Staying Healthy And Fit During Your Summer Travels

More and more of us are getting ready for our summer holidays wooohooo! From short-haul to Europe (Annie is off to Spain and Rhodes), to longer haul (Rachel is off to Canada)! Regardless of where you are going you have probably already thought about packing It’s definitely something you either love or hate!

Does anyone else find that whenever they stop and finally rest they get ill? We always do and it totally sucks! Although in summer there are fewer bugs around to catch, you can still get ill in summer, especially in a new country where you’re trying new foods or have a body clock that is all over the place. So here are some of the best ways that you can stay well on your travels this summer.

Hydrate

This is going to be one of the most important points for your summer travels. Temperatures are hotting up, and you’ll be losing a lot of water through sweat when you’re away.

If you decide to go on a boat trip or spend time by the sea you are likely to not feel as hot, as the breeze will cool you. But you will still be losing water. So you need to be drinking at least two liters of water a day, if not more. It can be tricky in some countries to do so, as you can’t drink the tap water. So stock up at local supermarkets with some bottled water. A cost-efficient way of doing it is taking your own reusable water bottle, and then fill it up each day from a large bottle of water bought from a store. Plus, places like hotel gyms have bottled water that you can decant and fill up your own bottle with.

Avoid Jet Lag

If you have jet lag, then it means that you can be sleeping at unusual hours, not getting enough sleep, or just generally feeling unwell. While this is more common when flying long-haul, it can happen any time. One of the best pieces of advice to avoid jet lag is to try to get on the new country’s time, as soon as you get on the plane. If you’re going to be landing somewhere and it will be daytime, then you need to sleep as much as you can on the plane, so that you can stay awake when you get there.

Exercise

Some holidays are going to be pretty active ones (think hiking trips or city breaks). So you’re less likely to need to exercise formally on those kinds of trip. But going off to the beach for two weeks means that you may decide to keep active by going for a run or visiting the hotel gym. We sometimes like to research gyms in the local area as well. It’s not that you have to exercise when on holiday and don’t think you do we just like to it helps us keep sane and also means we can enjoy one of two more cocktails than normal.

Watch What You Eat

This actually doesn’t have anything to do with calorie intake or anything like that, but more about how the foods are prepared and if they will be good for you. Even something like a salad, that has been washed in tap water, can make you sick. So you need to check things like that. It can also be a good idea to avoid certain things on street food carts, especially if you can’t check how it has been prepared. You want to reduce the chance of you getting sick from something you’ve eaten, and avoid getting anything like Delhi-Belly.

Sunscreen

It can be easy to forget about sunscreen and go wild by the pool in the hopes of getting a tan. And while the long-term effects of sun damage aren’t going to have an impact immediately, there are some side-effects that will. You can get sore, cracked, or broken skin, as well as something like sunstroke. That can leave you feeling nauseous, lethargic, high temperature, and in a lot of pain. So it really is simple; wear sunscreen, and keep applying it often.

Relax

Taking some time out when you’re on holiday can be just what you need to unwind and relax. And while you’re taking a break from some of the stressors of every day and your normal routine, holidays can still feel a little full on. So look for ways to help you to be more mindful. This could be meditation, writing in a journal, doing some exercise like yoga, or taking yourself off for a spa treatment. Time out gives you time to de-stress and to relax.

Have you got any tried and tested tips that help you to stay healthy on your travels this summer? It would be great to hear what you think.

Goodbye English Festivals, Hello Spanish Festivals

We love Spain it is one of our favourite countries to visit during the summer months. The warm temperatures, delicious food and the refreshing Sangria is enough to make us return almost every year.

We have been to Spain almost every year since we were little. We have visited lots of different parts of Spain and also visited for many different reasons. We have been to Spain on family holidays, Hen do’s, city breaks and to a music festival which was so much fun.

