Surfing in Ventura

There are some incredible life experiences you will never forget. For me, the very last minute and spontaneous decision of going surfing in Ventura with most amazing cousin Heba, was definitely one of those times.

After stopping off at Coastal Cone & Parlor for some waffle fish cone, we went to a rental shop to get a swimsuit and surf board! with those in hand and a quick lesson with Heba, we surfed until we physically couldn’t carry on! It was the best experience of the trip!


Truth be told, I didn’t know much about San Francisco and what it offered. All I knew was that it was a city of high-tech and start-ups. Little did know that it has diverse restaurants, quirky roof-top bars and fun little neighbourhoods. 

This was the fourth leg of my amazing hen do – the first being Simi Valley, then San Diego, then Las Vegas before finally taking a plane to SF. We only had three days to explore this condensed city filled with a quirky energy unique to San Francisco. 

San Francisco is crammed into about 47 square miles of hills and coastline. One advice I would give is to make sure you pack your windbreakers and warm layers because you are essentially guaranteed a visit from the affectionately named, Karl the Fog. 

So here are top 7 things to do during your visit to the ‘City By the Bay’!

North Beach (aka Little Italy)

We went to Little Italy on our first evening in San Francisco, mainly because we were super hungry and this is were Tony’s Pizza was. This small town-treasure is a historically Italian neighbourhood and you can still the prominent influence it still holds. We really enjoyed just walking around and exploring the cutest little cafes and restaurants.

Tony’s Pizza Napolitana 

We were told by almost EVERYONE that if you want to experience North Beach like a local, to end the day with a slice of Tony’s pizza and then walk up to Coit Tower or Telegraph Hill for panoramic views of SF and the Bay area. Little did we know though that the queue was going to be MASSIVE and was more than 2 hours waiting list. Stubbornly, we put our name on the list and walked around the neighbourhood. 


Lombard Street

After walking towards Coit Tower, we walked to Lombard Street. This is where you will get a view of the famous 8 hairpin turns of ‘crooked street’. The street leading up to it was so steep that we had to walk backwards. Just by pure excitement of seeing this street, I was walking way ahead and my friends kept calling me the ‘cub scout’ – nice.


Mama’s on Washington Square: 

My friends and I remember reading about this place prior to our visit, but then just stumbled upon it whilst walking to Lombard Street. For over 50 years, this small restaurant on the corner of Stockton and Filbert in the Washington Square of San Francisco has been attracting crowds with its delicious breakfast food. Menu items include fluffy benedicts, homemade jam, fresh omelettes, spicy Italian sausage and 5 types of French toast. However, like all of the good restaurants in SF, Mama’s tends to have a pretty big line, especially on the weekends. Luckily, we only had to wait for 30 minutes, which wasn’t too bad. The food was definitely worth it!

Visit Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf

Visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf in SF is a must-do for anyone visiting the city. It is central to the Historical Waterfront District in the city and is so popular with tourists. Popular attractions here are Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square (try the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company amazing chocolate and ice cream sundae – its well worth the calories!) and honking sea lions. You should also try Boudin Bakery Café to try the infamous clam chowder.

Visit the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s top tourist sight, it would be almost criminal if you visited San Francisco without stopping by to see the Golden Gate Bridge! It’s a beautiful structure and draws your eye no matter where you view it from. No trip to SF would be complete without visiting here. At its completion in 1937, the suspension bridge was considered an engineering marvel – the longest main bridge span in the world. 

There is a pedestrian walkway that spans the entire mile-wide bridge, as well as a bike path – but we just took an uber to get to the other side because of the time constraints (or because we were lazy). We went to a more local spot recommended by my cousin for a great viewpoint – Battery Spencer. We took an uber to the top of the huge hill and was also blown away (like… literally). The wind was incredibly strong, especially while you still have to walk a little longer to get to the top. Once we got to the top, we were spoiled with beautiful views of San Francisco. 

Once we got down, we were about to order an uber before realising that none of us have signal! Worst of all, there were no taxis and hardly anyone present. We had to wait a while to eventually hitchhike our way to the side of the bridge. It was lucky we spotted two guys getting out of a taxi that they’ve rented for the day and they were kind enough to cram us in the back. It did make for some funny conversations! 

Once we got down, we were about to order an uber before realising that none of us have signal! Worst of all, there were no taxis and hardly anyone present. We had to wait a while to eventually hitchhike our way to the side of the bridge. It was lucky we spotted two guys getting out of a taxi that they’ve rented for the day and they were kind enough to cram us in the back. It did make for some funny conversations! 

Ride a cablecar

San Francisco is home to one of the world’s last manually operated cable car systems. We used it to get from the pier to Union Square – but the convenient exit and entry stops also happens to be located at some of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. We waited for almost 45 minutes but getting on – but it’s one of those things that you cannot leave without doing. 

Go shopping in Union Square

We didn’t actually have time to go shopping, but we walked around Union Square. Union square actually used to be where Civil War rallies were held, but the square has since morphed into a hub for high-end shopping in SF. It is a part of the city that is bustling with life with its fancy boutiques, department stores, art galleries, luxury hotels and theatres. 

Explore Chinatown

I don’t usually go to Chinatowns but after hearing that the one in SG is home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest in USA, I had to go. Established in 1848, it boasts an impressive display of markets, speciality shops and restaurants. More importantly, it has played an integral part in the history, culture and livelihood of Chinese immigrants.

Many tour guides would almost mention to pop into Fortune Cookie Factory to learn more about the cookies history – did you know that fortune cookie was actually created in SF? 

I loved just taking a stroll here and enjoying the ambiance. It looks like we are in a different world altogether as its maintained many of the old traditions and customs for years. 


You’ve probably seen it in movies or at least heard of it – but now, you can get the chance to see it in person. Alcatraz is an island in the SF Bay and was once a military and federal prison. It has since been converted to a National Historic Landmark that you can tour. I didn’t know much about it before I went, but it was fascinating hearing about the atrocities meted out of the prisons – its scary and gruesome. When the federal prison was in operation, it was believed to have kept the hard criminals at bay. Most notorious of them all was Al Capone, who was imprisoned here. They moved there due the to its isolated location and since the waters of SF Bay are so cold and the currents so strong, they thought that it was impossible to escape the island.

