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Austria // Breweries, Lakes & The Sound of Music

14 Aug 2016
Anyone who follows my Instagram will know that I've been away for the past two weeks and making sure that every man and his dog knows about it. I haven't had the chance to travel much so as you can imagine, I was very, very excited about seeing two new countries. A lot of people asked me why we picked Austria and Slovenia, with a kind of 'I'm confused, why wouldn't you go somewhere more exotic' look in their eyes and the truth of the matter is that I bang on about watersports to anyone that'll listen (even though I'm rubbish at most of them) and the Soca Valley of Slovenia is supposedly the 'outdoor playground of Europe', or something like that. Also, how do people afford flights to Bali in peak season? HOW?

We started off in Salzburg before heading on over to Bled, Bovec and finally Ljubljana in Slovenia, staying in a mixture of Airbnbs and hostels. I genuinely enjoyed being in both accommodation types, but while it's great to get the social aspect of a hostel, it's so, so blissful to have a room for just you and a friend. I also personally believe that snorers should be put in rooms with other snorers, but I am also aware that this is a pretty unrealistic task for hostels.

As Austria is the home of The Sound of Music, we also managed to watch the whole 3 hour film in the hostel one night. I loved the first 2 hours but then my concentration disappeared and so did all my tolerance for a drunk English girl in the hostel lounge who sang every lyric of every song with incredible passion for the whole duration of the film.

Oh and, every single person we met (even Americans who don't even live in Europe) questioned us on Brexit, which was annoying but to be expected. It was usually then followed by a good 10-minute rant about life and laughing about how stupid we all are.

The best views of the city are definitely from the castle area. You don't have to actually go inside but if you trek it up the hill and walk around a bit then you'll easily get to see Salzburg like this (it's seriously worth the trek!) 

I loved the charming little arcades that are dotted around the old town, although they were all full of very expensive jewelry shops they're great for window shopping. The old town in general was fantastic and reminded me so much of Montpellier in France. There were so many cafes and restaurants about (albeit very pricey) so we tried our best to sample as many as possible before we left.

Park Mirabell is absolutely stunning, and the gardens are chockablock with benches you can sit on to eat your lunch. Seriously worth a visit, especially when the weather's good!

On Day 3 we woke up to the sound of torrential rain but went along with plans to go on Salzburg's 'Lakes and Mountains Tour' anyway. The first hour of the journey was spent listening to a very soothing lady telling us about the area while looking out the windows and imagining what the sights would be like if they weren't completely concealed by the rain. We passed Red Bull Headquarters which was crazy, and I swear I've never seen offices so beautifully designed before! 

Our first chosen stop was St. Gilgen Wolfgangsee, which I would 100% recommend for a half day trip. It's pretty small but the views out onto the lake are stunning and the water has apparently won an award for its cleanliness.

We had a daily coffee break because Austria does a mean coffee and this was a solid week before we ran out of funds (I'm not even going to admit how much over budget I was by the end of the holiday). Our favourite place was hidden away in St. Gilgen and was probably in my top 10 cutest cafes of all time! My cappuccino was an extortionate 3,50€ but well worth it for such an adorable place.

We left St.Gilgen, hopped back on the bus and headed on over to Mondsee. By this point, the weather had dramatically changed and we spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing and swimming in the glorious Mondsee lake.

Other highlights of Salzburg were:

Augustiner Brewery
Apple Strudel
Trying out the Weiner Schnitzel
Massive bag of Pom Bears for 1,99

One thing I will say is that Salzburg is definitely doable in a day or two, depending on how quickly you get around. There's no point in taking public transport in the city in my opinion as all sights are in walking distance of each other.

Next up will be Lake Bled, Slovenia. 


The Lake District // Coniston, Mountains & Waterfalls

21 Jul 2016

The Lake District is somewhere I've only ever been to briefly, and pretty much all I remember is driving crazily slowly past Wordsworth's house while my brother and I were sat in the back of the car ripping each other's hair out. Good times.

