is to see and do, here is my 3-day guide to the city.

Day 1: Getting to grips with the city and old town mooching

Get your bearings on the city

I always say the best thing to do in a new city is get your bearings, figure out where the central points are and how close it is to your accommodation. This is exactly what I did first after I checked in. I had a mooch about and headed towards the main hub of the city to see what it was all about.

Visit Gamla Stan

The old town is the most renowned part of Stockholm and is the central point of everything. It's probably the most touristy area of the city, but it's exceptionally attractive with its colourful buildings, cobbled walkways and tiny alleys. Gamla Stan is a hub for a variety of eateries, cool shops and quirky coffee shops, so there is always something to look at. Plus, it's right next to many of the top attractions of the city and is easy to get around.

Gamla Stan

Head to The Royal Palace

I'm obsessed with all types of palaces or castles that I didn't want to give the Royal Palace a miss in Stockholm. It's located right in the centre of Gamla Stan and costs around £13. I would say, I expected it to be larger for the price tag, however, it was gorgeous to walk around and I loved learning about the history of the palace and seeing all the important possessions.

Royal Palace Sweden

Visit the Storkyrkan Cathedtral  

If you've read any of my travel guides, you'd know how much I adore visiting cathedrals in new countries and cities. The Storkyrkan Cathedral cost about £3 and was super charming to roam around. I loved taking it all in and the interior has this old school look that many cathedrals hold. There's always something really peaceful about a cathedral.

Riddarholmen

This had to be one of my favourite parts of Stockholm overall. It's a tiny inlet attached to Gamla Stan and a gorgeous place for a little mooch. My favourite part was Evert Taubes Terrass, a public plaza which overlooked the Baltic Sea. On the day I was there, the sun was shining so my boyfriend and I sat, watching the calm sea and soaking up the sunshine.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Day 2: Museums and parks galore

Visit Djurgården Island

Known as the green island, it's also one of the biggest islands in Stockholm. There is so much to see on this island and I would recommend having a mooch around and taking your pick of which museums you'd like to visit as many are housed here. The island also has many parks and green areas if you fancy a nature walk.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Vasa Museum 

The Vasa Museum was the history lesson I didn't even know I needed and was super interesting. It's all about the Vasa, a Swedish warship which sunk in 1628 and how they managed to find it and restore it. The tickets are around £12 and worth every penny because you get to see the Vasa in person, there's a cinema there and a huge exhibit about its history.

Vasa museum

Skansen Museum

For a different take on a museum, this is the one to pick. As it's an open-air museum, there is so much to see, showcasing the whole of Sweden with its houses and farmsteads, a zoo and a petting zoo for children. You can easily spend quite a few hours here exploring it all and eating at the food market in the middle. Tickets are around £13.

Skansen

Kungsträdgården

I am obsessed with blossom trees and this park, located in the Norrmalm district features the iconic blossom trees of Stockholm. It's a huge park with many spots to sit and relax, there are cafes, a fountain area and much more. You could easily spend a few hours here relaxing with a picnic.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Day 3: Metro art, boat tour and exploring smaller islands

Metro station art exhibits

One thing I definitely wanted to do in Stockholm was the famous art exhibits on the metro line and I can safely say, they were incredible. Not every station has them but there are a few to note such as Stadion, T-Centralen, Solna Centrum, Tekniska Högskolan, Kungsträdgården, Akalla and Rådhuset. Stadion had to be my favourite with the colourful rainbow art across the walls.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Mooch around Soldermalm

Soldermalm is quite a large island in the southern part of Stockholm and is known to be an artsy area. I didn't explore much of it, but it was definitely the place to go for shopping as I saw many quirky shops and all the typical high street names. It had a slightly busier and business vibe to Gamla Stan.

