Hidden Gems of Edinburgh, U.K – Guest blog post for earthtoconnie.com

Firstly I just want to thank Connie over at Earthtoconnie for inviting me to be her first guest blogger in her new series – Hidden Gems! In this post, as the title suggests, I’ll let you in on some of my favourite ‘off the beaten path’ spots in Edinburgh.

1. Tani Modi

One word BRUNCH.

I just recently stumbled across this adorable place hidden on Hannover Street! The cafe itself is much bigger than you think and it’s extremely affordable! Order the American style maple syrup and bacon pancake stack as they are the best pancakes I’ve had in Edinburgh!

And no…I did not have an espresso martini for brunch but a fancy looking ice coffee instead!

2. Ting Thai Caravan

Do I need to say anymore…just look at this Thai food! This quirky restaurant is very popular with students as it is located just opposite Edinburgh University. You cannot book this restaurant in advance so if you want to be sure of a table try come in between lunch and dinner! This place is also great if you are on a budget, most dishes are under 10 pounds!

Top tip – bring cash as this restaurant doesn’t have a card machine!!

3. Rabble

I have been living in Edinburgh for almost 4 years now and have also only recently discovered this gem! Just below George Street you will find this beautiful bar that is perfect for date night or chilling with friends.

4. Stockbridge Market (10am-5pm)

Looking for a local experience on your Sunday in Edinburgh? Head to Stockbridge Market for the ultimate street food experience!

5. Fingal

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Fingal, which is a new boutique hotel in Leith that I am loving working on! Most people in Edinburgh do not know yet that non-guests can make a booking to enjoy the unique experience of our Lighthouse Bar. Our bar offers Afternoon Tea, Evening Supper and amazing cocktails!

Want to be one of the first onboard?

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post as much I have enjoyed writing it!

If you would like to read more of Connie’s blog posts, including her Hidden Gem series feel free to head over to her blog at Earthtoconnie.com. Or if you would like to follow her on social media then check out her Twitter here and her Instagram here.

South East Asia – 1 – The Start

Firstly Happy New Year!!!

I know…long overdue…I hope you are getting on well with your New Year’s resolutions or currently breaking them because how were you ever realistically going to give up chocolate for a year…?

Anyway, it’s time to write the first blog post of the year as the flights to Kuala Lumpur have been booked and it’s time for planning to commence!

My friends and I knew that we wanted to discover somewhere new together after final exams in May and before graduation in July. After some weeks of research (which will be explained more later) we decided on South East Asia for 3 full weeks in June. This blog post is going to give you a little insight of my top tips before planning long-haul travel!

1. Initial Research Is Key

Google really is your best friend here. It is important to do some initial research before parting with your well saved funds to make sure this is the destination for you. A quick google search will tell you if you require visas, if the country has lots to offer that you are interested in, how easy it is to move around within the country and if you require any vaccinations prior to your adventure.

2. Budget-friendly Travel Requires Sacrifices

When we were checking out flights on our favourite flight comparison site (Skyscanner) we noticed that it was around £150 cheaper to fly out of London. However, as we are based in Edinburgh we decided that it would in fact cost almost the same amount after travelling down to London and paying for over-night accommodation.

In the end there were 2 flights that we were torn between, both were good but neither perfect. Without bottomless pockets we were between a Qatar Airways flight that included an 8 hour stop-over in Doha on the way there and an emirates flight that would lose a day of our holiday period as it left in the early hours of the morning.

We decided to pay £506 to fly with Emirates because the journey time was much shorter. Even though we could have enhanced our trip by stopping over and exploring Doha for a few hours we decided that this was an unnecessary addition onto our already long trip. The girls and I also thought that we would not do the city justice as we would just be longing for our final destination!

3. Research Some More!

Your flights are booked and you want to get down to business! I LOVE looking at other blogs for inspiration. My favourites for this trip so far are….

Where Charlie Wanders

Be My Travel Muse

Lovin

Also, I cannot get enough of Lonely Planet’s travel guides for detailed itineraries, hidden gems and cultural tips!

So far our 3 week itinerary looks like this….. ( as event management and business students we are in our element)!

