Mihaela sitting on a terrace overlooking Lisbon rooftops and the water

Lisbon has always been a place I wanted to visit. I’d heard so much about the good food, the incredible atmosphere, the amazing weather. I feel like our first night in Portugal had a lot of influence on how I felt during the rest of the trip. Some of you may know that we began our journey in Faro, where we stayed for a night. Before getting there, we even contemplated on staying for two nights and I’m so glad we didn’t. We got advice from a group of friends that there wasn’t enough to do for a two night stay. They were right.

Coming to Portugal from Andalucia, which in my opinion is the most beautiful part of Spain, our expectations were high. First of all, the hospitality was incredible. All of the Airbnbs we stayed at were amazing in their own way. Second, there wasn’t a food place that disappointed us. And third, I never for a second felt lonely or scared when I was walking around the streets of Seville. Even when Phoebe was on a work call and I had to be by myself, I still felt very relaxed.

In contrast to that, arriving in Portugal felt somehow disappointing and lonely. Faro was like a ghost town, with barely any people and the majority of shops and restaurants were closed. The only two places you could go to, that seemed nice, were the two hotels by the port. I wanted to pay to use the rooftop pool of one of them and the lady at the reception responded in a very rude way.

The staff at the other hotel were much nicer and showed me their rooftop bar, which had a lovely view, so I did enjoy an Aperol or two there. However, I still had that unpleasant first impression and it stayed with me for the rest of the day. I was extremely excited to be leaving to Lisbon early the next morning. We had a very nice journey on an almost empty coach, where they served coffee and sweet treats. Definitely something National Express and Megabus could learn from, although I no longer use their services.

Arriving in Lisbon was nice. The first thing was to drop our bags at our home for the next three days. We were welcomed by a lovely South African lady, who was the Airbnb concierge, handing us the keys. Everything was great until we found out there was no Wi-Fi, which if we were there on holiday wouldn’t matter. But we explicitly asked the owner if the Wi-Fi was good which he confirmed. That was only the night before we arrived.

 Then we spent the afternoon strolling around the neighbourhood but we were on edge the whole time. We kept going back and forth between the owner and the concierge regarding the Wi-Fi situation. It seemed like there was no solution, so Phoebe and I were left to sort it out by ourselves. The Wi-Fi didn’t really work for the rest of our stay. We ended up asking for our money back and managed to get half of it.

The first night, Phoebe stayed in the flat to work and I went to Praça do Comércio to explore. I got asked about 10 times by random people if I wanted any drugs on the way there. I also went to exchange a small amount of money. The lady in the change bureau told me to be extra careful, walking around with money in my handbag. That obviously made me feel even more unsafe, especially when I was all by myself. After that, I wanted to go to a terrace bar around but there was no obvious place to go. Instead, I just nipped into the nearby Starbucks as that seemed like the safest option. In Lisbon, you have to do a lot of research if you want to end up in the right places.

The next day we went to visit this fish restaurant that eeeeeeveryone was talking about and was all over Instagram. I thought if Lisbon was the best place to eat fish, then this restaurant was the best place in Lisbon to go for it. Disappointed. One more time. Considering that there was a massive queue the previous night. And the wait for a table was an hour and a half. I was expecting to be WOWED. My favourite meal in Lisbon was actually a traditional Chinese meal. Phoebe took me to a sushi place and the owners turned out to be Chinese, so she ordered her favourite dishes. The bill came up to a total of 13 euros and we had a massive amount of food. Definitely more than we could handle. And we eat A LOT.

Things started getting better when we went on a day trip to Sintra. We got an Uber to take us around the palaces. The cost was only 25 euros for the whole day. I can’t even get to central London from where I live for 25 euros! The palaces were all beautiful. Pena Palace was like a Lego town, it reminded me of Super Mario and it was such a fun experience. Monserrate Palace on the other hand was very intricate, much smaller and more like a princess castle. After our little trip around Sintra, we stayed for a meal, which was probably our nicest Portuguese meal. Not going to mention the fact that I got drunk on Sangria and spilled it all over Phoebe’s laptop. So far this had been our best day in Portugal, so I was content.

