| My City Break to Rome | Part Two |

In December, I went on a little city break to the beautiful city of Rome and I’ve decided to tell you the best bits, funny stories and little memories from that trip. You’ll find Part One right here, and if you’ve ever been to Rome, tell me what was your favourite memory.

IMG_8898.JPG(The architecture was beautiful.)

I felt like I might die in a taxi.

This does not just apply to Italy, it also happened in Finland and Russia. I only used transport twice in Rome; once to get to my hotel and once to get the airport. Both times it was taxis and the taxi to airport was very fancy! It was the hotel taxi so it was more expensive but the car itself was just very swoosh! The taxi from the airport were obviously guys who make their money off picking up people from the airport because it was so expensive. Anyway, in my experience, it seems like if you drive outside the UK, the driving is crazy. I’m not talking breaking the speed limit a little; I’m talking breaking the speed limit by about 40mph, zooming in and out of cars constantly and flying around corners for no reason. If I had have been religious, I would have prayed for my own life, and I’m not joking.

20161213_122216(The little Italian streets had so much character about them. I truly fell in love with the city.)

I walked a lot.

I have a FitBit Blaze so naturally, this made me want to walk everywhere and see those steps go up! It’s one of the ways I was able to justify having not the greatest diet because I was genuinely walking everywhere. You see more when you walk too. I lost my way a few times and you end up seeing more of the city that you thought so it was always a surprise if you found something you didn’t expect to.

20161213_155019(Just before heading back to the hotel to meet my taxi on the last day, I sat here for about half an hour watching the water. It was so peaceful.)

I went back to the hotel early at night.

Maybe that sounds boring and I wouldn’t have done it if someone else had have been with me but I thought it was the safer option to go back early in a country I didn’t know. I wrote blog posts, scheduled tweets (for my blog posts) and caught up with some YouTube that I had missed. It was quite nice just being on my own in a room catching up on the blog when I had the chance.

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(What a view!)

I visited the Colosseum.

I was so excited to visit one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks. Despite not being a history buff nor had my marks ever been great in history class but when you get up close to the such an iconic building like that, it’s very hard not to be taken back by something so beautiful. That sounds very clique and very “from the movies” but it truly was breath taking. I went on an English tour around the whole building which was fantastic; the only downside to the tour was that there was an Irish woman on it too and every ten seconds she would butt into the tour guide and either comment on something very loudly or ask an additional question.  It was very very distracting to the point where it was very irritating. He ended up telling her that she had to stop asking questions or he’d never finish the tour.

20161213_141159(The Trevi Fountain was too stunning not to get a photograph at.)

The Trevi Fountain was beautiful.

I paid a visit to the Trevi Fountain quite a few times during my trip. The first time it was far too busy to even attempt to get a photograph but to be fair, it was early morning on a Saturday but I went back early on a Monday morning and it wasn’t as busy. Being so up close to it is remarkable; it was like a surreal experience, I was visiting this monumental piece of art essentially and I couldn’t believe I was there. It was gorgeous!

20161212_124315(If I don’t say so myself, probably one of my best and favourite selfies.)

 

I didn’t get to visit everything that I wanted to, and that’s okay.

This trip for me was a relaxing one so I didn’t want to plan it out to an absolute tee, so missing out some sight seeing wasn’t the end of the world. I would have loved to see The Vatican but I missed out this time, but the way I look at it is if I ever go back, I can go next time. That’s the fun of going on holiday, you don’t have to see everything at once; if it’s within your budget and you genuinely want to go back (which I do!) then you can see it next time, it’s not the end of the world.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. As I mentioned before, I really fell in love with Rome and I already know I’m planning on making another trip back. I hope you have a lovely day! ☀️

| My City Break to Rome | Part One |

Towards the very end of the year last year I decided to take myself on holiday to Italy. I wasn’t in the greatest head space at the time and I just needed to get away from my own life for a few days, so I booked myself a city break to Rome. I’d never been to Italy nor had I ever been on holiday on my own before, so I was getting two experiences for the price of one.