The green sections are internal flights with the current prices next to them.

I have heard some fantastic things about the Perhentian islands from blogs like this and would love some chill out time between soaking up the new cultures!

We are still very flexible with our plans and will be looking into accommodation, internal flights and attractions soon.

If you have any advice to share with me go ahead in the comments section!

I’ll keep you updated.

Krka National Park – Croatia Series #3

Hey Guys! I hope you have enjoyed reading series part 1 and series part 2

This blog entry will be mainly picture based to give you a flavour of one of the most incredible places I have ever been to!

Krka National Park is located in Šibenik-Knin county of Croatia. We drove here from Zadar and it only took us 1 hour!

I would highly recommend a visit to this park but there are a few things to bare in mind:

  1. Student entry with valid ID is MUCH CHEAPER!!! You can buy a student ticket at the park for 20 Kn / 2,69 € whereas the adult ticket is 80,00 Kn / 10,78 €.
  2. Bring your own water and snacks as the food stalls on site are expensive and you will need LOTS OF WATER. 
  3. This bit of advice is GOLD – For the best possible experience arrive at the park before 12pm, because that is when the tourist busses begin to come. Also Sunday’s are considerably quieter than other days!!
  4. There are many different entrances to the park but they require a walk to the start of the waterfalls (40 mins), so bring COMFY SHOES!!!

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Included in your ticket is a one way boat trip to or from the park!

Krka 1

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Skradinski buk is the waterfall that you can swim underneath so don’t forget your swimming gear!

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Stay tuned for my Dugi Otok Island adventure!

x

My 5 Favourite Travel Apps

I can’t believe we are into July already! Where has the year gone?! Although that means that we are into Summer or the less cold months as we call it in Scotland! In all fairness the weather has been over 20 degrees which is pretty amazing for Scotland….

This blog post is going to focus on the 5 travel apps on my phone that I don’t board the plane without. 

1. Google Maps

I honestly don’t think I would be able to get around if I didn’t have this app downloaded, as I’m terrible at reading maps and have zero sense of direction! Not good traits for a traveller I admit but with this app it doesn’t matter about my lack of skills…

Google Maps is great for estimating the time that it takes from A to B and I particularly love the fact that it can detect where you are (especially in winding alleyway) before you know yourself.

I also use this app while travelling to detect good places to eat and drink if I make an unplanned stop. As the app can detect where you are it also gives you the option to look at restaurants close by.

2. Like A Local

This app is perfect for discovering all the cool spots during your city-breaks!

For those of you who haven’t heard about Like A Local  before it’s an app created for travellers (not tourists) who want to discover some of the best LOCAL hangouts…hence the name. It’s very easy to use and it can detect what location you are in, similar to Google Maps.

Don’t know where to go to have the best night out in Barcelona? Don’t worry, this app has got you covered with multiple party destinations handpicked by locals.

In addition, this app can let you become the expert you are by offering advice about YOUR CITY to other travellers. You can even get PAID for showing someone your favourite places, sound fun?

3. TripAdvisor

Now this is a tricky one…I’m not saying that I use this all the time for restaurant recommendations while travelling as the best places are often stumbled upon by chance.

However, if you don’t want to be wondering the streets for ages on an empty stomach getting grumpy (I can’t be the only one like this) then TripAdvisor is the way to go! It has hundreds of reviews for places all over the world which makes it easy to find somewhere nice to dine.

I also love this app because you can filter down the recommendations according on what cuisine and type of meal you are after.

When booking accommodation now that’s not on Airbnb I always look at the TripAdvisor reviews first. I have almost been caught out before by using Booking.com because obviously they show more of the good reviews!

4. Airline Apps

What an amazing invention airline apps are! I really don’t know why every airline doesn’t have these created. They save time, paper and most of all STRESS. 

In the past I have been super paranoid about losing my boarding passes that I have been the person to take multiple copies…just in case.

Should I put it in the security tray?

Should I keep holding it?

Where is the safe place I stored it?

Download the app for free…..insert your account details…. BAM it’s saved on the most precious item you posses, your smartphone.

5. Uber

This may seem like a strange one to include but it has been my saviour more times I’ll care to admit.