Our last day in Lisbon was quite emotional. It was also the last day of my trip with Phoebe and she had to continue on her own. That day we went for breakfast to Bairro Alto. A lovely area, where I would have loved to stay. After that we went tram hungting. Followed by a walk to the Urban beach and a few minutes of reflecting on the past ten days. Then an Uber ride to the MAAT museum. A beautiful building with a view of the 25 de Abril Bridge, which I highly recommend visiting. It’s situated in such a nice and chilled area of Lisbon. We had a lovely afternoon strolling around and that was the moment I realised, I actually did like Lisbon and it deserves a second chance.

Have you been to Lisbon and did you like it? What was your favourite part?

Here is a little gallery of iPhone snaps from Portugal.

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I’ve mentioned that trip over and over again since it happened in December 2017. It has been a truly unique experience and I’d take any opportunity to relive it. I thought it’s only fair to write a blog post and tell you exactly what happened when me and Phoebe went on a our first trip to Italy together. I also think it’s nice to have it on my blog as a reminder of the magical time we had. It’s one of my favourite stories, so I really appreciate anyone who takes time out of their day to give this a read.


Most of you are probably wondering how can a 3 day trip to Italy be so exciting. You barely have time to see anything. Well, I managed to see three beautiful cities in three days and it was incredible. But most importantly, I had a travel companion who made the journey a lot more fascinating than it would’ve been if I did it with anyone else in the world.

I met Phoebs on Instagram and she messaged me one day to say she’s coming to London and ask for recommendations. I had never spoken to her before but as soon as she messaged, I got back to her saying I’ll take her around to my favourite places when she comes here. We instantly clicked. It was like a love at first ‘type’ and what happened in the days to follow was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

She suggested we should go to Italy together and I had only been there once before. I loved it the first time, so I thought why the hell not! When you’re planning a trip with a complete stranger, there are so many ways things could go wrong but I trusted my instincts. I probably wouldn’t recommend it if someone asks me. But I believe everything happens for a reason. I took that risk and met a friend for life, so I have absolutely no regrets. I would actually regret it more if I said no at the time.

As soon as I met Phoebe the night before our flight, I forgot that she’s a stranger. We both felt like we’ve known each other our entire lives. I’ve never laughed so much with someone I barely know and it was at that moment I realised what soulmate really meant. Looking back now, I remember little details like eating pastries on a train from Venice to Florence,while enjoying the views, or witnessing a beautiful sunrise on a crisp December morning in Venice, running around to find the best spots for a picture before they get crowded with other tourists.

I don’t want to be boring and give you details about every single thing we did. I’m just going to say that having less than 24 hours in a destination challenges you to find and do the things you really want to do. I’m not a huge museum person, I don’t like being indoors and the weather was pretty good even though it was December. So we blended in with the locals, walked around, ate gelato, pizza, pasta, all sorts of sweets, we drank aperols and great wine.

Experiencing the atmosphere in a place, breathing in the air, stopping to look at the sunset, watching how people behave, where they go. That to me is far more valuable than rushing to check all the museums and tick boxes on a list, so I can say to people that I have indeed been inside the Doge’s Palace and loved the ceiling.

Apart from eating and walking around every possible bridge in Venice, we managed to shoot twice and got some amazing images that I’m sharing here with you. We shot once in the afternoon when we arrived and again super early the next morning. Waking up early was key for two reasons. First, there is something truly magical about the beautiful morning light in Venice. And second, seeing Venice without the crowds of tourists is so worth waking up for. I feel like that’s the only time you can truly see the beauty of this place. 

Florence was a totally different experience to Venice. Still super touristy but the relaxed vibe of Tuscany completely transformed the second day of our trip. We had a beautiful balcony with views over Florence. Breakfast in the morning was served at the rooftop restaurant of our hotel. I still remember the crisp fresh air on that rooftop terrace. I had a fragrance called Florence that I wore for the first time when we were there. Every time I wear it now, it reminds me of that morning. We also discovered that Tuscany has some of the best wines in Italy, after spending four hours in a restaurant. The owner had a huge collection. It was very intriguing to find out where he sourced some of the bottles from. 