If you have not heard of Benicassim before then we would definitely recommend checking it out. Benicassim takes place in July just a short ride away from Valencia and Barcelona. There are lots of bus transfers from the airport so it is definitely worth booking one of those as it will be much cheaper than a taxi. This year it starts on Thursday 19th July through to Sunday 22nd July you can purchase a 4 day ticket for 155 euros which also includes camping but you can also purchase 3 and 2 day tickets.

Forget about packing welly boots and a rain coat like you would when attending an English festival! This festival definitely won’t be a wash out like a few of the England festivals we have attended in the past! What you will need is a bikini, flip flops and lots of sun cream.

The great thing about Benicassim is that the music starts at about 6pm giving you the entire day to enjoy the sunshine. We used to take the bus down to the beach and spend the entire day enjoying the sunshine.

We paid about 12 euros for a week’s bus pass which was unlimited and you could use to get to and from the beach from the campsite. The bus also stopped at the supermarkets at well which was incredible. We used to go to Lidl to stock up on our supplies as it was far cheaper.

The bus will drop you at the drive way to the festival and we are not lying when we say this drive way is LONG! Carrying 2 litre bottles of water is NOT fun especially in the heat but it is worth it when you get back to your tent and you are not having to spend a ridiculous amount that the festival tents charge.

We decided to glamp at Benicassim we couldn’t think of anything worse than waking up in a hot tent with a hangover! We paid for the tipi tents which cost about £150 extra each (prices may have gone up a little bit by now as we went a couple of year ago). Inside the tipi tents were blow up mattresses with duvets and pillows it was fantastic.

We were also provided breakfast and a coffee in the morning which was delightful! The breakfast was a selection of pastries and bread with jam etc. There was also a giant paddling pool which someone unfortunately punctured on our first day! DOW!

The showers at the campsite were incredible we had about four showers a day because it was just so dam hot! There were so many showers and they were located outside set up like scaffolding, they were far to begin with from where the sun had warmed up the water and then after a while they went cold which was so refreshing.

The music was great and we enjoyed Benicassim so much, if was our first festival abroad and definitely won’t be our last. We really want to go to the La Tomatina Festival next!

The Hub Edinburgh Afternoon Tea

We were lucky enough to visit the Royal Mile Hub twice during our visit to Edinburgh. We visited the Royal Mile Hub for breakfast (Read our blog post here) and also for afternoon tea.

We had booked afternoon tea for 2PM but arrived slightly early at 1:30PM, the staff were absolutely fine about this and took us to a table right away. The afternoon tea usually runs from 3PM-5PM but they had an event going on the day we were visiting so we were booked in slightly earlier than usual.

We were sat in the window seat looking out onto the courtyard unfortunately the sun was not shining upon arrival so we didn’t ask to sit outside, we wish we had though as the sun came out just as our afternoon tea was served.

To start we both ordered a drink, the manager bought us a box of teas across so we could smell the different flavours. Rach went for a peppermint tea and Annie had a flat white with soya milk instead of a tea. We were also provided with a jug of water.

We were also offered the prosecco which costs £7.80 for person which we thought was a good price considering the bottle was a good size and gave us each 2 glasses of prosecco. It was chilled to perfection and really refreshing and we liked that it was served with a strawberry.

The afternoon tea consisted of a selection of sandwiches which were served on white and brown bread. It included the usual; smoked salmon, cucumber & Ham. They were really tasty and we didn’t have any trouble finishing the plate.

Scones and jam were also served and if we are 100% honest which as you know we always are we were a little let down by the size of the scones. The scones were incredibly small and we only received one scone each, we are used to getting a couple of scones each especially when they were as small as they were. Regardless of the size though they did taste incredible and it left us wanting more!

The top layer was the cakes of course which included a mini Lemon meringue, salted caramel macaroon and a strawberry and cream waffle. Oh my gosh the salted caramel macaron was just incredible! The manager told us they outsource the macaroons from Mademmoiselle Macaron as they are the best macarons in Edinburgh- we would definitely recommend a visit if you are in Edinburgh.

