3 days in Parma, Italy: what to see and do

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I left a part of my heart in Parma; there's something about the city with its charm, gorgeous cuisine and characteristic buildings that I fell in love with. Parma is the home of the best Italian food, from freshly made pasta, including tortellini, cured meats and gelato (especially hazelnut). 

If you're visiting Parma for the first time, here's my travel guide on what to see for 3 days exploring Parma, Italy.

First time in Lake Maggiore - everything you need to know

Day one - Get a taste of the city

Wander around the city and cute piazzas

Parma is a small city and it takes little time to roam around, however, the streets are cobbled, quaint and colourful with plenty of hidden gems. I loved walking around the streets, seeing the restaurants, cafes, piazzas and sights I could find along the way, absorbing all the charm. My favourite piazzas included Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, Piazza della Pace and Piazza della Steccata. Honestly though, whatever piazza you stumble across, the beauty will shine. 

Parma Cathedral

Visiting cathedrals is one of my favourite things to do in European cities and the Parma Duomo was as beautiful as I imagined, and the entry is free. The Parma Duomo is exquisitely detailed inside with paintings across the high ceilings and large arches. Honestly, it's such a beautiful place to visit. 

Chiesa San Giovanni Evangelista

You're never short of incredible churches in Italy and San Giovanni Evangelista is just that. The unique exterior adds to the interior's beauty. I loved witnessing this spectacle of the church and appreciating the architectural details.

Day two - See the main sights.

Visit the Palazzo della Pilotta.

Palazzo della Pilotta is the name of the building complex which includes the Palatine Library, National Gallery and Teatro Farnese. The full price to cover entry for each sight is 18 euros, however, you can buy single tickets for each sight too. Although, it's more value for money to pay the full price. This complex is rather large and can take a couple of hours to walk through, depending on how much time you'd like to spend in each place. 

The biggest sight is the national gallery and if you love art, you may spend a while here admiring all types of art on offer. My favourite part of the complex was the Palatine Library as I adore books and it was incredibly magical to admire all the ancient (built in 1761) and historical books lining the ceiling-high shelves. The theatre was also something I didn't expect to see and a lovely surprise to explore, learning more about its history. Built in 1618, it's a Renaissance theatre and holds so much beauty, still offering shows today.

Parma Baptistery

Known to be among the most significant medieval monuments in Europe, the Parma Baptistery is a must-visit on your city break. Marking a transition between the Romanesque and Gothic styles, be prepared to marvel at the beauty on offer. The Baptistery isn't massive, when you've walked into the building - that room is it, however, the sheer intricacy is what makes the visit worthwhile. The Baptistery is tall and has a dome effect with paintings all the way up to the ceiling. Costing around 12 euros to visit, you have entry to this and the museum opposite in the square.

Park Ducale

Stepping away from the colourful buildings, cobbled streets and phenomenal restaurants, Park Ducale is a large green space, slightly out of the centre of Parma. During my visit, there was a food festival going on and generally had a populous vibe to it. The park is massive, suitable for picnics, a lovely green stroll or to grab a coffee and be with nature.

Day three - Day trips from Parma

Parma is in a brilliant location to explore many northern Italian cities and towns, whether you're looking to see more of the north or go to a town for a specific reason.

Bologna

Many of you know how much I adored Bologna a couple of years ago. To this day, it's up there with one of my favourite Italian cities, due to the wonderful food scene, authentic culture and beautiful sights. Bologna is a rather large city with enough things to keep you occupied for a few days. However, a day trip there will give you enough time to explore the highlights, such as Piazza Maggiore, Torre Degli Asinelli and Basilica di San Petronio.

The train ride from Parma is just over an hour, giving you most of the day to soak up the sights, visit local markets and eat your weight in fresh pasta, ragu, cured meats, tortellini in broth and gelato. 

Modena

On my trip to Parma, I took a trip to Modena for the day as the journey was only 30 minutes on the train. Modena is a stunning city, with vivid, colourful buildings, cobbled streets, and home of the balsamic vinegar and Ferrari. The city isn't massive, even smaller than Parma, however, you can visit the Modena Cathedral, Ferrari Museum, Mercato Storico Albinelli and Torre Civica. The beauty in Modena is roaming around and enjoying the more residential feel and sampling the dreamy balsamic vinegar. 

Milan

As the heart of fashion, design and the shopping scene, if you love all things glamorous, a trip to Milan can be a great spot to visit. Likely, you'll either be flying in or out of Milan if you're visiting northern Italy on a budget, but if you fly directly into Parma, then Milan is between a 45-minute to 1.5-hour train journey from the city. Explore sights such as the Milan Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Teatro alla Scala.

Where to eat in Parma 

Trattoria del Tribunale 

The restaurant scene in Parma is elite! I'm still dreaming about these restaurants and would love to go back. Trattoria del Tribunale served the biggest portions of prosciutto with bread and a truffle pasta dish I want to eat over and over again. This restaurant did offer big portions so be warned that the food may be so incredibly good but you can't eat it all. The pasta here is freshly made too - an absolute delight.

Sorelle Picchi Ristorante

I could rave about this restaurant all day long. Honestly, I had to initially eat the food slowly here, ensuring I savoured every bite. The prosciutto here was top-notch and the homemade tortellini was out of this world. The Italians make simple dishes taste so good - and plus, Parmesan in Parma is next level.

Gallo d'Oro

Another raving restaurant served delicious tortellini, ragu and cappelletti pasta - not to mention all the Parmesan you could eat with toppings.

Gelaterias

Gelato is a necessity on an Italy holiday, especially in Parma as the gelato is of premium quality. Some of my favourite gelato shops include Gioelia Cremeria Italiana, Gelateria Ciacco and Gelateria La Romana. Every one of them has a range of quality gelatos on offer, my favourite always being hazelnut and dark chocolate.

Breakfast and lunch

Bar Caffeteria Rustici - For a more local breakfast, this coffee shop sits on the outskirts of the main hub with plenty of baked goods, such as flavoured croissants, coffee and hot chocolate.

Frank Foccacia - Sandwiches in Italy hit differently, especially in Parma with amazing and fresh cured meats on offer. Frank Foccicia was affordable with filling and delicious sandwiches I'd love to have again.

Bombe - For a grander bakery with artisan baked goods, this one is for you with its range of pastries and patisserie items.