Hornstull Marknad

I'm a big fan of a food market and flea market so the Hornstull Marknad was a great combination. It's located in Hornstull, which had a very residential and hipster vibe about the whole place, located to the left of Soldermalm. The flea market is open from April-September from 11am-5pm and features an array of food trucks and many flea market stalls.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Boat tour (under the bridges)

Stockholm is renowned for its many islands and that means a boat tour really is an essential thing to do whilst in the city. We chose the 'Under the Bridges' tour as it took us around all the bridges of Stockholm and was audio-guided, explaining all the history of the city. I adored the tour because it was a lovely experience seeing Stockholm from a boat's perspective and learning more about the city itself, plus we were blessed with good weather too.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Explore Skeppsholmen and Kastellholmen

I cannot stress to you how much I adored these two little islands. They are located to the right of Gamla Stan and honestly don't have much on them but that was the beauty of the islands. They were incredibly peaceful and quiet with the Baltic Sea all around. It was the perfect place for a sunset walk, seeing the light reflect on the waters - and a great way to end my time in Stockholm.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

Where to stay

Stockholm is a hub for hotels, apartments and hostels and there are so many places to choose to stay. I would advise staying as central as you can to the old town, or at least within walking distance. I stayed in Hotel Birger Jarl which was located in the Ostermalm area, about a 20-minute walk from the old town. For me, it was the perfect location as I could reach all of the sights I wanted from there and if not, get the metro as well.

How to get around the city

Stockholm is a city which can easily be reached on foot. You can pretty much walk to all the main sights and mooch as much as you wish, depending on how you feel. As transport is so expensive, I would say it's better to walk, however, the metro is very useful for getting around and easy to navigate yourself. You can also hire bikes or electric scooters as that's how many of the locals get around.

3 days in Stockholm: top things to see and do

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you visited Stockholm?

Thank you for reading <3

6 things I've learnt on my freelancing journey so far

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Ever since I was little, I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write all day every day for myself in a suave little office in my house. That was the ultimate dream and to be honest, it still is. It's a dream I'm kind of living and working my way towards.

6 things I've learnt on my freelancing journey so far

Freelancing is something I've been trying to dabble in for years but it's only in the past year that I took it seriously, and embarked on my freelancing journey. I'm still only freelancing part-time and working my way up, building connections and clients, and I'm excited about what's to come, to make a full-time gig out of this.

If you're considering freelancing or don't know where to begin, here are 6 things I've learnt from freelancing so far.

Social media is a great help

Social media is one of the most powerful tools these days for many things including finding opportunities and jobs. Two of my most regular clients I found on Twitter and LinkedIn and honestly, that still baffles me. The more I spend on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, the more opportunities I'm able to find and see what's out there. I've learnt how important having a personal brand is on these sites for example because it shows potential clients what you're all about. This is why I've tried to utilise my Linkedin in following the right people and asking clients to leave feedback on my profile.

Social media is also a brilliant hub for freelancers. There are plenty of people sharing their journeys, what they've learnt, and any opportunities they have. It's these people I can learn more from, develop my craft and improve my knowledge as a freelancer.

Freelancing websites are a brilliant start

I found freelance websites a great way to launch myself into the freelancing world, especially Upwork. It was easy enough setting up my profile, adding my rates and sharing the expertise I'd like to focus on. Plus, I loved the pitching process on Upwork. It's easy to filter the jobs I wanted to find and send proposals to potential clients. I've also been a huge fan of The Writer's Job Newsletter for a variety of opportunities in my inbox each week.

The opportunities online for freelancers are endless, it's about knowing where and how to search for the right thing for you.

Believe in yourself enough to pitch

The biggest part of becoming a freelancer is having the confidence to do it. There are so many people out there trying to do the same thing and I've learnt, if I want it, I have to go for it. I have to believe in my skillset that I have enough expertise and knowledge to be a full-fledged freelancer. If you don't send the pitch, you don't know - and that's why it's so important to go for it. 

Rejection or not hearing back is normal

As I said, many people are trying to make it in the freelance world so what I learnt is to not take it personally if one, I'm rejected and two, if I don't hear back. Some clients don't have the time to respond to all of the pitches that come their way and it's okay. Don't put yourself down if you don't receive a response or are rejected.