On the third day, we made our way to Rome. I didn’t get a chance to see much of it as I had to fly back the next morning. I was already feeling extremely tired, so the city definitely deserves a second chance. There’s a lot of walking to be done in Rome. It’s much bigger compared to Venice and Florence. But isn’t walking the best way to discover a new place and feel its vibe? There’s so much to see in Rome. Walking is the best way to experience the buzzing atmosphere of this place.

It’s also very likely that you’ll stop along the way to take photos, because every corner is beautiful. My favourite part of my day in Rome was the meal we had on the last evening. We met with some friends of friends and had dinner in a CAVE. The company was great, food was delicious and again the experience was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. 

There could not have been a better time to put together this blog post than just before heading to Spain for my second trip with Phoebe. Writing about this has made me emotional but excited at the same time. Travelling with someone so open-minded like Phoebe, completely changed the way I think about trips. Taking a risk and packing so many different activities in a short period of time, isn’t necessarily relaxing but it made me appreciate the dynamic of the situation.

I learned a lot about myself as I observed how I respond to challenges. Both me and Phoebe became very organised. On the other hand, we realised that for our second trip, we want to dedicate a bit more time to exploring each place. Sharing the experience with someone like her has made it so special. I’m really looking forward to teaming up with her again for our next adventure.

What was the most memorable trip you went on and who did you go with? I’d love to find out.If you want a chance to have your own memorable holiday experience, I’ve got great news for you!  TravelSupermarket are running a competition on their Instagram page where 3 people can win a holiday voucher worth up to £500 and experience somewhere like this! All you have to do is:

– Follow the @travelsupermarket Instagram account

– On the competition image tell them the destination where you discovered what type of traveller you are

Prizes:

1st prize: £500 holiday voucher

2nd prize: £300 holiday voucher

3rd prize: £200 holiday voucher 

#superyou

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The beautiful streets of VeniceVenice Palazzo Ducale

I’ve not written a post on my blog for a while and I was preparing for an Instagram live session yesterday when I realised how much I missed writing and how much I enjoy sharing my insights and being part of a discussion. Instagram is a great place to establish your aesthetic and connect with people but a blog adds a completely different dimension. If Instagram was the picture, then the blog would be a nice frame to put it in.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch our live (we were having technical issues with the connection so you didn’t miss much) Phoebe and I were discussing how Instagram is changing the way we communicate and interact with each other. Thinking about it now, I’ve met more people through Instagram in the last 6 months than I did for my 3 years at university. Has our generation become comfortable with meeting people through this platform? Did we move away from meeting people the traditional way?

I did a poll on Instagram asking people if they met someone on the platform and became really good friends after and the majority of votes (58%) were for ABSOLUTELY. I always thought that Instagram is one of the best things that happened to our generation because there’s no more boundaries and you could meet people halfway across the world and become friends. It removes distances between cities, countries and continents and all of a sudden we’re all part of the same community regardless of where we are in the world.

Another great thing about Instagram is finding people with similar interests and a similar vision to yours. You can tell right away by looking at someone’s feed if they’re “your type” of person. Which leads me to another topic I wanted to discuss at the live yesterday but thanks to technology and bad connection we didn’t get this far. The Social Media Factor – How big a part does Instagram play in shaping your opinion about others? Do you get a certain vibe about people just by reading their captions and looking at the images they post?

I can certainly say I do. And my opinion has been right most of the time with a few exceptions here and there. In that case, can we say that Instagram has become an extension of our individuality? Is it too bad that we would overlook someone’s skills and knowledge just because they don’t “market themselves” correctly on Instagram? Because let’s be honest here, there must have been a time when you met a person, exchanged Instagrams and you were disappointed to see their feed wasn’t that great and the last time they posted something was Christmas. Or the joy of having to request to follow someone because their profile is on private *eye roll*

And the last thing I wanted to mention and I feel like this is probably the most important. How do we make ourselves stand out on Instagram? I’ve been reading so much about copying others on social media lately and Sophie Milner wrote a great post on Instagram’s copycat culture. You can read it here.