Uber….the black cab killer or your safest and often cheapest way to get back to your accommodation.

When you have had one too many vodka and cokes is it really a good idea to try and work out the London Underground , that has 11 lines and 270 different stations? No, no it’s not the best idea. With this app you can order a car with no cash needed and your location will be automatically detected (which is insanely helpful in an unknown city).

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR BLOG PERFORMANCE

I would like to start this post by thanking you for supporting my blog so far! I have only been blogging regularly for 6 months now but I am proud to say I am now sitting at 118 subscribers, 2K views, 391 Instagram followers, 969 Twitter followers and 2 brand collaborations.

This blog post is all about how I got these results! 

1.  TWITTER 

I can honestly not thank the followers on Twitter enough! They have been a MASSIVE help and I would not be sitting on 2K without them. By bloggers reading my posts, liking and retweeting my content  I have managed to reach a much bigger audience than I ever thought imaginable. I’ve had my blog for over a year now but have only been active on Twitter since March and I have had 1,500 more views since then. That may not seem like much to people sitting on 10,000 views but trust me from going from on average 25 views a month to 500 really is something!

In addition, Blogger Trains are GOLD! They are a great way to get more readers as well as gain inspiration from other bloggers. You never know what you might find……or who might find you.Untitled design (24)

2. HOOTSUITE

Okay , this one is still Twitter related… but it’ll become your blogging best friend!

This is an app on your phone that is designed to make your life as a blogger or social media influencer EASIER.

FORGET the days where you come home from work and are disappointed about how neglected your site has been. Download the app….spend a few minutes with a cup of coffee scheduling your tweets for the next day (even the next week) and the engagement will come rolling in without you even lifting a finger.

I usually try to schedule around 5 tweets a day. Don’t worry about it being new content! No one could do that!! Just pick a few different blog posts each day, maybe even ask a question so you will get more interaction and feedback from your viewers.

 

3. FELLOW BLOGGERS

I have only been part of the blogging community for a short time, however I’ve found out that it’s full of THE MOST supportive people. As soon as I started putting my content on other social media platforms I managed to gain a great group of “blogger friends” who are always sharing and feed-backing on my blog posts.

In addition, I have joined various blogger groups such as Blogger Support created by Ellie Louise and Intrepid Entrepreneurs Community , created by the worldwide travellers, Hannah and Nate and UK Influencer Opportunities. These are the first places I go to for blogging related advice and to hear about oaid blogging opportunities.

Another reason why I RATE the Blogging Community is that you are often asked to feature as a “Guest Blogger”. This is when another blogger asks their favourite bloggers or people who fit their niche to write a post on their blog. This is an excellent way reach more people and gain a larger following!

As well as increasing your blog views you can also gain so much from other bloggers. I get lots of inspiration from reading these amazing blogs!

http://savingjoyfully.com/

http://svitforyou.com/

http://ellelouise.co.uk/

https://offtotheworld.com/

 

4. CANVA

 

Who doesn’t like a blog with pretty pictures right?! Well… lets top that and make pretty smartphone pictures look professional.

Canva is one of my favourite apps! I use it for my Instagram, blog images, Pinterest and Facebook cover-art.  It is completely free to use and has a million ways to enhance your your own images. Spend a few hours playing about with all the features and you’ll get the hang of it in no time!Untitled design (25)

5. AWIN

 

I’m not saying this is the way to make your millions…but it’s somewhere to start!

Awin as a website designed to promote and partner companies that offer affiliate programmes with bloggers. This website only has a £5 joining fee and can link you to thousands of companies around the world. The cliched phrase that comes to mind is “the world is your oyster”….but it really is!

At the moment I have joined the affiliate programmes offered by TripAdvisor, Trivago and Booking.com.

One of the best things about this site is that it works both ways! As well as bloggers taking the initiative to ask to partner with companies, companies can also find and offer programmes to bloggers! Give it a go at https://www.awin.com/gb

As I said at the start of this post, I am still a newbie! Thank you for your support so far, I can’t wait to learn new ways to improve my blog…who knows….maybe there will be a Part 2 to this post!