The afternoon tea is priced at £25 for two people which is only £12.50 per person, that is super good value (especially as we are used to London prices)! We didn’t leave the brunch feeling uncomfortably full either which was a nice surprise.

A Solo Travel Guide to Florida Keys

Traveling by yourself can be invigorating, exciting and a little bit scary! We have wanted to visit the America again for quite some time and the Florida Keys are definitely one of the things that is close to the top of our list of places we want to visit.

We have heard there is plenty of things to do in Florida Keys when travelling solo! Just always make sure that you have your wits about you and you have put a few safety precautions in place (including where you are going to stay!) and you’ll love it! Who wouldn’t it looks like paradise!

Staying Safe

One of the biggest concerns about girls/women traveling alone is obviously safety. In addition to the usual obstacles women face!The Florida Keys also have the added issues of wildlife and weather (although this is a risk for anyone not just women)!

In particular, you’ll need to be careful when you’re swimming in the ocean, as there are two kinds of fish that can cause you problems. The barracuda has sharp edges that are known to cause cuts and gashes if you get too close. Even worse is the man-of-war jellyfish (we are terrified of jellyfish)! These can give you a painful sting. To avoid these mishaps, swim only in marked areas, such as public beaches. Additionally, make sure there’s a lifeguard nearby in case you need a little assistance getting out of the water.

Weather can also be a concern, especially during hurricane season. This occurs yearly between June 1 to November 30, so we would definitely try to schedule our trip outside of this time. Since there’s only one way off the islands we have read that traffic can get crazy if there’s an evacuation, so it’s probably better to avoid the area entirely if there are any looming threats.

Items to Pack

The Keys are hot and humid, so you’ll need to pack items to accommodate this. Make sure you have a variety of clothes for the different activities you chose to participate in! We will definitely be packing our sun cream as well! A top tip about packing would be to roll your clothes instead of folding them, it saves so much space!

Where to Stay

The Florida Keys aren’t just a single island; they are made up of dozens of small and large areas where you can stay (we would probably move around a bit so we could experience all areas) Some of the main destinations include Key West, the Lower Keys, Marathon, Islamorada, and Key Largo. Any of these locations look like a good place for a relaxing vacation.

However, if you want to be close to the action, then you might want to consider booking Key Largo hotels using Hotel Planner. It’s just an hour drive from the airport on the mainland and gives you access to two state parks, a marine sanctuary, a national park, and more.

What to Do

Snorkeling, swimming, boating, and diving abound freely throughout the Keys, and all of these activities sound incredible. In Key West, we would like to visit the Hellings House Museum, which is also the home of the Key West Woman’s Club. Check out the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, or catch a show at the Theater of the Sea in Islamorada.

There’s no reason to stress out about your solo trip to the Florida Keys. Just use these tips to plan your journey, and you’ll create lasting memories you’ll never forget! 🙂

Trastevere Rome

We were so excited to write this post and to share our new favourite place with you all! I (Rachel)have recently returned from a trip to Rome where I stayed in the Trastevere area at a beautiful Air BnB.

We did not know what to expect from this area, but we were recommended it by a friend who used to live in Rome. We love finding out tips from others as the majority of the time the tips are usually spot on. This is why we are sharing this area with you all too!

Trastevere is south of the River Tiber in Rome and could not be more convenient. A 15 minute walk to the Colosseum and 20 minute walk along the River and you are in the Vatican City.

The Trastevere feels like its very own town and we would’ve happily never left! There are cute little streets with bars, restaurants, shops and ice cream cafes and also a lovely square. The square is in sunshine all day and the many cafes are perfect to sit at and watch the world go by. We even took our books with us and read whilst drinking prosecco – how divine.

We ate at a couple of placed when staying here so decided to share with you:

Enoteco Trastevere
We spent a lot of time here as we loved it. Despite the service being really slow the staff were friendly and happy hour was fun. There were a number of drinks included in happy hour and we spent lots of time chilling here and enjoying their good music playlist.
One day when we had a big lunch we had drinks and antipasti for dinner here which was tasty too.