Where to stay in Parma

Parma is a very walkable city and even if you stay out of the main part, you can walk there within a short distance. I stayed with my partner in an apartment, about a 10/15 minute walk to the city's bustle and for us it was perfect. Incredibly affordable, had all the amenities we needed and a short walk to the attractions. The train station was about a 20-30 minute walk overall. When choosing a place in Parma, it depends if you prefer to be in the centre of the action and pay a little more or stay slightly on the outskirts for a cheaper rate and quiet appeal.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning to visit Parma?

Thank you for reading <3

2 weeks in Italy and Switzerland: an itinerary

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As many of you know, Italy is my favourite country and I love to visit, as much as I can. The food, the warm and inviting culture, the characteristic buildings, the cobbled streets and the friendly locals make it a trip of dreams. One place I've always wanted to visit is Switzerland, but due to how expensive it is, I've steered away from visiting, picking cheaper locations to travel instead.

One experience I wanted to have in Switzerland was the train journey between northern Italy to Switzerland, witnessing the mountain scenery along the way. If you're keen to explore northern Italy and the mountainous villages with Switzerland's best lakes, here's my 2-week itinerary to Italy and Switzerland. 

2 weeks in Italy and Switzerland: an itinerary

3 days in Parma, Italy

Parma is a gorgeous destination you'll fall in love with and you can either fly from London to Milan and get the train to Parma or fly directly into Parma. The beauty of Parma is the incredible food scene; I can assure you everything you eat will be heaven, from the fresh tortellini, cured meats, parmesan, and gelato to ragu. 

Parma isn't a massive city, however, you can see all the best sights in two days, from the Duomo, Palatine Library, Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, and Baptistery to the quaint piazzas you can roam around. The city also has some quiet green spaces to lap up the sunshine and read a book, from Parco Ducale to the green space around the Palatine Library. 

As Parma is renowned for its food, ensure you spend those days eating as much fresh pasta, gelato, cured meats and parmesan as possible! Restaurants, classic cafes and gelaterias come in the bucket load across this city.

On the third day in Parma, you have the privilege of being incredibly close to many other famous Italian cities, such as Modena and Bologna. Modena is 30 minutes away and Bologna is just over an hour away by train. In Modena, you can see the famous Ferrari museum, wander around the colourful streets, visit the local Mercato Albinelli and sample balsamic vinegar (where it's produced). Modena is rather small so a day is plenty of time to see the best sights and soak up the beauty. While with Bologna, the city is larger and you can have a day trip there but probably won't be able to see everything. Some highlights to see on a day trip include Basilica di San Petronio, Cattedrale di San Pietro, Torre Degli Asinelli and Piazza Maggiore/ Piazza Nettuno.

3-5 days in Lake Maggiore, Italy

After the wonders of the city and exploring the highlights, it's time to relax in the glory of Italian lakes. You have two options Lake Maggiore or Lake Como. For this itinerary, I'd recommend Lake Maggiore as one, it's quieter and has plenty to explore and two, it's an easier route to the locations in Switzerland I've laid out. 

Lake Maggiore is huge and has plenty of towns scattered from the south to the north, as the lake weaves into Switzerland. You have your fair share of locations to stay at but I'd recommend Laveno or Stresa, depending on what you're looking for. Laveno is smaller and quieter but a key location to visit other areas in Lake Maggiore and head over on boat trips. Stresa has a more direct port to the iconic island destinations across the lake, yet is a lot more touristy.

The train journey from Parma to Lake Maggiore takes over 3 hours with a couple of changes but is easy to follow. You'll travel from Parma to Milan Central, Milan Central to Milano Bovisa Politecnico and then the third train to Laveno. 

Lake Maggiore is one of those destinations where you could spend weeks mooching around different lake towns, going on boat trips, eating good food and generally relaxing. We only spent 3 nights there but I could have happily done another two, hence saying 3-5 in the itinerary. In Laveno, the town doesn't have loads to do but you can spend your time roaming around the lake and going on the Funivia del Lago Maggiore Cableway.

The other days in Lake Maggiore, take a day trip to the Borromean Islands, visiting Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori. From Laveno, you can take the boat over to Stresa and get a hop-and-hop-off pass to visit each of the islands, Isola Bella and Isola Madre are the largest with beautiful palaces and gardens to explore. Spend the rest of your Lake Maggiore days, exploring Cerro and the beaches there and Luino, the famous market town. Embrace lake life, the sunshine and fresh seafood. 

2 days in Spiez, Switzerland

After a week in the land of gorgeous food, phenomenal scenery and lake life, you can experience a memorable journey between Italy and Switzerland on the train. I kid you not this train journey, when leaving Italy into Switzerland will amaze you in many ways. From Laveno, there are different routes, I took the train to Sesto Calende, a bus from there to Domodossola and then a direct train to Spiez. The journey takes 4-5 hours but is completely worth it and you can spend a lot of time, especially on the last train, peering out of the window at the views.

Switzerland has endless lakeside towns to explore, however, my picks are Spiez and Brienz as Spiez sits on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, on Lake Brienz, giving you the chance to explore both lakes. I fell in love with Spiez from the moment we came out of the station as the views were like a postcard. Spiez has a slightly residential and village feel which I adored and enough exciting activities to keep us preoccupied for two days.

Spiez has the famous Mount Niesen and honestly, getting the funicular up here had to be my favourite experience in Switzerland! There are no words to describe the beauty of the view. Other highlights include Spiez Castle, lakeside walks, swimming in Lake Thun and the vineyard adventure trail.

2 days in Brienz/Interlaken

From Spiez, Brienz is easy to reach taking under an hour to get there with breathtaking views along the way. Brienz is a lot smaller and there is less to do, however, it had the typical Switzerland village architecture I expected and it was incredibly gorgeous to roam around, especially the lake. Brienz is lovely to roam around and visit the Giessback waterfalls nearby. This town is also next to Interlaken which many people visit and this town certainly has a more 'land' feel than the other lake towns. You can enjoy a classic chocolate fondue, explore the shops and do all your souvenir shopping here, and there are more food options.

2 days in Zurich

The last stop on this itinerary is the beautiful Zurich as that's the destination you'll be flying back from. From Brienz, the train takes around 2 hours to reach, you'll go from Brienz to Luzern and Luzern to Zurich.  Zurich is a beautiful city with plenty of sights to witness, from the Lindt Museum, Lake Zurich, the quaint old town and endless chocolate shops to eat as much Swiss chocolate as possible.

I hope you enjoyed this guide! When are you planing your trip?

Thank you for reading <3

How to stay positive as a freelancer

 Well hello to my reader chums! As many of you know, I've been a full-time freelancer for just over a year now and I'm loving the journey and everything it's teaching me. Although freelancing is everything I dreamt of, being my own boss, choosing my clients and developing a business, it's incredibly challenging.