The prison was built in 1910 – 1912 as a military prison; it became a federal prison in 1934 and operated until March 1963, when it was closed due to the very high maintenance costs.

My friend and I took a guided tour of Alcatraz Island first thing in the morning. You really should book it a few weeks in advance if you can as it can get fully booked. We were quite lucky as we kept a tab on the website the day before and luckily two tickets became available for the time slot we wanted. It is usually a 1.5 to 2 hour guided tour and you would have to a 15 minutes ferry ride each way.

Charmaines Rooftop bar

We were recommended this rooftop bar by my cousin, and no wonder Charmaines rooftop bar is the hottest roof bar at the moment in San Francisco. The views are amazing and the interior is flawless – so modern and chic. When we got there, we found ourselves a firepit outside and sat around it chatting. I am such a sucker for views – but this one was amazing!

One tip from me is to get there as early as you can. This bar is so popular (and for good reason), so you could potentially face a long time of waiting to get into the bar. It is really worth the wait and you will have a fabulous time there!


We stayed in Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Union Square. Its a great hotel if you want to stay somewhere central, clean and affordable!


The Best Three Days in Paris Itinerary

Paris is one of the my favourite European cities with its French cuisine, countless museums, historic architecture and charming parks. I treated my sister with two tickets to Paris for her 18th birthday so that she could go with her best friend to see the Christmas Markets. Because my family still had some reservations about her going alone, I had to go and just be their point of contact if they need. Who wouldn’t turn down tickets to Paris!? 

In my opinion, Paris is not a once and done type of city. I would happily return again and again, especially with my husband. Paris is just so vase and there is so much to explore. Im going to give you a brief breakdown of what I did in each of the three days. You will find that it was pretty laid back because I went to Paris as an opportunity to de-stress from work and to re-connect with myself. In other words, I wanted to see the main attractions but also soap up the wonder of Paris at a street side café, indulge in way too many croissants at a local patisserie, watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night and just feel the city envelope you – that’s part of the Parisian charm!

As we went in late November, we were lucky enough to experience the French Charismas market. There’s an extra dose of magic when visiting Paris in winter. So dig out your scarf and glove and see the best three day itinerary for Winter. 

Day 1

After checking into the hostel, my sister and I parted ways. The first thing I always like to do is go on a free guided walking tours to learn more about the city’s history and to get my bearings. This is what I go up to on day 1: 

Walking tour 

I booked the walking tour with Sandman’s as I’ve used them before and know they are brilliant. The 3 hours ‘Free Tour of Paris’ covers many of Paris’ top attractions, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Arc de Triopmhe. It started at the Saint Michel Fountain and ended at the Louvre. It was a great introduction to Paris at a price that suits everybody’s budget. 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame was the first stop of the walking tour and was the most architecturally impressive in my opinion. Like many other cathedrals, it was very intricately detailed and had some beautiful glass-stained windows. The cathedral has free entry so before the tour began, I quickly went inside to appreciate its beauty. Unfortunately, due to the huge fire last year, the church is closed for the foreseeable future until they do the repairs.  



After walking along the Seine for about 40 minutes, passing iconic sites such as Alexandre iii bridge and the Tulleries Garden, the tour ended at the world-famous Louvre Museum. The louvre is home to hundreds of medieval ruins and priceless artefacts from around the world. It also happens to be the largest museum in the world. I did find the museum to be expensive as you have to pay for each separate section – so I just opted for the site with Mona Lisa and that was plenty for me. Catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa was on my bucket list, so I didn’t want to pass this opportunity by. 


Even if you don’t plan to go inside, I would aim to at least visit the outside of the Louvre as the architecture is simply stunning. 

Galeries Lafayatte 

The two grand shopping complexes along Boulevard Haussmann are Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Both stores are completely decked our with stunning window displays. I went to the stunning dome shaped 10 story Galeries Lafayette after dinning as I was keen to see the larger than life-sized Christmas tree, which has a different theme each year. 

I loved just walking around each floor of the shopping mall. I bought a gold bracelet from this pop-up stall Lou Yetu as the queue was leading to outside the mall. It is also home to one on of the best free panoramic views in the city if you go its rooftop terrace. You can also ice skate on the roof of this department store, but as I was alone, I didn’t think it would be fun. 

At this stage, i was absolutely exhausted and started to get hangry, with myself as i had no-one to aim my hanger towards. I have no idea where i walked or how long i walked for, but it seemed like more than an hour. I reached this neighbourhood which was evidently not very popular with the tourists. I was craving a duck confit and finally came across this adorable french restuartaunt. I had the nicest conversation with the waiter and ordered duck confit. I just remember sitting down and my head was so clogged up with thoughts about work, family, friends, life that i just pulled my notebook and started writing. I really enjoyed it, especially with the candle and dim-lit room. The food also exceeded my expectations! Im a terrible travel blogger as i should have noted down the name, but it felt good being lost in the moment.

Day 2

French Market

En route to Eiffel Tower, we stumbled the most French street market you can imagine. It was the cutest thing – I picked up some cheese from here. 

Eiffel Tower

There is nothing more Parisian than catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We also ascended the Eiffel Tower – even though it provided a great view over the city. I personally don’t think it was worth it, and you’re better off seeing from the top of Arc de Triomphe or another rooftop bar. Luckily there was no queue when we went so it didn’t necessarily eat up my time. 


Arc de Triomphe

Another must-see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe; a monument in honour of troops who fought in the French Revolutionary. Its located at one of the Champs Elysees and is looks very majestic. Its worth checking out from the outside and if you have the chance, to go up to the very top. 

Champs Elysees 

This is the oxford street of France – a huge boulevard lined with famous French luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Cartier. I spent a long time just sitting outside in Paul café, reading my book, people watching and drinking coffee and eating their amazing pastries. 