Taking inspiration from someone is one thing but trying to copy their content is on a completely different level. I had a very interesting conversation with a lady from an Influencer Marketing agency last week and when she asked me what my favourite influencers were, I gave her a few names. She then said “What is it that you like about all these people?” And then it struck me. What all these people have in common is the same thing that makes them stand out. It’s called PERSONALITY. Being you is something nobody can replicate and if you have to make sure you inject your personality into your content as much as you can. Because at the end of the day, this is what people will relate to, and this is what’s going to keep them coming back again and again.

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With nearly three quarters of this year under way and Halloween, Christmas and NYE fast approaching, I decided it’s time to sit down and make a plan for the remaining months of 2017. That way I can make the most out of the end of what has been a rollercoaster year. And yes, you read that correctly. Christmas is on its way but don’t panic just yet. Liberty have already opened their Christmas shop, so you can start planning and buying everyone’s presents early to avoid the craziness of last minute shopping. Trust me, it’s not worth the stress, I’ve been there.  Anyway, I thought I’ll create this post, so you know what to expect and also to remind myself what I’m planning on getting up to.

London Fashion Week

The first time I went to fashion week was in 2013 and I was still a student, so imagine the excitement. The season after, I got backstage passes and filmed all the action for my final year project at uni. Don’t ask me how I did it. I literally had to email every single person involved and to hear NO about a hundred times but I got there in the end. So naturally, I relate fashion week to a lot of stress as well as excitement. At this point I’m a bit tired of running around and I’m trying to enjoy the events around fashion week as much as I can. That means mostly from the comfort of my own home but the plan is to get to the venue for a couple of shows and presentations. I’m also curious to check the designer showrooms and vlog some of the action.

Establish a blog aesthetic

I started this blog at the beginning of the year and my plan was to get as much varied content on the topics of beauty, fashion, lifestyle and travels. It has been a period of adjustment. Now that I sort of got things cracking, I feel like it’s time for me to establish a brand and aesthetic for this baby blog of mine. Which isn’t necessarily an easy thing. I find myself looking at other blogs and trying to go down paths that have been long established. Then I realise, this is not me. Sometimes I want things to happen the easy way like “That’s going to be my logo, here’s what my business cards will look like, I want to shoot with this particular photographer because I saw another blogger working with them and the photos looked great.” But that’s not always how things turn out. So instead of trying too hard to fit in and make myself look like this blogger or that blogger, I look at those girls who are different and I ask myself what is it about this person that I like and how can I translate it into my own vision without stealing someone’s intellectual property.

Focus on quality

I’m planning to focus on the quality of work I produce rather than the quantity for two reasons. First, I want to keep my content as authentic and relatable as I possibly can. Second, I’ve never seen myself as one of those bloggers who post every day. Not because I have nothing to say. Trust me, there’s folders and folders of work on my laptop waiting to be edited and published but there’s a right moment for every single piece. Better quality content also means better photographer. I started working with Becky, who studied fashion photography and is also a wedding photographer and loves it. We shot a look on Sunday which I will publish sometime this week and you’ll be seeing more of her work on the blog in the near future. You can also check her Facebook in the meantime.

Travel

I feel like I didn’t do enough travelling this year even though I’ve been to a few places. I wanted to explore a more exotic destination so we’re currently looking at the options and hopefully I’ll have some sort of idea in the next couple of weeks. If that doesn’t happen by the end of this year, there’s plenty of nice places in Europe that I still haven’t visited. If you want to recommend a place that is still warm in October and is within a 3-4 hour flight from the UK, you’re more than welcome. There’s a post coming soon on how to save on travelling so you can either travel more or have more spending money when you’re on a trip. Stay tuned!

Making my room cosy for the new season

In preparation for the season ahead, I decided to give my room a little makeover. As you probably know already, pink is my favourite colour. A little pink can go a loooong way – it brightens up a space, it’s uplifting and it’s super calming, which is ideal for a bedroom. There is still some bits and pieces that I need to add, so this will be work in progress for the next month or so. Whilst I was shopping and redecorating my room, I stumbled upon items that I didn’t necessarily need until I saw them. Examples include this pink faux fur rug which is incredibly soft and this pineapple that I’m just obsessed with. If you too are looking to give your room an update, I’ve linked some options below so you can have a browse and fall in love. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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