Pasta e Vino
This place was linked to our favourite bar that we spent a lot of time at (above!). It had only opened a couple of months ago but is doing incredible well. This place was full every time we went (we visited twice as we loved it so much!). We suggest you ask for your table upstairs as the downstairs is not that nice, but was always full too.

The quality and value for money of the food here is simply amazing, that’s the only way to describe it. There are lots of starters to share or have for yourself, we suggest going for the mixed antipasti that comes with so much choice, the beans that come with it are delicious and our favourite part of the starter. If they have the ‘special’ starter as burrata we suggest you opt for this too, and ask for bread. The bread comes in a brown paper bag, and is really cute!

For main, you pick your pasta and then pick your sauce which we think is such a clever way to order. There are plenty of sauces to choose from, from a ragu style, to cheesy/tomatoey and pesto too. The first time we visited we opted for the pasta dishes. However the second time chose to go for the lasagne, which in our eyes is the best lasagne we have ever eaten. Honestly the flavours from the meat sauce and the homemade pasta sheets we would pay to fly to Rome purely for this dish!

Now onto dessert, again there is lots of choice and of course a ‘special’ too. However our favourite was the tiramisu which was creamy, chocolate and coffee all perfectly balanced.

The wine list is excellent too, its a whole A4 page but we opted for the cheapest wine and it was our favourite wine of the trip. Both the red and the white we the perfect accompaniment to dinner.

Taverna Trilussa
We were recommended this place by the same person who recommended we stayed in this area and went here on our first night. We didn’t book as it was a weekday and didn’t think it would be very busy…. how wrong were we! Sadly there were no seats outside so we had to go instead. We recommend you book! Obviously we would’ve preferred outside but inside was okay! The menu was a bit more pricey than Paste e Vino but the pasta was incredible.

We didn’t bother with starters as we arrived late and were really hungry. However we were given bread to share and asked for olive oil. The olive oil was incredible, the most flavoursome olive oil ever and the perfect way to start our meal.

Some of the pasta dishes were served in the pan they are cooked in, which showed that each of the pasta dishes was individually made. The sauces were flavoured and the pasta al dente. Any pasta dish you choose from this menu will not disappoint.

You could also order mains and dessert but we didn’t.

Eating is such an experience for italians and can last hours and hours. A typical meal would be starter, pasta, main, dessert – to us this seems like a lot of food! However if dragged out over a long period of time we could be down for this too!!!!

Pimms Good
This bar is what it says on the tin, it serves Pimms. A jug of Pimms if 35 Euros and enough for 2 or 4 to share. It was located in a really cute area of Trastevere and we had a lovely chilled afternoon drinking Pimms here. In the evenings there is often a live band!

Fiordiluna
This was recommended in our guide book as one of the best Gelato around, therefore of course we had to visit. There were not as many flavours as some of the Gelatos places in the centre but the gelato was divine and good value too.

Viewpoint
We also recommend if you stay in this area walking to the view point. The guide booked recommended walking to this view point as having a drink at the lovely bar. We followed our guidebook and found it hilarious that this so called bar was basically a shack serving drinks and snacks! Safe to say we didn’t visit the bar but we did enjoy the view. If you put Bat Stuzzichini into Google Maps it will take you to the viewpoint. This isn’t very busy and gives beautiful views across the city.

Can you Travel on a Tight Budget?

Travel expands the mind, opens your eyes and allows you to learn more about yourself ✌🏼It’s one of the most worthwhile ways we can spend our time and money of course! however it can be really expensive and therefore many of us rule it out as we just don’t have the disposable income to be able to up and go.

Travel doesn’t have to be high end cruises, posh hotels and luxury food, there’s plenty of ways you can explore different without living like the queen (we wish we could)! Find some of our examples below that might just allow you to explore a little more than you originally thought!