Dinner at Bouillon Chartier 

I heard great things about the Bouillon Chartier. It shows a slice of Parisian history as its perfect-preserved relic of an old Paris, with glass-globe fixtures, tables jammed together, coat racks high above the tables and a menu that hasn’t changed in the last three or four decades. I was eternally curious… 

Bouillon Chartier is tucked away down an alley off a side street, Bouillons were established so anyone can get affordable traditional French food and speedily. There are very few left and the price of started range from €1 – €6.80 and mains not exceeding €13.50 (and that includes steak). Its no wonder there was a queue snaking outside into the street. I expected lots of tourists, but I surrounded by the locals. It wasn’t too long before I was sat in this beautifully ast room, elbow to elbow with some strangers on a shared table and digging into my steak. 

Going to a restaurant is an experience and never just about your meal. Its about the room, the service and everything in between. The steak I had was absolutely delicious but the experience was even better.

Day 3

I wanted to do something slightly different on the third day and explore a new district. I was recommended by my colleague to go to Montmartre to soak up with 18th arrondissement’s ambiance. I definitely did not regret it as it was my favourite part of the trip. The hilltop neighbourhood of Montmartre was once synonymous with drinking, dancing and debauchery. This is because in the mid-19th century, it was just outside the city limits meaning it is free of the city’s taxes and controlled and ultimately evolved into a bohemian, artistic enclave. I did a self-guided walking tour of this unique city. 

Place Dalida

This stunning location is named after Dalida, a legendary Italian-Egyptian singer who is absolutely huge in France. I just know her from her rendition of Bang Bang, which is just perfection. 

Dalida’s Parisian home was in Montmartre and it was only after she died that the city named this square after her and installed the bust of her. You’ll notice a few shiny places because its apparently good luck to rub it – hmmmm. Say hi to the bust of Dalida and continue up the stunning Rue de l’Abreuvoir, the most beautiful street I saw in Paris. 

Moulin Rouge

This Is the birthplace of the can-can dance. I wanted to go to a show here but the tickets were sold out. Maybe next time… 

Le Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette is the last remaining windmills in Montmartre and also a tourist attraction. This windmill, once used for grinding flour is a favourite of Vincent Van Gogh. The owners of the windmill created a brown bread (Galette) that was so popular that the windmill got its name from it. 


Built in late 1800s, Sacre Coeur, otherwise known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is one of the most famous churches in Paris. I enjoyed going inside the church and also just enjoying the sunset over the city. However – be cautious with your personal belongings as there many pickpockets around. 

I couldn’t leave Paris without trying a fresh Macaron from a bakery. I came across one on the way back to the accomodation and was blown away. It was so fresh and sweet that i had to go back and buy a box for my family!


Do you have any questions about travelling to Paris that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂



Vegas’ main strip is literally “Disney for adults” – it has plenty of adult attractions with everything seemingly made with purpose. We had the most amazing 3 nights and 4 days here.  We thought that this was the perfect amount of time to see the top tourist sites and get a little crazy in the clubs/ pool parties. But trust me… after your long weekend in Vegas, you’ll be ready to go home back to normal life or move on to your next city. I LOVED Vegas but it can be over-stimulating and overwhelming. 

Watch my travel video for this trip here!

We arrived in Las Vegas at 4pm, called an Uber and headed straight to the Venetian Hotel. Once we dropped off our luggage in our room, we quickly changed and got ready to start the weekend! 


Day 1: 

Watched a show

As we already had pre-booked tickets, my friend and I had to quickly change our clothes and run to catch the show on time. With a few minutes to spare, and a Frappuccino in hand, we went to Treasure Island to see the Mystere show by Cirque du Soleil. It’s one of eight resident Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas with the others being O, Zumanity, Ka, Love and Michael Jackson: One. Mystere has been around since 1993 and is one of the first Cirque du Soleil show to appear on the strip. I loved the fact that this particular show has the most audience participation. The entertainment began even before the show started. Everything was just incredible – from the costumes, bright lights, music and to the performance. There were high energy acrobats which had me on the edge of my seat! I never quite appreciated how flexible the human body can be (eeeek?!). 

I was blown away. I definitely recommend catching one of the amazing stage shows Las Vegas has on offer – there is a show for every taste.  

The Dorsey in Venetian Las Vegas

As my friend and I were quite tired from the travelling – we decided to stick with just going to a cocktail bar for the first night. We decided to go to The Dorsey which was based in the hotel we were staying in. It had the most beautiful aesthetics as the interior design included a rich combination of oak, leather and marble. Even though it is located on the casino floor, it still offered an intimate and lively atmosphere. 

It was meant to be an early night but was far from it! The music was old school R’n’B and so we were just dancing away the whole night!

Day 2: 

Breakfast – Go Greek Yoghurt

It must have been the excitement of being in Vegas that got us all up early and buzzing to go. We put our swimming cozzies on and walked around the huge hotel to find some breakfast. As we wanted something relatively light, we found ‘Go Greek Yogurt’. I can’t even describe how delicious this was. They describe themselves as the “Rolls Royce of Yoghurts” and you can get to choose between fresh or frozen yogurt and then add toppings including fresh fruit and superfoods such as goji berries, shaved dark chocolate, flax seeds, hemp seed, toasted coconut and cacao nibs. It tasted so good!!

Pool day

After grabbing some breakfast, we went over to our hotel’s pool where there were a number of different sized pools, loungers and daybeds. It felt like a contemporary, luxurious oasis! As my wedding was soon approaching, relaxation and getting a san tan was my goal and so I was content with just lounging on the pool chairs and dipping into the pools when it got too hot. We met some really cool Cubans there and my friends and I were just chatting to them for a while. I just loved the chilled atmosphere and how friendly people were there.

Bridesmaids surprise! 

After a day of tanning and relaxing, we went back to the room to get ready for dinner and to start our partying. When I got out of the shower, the girls surprised me by decorating the whole room with some balloons and slightly (or very?) inappropriate balloons. It was so funny; we just danced and took pictures while getting ready. It was one of those moments where I just had to pinch myself to check if I was really in LAS VEGAS, celebrating my hen do with my favourite girls. 

Dinner at the Venetian Hotel 

I know what you’re thinking – ‘its been two days and y’all still haven’t left the hotel!?!’. Trust me though, you don’t even need to – The Venetian and The Palazzo combined host more than 40 restaurants. We had our first Las Vegas dinner at the Grand Canal Shoppes, which are covered by a magical blue-sky painted ceiling, complete with vanilla fluffy clouds. Admittedly, I had to do a double-take a few times to work out if its real or not. We sat outside one of the restaurants so we could enjoy the atmosphere whilst eating a delicious Italian pasta with pesto. 


