Author: A Girl Who Travels

Happiness the Lagom Way: The Art of Sustainable Happiness

Happiness the Lagom Way: The Art of Sustainable Happiness

I would often find myself wandering the streets of Stockholm feeling incomprehensibly happy. This wouldn’t happen on the sunniest of days or when I had a particular reason to feel this way. In fact, it could be pouring down, my umbrella twisting under the gushes of wind and my shoes soaking wet, and nothing could take away that feeling of being utterly happy and at peace. I’m not talking about an ecstatic kind of happiness that comes and goes like waves but rather, a sustainable sense of contentment that carries from day to day, regardless of what happens in a given moment.   You know that a place is made from a special kind of magic when you wake up happy just to be there. For me, Stockholm is my happy place but I wouldn’t find it if I hadn’t taken the time to understand that happiness can, in fact, be sustainable and cultivated one step at a time, as you go on about your day. But how do we achieve it? It’s not about being …

View from Observatorielunden, Stockholm best views

The Most Enchanting and Photo-worthy Places in Stockholm

There are places that you’ve never given much thought – sitting idly somewhere on the periphery of your mind, their existence acknowledged but never really explored further. Then, suddenly, they leave a mark so profound you can’t quite shake it off. That’s how my adventure with Stockholm began. I’ve always been fascinated with Scandinavia, but somehow that sentiment never quite extended to Stockholm. I’ve visited it over ten years ago on a rather dreadful January day, the hood of my puffa jacket sliding down my face as I tried navigating the streets, the snow melting on the pavements and slowly turning into grey mush. I neither liked it or disliked it but, having booked a flight to visit my family in Västerås in August this year, I decided to give Stockholm another try. It might’ve been that late summer feel that made all the difference – the warm light gently diffused by the clouds, illuminating the colourful buildings and sparkling in the water. Or perhaps it was me that was different. Either way, on the …

dmitri-popov-203436-unsplash

How to Save on Travel Money and Foreign Exchange Rates with Compare Holiday Money

I landed at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, the sound of hurried footsteps and excited conversations buzzing around my head like an insistent bee. Armed with two suitcases – one filled with gifts for my friend and the other carrying the usual travel stuff, I was meant to be on the train now, heading towards Shibuya. Instead, I was panic-calling my bank (a pleasure which, as I later found out, set me back nearly £40). My card got blocked just minutes earlier and with no cash on me, I was stranded in one of the world’s most expensive cities with no means of leaving the airport! My innate optimism clearly didn’t factor in technical difficulties. As the automatic voice on the other end of the phone kept re-assuring me that my call was important, I really wished I’d sorted out my holiday money in advance. The main reason I didn’t (except for never being one to plan ahead), was because it seemed like a hassle, and with exchange rate deals varying from store to store, taking …

Pena Palace Sintra, Portugal

Cascais and Surroundings: Portugal’s Modern-Day Fairytale

I bit into Pasteis de Cruz Alta, a dangerously delicious egg and almond pastry named after the highest point of the Sintra Mountains, and looked around in contentment. It was my second day in Portugal with Visit Cascais, and we were starting it off at Casa Piriquita – an unassuming, 19th C bakery perched alongside a steep street in downtown Sintra. Practically unchanged since the 1800s and decorated with azulejos, Piriquita’s been ran by the same family for five generations and remains one the town’s most popular breakfast spots. I later discovered that this mix of tradition and modernity is somewhat typical for the area — it’s as if Portugal found the way to seamlessly blend the past with its present-day identity. Take Pena Palace for example, only a short drive away from Sintra. Built on the remains of a former monastery, its colours bringing to mind the cheerful streets of Burano and Cape Town rather than your typical castle, Pena blends Manueline and Moorish traditions into a modern day fairytale. Visible from every part of the …

Paddle boarding with Original Wild, Bath

Exploring the Unexpected Side of Bath

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Bath? Based on the name alone, it’s the Roman baths of course, a great reminder that ever since AD43 Bath was a city made to enjoy. Then it’s the Georgian Bath. Strolling through the elegant streets of the Royal Crescent, almost as if wandering the pages of Jane Austen novels – the city’s most famous resident – is another picture that jumps to mind. But there’s yet another, slightly more unexpected side to the city – one you’ll find once you look beneath the historical heritage and focus on what Bath has to offer today. I boarded the train at Paddington on a particularly gorgeous, summer day. The sun was shining in a very un-London-like manner and, as the countryside landscapes blurred when the train picked up speed, I smiled at the thought of the adventures ahead.  Visit Bath has ever so kindly invited me to explore the unexpected side of the city and, remembering how much I loved it the first time I …