This year, we decided to give it another go and I won't lie to you, I wasn't keen on the idea. You see, I'd already put all my eggs in one holiday basket and was rooting for Devon and only Devon. The great thing about Devon is that it's less than three hours away. The bad thing about Devon is that it's about seven hours from my brother, who works up North. So a compromise was found and I set off in search of a nice little place in the lakes. We came across Coniston which seemed to have the combination of being right on the water, surrounded by mountains but also a town with actual people and restaurants and shops (albeit very few).

I would also like to give a big shout out to the UK for its awful weather, leaving us with a solid 4/7 days of rain. That being said, everyone knows that The Lakes attract rain and it's all just part of the fun, right? Vaguely right. It wasn't too bad and aside from having seriously poor vision on top of this super strenuous mountain we climbed, we made the most of it.

Here go the photos...

This is a picture of where we found a little tarn halfway up the mountain. Pretty cool, eh?

Team Fam heading up Old Man Coniston.

Along with the mountain, we also had completely un-strenuous and super relaxing days and explored the areas directly around Coniston...

And along with walks around Coniston we also searched for the best cafés and pubs which happened to include the Giggling Goose, an adorable little café next to the river in Ambleside. They did a smashing Carrot Cake and Saffy got some dog biscuits in a mini sundae glass. Fantastic.

I'm actually off to Slovenia and Austria on Saturday, so I will have had a mere one week's break in between The Lake District and my next holiday, but who the heck would complain about that? 

Have any of you been to The Lake District? Coniston is great, but are there any places that are your personal favourites?

You made me feel all cultural, Barcelona.

7 Jul 2016

Happy Thursday, everyone! Welcome to the latest post in my Barcelona series from Day Two, where I saw La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera, and just generally won't shut up about how great Gaudi is.

I hope you caught my 'I think I love you Barcelona' post and my 'What a beautiful sunset you have, Barcelona' post but if you didn't then do go and check them out. They're less cultural than this one but they do involve lots of pretty pictures of city views and sunsets.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you. I will never be anything but (tactfully) honest on this blog, and this includes me saying that I used to hate museums. My attention span was awful as a child and I used to just skirt around the place as quick as I could and then sit on a bench at the end. Yep, I was one of those people. Has that much changed? Meh. When it's the right museum, I like it but I wouldn't say that I've ever 'loved' a museum. La Sagrada Familia was seriously up there though, not just the spectacular cathedral but also the museum underneath it. I found it so interesting that Gaudi used nature as his inspiration and as soon as I read that, it shed a whole new light on his work. I don't care how lame that sounds.

My iphone barely does poor Gaudi any justice, but here are a few of the pictures I took from both outside and inside....

We then ventured on down to La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, popping into a few shops on the way. The great thing about Spain is that a lot of the shops are cheaper than they are in England, so Zara and Mango were a big hit with us. I bought nothing for some bizarre reason, but looking at the clothes was fun as always.


Chocolate and Raspberry Cake // Recipe

3 Jul 2016

I call myself a baker and yet there have been no baking related blog posts whatsoever for months. Shameful. I have been baking, but what I've made has either been stuff I've featured on the blog before or stuff that tastes like a 9/10 but looks like a 5/10. Also, in my defence, the lighting is only nice in the garden here and the weather hasn't exactly been nice enough recently for a food garden photoshoot.

I personally think there's a noticeable difference between chocolate cakes made with cocoa powder, and chocolate cakes made with melted chocolate. This one calls for cocoa powder, which I used mainly because the ganache on top is quite rich, but it does definitely have a different, more cocoa-y (stating the obvious here) taste than using melted chocolate.

You will need:
200g sugar
200g butter
3 eggs
200g self-raising flour
75g cocoa powder
2tsp baking powder
150ml milk

250ml (approximately) double cream
150g dark chocolate
225ml double cream


Step One: Cream the butter and sugar together for a while, then gradually but thoroughly beat each egg into the mixture.