Freelancing is more than doing the doing, it's building a business, finding clients, retaining clients and all the admin in between, such as accounts, emails, calls, marketing and much more. As a freelancer, I try my best to stay as positive as possible but when low periods hit, it can be tough, especially as often, it feels like a personal attack. 

How to stay positive as a freelancer

If you're a freelancer and struggling to stay positive, here are some methods you can use to help stay positive as a freelancer.

Talk to other freelancers

The first step to this piece of advice is to search for freelancers and befriend them. Whether that's in your local community or online, I can assure you freelancers are everywhere and it's easier than you think to connect with them. Once you've gained those connections, ensure to retain them through regular chats, either texting, calls or video chats, whatever works for you. By building those relationships, you'll have someone to vent and chat with when you're feeling rough. As I can assure you, every freelancer has felt what you're feeling right now and they can provide encouragement and reassurance.

Focus on passion projects 

Running a business is hard work and we all need to let off steam and throw our energy into activities or projects that fulfil us without them actually being a form of work or monetary gain. Having these passion projects can give you something exciting and positive to put your energy into when you're not feeling great. Whether that's making a new dress, writing a book or running a blog like this, whatever fills your heart up, ensure you take the time to slot it into your week.

Read reviews and feedback from previous clients

When you're feeling down, positive words can be revolutionary. I've recommended a positivity log time and time again, however, if you haven't made one, reading over the reviews and feedback you have is vital. If it's on your website or social media profiles, take a read as it'll give you the boost you need that you are good enough.

Get out and about

It may seem like the simplest piece of advice but being proactive does wonders for your mental health. Get out and about regularly for a walk, run errands or make social plans, encouraging positive energy into your day. You'll feel much better for it, even if you go for a drink in your favourite coffee shop.

Practice self-care, listening to your mind and body

Our body knows when we're burning out as it'll show us signs. By listening to your body, you can take better care of it, creating a more positive mindset towards your personal and work life. Practice self-care, such as setting work boundaries, eating well, having screen breaks, exercising, keeping social and doing the things that make you happy.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What else would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Turning 28 - a reflection on my twenties

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I can't believe I've just turned 28, I'm still 25 in my head and sometimes feel even younger than that. It's wild to me, I'm closer to my thirties than the start of my twenties, but every day I'm incredibly grateful for how wonderful my twenties have been. I'm blessed for all the travels I've experienced, concerts, theatre shows and endless moments with loved ones. I'm also grateful for the lessons I've learned and how much I've grown over the best part of a decade.

Whether you're new to this blog or have been following for a while, here's my insight on turning 28 and a reflection on my twenties.

Turning 28 - a reflection on my twenties

When I first turned 20, I had a plan in my head of my life at 28. Like any 20-year-old, the stereotypical life of being married with kids, owning a home and thriving in my career. It's strange seeing how naive and close-minded I was at the beginning of my twenties, and how things evolved for me.

I unexpectedly fell in love with the travel way of life and have spent the past 8 years travelling as much as possible, falling in love with the world and making memories with loved ones. I'm privileged for everything I've experienced in my twenties so far: the holidays, backpacking trips, concerts, day trips, theatre shows, new restaurants, and most importantly, spending quality time with loved ones and developing the connection further.

Although, I've had an incredible amount of highs and life experiences, my twenties so far have certainly been full of lessons, heartbreak, finding myself and dealing with the first decade of adulthood. This I can assure you hasn't been the easiest of rides, though it has helped me evolve, set boundaries, develop my self-love, self-care and work on being a better friend, partner and person by looking inward. Learning more about my emotions, triggers and traumas has helped me find coping mechanisms and work on my personal development more.

I found being more self-aware has helped me with gratitude, look on the more positive side of life, enjoy every day more but also work towards being my best self, and accept I'm not perfect. And, accept nothing can be perfect - and it's about finding beauty in imperfection.

Turning 28 - how do I feel?

I have to admit, 28 is a bit of an interesting age because, being a woman, societal expectations are hitting a little harder than ever before, and I also find myself thinking, I'm starting to prepare for that stage in my life: having kids, buying a house and engagement. The thought excites me more than it ever has, I love the idea of owning a home and creating a space that's mine and my partner's.

I've always dreamed of having a family and being a parent. Aside from being a published author, being a mum is the one thing I've always wanted and I cannot wait until that day comes.

Despite the excitement of these life big things I want in my future, the pressure is a lot more intense in myself and in my mind, I'm gearing up more for the upcoming years. I'm not entirely sure if it's a pressure I'm putting on myself or if it's more because I see everything happening around me, but as I know it's something I want, the pressure is higher if you get me.

Also, in the same breath, 28 doesn't feel too different from 27. It's strange being even closer to 30 than twenty but things haven't changed too much. I think I'll be set at the age of 25 and I love that - you're only as young as you feel. 

The older I get, the more comfortable I feel in who I am, and the more appreciative I am of the lessons I've learned, the experiences I have and who I'm growing into being - and who I have around me.

Here's to 28 - let's see what it brings!

I hope you enjoyed this post. What age are you?

Thank you for reading <3

Not caring what people think of you - how to make that change

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Caring about what people think is part of being human. We're constantly comparing ourselves to everyone around us, thinking we could do better or be better. Honestly, it's a waste of our time, especially when it comes to caring what other people think of you. I can assure you, that nobody cares or thinks as much about your life as you do.

Not caring what people think of you - how to make that change

That may sound harsh, but it's reality. We constantly think everyone is watching our every move and they're judging us, but in reality, it's not the case. If you're worried about what people think of you, here's my advice on how to make the change and stop caring about what people think of you.

Focus on your goals and passions

You can't worry about what others are thinking if you're too focused on your own goals and passions. We all have dreams and aspirations and to make waves in life, focusing on them is key. Whether you want to start a business, save a certain amount of money, travel to a certain destination or have a family, everyone has a different dream. We all deserve to live them and starting to list what they are can give you more of a direction in your life. You need to switch your mindset from 'what people want me to achieve' to 'what do I want to achieve' and focus on that.

Practice regular affirmations

Affirmations are key to creating a positive mindset and learning to love yourself. It's easy for us to think the worst about ourselves and call ourselves names, however, affirmations can diminish these thoughts, and also prevent you from caring about other's options. Affirmations are different for everyone and can be repeated in ways that suit you. From reading them first thing in the morning, every morning to having a list prepped when you're beginning to doubt yourself.