SO now for the fun part! We started off the night by taking an uber to Kaos. As my cousin knew someone who is a Las Vegas promoter, we were fortunate to skip all of the queues and go right in for free. Most nights, ladies get in for free if you know someone. The day you choose to go to the club, either contact a club promotor in advance if you know anyone or just look out for the guys walking around in nice outfits asking you to come on their guest list. You will find them either in front of the club or wandering around the Las Vegas Strip. 

Kaos is an outdoor club and was by far, my favourite out of all the clubs we went to. It was just the most perfect clubbing night as the weather was amazing, the atmosphere was on point, the music was great (Latin R’n’B reggaeton) and it wasn’t too crowded so you have room to dance (I know, I’m getting old…). The highlight of the night was seeing Bad Bunny. Admittedly, I never actually heard of him until I watched him live but now I’m obsessed with his music! So good… 

After a few hours, we wanted to see a few other clubs – none were as impressive as Kaos. The last club we went to was XS where we watched Chainsmokers perform live. Everything about Las Vegas clubs is so extra and over the top, but we EMBRACED it. Xs was another outdoor club with a cool swimming pool in the middle. After dancing away for an hour, we went back to the hotel and slept like a baby. 

Day 3:

Day Pool Party! 

After waking up quite late – we spent the last full day going to Las Vegas legendary day clubs. These clubs typically open around 11am and get packed very quickly! I don’t remember the name of the day club we went to – but it was good. I just remember being randomly pulled around the pool in an inflatable sun bed and people giving me a high 5 and their top tips of being in a relationship/ married as I was the bride-to-be. Totally random but it was hilarious! 

The pool party was good fun and definitely recommended if you find yourself in Vegas – just make sure to research the best pool parties ahead of time! 

Dinner at Lavo 

We went back to the hotel and got dressed up ready for dinner. We had a reservation at Lavo, which is right off the main entrance at The Palazzo. Its Italian food is meant to be some of the best that you’ll find on the Vegas Strip. The menu at Lavo is more extensive that you’d expect to see at a fine dining establishment but everything from the pastas to the chicken dishes are delicious (from what I tried and could see). 

Walk down the strip 

I actually left my friends at the restaurants as they weren’t up for walking down the strip. The travel blogger in me knew that I couldn’t leave Las Vegas without at least walking down the strip to check out the awesome hotels and water fountains. 

The most memorable displays are the Bellagio Fountains which goes off every 15-30 minutes and the volcano outside the Mirage which erupts on the hour from 6pm to 11pm. Luckily, i was able to catch both – its worth the wait 🙂

After another night of clubbing and dancing the night away, we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Las Vegas exceeded my expectations by far. My mum told me that I’d either love it or hate it but she was the one who encouraged us to go to Vegas as she had a blast when she went there before I was born. Thanks Mama G for the recommendation! Saying that though, after partying/ exploring Las Vegas for 3 days – you’ll be ready to head back home for some much-needed rest.  


The most memorable part of the Las Vegas trip for me was the accommodation. Whether its your first time in Las Vegas or 100th time, you will want to find a hotel along the Las Vegas Strip for the 3 days you’re there. When I refer to “The Strip”, the means the four-and-a-half-mile strip of hotels and casinos along Las Vegas Blvd. The area is competitive with luxurious and unique hotels, fitting every country you can think of. If you like Egypt, stay at the Luxor which is shaped as an Egyptian pyramid and has a strobe light that (supposedly) can be seen from space! Like Venice, stay The Venetian for some of the best Italian food in the world and a grand canal weaving through the casino. You get the idea… 

We ended up choosing The Venetian which is one of those colossal hotels you cant miss on The Strip. This lavish, Italian-themed hotel was absolutely stunning with its own replica Rialto Bride, gondola canals and stunning intricate ceilings. It towers 36 stories high with 4049 rooms. I was blown away by The Venetian’s lobby ceiling! It was a magnificent painted fresco modelled after Michaelangelo’s masterpiece ceiling in the Vatican’s Sistene Chapel. Jaw dropped. 

Have you travelled to Las Vegas? Leave me your comments below…


The second part of the Hen Do California Trip was 3 days in San Diego. I was super excited about this stop because the city is just amazing! It’s probably one of my favourite US cities now because of its beaches, parks, neighbourhoods, food and the general laid-back beach vibe. It’s got the typical skyscrapers that most American cities have but it’s different – it’s got a real small town feel to it. 

Hence, I’ve created for you the ULTIMATE three-day guide to the city of San Diego. 

Day 1: Gaslamp Quarter, Embarcadero, Fish Market Restaurant

I arrived here after spending the weekend in Simi Valley, Los Angeles. I went on the most beautiful train journey using Amtark Pacific Surfliner. I literally have no words to describe the sea views you have. The Pacific Surfliner has two stops in San Diego: Santa fe Depot in downtown and the Old Town Transit Centre. I went to the main station which in downtown. 

Luckily, a hotel nearby was kind enough to let me hold my bags there for 2 hours until my two friends come as they were delayed. As I had a bit of time to spare – I decided to walk from downtown to Gaslamp Quarter. 

Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp District is home to boutiques, cafes, restaurants and a bunch of cool shops. I was a huge fan of the historical buildings – like Balboa Theatre and the Louis Bank of Commerce. It’s definitely got a small town feel to it as it has no skyscrapers and very few traffic lights.  Encompassing a roughly 16 block radius, the Gaslamp district has traditional Victorian architecture mixed with trendy construction which truly creates a unique mashup of styles. Make sure to try the ice cream at Ghirardelli! 


It’s also meant to have a great nightlight scene as its famous for its many rooftop bars – unfortunately we didn’t have time to check it out. 


After meeting up my friends, we dropped off our bags in the Airbnb and took an uber to the Embarcadero. This is an area along the waterfront where you can explore some of San Diego’s top attractions: The Maritime Museum, the USS Midway (a long serving aircraft carrier with 29 restored aircrafts on board) and the Star of India (the world’s oldest active ship). We just took pictures here, chatted and chilled at the waterfront. 

