Edinburgh

My Edinburgh Diary

The last time I went to Edinburgh I was doing a gap year half way through my law degree, backpacking around Europe and living off the meagre savings I’d made working in a department store in Melbourne on weekends and after class.

My memories of Edinburgh were of a breathtakingly beautiful city. And while that has not changed – Edinburgh still dazzles with its severe and dramatic beauty – what I didn’t remember about Edinburgh was the finer things. This time however, I have come away with memories of a vibrant and dynamic food scene, quirky underground cocktail clubs and a sense of the pride and innovation that lives in the locals of this unique city.

Here’s a little diary of our visit, including all the places that I highly recommend for your next trip up north. Continue reading “My Edinburgh Diary”

Fingal Edinburgh

Fingal Edinburgh – Hotel Review

Upon arriving at the Port of Leith, we walked up the red-carpeted gangway and into the most elegant and quietly glamorous hotel reception you could imagine. This was the beginning of our weekend stay at Edinburgh’s newest floating hotel, and it continued in the same stylish way that it began.

The Fingal began its life as a ship that serviced the lighthouses in some of Scotland’s remote and storm-lashed locations. It now sits permanently Continue reading “Fingal Edinburgh – Hotel Review”

Solo Travel

Solo Travel – 14 Tips to Make Solo Travel Awesome

If you have found yourself contemplating solo travel lately, then you’re not alone. The number of solo travel bookings in the UK has increased significantly in the last few years.

I have travelled solo for years, ever since I took a gap year and travelled on my own around Europe during my law studies. As much as I love holidaying with friends, I really look forward to my solo trips. It’s a time when I can do exactly what I want, where I push myself outside of my comfort zone, meet new people and make new friends.

But not everyone is as comfortable and at ease when travelling alone. And that’s understandable. Introverts can be pushed further back inside their shells and end up having a terrible time. But take it from this introvert, solo travel can be the best experience of your life.

Here are fourteen tips that have helped me become a better solo traveller and a better human as a result: Continue reading “Solo Travel – 14 Tips to Make Solo Travel Awesome”

Clerkenwell Farringdon Guide 3

Clerkenwell & Farringdon Guide

Clerkenwell and Farringdon are areas of London which don’t have the worldwide fame of other neighbourhoods like Notting Hill or Soho, and I much prefer it that way. It keeps this creative and charming little enclave on London free from the tourist crowds.

Located side by side to the east of Covent Garden, Clerkenwell and Farringdon are home to creative agencies, renowned design houses, world class architecture firms, top restaurants, quirky cocktail bars and hip cafes.

Just to wander the streets of these two neighbourhoods is a treat. Eye-catching art-deco buildings are dotted amongst the beautiful Victorian houses, and independent boutiques are scattered around like little gems to be discovered. The creativity of the people who work in this area of London somehow permeates the air. There is a special vibe to Clerkenwell and Farringdon that has to be experienced to understand it.

And so it is a little reluctantly that I share (below) my little black book of the best of Farringdon and Clerkenwell. I really was tempted to keep this undiscovered area of London all to myself!  Continue reading “Clerkenwell & Farringdon Guide”

Sustainable fashion

Los Angeles Focus: the Rose Bowl Flea Market

If you are fortunate (or strategic) enough to time your trip to L.A. so that it coincides with the second Sunday of any given month, then you are in for a shopping treat. Because the second Sunday of every month is when the Rose Bowl Flea Market takes place. And it is truly awesome.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market boasts the West Coasts’ best and most extensive vintage clothing and furniture stalls. For any vintage enthusiast or keen bargain hunter, it’s like your Christmases have all come at once. From vintage cowboy boots to a 1930s chartreuse evening slip gown (which, while spectacularly elegant, sadly didn’t fit me), it’s a shopping-related dream come true.