Take back control of your emotions

Emotions are a wonderful thing, yet when you're feeling down, they can almost feel out of control. Learning how to control your emotions is a challenging yet brilliant step in improving your emotional intelligence, dealing with situation out of your controls and helping you deal with not caring what people think. You will notice that you're caring less and less the more you're aware of your emotions, seeing what your triggers are, what causes you to feel down and what cheers you up. It all goes hand in hand with self-awareness, self-love, self-care and gaining perspective on your life.

Consider how you feel about your choices, rather than letting others dictate

Sometimes, especially when we're younger, it can be easier to follow the paths others dictate for us than do what we'd like. This could be because you're worried about what others think if you follow another path or you're concerned about how they'd react if you fail. However, I can assure you, that living a life that is authentic to you is the most powerful thing you can ever do. When we live authentically, life can seem more peaceful and feel right in ourselves. We won't feel as insecure or uncertain as we're connecting with our true selves, and no longer worry about other's opinions.

Remember, everyone is on a different chapter

You shouldn't compare your chapter one to somebody's chapter five. We're all on different paths, we all have different life experiences, different traumas, different financial situations and privileges. It's important to acknowledge all of these things when you're worried about caring what others think of you because, in all honesty, you will achieve what you want to achieve when it's right for you. It doesn't make you inferior to anyone else.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What else would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

How to plan your dream travel itinerary

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Planning travel itineraries is my favourite hobby and I love nothing more than researching my next destination. For people who aren't a big fan of organising or research, it is the biggest nightmare. I've got you. I'm here to help in sharing how you can plan your dream itinerary, saving you the hassle, frustration and confusion.

If you're new to creating travel itineraries or want some advice on how to get started, here's my guide on how to plan your dream travel itinerary

How to plan your dream travel itinerary

Set your destination, timeframe and budget

Every good travel plan starts with the destination, timeframe and budget. Whether you're looking to interrail in Europe, backpack across southeast Asia or spend a few weeks in one country, understanding these three points is the start you need. Pick a destination, set the timeframe, from a long weekend to a month/6 month (however long you like) and your minimum/maximum budget. Understanding these outlines helps you shape the itinerary and you can loosely map things out.

Research your must-see attractions/things to do

With a loose outline of where you're going, how long and how much money you have to spend, you can do some research on the best things to do at that destination. This could be a particular activity, a sightseeing spot or a tour. Making a list of your must-see things can help you slot in the days you'd like to do the activities, how much they're going to cost and how long roughly each activity will take.

Plan out the timings and align everything together

With an idea of the things you want to do, you can start to add them to the itinerary and figure out which sights are near each other and how to reach them. Essentially, you can bullet point a list of what you'd like to do first each day and chronologically plan out the activities you're doing next. Knowing the order of things can help you map out each day and knowing what's near each other can help you switch around things if you decide to change what you do on arrival.

Research food/drink places

Food and drink are the heart of any destination as you can get to grips with a country's culture and its local cuisine. Generally, researching where you should eat can wait until you get there. However, if there are some incredibly famous and must-visit places you've come across then add them to your itinerary as it can help you book a reservation beforehand, not missing out.

Work out distances to each attraction

Add a rough estimate of how long each activity takes and how you can get from each item on your agenda. Understanding how long it takes to reach each activity can help you plan accordingly, slot in time for food and leave enough room to get to each place. You don't want to run out of time or feel rushed when you're on holiday.

Review and leave room for spontaneity

Every holiday needs some spontaneity, you don't want to fill up every second of every day as that takes away the beauty of exploring a new place. Leave gaps for roaming around and exploring different areas to discover hidden gems. When you look over the itinerary before you go, it's the ideal time to make any changes, add new activities in or ensure you have got gaps to explore.

Tips and tricks to planning a travel itinerary:

  • The more detail the better - this can help you immensely when travelling around
  • Always add numbers - costs, times, dates and booking references
  • Consider time in case something goes wrong - not everything goes to plan
  • The weather - you can't predict it so always having backup ideas can help
  • Enjoy the process - planning your trip should be FUN, if it isn't, research ready-made itineraries or book a tour

I hope you enjoyed this post. What would you add?

Thank you for reading <3

Mistakes I've made as a freelancer

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Failure is part of life; you can't succeed without failing once or many more times. The mistakes we make help us grow and learn in a personal and professional way. As a freelancer, I've made many mistakes. I've only just reached one year as a full-time freelancer and errors have been inevitable, however, they've helped me develop my career and learn how to do better.

If you're new to freelancing and struggling or looking for someone to relate to, here are the mistakes I've made as a freelancer.

Mistakes I've made as a freelancer

Undervaluing myself 

There have been countless times when I've reduced my rates or quoted lower than I wanted to book a client, too scared to share my actual rates. This has often bit me in the butt clients didn't truly value what I was offering. Even when speaking about my services, I can undersell myself in how I explain what I do. It's a terrible natural habit to put myself down rather than hype up.

Overbooking my calendar

If you're a freelancer, you'll understand, the feast-or-famine workload. Work either comes in all at once or not at all, there never seems to be an in-between and getting used to that can be difficult. During the high periods, I have a terrible habit of overbooking my calendar because I'm afraid of missing out on the opportunities and the money, rather than only accepting what I can fit in. Overbooking means I'll have less time for business operations and looking after my mental health, ensuring I take breaks.

Doubting myself in low periods

It's incredibly easy to be my worst critic as it's just me creating this business and running it myself. When things go wrong, it all comes down to me, especially when no leads are coming in. During low periods, I find myself doubting if I'm good enough, if I'll be successful and generally being a downer about everything. I should use this time for more productive things such as business strategy and marketing.

Not setting work boundaries

Boundaries can go out the window as a freelancer because, during peak periods, I can find myself working, working, working with fewer breaks and not coming up for air. No work boundaries means not taking those breaks, not switching off from work mode or constantly thinking about work. It can affect my mental health, productivity and overall success of the business.

Not being clear about payment terms

If there was one thing I wish was better at in the early freelance days, it would be this. Late payments or no payments at all have caused me an incredible amount of stress, especially when I have to keep following up on invoices. This is due to clients not sticking to invoice terms or me not being clear enough when sending the invoices.

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

Thank you for reading <3

Packing effectively for a trip - my best tips

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As many of you know, travelling is my biggest passion and I thrive when planning new trips and visiting different countries. Due to travelling so often, I'm quite the expert in packing and packing light, effective for every trip, from city breaks, and beach holidays to backpacking. I always think packing lighter is better as one it saves money, but two, leaves you room to buy souvenirs at home with you.