The Fish Market Restaurant

After reading reviews about it on Google, I must say, this restaurant lived up to expectations. It had excellent harbour views and the prices were moderate for an exceptional dinner. We had the classical fish and chips. Beware though, there is often a long queue and so you might have to wait for a while for your dinner – but it worth it!

Day 2: La Jolla, Mission Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Little Italy

La Jolla

After surviving our first night in our Air BnB, we took an uber to La Jolla beach (pronounced la-hoya). We had breakfast at Sugar and Scribe Bakery before heading down to La Jolla Cove. There is no way to miss it as you just follow everyone else down the road. 

 La Jolla Cove is a beautiful sheltered cove with crystal clear waters. We continued walking along the beach promenade where we noticed plenty of seals and pelicans – the real residents around here. The beaches are so beautiful!

Pacific to Mission Beach

There are plenty of other beaches that we also wanted to see before leaving San Diego. The other top ones include Ocean Beach (traditionally hippy option), Mission Beach (home to Belmont Park fun fair) and Pacific Beach (good for surfing). As I already surfed in Ventura a few days before, we took an uber from La Jolla Beach to Pacific Beach with the aim of walking down the promenade to Mission Beach. We took an electric scooter from Pacific Beach which was super fun. It was fun until I rode straight into a wall and had a bruise that stayed until my wedding and honeymoon! All of this so I can go ahead and take a video of my friends scootering (that’s love haha!)

Mission beach was amazing and i would definitely recommend going. Other than relaxing at the beach, or at the bar, there is plenty of things to do here. We had an ice-cream and took in the vitamin D that our bodies desperately craved from living in London. 


Sunset Cliffs

As the sun was beginning to set, we quickly dropped off our electric scooters and took an uber to Sunset Cliffs as this was meant to be the best place to catch the sunset in San Diego ( I think the name gives it away). It was just the perfect evening and I spent with the perfect friends a girl could ask for. 

Little Italy

My friend LOVES Italian food and so at this point, we were starving and were ready to eat. Little Italy is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in San Diego, dating back in the early 1900s when it was a fisherman’s outpost for Italian immigrants. It has since grown to over 50 square blocks. We sat outside of the restaurant (so that we could people-watch) and ate the best pasta I had in a while. We also got a few desserts to share between us – ya’ll Italians know how to cook! 

We then headed back to the apartment and packed our bags ready to leave the next day. 

Day 3: Balboa Park, Old Town

Balboa Park

Located in the heart of San Diego, the giant 1,200-acre Balboa Park is home to over 15 museums, including National History Museum, Museum of Man, San Diego Museum of Arts and the world-famous zoo. It’s the largest ‘urban cultural park’ in the world. This place is great as it offers a little something for everyone to enjoy. 

You could easily spend a whole day here hopping from museum to museum and spend time in all of the green spaces. Its also great if you are on a budget as many of the attractions are free to visit and there also countless walking paths and botanical gardens. The botanical gardens were my favourite and is home to 2000 varieties of plants. If I wasn’t limited on time, I could have spent hours inside snapping photos of the plants and even of the domed building itself. 

I loved the Spanish-style architecture. Its unexpected, yet beautiful and was apparently inspired by the Spanish maritime explorer who the park is named after (not Rocky Balboa as I initially assumed – oops). 

Old Town San Diego

From Balboa park, we took an uber to our final stop before heading to the airport – Old Town. With our suitcases in hand, we decided to satisfy our craving for Mexican food and headed to Café Cayote.  Their tacos were insane! We also had a bit of a performance from three jolly Mexican singers who assumed It was my friends birthday.

The Old Town San Diego is a sort of living museum where you can explore the origins of California. The Spanish colonized this part of California in 1769 with a hillside garrison and a Spanish Mission – it’s the site of the FIRST Spanish settlement in the US (pretty cool huh). 


We stayed in a local air bnb to try and save money on the accommodation. It was really modern and pretty inside, but not too sure about the area. When we first came to drop off the suitcases, there were a group of men just sitting on the wall of their houses staring at us. Maybe we were paranoid but all we were thinking was that a group of guys just watched three girls come out of a taxi with a smirk on their faces. 

Either way, we came back later in the evening, paranoid as hell. During dinner, we were even talking about leaving our stuff there and staying in another hotel! With our families and emergency lines on speed dial, we prayed (literally, huddled in a circle to pray) and went inside. 

Okay – so maybe we over-reacted (a little?) and everything was fine… BUT its good to be cautious I guess haha. 

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Bergamo – Northern Italy’s Hidden Gem

Milan is one of the most interesting places to visit in Italy and is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. However, its also definitely worth visiting the forgotten yet hidden gem of Lombardy – Bergamo. 

Bergamo is at a stone’s throw from Milan (around 45 minutes by train) and can be a great day trip. I was so surprised how underrated this cute little city is as I felt it was most authentically Italian city i visited during my trip to Northern Italy – especially the old city, known as Citta Alta. This part of Bergamo is a maze of narrow alleys, gorgeous buildings and has some great viewpoints. 

Here’s a quick travel guide to this beautiful Italian city and the best things to do in Bergamo. 

Take the funicular up to the Citta Alta

The city is divided into two main parts, with a further sub-division once you reach High Bergamo (Citta Alta). This part of Bergamo dates back thousands of years and was built in the Roman era. 

Below, where the train station is, you will find the newer part of the city (though also dating back at least 5 centuries). We actually took the funicular walk up to the old city but then walked down to the new city. 

Visit the Tempietto di Santa Croce

This incredibly stunning ancient 11th century chapel is hidden in plain sight, so much so that my family walked straight past it. This best-kept secret in Bergamo gives you a glimpse of Bergamo history with its stone structure leaning on to one. 

Visit the Duomo di Bergamo

Bergamo was once home to two cathedrals but only one survives to this day. The Duomo di Bergamo (Bergamo’s cathedral) can be found right next to Piazza Vecchia, part of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Enjoy Coffee in the Piazza Vecchia

We really enjoyed just drinking Italian coffee in the Piazza Vecchia, the old town square. As it was the last day before Coronavirus Lockdown, the streets and the square was empty. Like many smaller Italian towns and cities, the prices of Bergamo are much less than those of Rome and Milan. 