I’m not going to write a “What I Did In A Day” but I’m just going to tell you some of the places I visited, some tips for travelling on our own and about some of the things I done while I was there. I’m splitting this into a few parts because there’s quite a lot I want to share, so welcome to Part One!

20161210_153026(One of my favourite photographs I took close to the Ponte Sant’Angelo)

Always made sure my phone was charged.

It’s so important now that we live in quite a dependent world of technology to make sure your phone is always charged. It was important for me, I can’t dance around that fact, but it’s important when you’re anywhere on your own especially if you don’t know the place, to make sure you have something so you can keep in contact with people, if needs be.

20161212_114811(Some of the postcards I sent!)

I sent postcards!

I have always loved the idea of postcards; mainly because it shows your friends and family a sense of where you are and what you’re up to. It’s also more personal than a text message and you can’t write a lot so you really want to talk about the best bits. Seeing as I went around the mid-December period, my friends and family didn’t receive their postcards until midway through January. I assumed they had just been lost in the post but they eventually turned up, the Christmas post must have slowed them down.

IMG_20161215_073624_938(The camera I borrowed from my Dad for the trip.)

I took lots of photographs.

I’m aware that you should live in the moment and there are still people who would give you a look at a restaurant or when you’re out on a walk if you think about taking your phone out to take a picture. There’s a time and a place for certain things, right? However, on holiday, while having the mental memory of it is great, there’s nothing I love more than looking back through photographs and that’s why it was really important to me to take photographs. My Dad kindly let me borrow his digital SLR to take with me and I also had my mobile phone so I wasn’t going to run out of photography options. As this was a solo trip, there were quite the number of selfies, and while that makes me seem like I was just taking pictures of myself all day, I was far from it. However, I did love taking a few photographs of iconic landmarks with myself in the photograph as well, because why the hell not?

20161211_152240.jpg(The only photograph of myself that isn’t a selfie; this was at the Fontana Del Tritone in the City Centre. The story behind this is below.)

Get someone to take your photograph for you.

This is a funny story actually, probably one of the stories I’ll tell for years to come. So one morning I was walking into the centre of town for some ice-cream and there was a really beautiful fountain called the Fontana del Tritone that I had walked past once or twice before. I had got a few photographs of it before but I decided to go out of my comfort zone and ask someone to take a photograph of me. I was in a foreign country, I knew no-one so I just had to walk up to someone and ask them but I listened about for a few minutes to see if I could hear anyone speak English. This isn’t me being racist or against anyone from another country, I just can’t speak any other language apart from English so it just made sense to do this. As I go to do this, a fairly older couple come up to me and ask me to take their photograph so I’m like “This is perfect!”. I take their photograph and they seem happy enough with it so they walk away and find a few more angles of the fountain. I got back over to them and say “Would you mind taking my photograph?”, the woman nodded and I showed her how to use the camera and she seemed fine with it all. So I stand and smile, as you do, and I see her hit the screen a little too aggressively then she hands me the phone back and asks me if that’s okay. I look through the photographs; she’s taken six and my shoulder is in one of them. That’s it! Quite literally just my shoulder. So I tell her, “Oh you didn’t actually get me in the photograph, I want to be in it with the fountain behind me.” She asked me how to take a photograph again which I found really strange considering I took their picture with a smart phone, and they’re pretty much all the same now. So the same thing happens, she barely gets me in the photographs so I stand and explain to her for a second time how to do it and how I want it to look. Just as I’m about to go back to my spot and pose, an Australian guy comes over and taps me on the shoulder to tell me that his niece might be able to take a photo for me instead. I said to him “If this doesn’t work out again, I’ll be right over.” Yes, I was right over. Her photographs were terrible, so I really hope she wasn’t trying to make any lasting memories with the photographs she was taking for herself. I go over to this man’s niece and ask her, she must have been about fourteen and I said “I’m assuming you know how to work this yeah?” so she laughed and said yes, so I handed her the camera, and she took a really lovely photo. This is the only time I asked someone else to take my photo because I didn’t want the hassle of the first woman to happen anytime I asked someone.