Go Camping
Camping can be cheap, you could go super rustic in a tent, or get more of a ‘home from home’ feel with a chalet or caravan complete with caravan awnings. Whether you choose to camp in the wilderness or on a campsite with hookups to water, electricity and wifi you’ll have a fantastic time. We recently went glamping in Edinburgh and absolutely loved it’

Go hiking and go on bike rides It really is a chance to get outside, breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the nice weather with family and friends. Cook over a barbeque or campfire, tell ghost stories and sing camp song- just like in the brownies!

Be a Tourist In Your Own City
When you’re thinking about seeing more of the world, chances are you completely overlook your own city, especially if you live and work in London. You might think you know your own town or city well, but see it with fresh eyes. What is it famous for, what do tourists visit for? Go to museums and galleries that you perhaps haven’t visited since childhood. Go to bars and restaurants you’ve never visited or stay in a hotel. If you have rivers, lakes or canals nearby you could even hire a boat! There is so much to do!

Go Backpacking
Backpacking is one of the most humble ways to see the world. There’s no fine dining or fancy restaurants, you get around mainly by walking (our favourite) and public transport. You live and eat out of your pack, you might be visiting inexpensive cafes and buffets or sampling the street food in the place that you’re in. What an incredible way to see the world, you’re not just visiting the glamorous tourist places but really getting to see what a destination is like ‘behind the scenes.’ It’s great exercise, you’ll do and see so much and will meet lots of interesting people along the way. What could be better?

Visit Family And Friends Who Live Elsewhere
If you have family or friends who live abroad then you’re in a good position- how about going to visit them one year, and have them come to visit you the year after? You both get cheap travel as you have somewhere to stay, all you need to pay for are flights. Even if you have family or friends in another town or city then this is still a great opportunity to travel! You get to catch up with them while seeing and doing new and exciting things. Any place that you go to will have its charms and be worth visiting so this is something to consider if you want to get out there but don’t have a whole heap of cash to spend.

Is Asia On Your Bucket List? The Places You Need To See

Asia is a continent that many have on their bucket list and for good reason. Some of the countries that you would group together under Asia are simply stunning.

Asia is one of those places that is actually really popular with backpackers, and most probably because it’s so cheap and also cos so many people go and it encourages other to visit too. Many students and young adults take gap years and travel around places like Asia to really see some of the unspoilt beauty that is on offer here. Compared to western countries it’s super cheap to stay here and the food and drink is cheap too! However, even if Asia is on your list it is so vast and there are literally so many places to go that you may want to start narrowing down the list to some of the popular destinations. We thought it would be an ideal time to share with you some of our picks of Asia. We hope it gives you plenty of inspiration for your travel bucket list.

Indonesia
Indonesia is one of the South Eastern countries of Asia and has a lot to behold for anyone wanting to visit there. Known for its beautiful beaches, your chances to see Komodo dragons, vast jungles sheltering elephants, orangutans and tigers, and the unpredictable landscape of volcanoes. There really is something for everyone. Jakarta is the capital, and the ideal spot for you to enjoy traveling to other more remote destinations. Websites like https://www.rumah.com/ruko-dijual/di-area-jakarta-pusat-idjk02 are also packed with suggestions of accomodation you could consider. If you want something a little more laid back then perhaps a visit to Bali should be on the cards.

Malaysia
Another country on the South East is Malaysia. Perhaps this one won’t be as well known in terms of tourist hotspots but actually it is definitely a destination worthy of your bucket list. With stunning beaches and picturesque spots you are bound to find something to suit. If you are hoping to have some peace and tranquility then look no further than the island of Borneo. However, the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is actually becoming a great location to see and experience some of the amazing culture this country has to offer.

Japan
Japan is an island nation situated in the Pacific ocean and definitely a vibrant place to see and witness. We all know that so much of the technology and items we use today comes from Japan, and the main location you can really see some of the high tech in action is Tokyo. Tokyo is also famous for its shopping opportunities as well as some amazing architecture in tall skyscraper buildings. The skyline is simply unforgettable. With cities, mountainous national regions and thousands of shrines, there is something for everyone in Japan.