Feedback is gold dust and can help you more than you think

Following on from this, feedback is something I've learnt to love, whether it's good or bad. Good feedback is great for pride and knowing you did a good job, however, I've found more critical feedback to be useful because I can use it to improve my craft in every way. Also, I've learnt to note down all the good feedback to help give me a boost when I need it and ask clients to share it publically for my full benefit.

To ensure contracts are written up beforehand

This is something luckily I haven't learnt the hard way. But chasing payments is probably the hardest thing as a freelancer and is why it's important to have contracts written up before hand. This helps give you evidence if payments aren't paid on time - and also one of the reasons I like going through Upwork as contracts are in place.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other things have you learnt if you're a freelancer?

Thank you for reading <3

10 self-love reminders you need to hear

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Self-love is something I talk about a lot on my blog as I genuinely believe, it's at the core of everything we do. We all want to feel loved, it's human nature and that's why many of us try and seek it in other ways, however, the key is finding it within yourself first.

Whether you're struggling with self-love, looking for some advice, or simply having a bad day, here are 10 self-love reminders you need to hear.

10 self-love reminders you need to hear

Your self-love journey isn't linear

Healing isn't linear in every way and this is the same with self-love. Going through a self-love journey is hard as it goes against a lot of what society teaches us about self-love, as we live in a world that encourages you to think badly of yourself (hello diet culture) and how self-love is selfish. This is why when you're working through a journey of self-love, one of the reasons you can find yourself falling backwards is because of the societal influence you've had your whole life. But, those dips and backward steps aren't a bad thing, they're normal. It's normal to have ups and downs with any journey including self-love. Just know, that whatever progress you make is still progress.

You deserve to feel loved

Love is life's greatest gift and something we all deserve to feel every single day. You deserve love, so much of it, even if you don't feel like it. You deserve to give yourself so much love, the same you give everybody else. You are worthy of this level of love because you are uniquely you, and there's nobody else like you. And simply because you're human, and we all deserve to feel loved.

Loving yourself isn't selfish 

Self-love isn't selfish (say this 10 times over). There is nothing selfish about being in love with all that is you. The only person that will be with you throughout your whole life is yourself so you should love that person, more than you love anyone else really. You deserve to love yourself when you're feeling the greatest and when you're feeling not so great. Loving yourself is the number one priority.

You are strong and resilient

You are so strong. Look at how far you've already come, that in itself is amazing. Falling in love with yourself is hard and at times, can make you feel even weaker because all your insecurities will crop up, that's only natural. But in these moments, it's important to remind yourself about how strong and resilient you are to even have gotten to this point.

Your body is beautiful

I'm a big advocate for body confidence and body acceptance because I believe we all deserve to adore every inch of our body and know what we look like is the least interesting thing about us. If you're having doubts about your body, know it's beautiful. Know that, every day it cares for you, it keeps you alive, it protects you and ultimately, it's a part of you which in itself is incredibly important. 

You are trying your best 

One thing we can all do in life is to try our best, nothing more. Nobody is perfect and nobody is getting it all right. All of us are simply trying to get through this thing called life and guess whether we're making the right decisions or not. Your self-love journey is the same, you are trying your best and it's all that matters.

You are worthy of good things

Let me repeat that again 'you are worthy of good things.' If you're not feeling great, down, or like you deserve nothing, let me tell you, you are wrong. You deserve good things to happen to you. You deserve to have good people around you. You deserve to make incredible memories. You deserve to feel loved and live your best life.

You are worthy of love around you

This brings me to this point. One thing many of us have in common is we feel as if we don't deserve love from people around us or we settle for less - and this isn't right. Never settle for anything more than love. The type of love that makes you feel giddy and happy every time you think of it. This goes with relationships, friendships, and family members. You are worthy of content love and to feel cherished every single day.

You are enough

This point goes without saying but plain and simple, you are enough. You're wonderful and stunning you and the world is a better place with you in it.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other reminders would you say?

Thank you for reading <3

Top 10 tips to know before your first solo trip

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travel is the one thing to makes me feel free, happy, and in my element. I love nothing more than experiencing new places, seeing new sights, and creating exciting memories. I had the opportunity to travel solo for the first time this year and it's an experience I'm incredibly grateful for and one, I've learnt a lot from.