If you're new to travelling or want to get better at packing lighter, here is my guide to packing effectively for a trip.

Packing effectively for a trip - my best tips

Write a packing list

The first step is planning what you're going to pack as doing it randomly can mean bringing things you don't actually need and won't wear. Take a look at your itinerary, the activities you're doing and the weather, helping you make a useful list, and aiding your packing process. If you don't know where to begin with a list, research the best packing list as you can find hundreds of templates for the best packing lists for your trip, from backpacking to a short city break.

Use packing cubes

Packing cubes is my lifesaver when it comes to travelling as it can help you squeeze all of your items into cubes, keeping each section of your clothing organised and putting it all in your case or backpack easier. Packing cubes generally come in packs of all sizes, helping you organise your dresses/t-shirt/shorts, underwear, swimwear, pyjamas and outerwear, exactly how you like.

With your packing cubes, instead of folding clothes, roll them up as it can make room for more items, especially if they're thinner, summer attire clothing items.

Plan your outfits out

It's easy to throw as many clothes in as possible when packing, however, that's not the way to go if you want to pack effectively. Spend the time and plan your outfits out, such as the beach outfits, walking around the city outfits, and dinner out outfits. Whatever you're planning to do on your trip, having outfits specifically planned for each activity can make the packing process smoother and simpler.

Don't bring too many 'just in case items'

I am probably guilty of this with clothes, toiletries and other accessories. However, it's good to have a strict mindset and know in your heart if you're not going to wear or use that item, don't pack it with you. There's no point packing an item if you won't use it as it'll just add to the weight and take up room that something more useful could fill.

Wear your heaviest items

An obvious tip, but to save space in your suitcase or backpack, wear the heaviest items to the airport. From a coat or jacket, heavy shoes to outerwear accessories, if you can throw them on, it can help you in the long run to save space.

Use mini bottles to put your liquids in

It's easy to just throw your large-size bottles and products in your case, but the mini aisle in the shops exists for a reason. If you can find your designated product in the shop then purchase it, and add it to your luggage. If you're trying to be more eco, purchase reusable mini bottles which you can fill up time and time again when you go away with your favourite products.

Look at what you've packed and remove unnecessary items

At this point, hopefully, you've packed all of your items. This is when you should review your luggage and remove any necessary items to save space and time on your holiday.

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

Thank you for reading <3

Panic attacks - how I've dealt with them

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Living with anxiety hasn't always been easy but it has made me into the person I am today. Through dealing with anxiety, I've learned more about myself, how I can use my experiences to help others and coping mechanisms to feel better when anxiety strikes.

If you're dealing with panic attacks and need advice on how to cope with them, here are my best tips and advice.

Panic attacks - how I've dealt with them

Recognise the triggers

Everyone has different triggers, whether it's crowds, small spaces or social situations to cause panic attacks. Once you notice what those triggers are, it can help you prevent future attacks and come up with solutions that work for you. Triggers can be small everyday moments to larger, more obvious triggers and realising them can have a significant impact.

Write down patterns of when you feel a panic attack coming on

When you recognise your triggers, write them down. Once you've got the triggers written down, you can begin to notice a pattern and understand the reasons behind your panic attacks. That understanding can also help you be aware of panic attacks coming on and help you plan out your day to put tactics in place, preventing panic attacks.

Learn breathing techniques

Breathing techniques are key with panic attacks as they can really bring you back to the present and calm you down. There are various techniques you can do, my favourite being the breathe in for four, hold for four and release for four. Another is the 5,4,3,2,1 method, noticing five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. These exercises switch your focus away from the panic attack and hopefully help you calm down.

Test the waters on coping mechanisms that work for you

Not every coping mechanism will work for you as each person has different triggers and reliefs. You need to find the mechanism that works for you. Whether it's using one of the breathing techniques, calling someone when a panic attack strikes, taking yourself out of the room, listening to music and calming sounds, or even using a breathing tool to help you.

Speaking with loved ones about how they can help

Our loved ones are there to support and love us and if you're struggling with panic attacks, confiding in them is vital. Speaking to your loved one about your triggers and how they can help you will let them know what they can do for you in your time of need. Whether it's someone to help you calm down, take you out of the situation or be a listening ear when you feel anxiety striking. 

Reassure yourself that you're not a failure

You're not a failure and living with anxiety and panic attacks doesn't make you one. Reassurance is key to reinforcing the idea that you are wonderful, strong and doing your best. Dealing with panic attacks is exhausting, especially if they're constant and knowing you're putting in the effort to look after yourself can help you feel better.

Reinforce positive affirmations 

I love affirmations as it's the best way to build self-love and self-confidence. Affirmations are easy to introduce into your daily routine, either in the morning, as you feel a panic attack come on or when you notice the signs of panic attacks. They can help you feel positive about yourself and know you can deal with the hardships panic attacks cause.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you live with panic attacks?

Thank you for reading <3

Dear anxiety: how life is different now

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Over the years, I've written an open letter to anxiety and an updated anxiety letter a few years ago. Four years later, it's an amazing time to write another letter and share where I am now, in my late twenties.

Whether you live with anxiety or looking to have someone to relate to, here is my open letter to anxiety.

Dear anxiety: how life is different now

Dear anxiety, 

Life has changed a lot, hasn't it? I'm now 27 years old and how life was with anxiety a decade ago almost seems worlds away. I can't believe how life has changed since then and even from my last update a few years back. I've grown, falling in love with myself and being more proud of my existence. I've taken the leap to step out of my comfort zone in many ways, grabbing opportunities and enjoying the power of everyday life.

Although things are more positive now, you do have your way of wiggling yourself in here and there, reminding me of my insecurities and coming out in social situations. I may have found coping mechanisms to deal with you, though, at times, I still experience panic attacks, weighed down by my clouded thoughts and can't help push that anxious feeling away. 

I've accepted that you are part of my life and part of who I am and that's okay. I spent years trying to get rid of you and though that has helped, I think acceptance is the most powerful skill of all. 

I've learned it's okay to have anxiety and feel anxious about all the little things in life. You have become my superpower, helping me understand people better, and be more empathetic and sensitive to other's needs. You've also helped me make better decisions in my life and think things through extensively. You have helped me make a better impression and care for everything a lot more deeply. You aren't a hindrance but a strength and I strive to keep using you that way.

