Seoul: the capital of South Korea. A futuristic metropolis, where skyscrapers and K-Pop meet royal palaces and traditional bustling street markets. Seoul has become the world's 10th-most economically powerful city and the second-largest metropolitan area - it feels like stepping into a parallel universe, where London doesn't exist. Having spent most of my recent adult years in or around the London area, it's easy to think that you are living in the centre of the universe - but I was wrong. The people of Seoul have their own pop culture, fashion, identity, and they don't care so much about the Western world. Before visiting Seoul, I (like a lot of travellers out there) had this pre-conceived notion of Seoul being almost troublesome (thanks to it's northern neighbour). And, whilst that is true in respect to their counterpart, Seoul happens to be one of the safest places I've visited!
Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village, and a great way to take a step back into time and see what South Korea would have been like centuries ago. It's easily one of the best things to do in Seoul and an area I loved visiting - especially in the Hanboks!
You can pop into one of the local tea houses for a spot of rice tea which is made in the traditional way (Flower Tea was my firm favourite). Even if tea isn't your thing (it's not usually mine either - or any hot drinks, for that matter), I'd still recommend a visit anyway purely for the experience and the peaceful zen you receive from it.
Location-wise, this is in between Gyeongbukgung Palace and the UNESCO World Heritage Changdeokgung Palace, so a trip here is an easy addition to your day trip to these.
Here's the full itinerary for our trip - we managed to do all of this in 7 days. What's stopping you?
Lotte world tower, staircase and mall
Starfield library and Coex mall
Common ground containers
Korean folk village
Changdeokgung and Changyeokgung Palaces
Bukchon Hanok Village
Gyeongbokgung Palace and Hanboks
Seoul City Hall
Head over to my Instagram to see more from the trip, and I'll share more updates on Seoul on the blog and where we stayed soon!
If you're here having a research because you're visiting LA, then let me tell you straight off the bat: I'm jealous. And really upset. If you're in need of an irritating little meatball to hit LA with, then I am available for hire. Will link my email. 😂
All jokes aside, LA is a really unreal place. It's not somewhere that everyone overhypes and that movies make look way cooler than it is - it's worth all the hype and more (even in the rain). There's no shortage of sun (except for the first 3 days of my trip anyway), an abundance of cool places to eat, beaches you can chill on at the weekends and you'll never need to wear more than 3 layers at most - sold yet?!
There is so much to do here that 7 days simply isn't enough if you want to do LA right. It does mean that a second trip is always warranted though, so below I've done all the hard work for you so you can sit back and relax reading through your new itinerary, including rare rainy day suggestions if you happen to be one of the unlucky chosen ones.
visit griffith observatory for sunset
You can't come to LA without experiencing the most unbelievable sunsets you'll ever see. Noted - you'll probably see amazing sunsets in other places - but there's nothing quite like LA. The sky turns a beautiful candy floss colour and although you'll see this wherever you are in the city (doh), it's even more special if it's seen from up high.
Griffith Observatory was our chosen location (and clearly everyone else's too) and although it was busy, you can see why. From Griffith you're able to see out as far as the coast in the distance, while also watching the city go up in lights from the same spot. The crowds clear out very shortly after sunset, giving you a little more freedom to have a wander round (and actually go inside the observatory if you're a nerd like me), and from there it's only a short ride down to Hollywood for you to enjoy the rest of your evening after having a mooch.
hike the hollywood hills (just not in a shirt)
Sure, getting up close to the most famous sign in the world is cool, but it looks even better from above! If you're an active person, or if you're just actively pretending that you've moved to Hollywood by slipping into LA culture, then hiking the Hollywood Hills is a good place to start. Just for your own sanity, make sure you're not wearing a shirt. Take water. Don't be like me.
There are plenty of awesome trails around the area which are great for walking and hiking. The particular one I did started directly below the Hollywood sign, round and up to the Wisdom Tree Trail to the American Flag, then across to above the sign. I've linked here an informative blog post you may want to check out if hiking is your thing and you fancy giving it a go, but I can promise you it's well worth nearly dying of dehydration for.
take a roadtrip to santa barbara
You can't come to California without cruising up the PCH, and you most definitely can't visit Santa Barbara without planning your early retirement. To be honest, I'm not sure I know the right way to describe Santa Barbara to do it the justice it deserves - it simply just boils down to falling in love when you visit. It's the place to be if you're looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and it has a much more relaxed way of life.
A nice drive to take is to go through Santa Monica, through to Malibu, and then from there to Santa Barbara. Google Maps will try to give you a different route, however this is much more scenic and means you'll be driving next to the coast whenever you're able. It also means that if you forget anything important (exactly like I did) you can stop off in either SM or Malibu to rectify the situation.
New SD card to replace the one I forgot = $35.
The total death glare Matt gave me when I told him = priceless.