If you're planning a solo trip for the first time and looking for some advice, here are my top 10 tips to know before your first solo trip.

This post contains affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.

Top 10 tips to know before your first solo trip

Pick a destination that'll suit you

The world is beautiful and wide with plenty of destinations to choose from. We all have preferences on what we want from travel, whether that's an adventure, sightseeing, relaxation, or immersing ourselves in something new. When deciding on a destination, you need to choose which type of trip you're looking to book and what type of place will suit you. Then, you can have a search on prices, dates and what you can do in your desitnaion.

Map out a rough itinerary

Getting lost is all part of the adventure. However, when planning a trip, especially a solo one, it's best to have a rough itinerary. This is so you're able to do a bit of research beforehand on what to expect in terms of what there is to see, how to get around, and any must-see attractions. I would advise writing out a rough itinerary with your must-do things and the way you set out in doing those things, to make it easier for yourself when navigating a new place.

Research useful apps for your new destination

Technology is a winner and is what makes solo travel a lot easier and safer for many these days. There are plenty of apps I would advise having on your trip such as Google Maps to help you navigate around, the airline app to check in your flights, Hostel World or Booking.com to book and check-in accommodation, and Uber (or relevant transport apps to that city) to get around. Apps are a handy way to stay organised but also help you with your bearings.

Plan how to get to and from the airport

Travelling to and from the airport can be simpler than you may think. You can get a taxi if you want to go directly to your accommodation. However, at each destination, there are airport shuttles or public transport options to pick from. Research yours so you have that assured feeling when landing at the destination and setting foot back home.

Research the rules and etiquette of the new destination

Every destination has different laws to the land, whether they're to do with culture or limitations of what you can do. When you're on your own, it's even more important to be aware of them as you don't want to get caught out. Do your research and note the most relevant ones down to be aware of.

Tell people at home where you're going

Travelling solo is incredibly exciting and even though for the most part it can be safe, it's better to be safe than sorry - and this is why I'd advise keeping people in the loop of where you are going and what you're doing. This could mean sharing your location with family and friends or just sending them an update or two back home to keep them in the know.

Book accommodation in a safe and secure spot

The accommodation comes in variations from hotels, hotels to apartments. Travelling solo, to feel the safest I would always suggest picking a shared hostel or social accommodation. This is because it can give you more of an opportunity to meet people to travel around with or even get dinner/drinks in the evening with. Travel is all about meeting new people after all. If you don't fancy shared hostels, there are plenty of safer apartments and hotels to choose from - again, just be wary of your safety at all times.

Set intentions and expectations

Every trip can vary from person to person and we all have different intentions and expectations for our travels. When setting off on your trip, lay out the intentions of what you'd like from your trip and have a to-do list of the things you want to see and experiences to have. Also, set expectations that are realistic. Don't be too overly eager and pack as many things in as possible. Be aware that even though you're travelling solo, you still need time for relaxation and rest - and the opportunity to mooch off the beaten path.

Arrive during the day

For safety purposes, I would advise, arriving at your destination in the day. This is because you can find your accommodation in the light and get your bearings before you begin to explore your newfound location.

Know that you can do it

I think the biggest thing limiting people from travelling solo is the lack of belief in themselves that they can do it. Trust me when I say this, you can and you will do it. I was so hesitant to go alone but it was the biggest eye-opener and I felt so proud of myself when I returned home. You can enjoy your own company, you can navigate yourself around and you can make friends along the way.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

What I've learnt from posting less on Instagram

 Well hello to you my reader chums! It's no secret that for years, like many of us, I've been obsessed with Instagram. I loved taking photos, sharing them on the gram, and putting every little thing on my story to broadcast to the world. It started to become a habit and turned into an unhealthy one as at the back of my mind, I would always be like 'ah I have no photos to put on Instagram.' That's when I realised, I didn't want to do that anymore.

What I've learnt from posting less on Instagram

If you're trying to spend less time on social media or feel weighed down by Instagram as a whole, here is what I've learnt about posting less on Instagram.