How far have we come then? Acceptance may have been the biggest moving force but also becoming more myself and loving that. I spent my mid-twenties healing from trauma and my insecurities and the last few years, it has been about embracing that healing and living a more positive life. I've come leaps and bounds focusing on my own needs and goals, rather than putting all that energy into everyone else. Although that still takes a huge part of my heart, prioritising what I want out of my life is a big step in my growth and self-development. Learning how to cope with you is the biggest player in that. 

How is life different now?

  • I take the time to focus on my anxiety and caring for my mind when needed, rather than brushing that need away
  • I'm more comfortable in myself and understand it's okay to have anxiety and insecurities as that's part of what makes me human
  • I live a more positive life, always looking at the bright side and embracing that anxiety is part of that
  • I appreciate and am grateful for how anxiety has affected my life for the good and bad
  • Living with anxiety is my strength, not my weakness and I've used it to build the foundations of life now and constantly improve myself

I hope you enjoy this post. Do you deal with anxiety?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Maid by Nita Prose

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As many of you know murder mystery books are my favourite, I love discovering a mystery unveiled throughout the book, especially in a crime fiction novel. I've read my fair share of murder mysteries and continue to pick them up as it's a genre that thrills me. 

A recent book I picked up was The Maid on a whim and I didn't expect such a random purchase to be such a fab choice. If you're looking for a new novel to read, here is my book review of The Maid by Nita Prose.

Book review: The Maid by Nita Prose

Plotline

This novel follows Molly Gray, a maid working in the luxury Regency Grand Hotel. She is a cleaning whizz, taking her duty seriously and loving every moment of her job. One day, she discovers a very famous guest, Mr Black, dead in his bed, in Suite 401 and a messy mystery begins to unravel. Molly becomes the heart of the investigation because if anyone knows the secrets beyond the dirt, it's the maid.

Characters and relationships

The characters in this book were everything, especially Molly Gray. Molly is the most honest character, her authentic self every day, even at times when she doesn't mean to be. She isn't like a normal 25-year-old as she's mainly grown up with her nan, doesn't have many friends and isn't on board with the social cues. I love this about her though because she's always unapologetically herself and tries her best in every way to be kind to others and work hard in her job.

Molly had the most precious relationship with her late nan and references her throughout the novel and all the things she's taught her which has shaped who she is today. It's apparent how much she misses her nan and how navigating life without her is a massive challenge.

Another character I loved was Mr Preston, one of the older men working in the hotel and a character that always looks out for Molly in every way as he understands she's too nice, and can't comprehend when many people are joking about her or causing her harm.

Giselle is another staple character and as Mr Black's wife, a big suspect in the case. However, what's most important about her is their connection with Molly and how she offers a sense of friendship.

Overall thoughts

Overall I loved this novel in every way. It's a murder mystery that wasn't too heavy, with a big heart to it and a lighter tone. I love how even though it wasn't terrifying or too much of a thriller, the book had its fast pace, honest appeal and twists and turns adding to the overall thriller element.

It's a book that shows the true power of the good and bad people in your life, how good work goes a long way and who will always stand by you.

Ending

The ending of this book was a hopeful one, and honestly, throughout, I wasn't sure if the book would get to that point. However, I can say, I finished the book feeling satisfied for Molly and the other characters.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are you currently reading?

Thank you for reading <3

The best destinations for new travellers

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travelling is a part of my soul and as many of you know, I love nothing more than planning my next trip away. I've prioritised travelling for all of my twenties, trying to see as many new destinations as possible and sharing my experiences. Travelling for everyone is different, whether you're on a budget, love to tick off all the sights or prefer travelling slowly.

If you're new to travelling for the first time or unsure of where to go on holiday, here's my guide to the best destinations for new travellers. 

The best destinations for new travellers

Rome, Italy

Italy is my favourite country ever and I adore seeing new destinations throughout the country every time I visit. However, as a country with incredible highlights, it can be overwhelming on where to visit first. Any newbie to Italy needs to see the iconic capital of Rome for many reasons, the first is the history is incredible and you won't be bored with things to do. Another reason for new travellers is as Rome is so popular, it's easy to navigate around for new tourists with endless tour guides, English menus and countless travel advice. Planning a trip here will give you a taste of Italian beauty in an easy and stress-free way.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has a charm about it that anyone will fall in love with, boasting delicious tapas, friendly locals and plenty of attractions to keep you busy on your trip. With Barcelona, although it's very tourist-friendly, it still has the power to see beyond the tourist hotspots, providing easy access to a new city, and the pleasure of being more adventurous if you wish.

Crete, Greece

I adore Greece and many of the islands are incredibly tourist-friendly for newbie travellers with the local friendly energy to welcome new people. I'd choose Crete as the destination as throughout the island, there are many spots to choose from, whether you'd like a party vibe in Malia or a more chilled-out trip in Chania. There are gorgeous beaches, weather and lovely sights to explore along the way.

Thailand - any island

It's no secret how much I adore Thailand and thanks to the popularity of backpackers, the island scene makes for easy access to explore such an exotic location. Whichever popular island you choose, whether that's Koh Phi Phi for the party lifestyle, Koh Samui for a beach holiday of dreams or Koh Lanta to see more of the country air, you can easily get around with tour groups, asking locals and other tourists for help and advice.

Porto, Portugal

Portugal boasts beautiful weather and scenery and one city to start your exploration is Porto. Many would choose Lisbon as the capital and as much as I like it there, Porto is still tourist-friendly and has more of that Portuguese charm to immerse yourself in an accessible way. Porto has sights throughout the city, various food options, transport links and friendly locals many can speak English.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is known as a key weekend trip destination with canals for romantic strolls, cute pastry shops, plenty of bikes, markets and historical sights to witness. It's also known as a hen and stag do destination, so whatever you decide to go for, you can find it in this city. If you're coming from London, you can fly or get the train into the city, making it even more accessible than some of the other destinations listed. As such a popular place, you'll find navigating this city to be simple and plenty of guides to point you in the right direction.

Budapest, Hungary

I feel like everyone chooses Budapest as an easy location to visit to experience city air and the famous thermal spas. Renowned for stag and hen dos or spa weekend breaks, it's a city that welcomes many tourists for the party lifestyle and spa vibes, as well as soaking up the history throughout the city. Due to all of this, Budapest is easy for new travellers to get the grips of Hungary life and what's in store.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia is one of those countries that I'm keen to see more of as I adored every bit of Dubrovnik's characteristics and historical look. From the cobbled streets in the Old Town to the crystal clear waters on its beaches, there's more than meets the eye. With its famed UNESCO status, the city is always packed with tourists, especially in the high season, giving new travellers the ease of exploring the city with fresh eyes and knowledge from those around them.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where's next on your list?