Step Two: Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in one bowl, then gradually stir into your wet ingredients.

Step Three: Once combined, add small quantities of milk until the mixture is a dropping consistency (ie. it easily drops off your spoon).

Step Four: Pour the mixture into two sandwich tins and bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees (fan oven) for 25-35minutes. It really depends on your oven so keep on checking once you've hit the 25-minute mark. The cakes should be springy to touch and a skewer should come out clean.

Step Five: For the topping, whip your 250ml of cream and layer onto one of the cooled down halves of cake, along with half your raspberries. Break your chocolate into a bowl and bring the other 225ml cream to the boil. As soon as it starts bubbling, pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to stand for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then so that it thickens. Once it's a thick consistency, use a spatula to cover the top of your cake and add the rest of the raspberries.

What do you think? My brother loved the cake and I will definitely be doing it again and again. I feel like I could've had larger quantities of both chocolate and cream but you'd think that would've been far too rich...

My London Bucket List 2016

30 Jun 2016

The time has come for my annual London Summer Bucket List. I made one last year, I've made one this year and I will make one every goddamn year until I have ticked everything off my list. I had a look at my 2015 Bucket List the other day and realised how gushy I am about the city, so I'm going to tone it down a notch this year and just say that I am absolutely buzzing/over the moon/excited/happy/ecstatic about moving over there at some point in the near future. There seem to be so many opportunities in London to go places, meet people, eat wonderful food, drink wonderful drinks, be all cultural and just have a fab time in general, so I've had to narrow my list down a bit to just 10 when really it should be about 50.

1. Open-Air Cinema

This is very touch-and-go because the weather is so god-awful in England but I just think the atmosphere would be so lovely and chill (so long as it wasn't raining). The Nomad Cinema, The Luna Cinema, and Rooftop Film Club are all looking promising, and appear to be showing a range of classics and very recent films, but we'll just have to see.

2. Pergola on the Roof

On the website, Pergola on the roof is described as 'an incredible food court set 170-feet-high under a canopy of flowers and filled with some of London's finest restaurants.' Seriously, how could anyone not want to go there?

3. See Guys and Dolls

Anyone that has been reading my blog for a while will know that I am big on musicals. I mean, big. This year, Aladdin The Musical is on the cards with my family, but I'm also dying to go and see Rebel Wilson star in Guys and Dolls.

4. Sample London Nightlife/Bars

Honestly, it is shameful that this still hasn't been ticked off my list. Shameful. I'm looking forward to this when I actually move to the city, and I'm looking forward to meeting a load of new people.

5. Fly down some tunnel slide

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is apparently Britain's largest structure, it's part of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park and you can go down this great big slide so that sounds super fun.

6. Revisit Madame Tussauds

We have this god-awful picture of me, my brother and my sister standing next to Johnny Depp about ten years and I finally got a new picture the other day when I went with my friend. I'm now almost taller than him which is kind of funny.

7. Notting Hill Carnival

My social media feeds are always full of photos from the Carnival over Summer time and I'm determined to go this year.

8. The Shard

Yep, still have not fulfilled this wish which I've had ever since it opened. There was one time I nearly got there, but it was a spontaneous decision and I was wearing converse trainers. Big no.

9. Harry Potter Studio Tour

Yet another unfulfilled wish. My life is so difficult, isn't it?

10. Cocktails in the City

I heard of the one in Leeds, not the one in London but either way, I love a good cocktail and I'm sure I would be completely and utterly in my element if I went to this event.

There's so much more going on in London than what's in my bucket list and I would love to hear your recommendations in the comments! What's your favourite thing about London in the Summer?


What a beautiful sunset you have, Barcelona.