20161210_140439(The ice-cream never disappointed.)

 

Pizza and ice-cream were consumed the most.

When in Rome, right? I wasn’t plant based back in December so my typical day was ice-cream and a cup of tea for lunch and a pizza for dinner. If I had have been there for a month, yes I probably would have got sick of it but I was only there for a few days so it wasn’t all bad. It’s not the greatest diet in the world I’ll admit but I was walking a lot so I was walking some of it off at least!

20161212_160158(I got this particular pizza in the cutest little Italian quite close to the Colosseum.)

Gluten Free was easier than I thought.

In the country of bread and pasta I was worried I wouldn’t find a lot of places to eat but I was pleasantly surprised, they catered very well to gluten free and the majority of places had it on their menus without having to ask them. There was one pizza places I went to, I got lost trying to find somewhere else and I stumbled across it so I went and had a look. All their seating was outside and there were a few men in their mid-forties standing about so I sat down anyway and ordered, made sure I said gluten free quite a few times and the guy said that was fine. Another guy came and sat some bread down beside me and said “Free bread with your dinner” so I asked him if it was gluten free but after saying it a few times, he called over the guy who had served me and I asked him if it was gluten free. “Yes, yes, it’s free!” This was when I started to get worried. “No, no, is it gluten free?” He seemed confused and proceeded to tell me that it was free. I tried again and the same thing happened so I said “Okay great, thank you!” I moved the bread across the table and about two minutes later, my pizza arrived. I never had a bad pizza in Italy, I’ll give them that but here I was still concerned if it was gluten free. Thankfully afterwards, I had no symptoms or signs that it had gluten in it so I was very pleased. The guy who served me came back and pointed to the bread and said “Do you not want the free bread? Eat it, it’s free!” I politely declined and said that I was full from the pizza. Apart from that one experience, everywhere else I got served were fantastic.

IMG_8922.JPG(One of my favourite midshots of the Fontana del Tritone.)

 

I went on a social media break.

This was a very conscious decision and I’m glad I did it. Only my close friends and family knew I was going away, I didn’t post about it on my social media and I didn’t mention it on my blog. I still took photographs of places, myself and food to use later on (and more importantly, to keep for myself) but I didn’t want to be living on social media when I was there. I wanted to take in the sights, I didn’t want to have to worry about hashtags or updating everyone on the exact location I was. I know you never have to do that but this was such a new experience to me that I wanted to embrace it for all it was worth.

Thank you so much for reading Part One of my Rome trip! Part Two will be up next Friday so when it’s up, I’ll link it right here ❤

SS: Sunday Saves (#53)

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Happy Bank Holiday weekend everyone! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far!  I’m back with another Sunday Saves this morning and again, just like last week, there’s no certain theme this week so I’ll be talking about handling stress, body issues and bath ballistics!

1) Not Copper Amour (Ways To Save A Stressful Day)

We’re always talking about stress, and rightly so, stress is more prevalent than ever so that’s why Emma has a wonderful blog post on how to manage this stress. Out of her list, I 100% agree with making time to eat; I love planning out a big meal and savouring it, it’s so relaxing. Physical exercise is another big way to combat stress that I couldn’t agree more with, especially when I’m in a big mood. There’s nothing better than taking your stress out on a weights sessions or even on the bike. However, cuddling up in your PJ’s with tea and chocolate works just as well for me sometimes too.

2) Surangi Style (My Body Shame)

Nital tells her story of how she currently feels about her body and you have to respect anyone who talks about their body, in a positive or a negative way, because body image is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. I feel like I’m on a similar path as Nital when it comes to recent body issues, so I can relate to her worries especially about buying new clothes and some of the food aspects, but more so clothing wise.

3) Desperately Seeking Lifestyle (LUSH of the Month – April – Yoga Bath Bomb)

LUSH is one of my favourite shops of all time! (Not a joke.) And unsurprisingly, I have tried the Yoga Bath Bomb but I love how much detail Ellie goes into from the scent, the appearance and she even lists all the ingredients so you don’t have to go to the website to find them out. If you’re looking for an in-depth look, Ellie has you covered.