Thank you for reading <3

How overcoming travel anxiety changed my life

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Travelling is my biggest passion and as many of you know, I love nothing more than planning my next trip away and visiting new destinations. Travel is a big part of my life and I adore researching new countries and ticking them off my must-see list. However, travelling and exploring the world isn't something that came naturally to me. I used to have the biggest fear of flying and was too anxious to leave my house, let alone jet off to new lands.

If you're anxious about travelling or new to flying, here is how overcoming travel anxiety changed my life.

How overcoming travel anxiety changed my life

I've visited nearly 30 countries

I'm incredibly grateful and privileged to have spent the majority of my twenties so far jetting off to new countries, seeing some of the world's best sights, making remarkable memories and feeling free in the travel life. Overcoming my travel anxiety by pushing myself to keep going on trips meant I caught the travel bug and fell in love with exploring and wanting to see more and more places. 

I still can't believe all the destinations I've had the pleasure of seeing, from backing Asia twice, revisiting Italy over and over again, ticking off European countries to living it up in the Big Apple. I am blessed that because I made the choice to overcome my fears, my twenties have been full of memories, stories, lessons and appreciation for the world around me. I'm excited to get to number 30 (currently on number 28)!

I feel confident in new cultures and places

The best thing about travelling is experiencing new cultures, learning the history of renowned sights and meeting locals in new countries. It has opened up my mind to new and fresh perspectives, giving me a bigger understanding of how other cultures live and their way of life. As I've been able to immerse myself in countries across Europe, Asia and beyond, I've witnessed rituals and traditions which are new to me - and with that, I'm left with a confident feeling when visiting a country with a different culture for the first time. I don't feel anxious landing in the new destinations, I feel excited and confident to see what they're all about, building on my knowledge. 

Flying doesn't scare me anymore

I used to have the BIGGEST fear of flying. The thought of going to an airport and being in the air at 30,000+ feet terrified me. However, the immersive therapy really worked for me here as the more I pushed myself to get on that plane and book that trip, seeing the outcome it gave me, the easier it was to shake off that fear. It wasn't easy in any way as I would suffer from panic attacks and fear the experience, yet time is a powerful thing. After a while, the fear went away and I realised how safe aeroplanes are and that being in the air is one of my favourite places to be.

I'm more care-free in new environments

As someone with anxiety, I don't think I'll ever be completely carefree, constantly planning things, writing itineraries and wanting control. However, my travel anxiety isn't the same as my normal anxiety. When I'm jetting off to a new destination, there's a certain ease that follows me and no matter what, it's all part of the adventure. I feel calm that I've had a lot of experience travelling to new destinations, and I can figure out any issue that occurs. Plus, the anxious person in me has done plenty of research and planning beforehand so that I'm clued up (as much as I can be) in a new place and it allows for that care-free attitude.

I'm intrigued about going to places that are new and different 

A decade ago, I never thought travel was going to be a part of my life, especially such a significant part of it. Now, going to new places intrigues me and fills my mind with wonder, rather than fear and anxiety and the constant thought of all the bad things that'll go wrong.

I've overcome other fears such as heights and waters

I was always a fearful child, scared of pretty much anything in my path; social situations, outdoor activities, heights, water and many more things. Though, travelling so often has pushed me to overcome certain fears to experience places in the full, such as heights and the water. I've climbed some incredible hikes, I've gone up some of the tallest buildings in the world and admired the views. I've snorkelled, swam in open water and kayaked on deep water - all things the younger me never thought were possible.

I've tried new experiences I never thought I would

This leads on to all the experiences I've tried, from hiking, snorkelling, trying new cuisines across the world, staying in hostels, temple hopping, visiting historical sites, riding in a tuk-tuk, seeing an elephant safari to cooking classes, these experiences are memories I'll remember forever.

I've learned many life lessons

Life is full of lessons and travelling often has shaped my perspective, teaching me more about gratitude, the kindness of humans, having an open mind and being brave.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Where's next on your travel must-see list?

Thank you for reading <3

3-day guide to Edinburgh: my favourite spots in the city

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Edinburgh has a gorgeous charm that I fell in love with straight away. Everyone said how beautiful Edinburgh was and I couldn't believe my eyes until I arrived - and I even had stunning weather, not what I expected for spring in Scotland.

With its characteristic buildings, literary history, quaint pubs and colourful streets, there are endless things to see and do and places to eat in the city. If you're new to Scotland, here's my 3-day guide to Edinburgh and my favourite spots of what to do in the city.

3-day guide to Edinburgh: my favourite spots in the city

Day one

Visit the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the most iconic street in Edinburgh and the first must-see sight to capture the beauty of the city. This is probably the most crowded part of the city but for good reason as the mile-long strip features wonderful historical buildings, museums, cafes, shops and the staple cobbled streets. I loved walking up and down and seeing the city's bustle, full of locals and tourists. 

Wander along Victoria Street

Just off The Royal Mile, is the colourful Victoria Street, the street you've probably seen on many Instagram posts. This curved road features many quaint and unique type shops, all painted every colour of the rainbow. Its cobbled streets add to the cute appeal and it's worth a mooch in the shops and grabbing a bite to eat if you fancy. 

Explore the old town

The Royal Mile and Victoria Street are in the heart of the old town and beyond that, it's a cobbled street paradise. Enjoy the wonders as you mooch along the various streets, grab a bite to eat, or a coffee, shop in the independent stores and experience the museum scene. It's one of those areas where you can simply enjoy how beautiful the architecture is.

See St Giles Cathedral

I adore cathedrals and St Giles in Edinburgh met my expectations as a wonderful sight. The interior and exterior matched the beauty and the architecture throughout the city. Entry to the cathedral is free unless climbing to the top.

Coffee and cake at The Milkman

The Milkman is a favourite coffee shop for many, locals and tourists and has that hipster feel about it with the array of pastries and cakes on offer. For that late-morning snack, I'd suggest grabbing one of their sweet treats and finding a place to sit taking in the city bustle.

Roam around The Writer's Museum

I'm a writer and my dream is to have my books published on the bookshelves one day. Visiting the Writer's Museum is a must for any book nerds or aspiring writers as it's so inspirational to read about the literary-historical icons in Edinburgh and beyond, and how their books have such an impact today. This museum is free too and worth a visit to learn more about the writers who shaped the literary world.