We really enjoyed just drinking Italian coffee in the Piazza Vecchia, the old town square. As it was the last day before Coronavirus Lockdown, the streets and the square was empty. Like many smaller Italian towns and cities, the prices of Bergamo are much less than those of Rome and Milan. 

Walk through the Bergamo City Gate

The Venetian walls which characterise Bergamo start from the San Giacomo Gate, the old entrance to the city for those travelling to Bergamo from Milan. 

Venetian Walls

As we walked down the old city to the new city, we noticed the beautiful Venetian Walls surrounding the old city. Bergamo is heavily fortified by the Venetian Walls, which are now designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. The walls were constructed in the 16th century under the republic of Venice. Today, the renaissance era walls are some of the best-preserved walls standing in the world today. 

The complete loop stretches over 6km in length and walking along the high walls by foot is the best introduction you could have to the city. This one my parent’s favourite part of the day – just walking along the high walls and looking out at the beautiful views. 

Wander the cobbled streets

The best way to reveal Bergamo’s hidden gems is simply to allow the city to reveal itself to you. This Lombardy city is a place where its atmosphere needs to eb absorbed and you should just go where your feet takes you. 

Soak up the history of the beautiful ancient city. 

Do you have any questions about travelling to Bergamo that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂


Best things to see in Milan

I visited Milan in mid-February, during Milan Fashion Week 2020 and the a few days before the travel ban for coronavirus. It was a birthday treat for my mum as she loves European city getaways with the family. 

I never suspected a thing during my time in Italy. Everyone was out as normal, right up to the day of my departure. I only understood the gravity of the situation the day before we were about to depart. All of the famous monuments, restaurants, bars and cafes were shut because of the Covid-19. When we went from pharmacy to pharmacy to try and find face masks, everything was either shut or sold out.

The fashion capital of Italy is full of lovely little cobblestone streets, amazing churches, great restaurants and the best shopping places in Europe. You can discover the city by foot which is great as the monuments and iconic locations are not far from each other. You could also take the reliable tram service around the city if you need to. 

There are three airports in Milan – Malpensa, Bergamo and Linate. Malpensa is by far Milan’s most popular airport, Linate is closest to the city and Bergamo is a train ride away from central Milan. 

We spent 4 full days in Milan but with two day-trips – one to Lake Como and the other to Bergamo. Watch our travel video here:

Along with attending a fashion show, here are a few of the top things to see and do in Milan!


You can’t miss Milan’s magnificent Duomo. The cathedral is gothic and majestic. You can also visit inside the cathedral and go up to the top for spectacular panoramic views. With over 3,500 statues, 135 spirals and 5 bronze doors, it’s not surprising that it looks 500 years to complete the Duomo. I believe entrance is 9 euros if you walk up and 13 euros if you use the lift. We were planning on going up the cathedral but unfortunately due to the coronavirus, it was the first day the government ordered it all to close. 

Beware there are lots of pigeons all over the square – it doesn’t help when your parents are feeding them bread while you’re trying to run away from them :l The entire square was flooded with people, as expected. We really enjoyed walking around the square, entering the shops and tasting local food in the area.

If you wanted some good views of the cathedral without being in the cathedral – you could try going into Terrazza Aperol which is right next to it. We actually went to the 7th floor of La Rinasente shopping Centre which has free entrance and you can just order coffee/lunch to sit on the terrace. 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

This is one of the most beautiful shopping centres in the world with all of the top luxury Italian designers you can imagine – from Prada, Gucci and Armarni. The galleria opened in 1877 and is named after the first king of united Italy and is built in a classic neo-renaissance style with marble, iron and glass. The architecture is impressive and it combines wall paintings, mosaic floors and high glass ceiling. I was just mermerised whilst walking around the shopping centre. If you want a more affordable shopping option, try going to via Montenapoleone, one of the most famous streets for shopping.  

There are exorbitant restaurants and bars but I wouldn’t recommend going in them as they’re overpriced and you can probably find better food elsewhere. 

On the left-hand side of the Galleria, you’ll find a small crowd around a mosaic bull on the floor. It’s a Milanese tradition to spin on the bull’s balls three times with your heels – so much that the bulls but are periodically retiled – nice. 

Go to Italy’s ONLY starbucks

We came here as my sister read about it online and wanted to try out their coffee. The Milan Starbucks Reserve Roastery is the only roastery in Europe, and one of only five into the World. Its also Europe’s largest Starbucks being 2400 metre squares, found in Milan’s Piazza Cordusio, minutes away from the Duomo. We walked here from the Duomo to Sforzcesco Castle. It was so beautiful inside and so i’m not surprised it was labelled by the company itself as “the most beautiful Starbucks in the world”.

we enjoyed a coffee from here and it was SOO good. There’s 115 different types of coffee blends to choose from but no Frappuccinos frappuccinoas Italians are very specific with their coffees.

Parco Sempione

This wonderful park is Milan’s best park by far and a great place you can laze on the grass and have a picnic. It is home to the Sforzesco Castle, an aquarium, a design and art museum, Branca Tower and a few bars and cafes. 

Make sure to head over to the Arco della Pace (the big arch at the far end of the park) for some people watching and for aperitivo. It was actually when we were sitting here we realised the seriousness of Covid-19 as my sister got a call from her summer job saying that the Italian group from Verona whom she was meant to be looking after are no longer allowed out the country. My sister, not wanting to tell them she’s in Milan tried subtly ask her if anyone was currently allowed to leave the country. We were starting to worry about not being able to get back home!

Sforzcesco Castle

Built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, the castle now houses 12 museums and a vast archives of artefacts. This impressive building used to be the home of Milan’s rulers in the 15th century and the one of the largest citadels in Europes in the 16th century. Leonarda da Vinci also lived here for a while, working on the Last Supper and some of his Codexes.

The castle entrance is free, but admission to all of the museums costs 10 euros.  We just walked around the castle, looking at the imposing towers and moat all around it. 