Nobody really cares

In the nicest possible way, nobody thinks about you and your life as much as you think of yours and can carry that weight of people's opinions of you. This is also true when it comes to all forms of social media including Instagram. Nobody cares if you post regularly, nobody cares if you post at all and I've learnt that by stepping away, previously I was trying to fulfill some non-existent expectation of staying active on Instagram and keeping up the image of 'having a fab life.' But, this wasn't necessary because I'm living a great life whether it's documented on the gram or not.

I don't need online validation

Online validation is definitely something I think many of us seek as it gives us all that short win feeling and a little boost in the day. It's a small boost that really helped me when I felt my most insecure, but that validating feeling can become addictive and really isn't healthy in the slightest. Stepping away, I've learnt I don't need online validation to feel whole or be satisfied with who I am and what my life is like.

To live in the moment more

When I was so caught up in trying to capture a photo or story for the gram, I sometimes didn't appreciate the moment fully as I was so fixated on making sure I showed it on Instagram. By not being so obsessed with taking photos, I could fully indulge myself in every moment and put my phone away. I've found myself loving life that little bit more as there was no pressure to ensure I capture it on camera. 

Instagram isn't important

I've always known how unimportant social media is as a whole compared to what matters most in life, however, I think our generation gets so caught up in its pressures, we often forget that. By not focusing on it so much, I realised that point even more and it's lifted a weight off my shoulders in a way.

Social media isn't real

This is something I always preach when I talk about all different topics including body confidence, not caring what people think of you, and mental health. Social media is something that influences all of us and it's a healthy thing knowing it is a highlight reel, and a place people only share the best parts of their life - and that's why we shouldn't compare. 

There are better ways to spend my time

I have so many big passions, so many things I love to do to which set my soul on fire and Instagram isn't one of them. I used to spend so much time finding the right picture, seeing how it matched with the feed, and thinking of a caption and now that time spent can be geared towards more important and exciting things.

I'm a lot more fulfilled with my life

Feeling fulfilled and satisfied in my day-to-day life is something I've been seeking all of my adulthood and my self-love journey had a huge part to play in finally reaching it, and stepping away from social media was the final step in that. By not having to seek validation online all the time for what I'm doing and how I'm looking, I can find that fulfillment within myself.

There are better social media platforms

I've worked in social media since I was 19 years old and throughout that time, my opinion on different social media has changed. Instagram used to be my favourite so much so it was an obsession. But now, I'm focused on platforms that bring me insight, knowledge, and inspiration. At the minute, I'm really enjoying LinkedIn and Tik Tok for many different reasons.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your thoughts?

Thank you for reading <3

9 years of Della Loves Nutella

 Well hello to you my reader chums! 9 years ago, 16-year-old me, decided to join the blogging world and launched Della Loves Nutella. I had no idea I would be typing away at this blog for so long or the pure joy it would have brought me for nearly a decade.

Whether you're a new reader or part of the original blogging community back in 2013, welcome to my little space on the internet. Today, I wanted to share some of my favourite things I've loved about blogging over the past 9 years.

9 years of Della Loves Nutella

Documenting my adventures

My blog has been an incredible place on the internet for many reasons, including the opportunity of sharing my adventures and travels. Travelling is my biggest passion as many of you know; I love nothing more than heading on my next big trip and the process of planning it all and sharing my experiences via my blog. It's a great space for me to look back on, see the places I've gone, and read about my initial thoughts of them. It's always a lovely reminder to see the progress I've made in terms of my anxiety and the incredible pictures and words always make me smile.

Creative freedom

I'm a hugely creative person; I love brainstorming and coming up with new ideas. Having this blog has allowed me to express that creative freedom, sharing the thoughts and ideas of the topics I'm most interested in, with much wisdom and knowledge I've learnt along the way. It has helped me be creative in terms of my words, photos, and how I'm able to collaborate with other bloggers and brands.

Watching myself grow online

These past 9 years, I've grown massively in terms of who I am, what I've learnt, what I believe in, and my personal growth overall. I'm now nearly 26 and began this blog when I was a teenager so you can imagine, I have changed quite a lot and I'm very proud of the woman I am today and I'm sure my teenage self is too. I love to look back and see where I've come from and where I am now, in terms of photos, how I write and what I've learnt.