China
Heading East of Asia you will find the vast country of China. Famous for many things including the popular cuisine and the Great Wall Of China, you really will find that this is one of those destinations so many people would like to see and perhaps don’t get the opportunity to do so. But you really should make time for it. Shanghai and Beijing really are two fabulous cities with amazing cultural influences. Both mix modern culture with historic influences. Some have it on their list to walk the Great Wall, and it is actually one of the few wonders of the world that can be seen from Space. There is some great information online https://www.chinahighlights.com/greatwall/ about traveling to China.

Thailand
We think Thailand is one of those destinations that perhaps we associate with backpackers right? While there is so much to do here for the young at heart such as island hopping, full moon parties and enjoying the delights of Bangkok, there is more to it and actually a great destination for couples to enjoy their honeymoons and for even families to have an explore (crazy huh!?) Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are two of the larger islands with much unspoilt, but you are bound to fund some secluded spots. Taking a boat trip around the islands is one of those things you must do while you are here.

Singapore
Singapore is actually an island city just south of Malaysia and is very well known for being a financial capital of the world. With huge multicultural differences and a very tropical climate, there is much more to this city than humidity and finances. There really is some grand architecture here as well as some of the oldest standing buildings in the Chinatown district. It is like something you may have never seen before.

India
Another country that perhaps is more famous for its cuisines than anything, and who doesn’t love a curry. So why not make it your mission to eat authentic Indian food in the country it comes from? However, there is much more to it than meets the eye. The Indian Ocean coastline will give you breathtaking beaches in the location of Goa. But heading to New Delhi and really seeing what this country is all about is definitely recommended. We have even written a post all about how to avoid the Delhi Belly!

Philippines
Heading back South East of Asia you will find a group of almost 7,000 islands. The Philippines. The capital of Manila is famous for its waterfront promenade and the centuries old chinatown district. Heading to Old Manila, you will find the walled city from colonial times, Intramus. With beautiful sights to behold it really is quite something. However, with such a beautiful collection of islands this destination is also very well known for beautiful sandy beaches and many unspoilt regions. Definitely one for the bucket list.

Maldives
Finally, our last stop on this Asian exploration is The Maldives. One of those places that so many people want to see at some point in their lives. Not just for the gorgeous beach, the luxury surroundings you can get, but possibly for one of the most beautiful sights called the sea of stars. This is when the sky and the sea light up like a glistening night sky. The Maldives is full of luxe surroundings, so whether traveling their as a couple or family, you are bound to have a fabulous time.

We hope that this has given you some inspiration for some of the places you can explore in Asia.

Follow Your Heart, have you ever thought about moving abroad?

Travelling, exploring and seeing new parts of the world as a tourist is one thing, but have you ever visited somewhere and thought I really want to live here!? But then doubt comes into your mind because you don’t know where to start with the process and you are scared. Whether the idea you have it for a few months a pendant move or just an extended holiday the idea can be incredibly daunting.

Rachel moved to America one summer and also lived in Australia for a couple of months. With careful preparation it is possible and it is less daunting than you think once you have everything you need in place.

Below are some of the essential steps you might need to consider taking before making your move abroad to make sure it is as stress free as possible.

SAVE UP
As soon as you think of going abroad, start to put money away into a high-interest savings account. The more you can set aside each month, the better. You may be planning to work once you get to your destination country, but you will still need some savings. Make a list of all the things you’ll need to fund before you start earning – there are visa applications, the cost of flights and other transport, international shipments, potential medical costs. And of course you’ll need somewhere to stay. And while you may be searching to find that hdb rental price on an apartment you like, you’ll also need somewhere to stay immediately.

You should do some research on the cost of living and the average rent price so that you can come up with a monthly budget plan to guide your way while you find your feet. If you can manage to have six months of costs saved up it is likely to be less stressful! You will then have the luxury of a little more choice rather than having to rush into things from a cost perspective.

