25 September 2016

5 things to do in La Spezia | Travel

You guys know I love going on my little trips and last month I decided to stay local and go somewhere different in Italy. This year I have done a lot of travelling but actually haven't been to that many places on Italy so it was about time really.

We decided to go to La Spezia because it was close to the ocean as it's more a of a port town and only like a two and a half hour train ride from Florence so really handy.

Here are my top 5 things to do in La Spezia...

Eat seafood
As La Spezia is obviously a port town, you all know that the best seafood you can get is by the port because it's so fresh. In all honesty there are a lot of places you can go but I would say if you can visit Dai Pescatori because the reviews are great and the food was yummy, we totally should have got more. It's such a popular place that there is a queue but I'm telling you the calamari and whitebait alone is worth it, but they also do a lot of other seafood dishes as well. However it's not a very formal place it, you won't be waiter on, you get your food and drink first and then sit down but it's perfect for lunch or a light dinner for the price! 

Get a boat to Cinque Terre
Before I even get started, if you have never heard of Cinque Terre then stop reading this post and just do a quick Google image search and then come back and finish reading...obvs! Cinque Terre is essentially 5 little towns along the coast that a built on the cliffs and are just so beautiful. To get to any of the towns from La Spezia is so easy, you can actually get trains cheaply or you can get a boat that drops you off at each one and takes you back to La Spezia! We definitely opted for the boat even though it was a bit more expensive 30 euros but I love boat rides and being on the ocean. I would definitely recommend visiting Manarola because it's just so pretty.

Walk to the port
Well obviously!!! I know that's what you guys are thinking but the reality is La Spezia has a very relaxed vibe about it and I feel that sometimes it's just really nice to grab a drink and just watch the boats come and go. The port is pretty big and I probably only wandered just half of it but definitely made sure I stopped as some of the seafront bars along the way.

Aperitivo at Kadinsky 900
I've told you guys before about Italy and their aperitivo, food when ever you order drinks, I'm a massive fan! We stumbled on this really cool bar called Kadinsky 900 just to stop for a drink and the aperitivo that was served with it was by far one of the best I have had in Italy and they didn't even increase the price of the drinks to include the food like some places do!  There was two of us and we go these amazing little foccia sandwiches, 3 different fillings, crisps, nuts and beans! So yummy! The bar staff were so lovely and welcoming! On a side note the foccia in La Spezia is beyond amazing!

Drink prosecco
Seriously guys, it's like 3€ for a glass that would be considered a large glass of wine! The thing I noticed was that La Spezia is way cheaper than the likes of Florence, Pisa or even Bologna! I've always been a fan of prosecco but even more so now in Italy, not only does it taste even better but when the sun is setting on the port after a long hot day, there is literally nothing better. If prosecco isn't your thang, don't worry they do lots of beer which are around 4€ so you can't go wrong really.

There we have it, I would say that La Spezia probably has a slightly older demographic but if you're looking for a little weekend away somewhere then you should really check it out! We spent 3 nights and rented an airbnb apartment and had a great time!

What sea side towns do you love?
18 September 2016

Friends come to visit | Lifestyle

Yay! Some pals from England came to visit me and I literally had the best time. In all honesty, I was really struggling this a couple of months ago being in Florence, don't get me wrong, the city is beautiful, my colleagues are great, I have the best roommates but even with this I am missing something that's keeping me grounded here. So a couple of months ago I was a right miserable cow, so my pals visit could not have been at a better time.

It's hard to explain, but even the simplest tasks like just having a general conversation without feeling guilty about making the other person speak English, so saying something funny that doesn't get lost in translation was just so lovely. I mean, let's face it, us Brits have some quirks, we have a unique sense of humour, we aren't very touchy feely, we love a queue and are painfully polite, so it can be bloody hard integrating into a culture where most of these things are opposite.

My two pals I have been friends with since Sixth Form, we did media projects together, we've been on group holidays together, we've all had drunken hearts to hearts with each other and we've all gone out separate ways but still manage to come back and have a drink and laugh like it was when we were teens. I took them to all my favourite places which I will probably write about in a different post so that if any of you guys are thinking about coming to Florence there are some tips.

In all honesty, I think one of the best things about living out here is having people come to visit and then showing them around a place you are currently calling home. Plus it gives me an excuse to eat more Italian food and drink more Italian wine, ya know because they've gotta taste it too! I took them up to my favourite high point, where I take anyone who comes just because it's very beautiful and it's a great little climb if we wanna work off that chianti and pasta. It was great just having them here considering I haven't seen them for 9 months. I have a couple of other visits coming up with I am of course super excited about.