The blogging community

The blogging community is the friendliest space on the internet. I have met so many lovely bloggers over the year online and in person, and it's all because of my blog which is a heartwarming feeling to me. The blogging community has always been so supportive of my blog and my general endeavours when I've shared them on social media platforms and I love that. They've always got my back and I've loved seeing other bloggers flourish in many ways too. It's an epic space online which I'm grateful to be a part of.

Collaborating with brands 

Working with brands is something I feel very lucky to have done over the course of running this blog. I never set out to do this when I launched my blog, it was just a hobby to me and really, still is. There are times where I've had a few collaborations come in and other times none at all, and I'm happy with both. I love how I can have this space as a means to share my thoughts but also work with brands that share the same values as me.

Sharing the values which mean the most to me

I'm a passionate person; there are many things that mean a lot to me, especially the issues I want to talk about. I'm a huge mental health advocate, a big lover of the planet, and promoting the importance of self-love. These are a few of my biggest things and I love how this space has allowed me to talk about these things online, and help others in the process with my tips and advice.

Developing my writing

To be a better writer, you need to write. Writing every day and writing often has helped me become better at writing. I'm constantly improving my writing and having this space has helped in my marketing job, freelance roles, and when writing my books. Developing my writing is so important to me and I feel thankful my blog has helped that.

The commitment

This blog is an achievement to me and I love how I've been able to commit to it for 9 years. Every week, I've been able to put a blog live and share my words with the world and it's a wonderful feeling. Here and there I've had a few breaks such as when I went backpacking or life got busy, but ultimately, I've kept at it and I'm so glad I did.

Having my own little corner on the internet

Della Loves Nutella is my space, my writing hub to share everything I want with the online world. I'm in control of the thoughts, the words, and ideas - and it's the best feeling knowing I run this entire ship. I love my own little corner on the internet and I hope it continues for years to come.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What's your favourite thing about blogging?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things I've learnt from travelling solo

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travelling solo is something that I'm so proud I've finally been able to do. I've wanted to do it for such a long time, so when the opportunity occurred, I'm really happy I jumped at the chance. 

If you're considering travelling solo or planning a trip, here are 5 things I've learnt from travelling solo.

Travelling solo to Budapest was an experience like no other and one I'm grateful I had the opportunity to do. If you're considering travelling solo or planning a trip, here are 5 things I've learnt from travelling solo.

I can actually do it

This may sound like a really silly point, but I don't think when I initially set off and arrived that I had the capability to do a solo trip on my own. I thought I was going to be too anxious to navigate myself around, too anxious to talk to people, too anxious about getting lost and simply, spending time with myself. I thought my anxiety would take over the whole time and I'd be in my head about the whole trip that I wouldn't actually be able to enjoy it. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. As soon as you put your mind to something, you can easily do it and that's what I learnt on this trip.

I learnt I was able to direct myself around a new city, find my way, and not get lost. I learnt I was able to talk to strangers and ask them to take photos of me or simply make conversation. I learnt I can enjoy my own company in a new place and live off my own accord. I learnt I can stay somewhere new and feel safe. I learnt that solo travel is possible for me and it was possible all along, I just had to believe in myself.

To rely on my own instinct and direction skills

When I'm with someone, I usually rely on them in a sense to be the navigator as my direction skills have always been pretty poor and it can take me a while to get my bearings. But, this trip taught me because I had nobody else, I had to rely on my own instinct and trust myself enough to know where I was going and I did just that. I didn't get lost at all, and I learnt I was able to test myself on figuring out problems alone and being my own satnav.

I have more confidence than I realised

Confidence is something that has certainly grown with age, from my body confidence to confidence in every aspect of myself. On this trip, that confidence was really put to the test because I was completely out of my comfort zone, in a new country and new city where I knew nobody or my surroundings at all. I learnt that I had more confidence than I realised in stepping out and actually experiencing the city to the full, making the right decisions for me on what to do, sitting alone in restaurants, and talking to new people to ask questions.