VALID PASSPORT
The last thing you want to do is get to the final weeks before departure, only to find that you needed to renew your passport. Some countries have a legal requirement that you need at least six months validity on your passport after your final travel date, so check carefully to make sure that you meet this requirement and if not, leave plenty of time to renew and get your documents back.

VISA REQUIREMENTS
Rules and regulations around visas can vary massively from country to country, so make sure that you understand what they are in your chosen destination. The best place to start is by visiting the government website for the country you’re planning to live in. There should be a section of advice for travellers and immigrants that will explain what the visa requirements are and what documents you need. Destinations such as the United States may also require you to make a separate appointment to submit biometric information – such as fingerprints and a photograph. Know in advance and you can make the right arrangements.

HEALTHCARE
Much like visa arrangements, healthcare provision is very different from country to country, so make sure that you understand how it works at your destination and also that you have appropriate arrangements in place to cover you. We don’t like to think about accidents that can happen or becoming ill but these things do happen! If you have healthcare insurance now, it’s worth asking your provider about policies and provisions they can offer overseas.

SHIP, STORE or SELL
If you are planning on moving away for a long period of time and setting up a home in your new destination it might be worth shipping some of your belongings overseas. If like us where most of your belongings are clothes then you might be lucky enough to be able to leave some of them back home (especially if you still live with your family). There is of course also the option of selling some of your belongings which could also be another way of raising some funds! There are so many platforms where you can sell your belongings including eBay and Gumtree as well as a Facebook local selling pages.

BANKING
We have always been advised to keep our current bank account so we can maintain a good credit score in our native country. Research banks in the destination you are travelling to so you can check out the requirements before arriving and trying to open a bank account.

Staying in Leith Edinburgh

When in Edinburgh we cannot recommend staying in the area of Leith enough. We love walking in general and when we booked the hotel we noticed it was only about a 2.5 mile walk into Edinburgh City Centre which took us roughly 45 minutes. It was great to start the day with a walk into the city centre (public transport links are also fab however!), it was also nice to get away from the city in the evening. We walked from our hotel to Leith Shore which is by the Water of Leith for dinner and drinks.

TOAST
We had spotted Toast on Instagram and the pictures looked stunning and knew we had to take a visit. We called up on the Saturday morning to book a table but were told we had to call back at 2pm to book a table for that evening. We did just that and booked a table for 7pm.

It was a sunny evening and there were lots of tables out the front looking to the waterfront, however as it was cooling down we opted to sit inside. We sat at the high chairs by the window so it still felt like we were outside and could people watch til our hearts content!

The menu was simple in terms of food with only a couple of options. This place is great for a light bite to eat or if you’re not feeling too hungry to have a drink and some food. We decided to have a 2 centred dinner and had the sharing board as our starter before heading elsewhere for the main course. Not only does this mean we got to visit 2 places, it also means lots more content and reviews for you guys to read!

The wine list is extensive with many options to choose from, you sure will find a nice glass of wine for you! We also love places that automatically give you tap water without having to ask, which we noticed happened a lot in Edinburgh. We were given a nice jug with cucumber and ice in.

Back to the wine…..Annie ordered a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough New Zealand (white) and Rach had a Malbec from Argentina (red). The wine came in lovely large glasses and was delicious.

We shared the meze platter but also spied the Charcuterie Platter. However we were delighted with our choice as it was amazing! Baba ganoush in the centre of the platter was surrounded by olives, falafel, beetroot humous and a cold ratatouille. Flat bread was served on a separate plate and there was plenty for two people. We were given small plates each and tucked in. We absolutely loved the baba ganoush it was delicious!

This place is so cute and the service was perfect too, the staff were lovely.

THE PANTRY: FINN & BEAR
The Pantry is famous in Edinburgh as being the best Bistro so when we wandered into Toast and spied a Pantry we had to go.