Desenio home decor

How to Invite Positivity and Happiness Into Your Space: My Collab with Desenio

One of the most wonderful things about travel is how much it teaches us about ourselves. Taking a break from your everyday routine and the usual distractions – the 7am alarm, the panic of the morning rush, is a perfect way to re-connect, gain a sense of distance, and remember what makes you happy. Even more importantly, it gives you the chance to remember how you want to feel. Chasing the feeling rather than a goal is the most natural way of not just finding your life’s calling, but pushing yourself towards what lights you up, and living a more meaningful, fulfilling life. Careful planning helps you move forward – listening to your feelings and taking small, daily steps to bring them into life will transform your reality. There a few things that make me happier than waking up to blue skies or strolling barefoot on the beach – to me, it’s not just about enjoying the moment – it’s about the feeling of freedom and awoken curiosity that come with it. Having set base …

The Rizt Restaurant London review

Feast on London at The Ritz: The Ultimate Dinner Indulgence

Call me a hedonist, but we all deserve to spoil ourselves once in a while. In fact, I’m a huge believer that adding a bit of quality ‘me time’ to your daily routine is an essential part of self-love. And there’s nothing that says self-love quite like amazing food! I love catching up with friends over a meal – it’s such a great way to slow down time and enjoy the moment, something that’s easy to forget when you live in a busy city like London. Sometimes, a luxury is just that – sharing a meal with the people who matter the most. But if we can add a bit of fanfare to the occasion then it’s a win-win! Having moved to London two and a half years ago, I soon learned that dining out (or grabbing one too many cheeky glasses of prosecco) can quickly add up to a small fortune, but there are many ways we can all enjoy a bit of affordable luxury in the capital. Bookatable’s Feast on London, which I’ve been …

Watergtae Bay hotel review, cornwall

Soul Cleansing by the Ocean: My Experience at Watergate Bay Hotel

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I declared October the month of self-care. Not in a hedonistic, self-pleasure seeking way, but rather one deriving from a sudden realisation, or a reminder rather, that self-love is where it all begins. I love to travel, inspire, and be a good friend but you can’t pour from an empty cup. As mine began dangerously nearing the bottom, I decided to fill it with love, care and kindness.   I took up yoga and meditation. Filled up my bedroom with crystals, plants, candles and books written by incredible women. As winter inevitably drew nearer, bringing gushes of rain and grey clouds over my East London home, I was determined to surround myself with light, even on the days when I didn’t quite feel like letting it in. Above all, however, I chose to begin every day by asking myself a simple yet potentially life-changing question: What is the kindest thing that I can do for myself today? It so happened that one particularly grey and uninspiring …

Parade Gardens Bath

Girls Getaway in Bath: Spa, Afternoon tea, Jane Austen and More

Our trip began at Paddington Station. Armed with much-needed coffee and smiling excitedly, bearing the usual signs of a girly trip away, my friend and I boarded the GWR train as the platform began filling up with the bustle of a morning rush – the smell of takeaway coffee, hurried footsteps and rushed conversations.   Just a few hours later we were in a taxi driving through quite a different world. One where Georgian townhouses hoover over the river banks as canal boats lazily pass by; where tea parlours and vintage jewellery stores line up the streets the same way they used to back in the 18th century, and airy squares complete with pretty parks add to the overall small town charm. Bath is a perfect place for a trip away. Famous for its natural hot springs (the only ones in the UK) and gorgeous 18th century architecture, the city has been the ultimate spa destination for hundreds of years, but there was one more reason behind our visit – Jane Austen’s bicentenary. UK’s most …

the best photography spots

The Best Photography Spots in Florence, Italy

I’ve recently got back from a trip to Florence where I used to live for nearly two years. The winding streets, gorgeous architecture and the amazing food culture stole my heart to a point where a three-day trip in 2013 ended up in me packing my bags and moving to the Tuscan capital.   What followed were quite possibly the two most charming years of my life. Waking up to the sound of church bells echoing across Piazza Santa Croce where my apartment neighboured a building once owned by Michelangelo’s family; coffee dates turning into wine-filled lunches, gorgeous sunsets over Ponte Vecchio… it was nothing short of magical, or at least it certainly seemed like it when I look at my Fiorentino life from a perspective. Returning to Florence after nearly two years away felt a bit like slipping on an old glove, the feeling of familiarity warm and comforting. But there was something else…a bittersweet strike of nostalgia hiding in every corner of Centro Storico. Being back was the perfect excuse to re-discover some of my favourite spots and, as I figured …