There are more solo travellers than you think

There are millions of solo travellers all around the world travelling from one country to the next but when I went to Budapest, I was in my head that it was just me and me only. I think it was important for me to learn and realise, that if I looked for it, I could find solo travellers and there were more than I thought. I met a lovely girl on my travels who was in the same position as me, and as I observed around, I saw many solo people dining and mooching. Travelling solo isn't abnormal and there are like-minded people out there, you just need to know where to look.

That being alone isn't abnormal

This leads me to the point about how being alone isn't abnormal. We walk past people going for walks, eating in restaurants, and doing their shopping alone every day so I don't know why I was so in my head that I would stand out from the crowd. I quickly learnt that so many people were like me, either traveling alone or simply mooching about their day in their home city. Being alone is normal and part of life. I love spending time on my own and I feel privileged to of had that solo travel experience.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What have you learnt from travelling solo?

Thank you for reading <3

Everything you need to know before visiting Budapest

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Budapest is a city that I've wanted to explore for a while now as I had heard so many good things and everybody raves about it, so I wanted to check it out for myself. I'm a big Europe fan and I love the opportunity to experience new cities and see how they're similar or different from the next.

Everything you need to know before visiting Budapest

Budapest was a gorgeous city with some dream-worthy architecture, lots of great sights, and a great place to mooch and travel solo. If you're planning a visit to the city, here's everything you need to know before visiting Budapest.

This post contains affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.

Buda and Pest are different parts of the city

Budapest is separated into two parts by the river, Buda, and Pest. Both sides of the city are very easy to reach from one to the other, via public transport or by walking over the few bridges that separate the parts. Buda and Pest both have gorgeous spots to experience and wander around so you can really stay on either side when it comes to your trip, as it's all very accessible. Pest is probably the busier side of the two with more bars, restaurants, and tourists so I would recommend staying there for more of a buzz.

Accommodation is very affordable

When booking Budapest, I was actually shocked at the cheapness of the accommodation in Budapest. I booked a very plush apartment in the heart of the city and it was only £120 for 3 nights. Hostels, however, can be found as cheap as under £10 a night, it's incredible the bargains you can find.

Buda Castle is an area, not a castle

I kid you not, I was a bit confused when I arrived at Buda Castle to realise it's not a castle but an entire region on the Buda side of the city which encompasses many beautiful buildings, museums, and viewpoints. Be wary of when you head up there as it's quite a large part of the land, and I would advise ensuring you're wearing comfortable clothing and have snacks and water at the ready. The views from the Buda Castle region are stunning and there is so much history and sights to take in.

It's relatively cheap

Eastern Europe, in general, is a very cheap place to travel and Budapest was no different. I was quite surprised when I did the conversion back to pounds, how little I spent on food, museums, and attractions. The best way to figure it out is to remember 1000 Hungarian Forint is just over £2. It will also be commonly asked if you want to pay cash or card wherever you go, so it's best to have a combination of both with you I found.

Public transport is very easy to use

When travelling, I think it's always really important to make the most of the public transport options because they're always a lot cheaper than taxis and a fun way to experience the city. In Budapest, I used all forms of public transport including the bus, tram, and metro, and I loved getting my head around all three things. Google Maps was my best friend with this because I would type where to go and find out the right buses/trams/metro to hop on. All of them are numbered so it can be pretty easy to follow. The metros also work very similarly to London's underground.

Remember to validate your public transport ticket

After you've purchased your ticket to either get on the bus, metro, or tram, it's essential to validate them. If you've got a physical ticket, use one of the yellow machines as you enter the station or the bus. Or, if you've purchased it online using the Budapest Go app, simply scan it before you get on the bus.

Save money with the airport shuttle bus

I know it can be tempting to hop in a taxi after you've gotten off your flight, however, the airport shuttle is dreamy and one of the easiest modes of transport out there. Simply, buy your airport shuttle tickets at the airport near the bus station bit (which are 900 HUF), and hop on the 100E bus which goes directly into the centre of the city. There are quite a few different stops it goes through, and I would advise seeing on the route which stop is the closest to your accommodation.