We booked a table for 8pm giving us 1 hour to enjoy our starters at Toast. Upon arrival we were shown to our table which was a cute one at the back in an alcove, super cosy! Despite the place being super busy the staff came over straight away with tap water and menus for us to look at.

For our mains we decided to share the ‘dirtiest nachos in town’ which were served with salsa, guac, sweetcorn, jalapenos, melted cheese and sour cream. We opted for the meaty hickory beef brisket and pork shoulder however there was also a veggie option which was campfire beans and smoked tomato.

We also ordered some hand cut fries to share which were cooked to perfection and still had the skin on – our favourite!

OTHER
On our walk into and out of Leith Shore we noticed many other restaurants which looked lovely:
Café Tartine as the name suggest this is a French restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The inside looked really cute and the menu was also very appealing.
The Kitchin this is owned by the famous Michelin starred chef Tom Kitchin. This restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2007. This restaurant serves modern British with a slight French twist. If you are feeling like splashing out why not go for the Chefs Surprise Tasting menu. However you could also enjoy the set lunch menu or set dinner menu.
Mimi’s Bakehouse we found this place (again) on Instagram and did not realise it was right next door to Toast. We are sad we didn’t get to visit here as we have sweet tooths, but if we ever return to Leith will sure pop in. Follow their Instagram @mimisbakehouse and you will have a feed full of delightful treats!
Café Truva There is a Cafe Truva in Leith (the original one), but they have since opened on the Royal Mile and also at Art College. This is a Turkish Mediterranean restaurant which could potentially be one of our favourite cuisines.
The Ship on the Shorethis is a fish restaurant so if you fancy some fish then this is the place for you!

Five Ways to Travel To Asia on a Budget

Asia is a great country to visit full of culture, delicious food and friendly people. In case you already have an Asian country in mind to visit in the future, you will have to save up your money and learn as much as you can about the culture. There are plenty of cheap ways of booking your holiday, and – unless you want five-star treatment all the way – we recommend you avoid high street agents. Whether you want to see the ancient temples and cities of India or stay in Vietnam for a few weeks, you have several budget-friendly options. Find out more about them below.

CUSTOM ITINERARY
Instead of going with the flow and listening to travel agents’ recommendations, you might want to stay out of the tourist resorts (which the travel agents will most likely suggest). This will help you save money and learn more about the customs and culture than any other way. You might want to check out blogs and travel guides and create your custom itinerary, so you can see more and go off the beaten path so you can explore the country without having to put up with the crowd.

LOCAL TOUR OPERATORS
If you need to book trips and tours, it is better to find a local operator instead of doing the same thing; looking online. Large companies are generally selling the services of local family firms, so you can secure a huge discount and build a great relationship with the company, so they listen to your needs and preferences, tailoring the tour to your budget.

ON THE WATER
A great way of exploring any country is on the water we love this way of seeing a new place and as mentioned before a holiday isn’t a holiday without a trip on water! You can book private scenic river cruises in most countries. Whether you would like to explore the Ganges or the shoreline of Indonesia, you will find plenty of offers if you look around. All you have to do is check where the main ports of the country are, and you can get a deal with a local operator there and then, instead of committing to buy before you arrive and see the place.

VOLUNTEERING
In case you have extremely limited funds, but would like to visit the country of your dreams in Asia, such as Saigon or Mumbai, you can find volunteering positions. You will have free time to explore the area, and free accommodation and food. All you will have to think about is learning the language so you can communicate with locals and get recommendations on cheap ways of getting around and attractions to visit.

BACKPACKING
Those brave enough to start off without a set itinerary will be able to save money by backpacking. You can get around cheaply by train and public transport, and explore a new city every day. Learn the language before you set off, so you can communicate with locals, and get personalized advice.

Asia is a cheap destination for backpackers and budget travelers. You can save money if you stay away from main tourist hubs and stay with the locals. Make sure that you explore your options before you set off, and learn the language, so you can benefit from locals’ advice and guidance on your trip.