But there I guess I wanted to give you a little update into my little life at the moment
11 September 2016

The Birthday Post | Lifestyle

Well, I kinda feel like I have to do one each year just so I can look back. When I think of my birthday last year, I was lucky because it was on the weekend and I could do whatever I wanted. This actually resulted in me going on a walk for several hours by the river.

The thing is I'm not much of a birthday kinda gal, I don't like the fuss and I don't like the attention. Don't get me wrong, gifts and cards are always so nice and I really do appreciate them just when they are done in a low key way. Singing happy birthday to me with a cake in front of 50 work colleagues pretty much killed me last year but I love them guys so it's fine! I don't have my birthday on Facebook anymore because I just don't like that people feel obliged to say happy birthday to me. But I will say that being 26 was probably the best year of my life.

My life is literally the opposite to what it was last year and it's crazy to think that I still would have had no idea September last year I would move to Florence. The thing is, if I was in England this year I would probably be really stressed because I would quite possible be in a very similar position now to what I was back then and I would be worried about my job, being single, not having a mortgage, and not having all those little boxes ticked in my head from the pressure I used to put on myself. Where as this year, I'm kinda happy with how disjointed everything is knowing full well that I actually can't change that much and there are definitely some things I don't want to change at all.

I kind of liked being in this country alone because no one knew it was my birthday so I didn't have to dodge the "oh what are you going to do for it?" Questions, I really don't think there is anything wrong with doing nothing. If I was back in England I would probably go for a couple of drinks with my work pals after work or go out for dinner with other pals, it would be relaxed and it would make me happy. But as I don't have a big network of acquaintances here I was actually quite happy just to do my own thang. Though of course I got a tonne of lovely messages from my pals in England which made me very happy!

It was probably a little lonely, but I didn't have much time to dwell because as you are reading this I am actually on an flight to Santa Barbara from New York for a work conference so things aren't too bad at all.

What do you do for your birthday?
4 September 2016

Favourites in Florence | Travel

So I thought it was about time I gave you guys some tips for my favourite places or things to do in Florence, I'm not gonna lie, there will be a lot of food and drink places in my list but ya know, sometimes it really is the simplest things in life.

Favourite Gelato
There are a lot of gelato places and if you're in the centre I'm telling you now, avoid the places that have the ice cream piled high in giant towers, it's tourist ice cream, so not great. If you're in the centre then you need to visit La Carraia. Hands down the best gelato ever and for a good size cup it's like 2.50€ totally worth it. I go for the cookies and Nutella, need I say more..?

Favourite wine bar
Il Santino - This one is a tiny little place but if you can get a seat you are laughing, I would say go a little earlier rather than later, the Italians are always late so you have more chances of getting a seat inside if you go around 7ish. They serve little crostinis with your wine choice depending on what you order will depend on what crostini you will receive, the wine is delicious, the food is delicious, something very rustic and understated about this place. It's right next to a restaurant of the same name but the wine bar is like a little hole in the wall so go an check it out.

Favourite place along the river Arno
I'm telling you now, if you want to see something beautiful, go a grab a drink by the river arno in the evening before the sun sets. It's almost magical. I love nothing better than going to get a prosecco and sit along the river, the place I go is Rivalta it's a little more expensive per drink but aperitivo is included so you can fill up on the food they have to offer.

Favourite pizza place
This one I have written a review about it's called 'O Munaciello. It's a very traditional pizza place with it's roots from Napoli which is where pizza actually came from. If you're here then you have to have a traditional limoncello to finish the meal. It's delicious. It's a super popular restaurant so make sure you book it a table!!

Favourite tuscan meat restaurant
All'antico vinaio is another place I have mentioned before and is easily the most popular place in florence for their sandwiches, just look at the reviews on trip advisor. The thing that I love about this place is that one shop just sells sandwiches and the other just sells platters of meat, I mean, you can't go wrong. There is a queue for the sandwich place but I'm telling you now it's worth it and they are huge!! If you can get a seat in the other place then snap it up, again I would say go a little earlier to beat the Italian rush or try and book a table in advance.

Favourite view of Florence
If you are ever in Florence then you must walk up to Piazzale 
Michelangelo, it's a tourist hot spot, which totally makes sense because the view is breath taking. But I would say, after the walk if you're feeling good then carry on to the church a little further up called Basilica San Miniato al Monte, the view is even better and it's less crowded and more peaceful.

Favourite attraction 
It's obvious but the Duomo is by far the most beautiful thing ever, the sheer size of it is so vast you have to lean back to take it all in. It's smack bang in the centre to expect it to be crazy busy but honestly there is nothing more beautiful, during the day, at sunset, at night it always looks good. Unless you want to walk to the top I would suggest not bothering going in because all the beauty is on the outside for sure.

So there we have some of my faves! Have you been to Florence or are you going?