27 Jun 2016

So, I went to Barcelona, I walked up a hill and I watched the sunset over the beautiful city. I love a good sunset but it was particularly special watching it from so high up and with such a spectacular 360 view. It also really makes me want to find the best places to watch the sunset in Britain from, and go on a little road-trip to seek them all out. Anyone with me?

We found this little view point through my friend from home who is currently living it up on her year abroad in Barcelona. Luckily, she's very much on the same wavelength as me when it comes to exploring cities and knew my priorities would be fantastic views and tasty food, so she gave us some great recommendations for both of these. One of her recommendations included watching the sunset from Bunkers Del Carmel, a very un-touristy spot, and another was a fab little brunch place.

Turns out, this place was a serious international student hotspot. I mean, a solid 90% of us looked under the age of 25 and for the most part people were listening to music, drinking and speaking English. The general vibe and atmosphere was great and was something I'd liken to being at a festival but without the drunkards and with a better view. Also, the music was meh and the oldie in me wanted it to be all peaceful and quiet. We brought a picnic with us and ended up looking like embarrassing tourists with our chorizo and baguettes but hey, nobody wants to be hungry on top of a hill, do they?

In terms of getting there, it was quite a journey from the Gracia neighbourhood we were staying in. When I say quite a journey, I don't mean that it was long but more that it involved me taking the group a good 10 minutes in completely the wrong direction (I did warn them that my talents lie elsewhere). Then we got on a bus and had to stand for 30 minutes while Georgie's gin and lemonade leaked all over the floor and all the Spanish people around us just frowned. After being dropped off in what looked like the middle of nowhere in a random Spanish town, we eventually found the place and unanimously agreed that it was well worth the struggle to get there.

I hope you all saw my first post about Barcelona last week, where I posted pictures from the spectacular Parc Guell and its mosaics. Gaudi really is great, isn't he? Next up will be a post about the day when I got all cultural and visited the Sagrada Familia, along with some try-hard shots of Spanish streets and the Casa Batlló. Yay!


I think I love you, Barcelona.

24 Jun 2016

I spent my final year in a very average student house with very above average housemates, and without them I would've had to eat all those cookies I made on my own and I would've never started watching Millionaire Matchmaker (which is bad but also kind of entertaining). So, to celebrate the end of uni, we arranged a little holiday because are you even a graduate if you don't go abroad to celebrate?

After a second or two's deliberation, we settled on the super original holiday destination of Barcelona. It feels like everyone is off there at some point this Summer but we booked in October, so you could say that we set the trend and everyone else just followed. I actually spent a short weekend there last year and I was surprised at how many different things we did this time, and how little overlap it had with my 2015 trip. You'll realise when you see how many photos I have that we got a lot done in four full days. Georgie also kept on checking her phone pedometer which said that we managed over 12,000 steps on most days, although I doubt this would've made up for all those patatas bravas and ice creams.

Day 1 & 2: Parc de la Cituadella, Parc Guell, Arc de Triomf

The first two photos show Barcelona's Arc de Triomf and Parc de la Cituadella, neither of which I saw on my first trip to the city. I honestly thought the park would be your average, run-of-the-mill city park and wasn't even bothered about going or not. I wouldn't say it was the world's best park but the little fountain area pictured above was a beautiful surprise and an extraordinary contrast to the standard apartment buildings behind it. It kind of shows what I love the most about the city which is that it has these stunning arhitectural designs, beautiful green areas and a beach, kind of like an 'all-in-one city'.

When I last went to Barcelona, we didn't have time for the Mosaic section of Parc Guell. It cost us 7 euros this time and was definitely worth booking in advance, and although I'd say it's not essential if you have a lot of time restrictions, there are some smashing photo spots. We didn't get to my favourite viewpoint right at the top of the park this time but it is extremely hilly, so be warned!

Have you been to Barcelona? What are your thoughts? Next up will be watching the sunset over the whole city which was undoubtedly one of the loveliest moments of my life. Who doesn't love a good sunset?

Imogen x