Last Supper

This Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece resides in the church of Santa Maria della Grazie. The painting is well preserved and historians still hasn’t resolved all of its mysteries (does the spilled salt in front of Judas symbolize his betrayal?). We didn’t get a chance to see this because it was closed due to the Coronavirus – but If you do get the chance to check it – I definitely recommend you doing so, but book in advance! 


This canal district is so beautiful, especially in the evening where the locals come out for their aperitivo. There are plenty of bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants to go along the canal and has a lively atmosphere. Don’t go too late as places get full very quickly. Every last Sunday of the month there is a huge vintage market named Navigli Grande Antique Market, where you can find second hand items of all kinds. 

On the way from the Duomo to Navigli, walk via Pizza AM for a snack/dinner – the pizzas there are sooo good! 

Attending my first Milan Fashion Week Runway Show!

In my recent trip to Milan in February 2020, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Milan Fashion Week. I attended the Emerging Talents Milan show on February 23. I brought along my sister, Yasmin for good company. This show gathers outstanding international brands in the historical Palazzo Visconti di Modrone. It is such a beautiful palace built by Spanish nobleman, Count Bolagnos in the 18th century. In the 19th century, Visconti di Modrone transformed the façade and interior in rococo style. I’ve been to a few fashion shows, but this is perhaps the most beautiful fashion show venue I’ve ever been to. 

My sister and I were one of the first to get in and so gave us plenty of time to people watch, once we’ve found our seat. We were pleasantly surprised how relaxed and chilled people well. I mean all of them made efforts to their looks, but nothing over the top. There are also weren’t as many photographers taking shots as what I normally experience in other fashion shows. The show lasted exactly an hour. 

My sister and I had an absolute blast. Here are some photos of the event. 

Leaving Milan, my heart was filled with so much content and joy. Not only did i truly enjoy the experience but also that my sister was super excited and was able to join me. I loved how stylish and friendly all the citizens of Milan were. Its left me wanting to go back! 

Many thanks to Taerus PR for the kind invitation!

Self-guided Day Trip From Milan to Lake Como

If you’re visiting Milan and want to escape the busy city streets for the day – then the day trip from Milan to Lake Como is perfect for you. I knew that I wanted to experience its mountains and fresh air from the moment I step foot in Italy. Even though there are numerous organized day trips that can take you to Lake Como and back to Milan in a day, take a self-guided tour is much more rewarding and super easy!

We came here for my mother’s birthday and it was her favourite day from our entire trip to Milan. We absolutely loved Lake Como, and we know you will, too.

Watch our travel vlog here: 

The Route

On a day trip to Lake Como from Milan, you’ll have time to explore a few of its beautiful villages and towns dotted along the lake. 

Here’s the route you should take between Milan, Como, Bellagio and Verenna: Milano Central train station –>  Varenna-Esino train station –> Ferry to Bellagio –> Bus to Como –> Como San Giovanni train station –> Milano Central training station

Each town is special and stunning in its own way. Luckily, they’re all close enough to each other to visit all three in one day. 

Purchasing Tickets

Train tickets

You could purchase your train tickets online in advance, but as went in off-peak season in February 2020, we didn’t book in advance. We just went (ran) to the train station and bought out tickets. We literally caught the train by a millisecond and my mother and i had to try and force the train doors open while my father and sister caught up with us – literally the story of our lives. We bought a single from Milan to Varenna which was roughly £6 (7 euros) pp and the journey takes about an hour. It was a very scenic train journey as you had glimpses of the beautiful clear turquoise waters.

We also bought the train ticket back from Como to Milan which was slightly cheaper.The whole experience was super easy and reliable! 

If you are going in peak season – you should purchase your tickets online and in advance from TrenItalia. You can simply keep your tickets on your smartphone; no need to print them out. 

If possible, take one of the earliest trains into Como, and one of the last trains back to Milan. If you do that, you can easily spend three or more hours in each town!

Ferry tickets

Once you arrive in Vernna, its easy to navigate between the different towns around the lake using the ferry system. Again, we purchased the ferry tickets once we got to Verenna to go to Bellagio from a person at the terminal. If you get stuck, they will be able to advise you to which ticket you need to get. You cannot purchase ferry tickets online. However, check the ferry time tables before you arrive, so you have a plan. The ferries seem to be regular so you don’t have to plan timings too much, as you could always catch the next one. The ferry from Varenna to Bellagio takes just 15 minutes and costs 4.60 euros. 

Bus tickets

As I went with my entire family, there was an option to catch the ferry from Bellagio to Como but it would have turned out really expensive (£15 pp). we decided to catch the local bus from Bellagio to Como which was only £3 pp. This option isn’t advertised much around Bellagio but to purchase these tickets you need to go to a local newsagent to buy it. It’s a lot more economical for a group. 

Things to do


I absolutely fell in love with Varenna. So much so, that it’s probably my favourite town in Lake Como. It was just so pretty walking around the quiet and delicate town. We walked along the cobbled streets and found a café with the most stunning views to have coffee and a snack. The harbour is very pretty and is lined with outdoor cafes and gelato shops. 

After we got some energy, we continued walking down the steep cobblestone alleyways and exploring the churches and houses. The best thing to do is to get away from the main street and wander around the backstreets for a real sense of the place. I just loved the brightly coloured buildings and ornate balconies and all the beautiful flowers. It was so picturesque! You can walk around the small town in less than an hour, if you wanted  to move fast. 

Make sure you walk down the wonderful path called the Passeggiate Degli Innamorati (The Lover’s Walk). It hugs the coast and allows for the most peaceful walks and great views. The cobblestone streets and alley ways will eventually lead you to the historic centre of Varenna and the Church of San Giorgio with its clock tower rising above the town. Its definitely worth checking out! 

If we had more time, I would have loved to explore a few castles and villas around the area. Especially, Castello di Vezio – an 11th century partially ruined castle. This can be reached by climbing to the very top of the mountain – roughly 45 minutes steep walk from the base of town. The climb would be worth it with the effort as you are rewarded with a panoramic view from the top. 

I would have also loved to go inside Vila Montastero as I only saw it from the outside. This once inhabited villa on the lakefront is now used a conference centre attracting visitors to it botanical gardens. 