That’s all for this week’s Sunday Saves! Thank you so much for reading and if you have any blog recommendations, please tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake or leave me a comment below.

SS: Sunday Saves (#40)

sunday-saves

Happy Sunday and welcome back to my Sunday Saves! How is it that I’m on my 40th edition of this series AND it’s the middle of February? Time flies when you’re having fun! So if you’re not sure what my Sunday Saves is, it’s a series that I write (almost) every Sunday featuring three blog posts or YouTube videos that I have loved that week. They could be new that week or they could be a year old but I’ve found them that particular week. If you’ve missed any of my other Sunday Saves, you can click here to read them all.

This week I’ll be looking at finding friends online, the story behind one woman’s pregnancy and how to help social anxiety.

1. Hello Sara Lou (Internet Friends)

Reading Sara’s post, I think a lot of us are in her position. We don’t carry many friends on from high school; sometimes that’s a conscious decision and other times people just drift apart. For me, it was a little mix of both. I cut a few people out of my life after high school because I decided I couldn’t be around a negative energy anymore and I just drifted away from others unintentionally. I still talk to a few of my friends from school but it’s maybe once every few years. The online world has been such a huge part of my growth, friendship wise and Twitter has been one of those saints when it comes to friends. I became part of the ‘Community’ community of Twitter and then when I started blogging, I got introduced to a new community, so it’s really lovely to always have people to chat to. I have the same belief as Sara that your online friends can mean just as much as those you know on the outside and I love having that balance between both.

2. Love Libby (Being Pregnant at 19 & Dealing With Miscarriage | TMI Tuesday)

I don’t think I’ve ever cried at a blog post before, not until Libby’s post about her story. She talks in detail about finding out she was pregnant and talks you through their journey up until the very end. It was such a touching post to read a different perspective of pregnancy because not a lot of women talk about miscarriage so in depth so it was a lovely but upsetting read, just have your tissues at the ready.

3. Jessica Leigh CBT (3 Steps for Overcoming Anxiety)

Social Anxiety is something that is becoming more talked about and I couldn’t be happier about it. Not because it’s a nice thing to happen, believe me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you aren’t in control of your own emotions in a social situation but it’s more to do with the fact that more people are coming out and saying that they are having the same problem. I’m very lucky that I started seeking counselling to help me deal with a number of issues including social anxiety and Jessica has been my counsellor to help me through the barriers I’ve faced recently. We have used these tips in some of our sessions so I can tell you that they have thoroughly helped me through some of my socially anxious moments. It’s not complicated, it’s all about talking to yourself like you would a friend and guiding yourself through a situation (before, during and after) and reevaluating your thoughts on that particular social situation. If you’re struggling with an issue like social anxiety, I’d highly recommend Jessica’s tips.

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That’s all for today’s Sunday Saves! Remember to click on all the links I shared today and if you like them, share them too. You never know who might need to read them right now.

Travel Tips: Part Two

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Welcome to Part Two of my Travel Tips! If you haven’t seen Part One, you can find them right here. And as always, I’d love some feedback on these tips, so if you have any that I missed out on or if you think mine are totally out of wack, tell me!

6. Don’t over pack!

This is something that EVERYONE does, and it’s natural. Totally natural. I feel like I surprised myself with this trip; I packed two pairs of jeans, two jumpers, two t-shirts and I bought one t-shirt when I was there. For a two week holiday, that’s not a lot and it really paid off. Our bag was still full to the brim, but that wasn’t due to my clothes. It doesn’t just include clothes; I took minimal make-up, I tried minimise my skin care as much as possible, but I still learned that I didn’t need that pair of Converse shoes, I was going to be walking every day, all I needed were my walking boots.

7. Bring back non-souvenir memories.

I’ll get onto souvenirs in a minute but if you get a business card from a cafe you really like, or you took a bus tour and it shows you a little map of where you went, those are probably even more important than buying a postcard of the city that you can frame when you come home. My boyfriend and I had loads of little memories like that (that we put in our memory box), so even though I did post a lot on Instagram, I can still look at that receipt from a little place we went to, even though I didn’t give it an on-line presence as such.