Visit Edinburgh Castle 

You can see Edinburgh Castle from many points in the city and going up there is a must to see the city from up high and to explore and learn more about the city's history. The castle is a lovely walk and also features many museums within it. Tickets cost £19.50 online and I'd recommend booking in advance to choose a time slot to save queuing up and paying more on the door.

Afternoon cake at Lovecrumbs

I adore cute coffee shops and Edinburgh was packed with them, I almost wish I was able to see more of them. I came across Lovecrumbs on Google Maps and visited as it sounded cute and up my street. They did delicious cheese toasties in there, and a variety of cakes and beverages to choose from - the ideal spot to relax after a day of walking.

Dinner at Vietnam House Restaurant

Vietnamese food is one of my favourites and I'm always up to eat the cuisine whenever I can. Edinburgh had many Vietnamese restaurants and this one was down the road from the apartment I stayed in. I kid you not, I haven't had Vietnamese food this good outside of Vietnam and I'd love to go back to this restaurant - the pho was on point.

Day two

Breakfast at Nomad

Kickstart the second day with a yummy breakfast. I'd recommend Nomad, a Scandinavian-looking place with a delicious brunch menu and homemade pastries. Nomad is in Haymarket, around 15 minutes from the city hub. A big breakfast is needed for a day of walking around the city - I chose the pancakes here and they were scrumptious.

Mooch around Dean Village

Dean Village is one of my favourite spots to experience a taste of the countryside in the city. The river area offers that natural paradise for a stroll, breathing in some fresh air and seeing more of the residential side of the city.

Visit the Stockbridge's Farmer Market

I love a local market and on Sundays in Stockbridge, there's a farmer's market where locals sell all types of goods, from fresh food to drinks and even ceramics. It's a hub of all things small business and a great place to buy fresh produce or a gift for a loved one.

Walk around Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens 

Back in the city hub, Princes Street has plenty of shops, such as classic high-street numbers and a few independents. Around that street, Princes Street Gardens is a gorgeous green space for picnics, a lovely walk or to look at the famous Scott monument.

Lunch at Zebra Coffee Co

Another great coffee shop for lunch is Zebra Coffee Co, famous for its chunky cookies with various flavours. It's not the biggest of cafes but a cute one with different sandwiches, drinks and treats. A quiet spot to have a break from walking around cobbled streets.

Go to the National Museum

One of the amazing things about Edinburgh was the free attractions, including the National Museum. This museum was HUGE with many floors of different areas of Scottish history, including a zoo-like room which blew my mind. You could easily spend hours here as there's plenty to see and do, especially if you're visiting with children.

Have a drink at The Dome

The Dome is a stunning building and the perfect place for afternoon tea, a drink or dinner. The interior blew me away as the colourful, dome-like decoration is very extravagant and posh. I felt a little underdressed considering the interior, however, many tourists were also dressed casually. I had a hot chocolate and shortbread in here and enjoyed a chat with my partner, a lovely spot to wind down.

Climb up Calton Hill

Calton Hill is a definite on your trip to Edinburgh, especially if you're unable to climb the iconic Arthur's Seat. The actual climb to Calton's Hill only takes around ten minutes and you'll experience phenomenal views of the city, especially during sunset or sunrise.

Dinner at The Magnum Bar and Restaurant

My partner and I came across this pub unexpectedly when the pub we wanted to get a roast at was full. Magnum Bar and Restaurant offered one of the best roasts I've had in a long time and I'm surprised the place isn't raved about more. Plus, the dessert I wish I could eat over and over again  - basically, a chocolate lover's dream.

Day three

Breakfast at Cafe Milk

On the last day in Edinburgh, it's about soaking up the last few sights and enjoying the joy of the city. Breakfast for me began in Cafe Milk, a yummy vegetarian breakfast in the heart of Haymarket. This coffee shop also offered a range of cakes and pastries to grab and go.

Explore the bookshop scene

As many of you know, I'm a huge bookworm and going to a city, I love to explore the bookshop scene. Edinburgh featured a dreamy selection of bookshops, just like Bath and I wish I spent longer mooching in them. My favourite few included Armchair books, Topping and Company booksellers and  Edinburgh books. There's a combination of second-hand bookshops and new bookshops, with a chance to buy vintage items or brand-new bestsellers.

Climb Arthur's Seat

Arthur's Seat is an incredible hike worth doing if you're capable. I absolutely adored this hike, although it was challenging and scary at times, reaching the top was a beautiful accomplishment and I was so proud of myself. The hike itself probably took around 30 minutes to an hour to reach the top. The first section of the hike is one steep hill with rocky steps and probably the hardest part of the hike for endurance. The second part of the hike is hard because there are many rocks and the terrain isn't as easy to walk up. 

The view of Edinburgh from the top is out of this world and makes the difficulties of the hike worth the struggle. I loved that the weather was rather mild and calm, meaning, I wasn't worried about slipping on the rocks. 

Lunch at Red Kite Cafe

The hike took it out of me more than I expected and lunch was essential to refuel my body and we discovered the lovely spot, Red Kite Cafe. This place had a family-run feel where locals spend their days, enjoying a cup of coffee or lunch. I enjoyed one of their yummy cakes and my partner, their homemade soup.

Dinner at Makars Mash Bar

I'm obsessed with mash and when I heard there was a mash bar, I had to make a reservation. Annoyingly, I had to wait until our last night because the restaurant was fully booked for the first two nights I was there. However, waiting for this restaurant as our last meal was worth it because I adored the mash - and loved the concept. A definite in the city!

Soak up the last of the city

Before you leave Edinburgh, it's time to soak up the last favourite spots. I spent my last few hours in the city wandering around the old town, catching a glimpse of The Royal Mile, the charming shops and cobbled streets. I even saw blue skies before heading back to the airport.

How to get around the city

Edinburgh is incredibly walkable and if you're fit and happy to walk about 20,000 steps a day then you can easily do this itinerary doing just that. Although, buses and trams are available throughout the city, and taxis too if you need an easy way to get around. 

From the airport, there are two cheap and easy ways into the city, the first, the tram which gets you there in about half an hour and a bus, which takes a little longer and is slightly cheaper. I used the tram as it was quick, a £9.50 return ticket and offered pretty views of the city.

Where to stay in Edinburgh

As Edinburgh is pretty easy to get around, if you're on a budget, you don't need to stay in the old town. There are many gorgeous areas to pick from including the city centre/old town, Haymarket, Stockbridge, New Town and West End. I stayed in Haymarket and loved the neighbourhood as it had many coffee shop options and restaurants and was only a 15-minute walk to the old town.

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning your trip?

Thank you for reading <3