There are also plenty of vineyards around the area which offer wine tasting and tours (I wish I'd done this and stayed the night!), as well as an abundance of (expensive) shops - but it's not the place to come if you're looking for a party. A nice hotel to check out is the Eagle Inn (linked), it's a boutique hotel not far from the beach and in perfect walking distance to the pier (just beware of the pelicans dive bombing you).
spend golden hour in malibu
This quiet, unspoilt beach is a hidden gem along the PCH just outside of Malibu. It's not well sign posted though, so you need to know it's there (thanks, Instagram) or you'll miss it, which isn't necessarily such a bad thing as it keeps the crowds at bay.
The beach is made up of beautiful rocky coastline and is exactly what you'd dream a sunset on a Malibu beach would be like. We planned our visit on the way back from Santa Barbara and made it to the beach just in time for sunset - it's a really nice place to bring a small picnic and watch the sun go down. It's not one for the less able though - you'll need to go down a good few flights of wooden stairs and also jagged cliff edges - so again, don't be like me. Don't wear flip flops unless you want to dice with injury.
Below is a little whistle stop tour of other things to do whilst in the City of Angels:
visit venice and hire a scooter
get lost in walt disney concert hall
spend a rainy day in downtown
be a cliche tourist for the day at the walk of fame
Hope you enjoyed the little whistle stop tour of LA and feel inspired to visit!
Whether you've ventured to the Med recently, or daydreamed about visiting soon; the little Greek island of Mykonos is worth grabbing your suitcase and boarding the next plane for.
Nicknamed the "Island of Wind" which it certainly lives up to - it has a quaint, traditional charm which sets it apart from the rest (minus the heaving numbers of visitors each summer, like Zante for instance). Obviously, the main attraction to the island is the cobbled town with white washed walls and vibrant flowers, but aside from that, Mykonos has so much more to offer. In this blog post I've compiled everything there is to see, eat and do, so all that's left for you to do is book your ticket and go!
Back in April, I visited Orlando on a personal trip for my 21st birthday.
Of course, we spent the whole 10 days doing the theme parks there. I am fortunate enough to have been taken to Florida many times when I was younger by my parents so I have experienced most of what Florida has to offer, but my friend had never been to a Disney park. EVER. Not even Paris!
The parks themselves at Florida really are a world of their own, and you can't just go for a day. It requires planning beforehand, and organisation whilst you're there.
My top tip for you guys is to not stay in the WDW resort. Its mega expensive, and also more practical to either rent a villa or stay in a hotel nearby. If you are staying for 2+ weeks, then hire a villa. You will be spending at least some time there, so your accommodation will matter more to you. But if you're going for less than 2 weeks, stay in a cheap hotel. Trust me, you will be so busy that you'll pretty much be leaving the door every day at 7am, and not getting back until 11/11:30pm. So it's literally just a place to sleep.
Kissimmee is an ideal location to stay. The part where we stayed was a 5 minute drive down a straight road, and then we were on WDW property. It's also really close to Disney Springs (hands up if you remember when it was called Downtown Disney?!), the Orlando Premium Outlets, Hooters (don't judge, the 3 mile island hot wings are INSANE), and about 30 mins from Universal.
For me personally, I think that the Disney parks are in a complete league of their own. Universal just simply doesn't compare - and I'm also not a huge fan of VR rides. Saying that though, Universal Studios Hollywood is a really incredible experience, and it's totally different. I'm really interested in media/filmmaking/tv production etc (I studied it for 3 years at uni), so to be able to do a backlot tour there is just phenomenal. You can see the set of Desperate Housewives, The Grinch, King Kong etc. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is also OUT OF THIS WORLD for film and tv geeks like me. I was lucky enough to see the PLL set when it was still up, but there's still the Friends set, Gilmore Girls, Ellen DeGeneres show etc.
Anyway, back to Florida... My favourite ride at Universal is The Mummy, mainly because it's one of the only non-VR rides (BUT its just a really incredible ride anyway!) But I just think the level of detail that goes into everything at WDW is on another level. My favourite rides have always been Big Thunder Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean (with a new addition of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Expedition Everest! These two were not there last time I went). These are the rides I'll run to first, and then keep repeating.
I feel like the pictures speak for themselves when it comes to Disney, so I'll leave most of the writing at that. But if you scroll down to near the bottom, you'll see some pictures about dining inside Cinderella's Castle, some information about it, and how you can book it.
Oh yeah, and there's also a pic of me looking terrified on the Tower of Terror. But don't worry, I make this face every time I go on it.
If you have any Qs about anything Florida/Orlando/Parks related, I'm always happy to answer!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Xo
This pic was taken from inside Cinderella's Castle, at the restaurant called "Cinderella's Royal Table".
You can eat here at any time of day for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but you must book prior to your trip if you want to do this. (I'm talking MONTHS in advance.)