8. And yes, bring back souvenirs.

We brought our parents back some Russian dolls, and we brought ourselves back a little teddy bear that says “I heart Finland”, I think souvenirs are something that you can keep forever, so we have our little teddy bear over in the corner of our bedroom and it still gives me that warm fuzzy feeling seeing it. Yes, you went on the trip and you seen these amazing places and experienced another part of the world (Whether that be ten miles down the road from your house or ten thousand miles away, it’s still a different part of the world) but I’m a memory girl, who likes memories like teddy bears for me to make pass on in the future. It’s just a really nice idea.

9. Be patient.

Especially if you’re going to a foreign country where English isn’t their first language; even if they have limited English, they are still trying their best to communicate with you. I even found this difficult myself when someone didn’t understand me the first, second or the third time, but you have to remember they are trying their best and they don’t mean any harm when there is that miscommunication.

10. Try new things!

You might be one of those people who likes to have their fish and chips when they’re on holiday, and seeing food on the menu that they aren’t too sure about can be quite intimidating. But look at it this way, you’re on holiday either to a place you’ve been before or a place that you’re exploring for the first time. Try out that vegetarian salad bar with all the vegetables in the world or try out that dessert that you haven’t seen on a menu back home.

I don’t just mean food though. Okay, so maybe you don’t go to museums when you’re at home or you walk past a park every day back home but it’s “just a park”, go into it when you’re away. Go to that history museum, go to that park, because I’ve found about going to these places when I was away, that it made me want to explore more when I got home. I want to go to more of the parks in Belfast, I want to try out the Belfast Bikes sometime, I want to be more adventurous in restaurants (as long as I can with my intolerances of course!), those experiences don’t just last on holiday, they can be a real foundation for you when you jump back into reality when you come home too.

Thanks for reading my Travel Tips! And remember, if you think I’ve missed any out, let me know, I’m always on the look out for new travel tips.

SS: Sunday Saves (#4)

These weeks are just flying too fast for me! It’s the fourth Sunday Save already, and this week I’ll be talking about new hobbies,

1. Tatiannica (New Hobbies To Start This Spring)

I’m one of these people that loves the idea of starting a new hobbie even though I feel like I don’t have enough time for hobbies that I already have, never mind a new one. Tatiana done a lovely post on some ideas for new hobbies you can start this Spring and Summer. I was particularly interested in the knitting and the reading. Knitting; because I can actually knit but I want to knit more and be able to create more advanced things and reading; because I’m making it my mission, not just for the Summer but for good, to read more. I think it’s important to expand your reading, whether that’s just with newspapers, or young adult books or autobiographies, all reading counts in my ideas. Tatiana’s ideas are really simple but really lovely, so I think they could inspire you just a little.

2. Hello Hustle (8 Travel Tips To Help You Get #VacayReady)

I’m off to Finland next Sunday so I’m sure I’ll be reading lots of blogs about travelling and travel tips but I thought this was a nice simple post on travelling tips and what to remember. I always get so scared that I’ll forget something even though, let’s be honest, I can buy my socks or a nice t-shirt over there. I can imagine many lists will be made this week about what I need to take, what I can’t forget, what I want to see and most importantly, where are the gluten free and vegan restaurants.

3. Marvel Steph (Getting Through Self Doubt)

We all have those days. Whether it’s work, our blogs, our relationships, our hobbies; sometimes in the back of our minds we’re thinking, can I actually do this? It’s completely normal to have self doubt and it’s okay too. What’s not okay is believing you can’t do something. That’s why posts like Steph’s are around to give us little tips in how to believe in ourselves more. I struggle with the first point “Remind yourself why you started”. I don’t know why I started blogging. I liked the idea of it and I’m not one of those people that seen blogs and thought, “Oh money maker!”. But surely if I started a blog, why wouldn’t I want it to go somewhere? Again, self doubt. I sometimes tend to be a negative person but I think once I gradually change that side of my attitude, then the self doubt side will slowly move away too.