The market is located on the east side of the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, and it is huge. So huge, in fact, that it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of treasure troves you feel you need to trawl through. So here are a few pointers to help prepare you and  avoid shopping fatigue. Continue reading “Los Angeles Focus: the Rose Bowl Flea Market”

Ski Trip – The Courmayeur Guide

My recent ski trip to Courmayeur was my first time skiing in Italy. And it will definitely not be the last.

Previous ski trips have taken me to France, Switzerland and Austria. So I have enjoyed all that those countries have to offer by way of ski resort, from fondues on the slopes to vigorous Austrian folk music in apres ski bars. What Italy brings to the ski trip party is so much more.

First up, there’s the Italianness of the people there. The attitude and style of the Italians is something that I am obsessed with every time I visit their fabulous country. And Courmayeur is ideal for people watching, both on and off the slopes. In Courmayeur I saw one guy skiing straight down a black run while smoking a cigarette, as nonchalant as you please. And then there was the guy getting on the ski lift wearing ski jeans and a bomber jacket as his ski outfit. Yes, really, ski jeans. The label on the jeans said ‘ski’ and they were of a special design that fit over his ski boots.

Second, and more importantly, the Italian ski resorts excel when it comes to food. And in Courmayeur all the food bases were covered, from refined Michelin starred delights through to hearty mountain feasts ending in a Euro-style disco atop a mountain.

Continue reading “Ski Trip – The Courmayeur Guide”

Ski Trip Packing 1

Packing for a Ski Trip for First Timers

I only started skiing a few years ago, which explains why I will forever be an intermediate skier. Starting skiing as an adult is hard. I’m constantly thinking about whether my travel insurance will cover me if I have some kind of accident. The result is I ski far too cautiously to ever make any seriously good progress.

Nevertheless, I have progressed to a point when I can pretty much tackle most ski runs (with varying degrees of style and technique). And I now love my ski trip holidays more than anything. Apres ski has a lot to do with it.

Looking back, I can see the seriously steep learning curve I went through to get to this stage, and it wasn’t all on the slopes. Knowing what to pack for a ski trip the first few times was a bit of a dilemma and I had to ask around to find out what I needed to take to wear on the slopes. Continue reading “Packing for a Ski Trip for First Timers”

Melbourne Dining 6

My Melbourne Dining Diary

I love nothing more than heading back to my hometown of Melbourne in the Australian summer time. Not only do I get to escape the northern hemisphere winter, but I get to experience the best of Melbourne when its beautiful locals are chilled, suntanned and glowing.

Better than that, I get to experience Melbourne’s food and drink scene, preferably al fresco. Melbourne is famous for its world-class dining scene, award-winning chefs and leading edge cuisine. On my last trip my time was limited to only a week, during which I tried to fit in meeting with family and friends, shopping at my favourite Aussie designer boutiques, stocking up on Bonds undies, getting up to Sydney for a flying visit mid-week and getting in my morning walk around Melbourne’s Tan track each day. So my Melbourne dining was limited but outstanding.

Here’s a shortlist from my Melbourne dining extravaganza, where I went and what I highly recommend: Continue reading “My Melbourne Dining Diary”

Byron Bay Diary-10

My Byron Bay Diary

Ask anyone who went to Byron Bay 15 to 20 years ago, and they’ll all tell you how much Byron has changed in the intervening years. Byron Bay is the original Australian bohemian, spiritual beachside siren town that draws hippies, creative types and free-thinkers to its palm-tree lined streets, lush hinterland and white sandy beaches.

With that has come the backpackers and the tourists. But the authentic free spirit of Byron remains, and can still be tapped into and enjoyed today.

On my recent trip back to Byron Bay, I set out to re-discover exactly what made me fall in love with this sun-soaked haven all those years ago when I first visited. What I found was a   down-to-earth and forward thinking community of people who are passionate about food, fashion and a lifestyle that is unique to this part of the world. Here’s my diary of places I ate, drank, slept, lazed, unwound, shopped and discovered… Continue reading “My Byron Bay Diary”