English is commonly used

English is commonly used in Hungary and most people in the city of Budapest will speak it and at least have some understanding of basic common phrases. I always say though, it's helpful to learn common phrases of any new country you're visiting.

The currency is Hungarian Forint

When you're exchanging money, buy Hungarian Forint as that's the main currency used in Budapest. 

Zebra crossings work the same as the UK

To my surprise, there were plenty of Zebra crossings across Budapest and they work in exactly the same way as in the UK. Pedestrians have the right of way at Zebra crossings. However, something to note is that jaywalking is illegal - and that means, always making use of the crossing available.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm a big fan of Beth O' Leary's books, I fell in love with her writing style as soon as whizzed through The Flat Share and went on to read The Switch. The author has this way of really connecting the audience with the characters and making them so relatable. When I heard about The Road Trip, I couldn't wait to see what another one of her books would be like.

This post contains affiliate links.

Whether you're new to Beth O'Leary's book or a big fan like me, here is my full review of The Road Trip.

Book review: The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary

Plotline

The plotline begins with Addie and her sister Deb heading out on a road trip to a friend's wedding in rural Scotland with a car packed full of snacks and the most exciting playlist. However, they don't get too far into the journey when a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver of the car happens to be Addie's ex Dylan and his best friend Marcus. Addie has avoided Dylan for the past few years after a very traumatic breakup. But after the car incident, as Dylan and Marcus are heading to the wedding too, Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon packed with luggage and awkwardness in the air.

Characters and relationships

The beauty of this book is it switches between Addie and Dylan's perspectives from past to present when they were in a relationship and what happened to now when they're heading on the road trip together. I really loved the break up of the storyline like that as not only did it add layers to the plot but it helped shape the characters even better and get a full understanding of who they are and why things happened.

I loved Addie, she had this relatable edge to her from the way she travelled to how she spoke and I connected with her thought process as the tale went on. Her relationship with her sister Deb had to be my favourite because you could tell how close they were as every page went on and that connection is the most important thing. Love was flying off the page, I could feel it. Deb is a free spirit and I adored her spunky and confident attitude and how she walked around being brutally honest.

Dylan had this insecure sense about him which prevailed throughout the whole of the novel and I liked how he was vulnerable in a way as it made him more real and human, not the perfect boy a romance novel is supposed to have. He was honest, likable, and ambitious. His best pal Marcus, I didn't like at all, he is big-headed and arrogant, but again, I think that stemmed from his insecurities and came out in a different way than Dylan's. Their bond was interesting but you can tell it was like a brotherly bond and nothing was going to change that.

My opinion of Dylan's and Addie's relationship changed as the novel went on and more was revealed by what actually happened between them, the good, the bad, and the big secret that ended it all. Their relationship was passionate and loving, and raw, something real that doesn't happen very often. And, as the pages went on, it was clear to me what the outcome should be for them both.

The funniest character was Rodney. At first, I thought it was a bit random to have him there but he really threw a humorous element into the novel. Rodney came along for the road trip as he needed a lift to the wedding and his strange ways and awkward nature made me laugh.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I loved this book in more ways and one. The characters made my heart swell and I felt part of their group as I read on and really related to many of them, especially Addie on a deeper level with what she went through. The plotline was also incredible as I love how it switched between the past and present, sharing how Addie and Dylan first met abroad in the passionate time of the summer to now, crammed in a car to Scotland. The different dynamic was written beautifully and effectively and I could have read on for days about what happened to them and their friends.

I would recommend this book to everyone, even if you aren't a fan of romances as this book is so much more than that. It has humour, friendship, travel, and touches on some important topics including therapy and sexual assault. I loved how the book was lighthearted but significant and honest all in one. 

Ending

I didn't know what to expect from the ending as my opinion changed as the book went on. However, I can say it ended on a satisfying note for every one of the characters in the novel and I closed the last page feeling content.

Love the sound of this book? You can pick up your copy here.

Have you enjoyed this review? Thank you for reading <3