The idea is you get to eat really INCREDIBLE food (like, seriously good breakfast), but mingle with the princesses at the same time. When you first enter the castle, you join a short line to meet Cinderella. Once you have done this, you head upstairs to the banquet hall, where you'll be seated for your meal. Whilst you are eating, the princesses will come round to your table one by one. You'll know when they're coming as you'll hear the trumpet sound.
If there is just two of you, the best table to get is the one directly by the window. I was lucky enough to get that table, but I think you can also request it in advance.
The breakfast costs about £100 per person and can be booked here.
I did this on the morning of my 21st birthday, so it's a lovely unforgettable experience to mark a special occasion.
Don't be alarmed - but last week, my mum and I had a sleepover at London Zoo. We pre-planned the whole thing; we waited until the zoo closed for the day, and then we snuck in at the dead of night with our sleeping bags, and slept over with the animals all night.
Jokes aside, we did sleep over at the zoo... but we didn't have to sneak in. I'm not that much of a rebel! We spent the night at ZSL London Zoo's Gir Lion Lodges. (Open Wednesdays - Mondays from Feb - Dec)
The Gir Lion Lodges are based right next to the Zoos resident lion enclosures, and I'm talking pretty much wall-to-wall. This is great for all the animal lovers who want to feel like they're on a safari (in the middle of Regent's Park!).
There are 9 lodges that can accommodate either pairs or groups/families of up to four, and all come equipped with tea & coffee, magazines, and a wet room with disabled access.
With your nights stay, two day access to ZSL London Zoo, after hours tours and night time tours, and breakfast and dinner is also included in the experience (drinks at dinner can be purchased for an additional fee).
The first part of the evening was a champagne reception, where we were informed about the resident asiatic lions, and explored around the zoo's very own remake of Gujarati.
We then went on to tour around the rest of the zoo, as well as getting involved with feeding the Hippos (Thug was my personal favourite) and the Warthogs.
After this, we then went for dinner at about 8:30pm, where we had an all-you-can eat style two course buffet meal. The food was absolutely INCREDIBLE, you know it's good if I go up for seconds.... or thirds.... don't judge!
After dinner, at about 9:30pm, we went back out for our last tour of the night, the torchlight tour! This was my favourite one. We walked around the zoo by torch light, and went to interact with the Zoos Aardvarks (who are very friendly by the way!), and we got to feed them.
The next morning, breakfast was at 8am, which was also buffet-style all you can eat and drink. You're also able to take food with you in little bags for the day ahead.
Unfortunately, I had to leave after breakfast was over as I had to be somewhere, however there is another tour after breakfast. This tour takes you down into the enclosures kitchens, where you can see the animals food being prepared for the day ahead, as well as participating in enrichment activities with the animals. This tour lasts approx. 45 minutes, and then you are free to spend the rest of the day at the zoo.
This experience was an absolutely incredible experience, and it is something that is enjoyable for people of all ages.
Please visit the ZSL website for more info and how to book your visit! Prices start at £219pp (£197.10 if you are a ZSL member).
Paris is such a popular destination for us UK'ers these days, it's so easy to get to. Who doesn't want to hop on a train and an hour later be sipping wine and eating French stick next to the River Seine?
Below I have listed my favourite tips for your paris trip, to make it that little more special.
Places to see (landmarks as well as those not well known):
- Eiffel Tower
- Notre Dame
- Arc de Triomphe
- Palace of Versailles
- Marie Antoinettes Estate & The Petit et Grande Trianon (a lot of these photos featured on here were taken there)
- Musee du Louvre
- Avenue Montaigne
- Rue Cambon
- Champs Elysees
Things to do:
- Do a river cruise (Bateaux Parisiens is a good one - I did their sunset cruise and loved it)
- Eat in the Laduree on Champs Elysees
- Explore the little side streets along the Eiffel Tower and near the Concord area
- Shop in Bon Marche
- Have lunch in Four Seasons George VI
- Buy a giant Babybel (you won't regret it)
Places to eat:
- Four Seasons George VI
- Bon Marche
Places to stay:
- Hotel Trianon Palace Versailles
- The Peninsula
- Four Seasons George VI
- Citadel Notre Dame
- Paris Perfect Rentals (for apartments)
- Hotel Plaza Athenee
2 key tips:
- Try and speak French if possible. The locals really appreciate it!
- Use the metro. Cabs are ridiculously expensive, the traffic in Paris is a nightmare. The metro is so cheap and quick, and really widespread with good connections.
One piece of advice I have is that if you stay outside of central Paris outside of summertime, then be prepared to be getting back to your hotel late every night. I have stayed both in central Paris next to the Notre Dame and outside of Paris in the Estate of Versailles, and outside of the summer months, there is not a lot going on outside of Paris in the evenings. However that's not necessarily a bad thing, if you're in to relaxing and having a chilled out trip then that's probably best for you anyway.
The transport links both inside and outside of Paris are very good and cheap, so you'll have no problems with this.