After a morning exploring Varenna, you can take the short 15-minute ferry to its more famous neighbour – Bellagio often referred to as the “pearl of the lake”. Whilst roaming the streets, we paid attention to the details – the pretty pink flowers and beautiful lanterns.

It had lots of tall mountains, cypress trees, grand villas (including George Clooney’s villa!) and cute little cafes. Bellagio definitely has its own character and charm.  

We walked the shoreline, climbed up the hill to the heart of town, explored ancient churches, browsed and shopped in boutiques found in narrow alleys (and bought a few Italian silk scarves!) and had a fantastic lunch. Make sure to visit the famous street for the iconic postcard shot of Bellagio – Salita Serbelloni (pictured above). We also savoured some fruity Italian gelato next to the lake while watching the sun dip behind the mountains as the sky turns pink. 

Its easy to see why so many tourists flock to Bellagio. At 5pm, we caught the bus to our final stop – Como.


Como is the largest of the three towns you’ll visit during your day trip. Its not as pretty as the other two, but still worth checking out. We roamed the quaint streets and shops around the area. We arrived just in time before the sun completely set so we had some beautiful shots of the lake. You can take the funicular up the mountain to Brunate, but we didn’t have time to (or were that bothered).

From here, we took the train from Como back to Milan, which took about 37 minutes. Once we got back to Milan, we were so hungry but still wanted to try Miscusi as we researched about it and it had brilliant reviews. We saw the pasta being made in front of us and OH MA GAWDD it was so good.

Unfortunately my sister couldn’t really appreciate it as she was feeling slightly ill and had a block nose. It was at this point she was getting paranoid that she had the coronavirus (luckily she was tested and was fine!).

Have you been to Lake Como before? Which town is your favorite? Did you stay over night, or take a day trip from Milan?

An Insider’s Guide to Tampa Bay, Florida

Tampa is a rather small city, according to US standards and has almost 3 million residents. I loved how authentic Tampa was in comparison to the touristy cities of Orlando and Miami. I fell in love with its chilled out white beaches, turquoise waters and a downtown filled with skyscrapers. 

After 2 days in Miami, we continued our road trip to Tampa Florida where we’d be staying for 10 days before heading to New York. It was one long drive from the Keys to Tampa Bay, and we were welcomed with frightening storms. It was probably the worst i’ve ever witnessed! Once we arrived, we met with my extended family where they showed us our villa.

As we were here to visit family, we had some local tips on the best places to go in and around Tampa. Here a few top things you could do in the city!  

Lettuce Lake

Tampa Bay has plenty of beautiful parks to explore. My uncle, who lives there took us to his favourite lake – Lettuce Lake, located near the University of South Florida, in the northern section of Tampa. We came here during the weekend and it was a great place to come to escape both the city noice and the Florida heat.

The admission fee is only $2 per car load (up to 8 people). We started off by parking near the Visitor Centre and then walking along the 3500ft boardwalk. The shaded walk goes across hardwood swamp forest.

This path will take you up to the Hillsborough River and to an observation tower. While walking the boardwalk we saw some pretty amazing sites!

Along the way, you might even catch a glimpse of a gator! In fact, Lettuce Lake Park is well-known for being one of the best places in the city for spotting gators in their natural habitat. We saw a five-foot alligator up close and personal! He was just hanging out right off the boardwalk. 

The observation tower (pictured below) gives you the chance to take in panoramic views of the Hillsborough River. A beautiful sight – be sure to bring with your camera!

Canoeing at Weeki Wachee River

If you visit Tampa, I highly recommend the chance to kayak the Weeki Wachee River – located about an hour north of Tampa. Its suitable for the whole family as its quite a nice calm ride. The swift current makes it much easier to paddle downstream, but then going upstream afterwards, towards the end closer to the gulf –  is slightly more challenging. 

The water is beautiful and just looks like it came out some sort of Disney movie. Each turn you take in your kayak, the water turns different shade of green or blue. The spring that fed Weeki Wachee River has crystal clear water that flows in the Gulf of Mexico. 

It was really nice just kayaking for a little bit and then taking a dip in the river before kayaking a bit more. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t swim near a manatee because they’re ugly (sorry but its gotta be said). 

The river winds through the forests and mangroves and has plenty of wildlife. We jumped off the a few trees and swung on a few ropes near the riverbed. When I think of Tampa, these are the sweet memories that come in mind. 

But guys, if you can’t swim, be extremely cautious – there are some deep water areas in the river. We had an incident where my auntie and mum were in a kayak with all of our bags and electricals (don’t ask why). They were stuck in this current which quickly took them under a tree in the riverbed. They both grabbed onto the tree above their heads to try and stop the kayak moving forwards and then it capsized and flipped. I was sharing a kayak with my father and so I told him to stay in the kayak while I jump in, as he’s also not a very confident swimmer. At this point, I didn’t know my auntie couldn’t swim so I dived in to grab the mobiles, wallets and bags. It was only when I re-surfaced that I saw my cousin swimming over to pick my auntie up. Luckily everyone was fine with just a few scratches here and there. Now we laugh about it but it was scary times guys! Just be cautious… 

Clearwater Beach 

There was one afternoon where we went to Clearwater Beach to watch the sunset and swim in the sea. It is really a chilled out “local” beach – in fact, this is the sea where my uncle wakes up at 5am to go swimming in (how impressive is that!?)

We were on the beach, sunbathing and swimming for more than hour – before lightning struck, literally. We were stuck in the Pier 60 for 20 minutes with everyone else who also decided to wait it out and take shelter. We made the most of it by sitting in a circle and playing cards.

Downtown Tampa

We visited downtown Tampa in the evening and found it impressive, albeit a quiet city centre. It has stunning skyscrapers and a pleasant waterfront park. We parked our car and then walked along the river. The Tampa Riverwalk runs for 2.5 miles along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel.

After admiring the views, we drove around the area and the resident streets behind the city centre – the houses were MAHOOSIVE and each house/mansion has its own character. It was good fun…  

Chilling with family! 

Of course my main reason for going to Tampa in the first place is to visit my mothers brother (i.e. my uncle) and his family. The last time I saw them was in Gaza, many many years ago so it was amazing to re-connect with them. 

Do you have any questions about travelling to Tampa that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