My friends, who had previously lived a couple a minutes away from my place, moved to Scotland in July and promptly booked a holiday for us all to reconnect with them and check out their new digs. I spent a night with them in Glasgow then we took a wee road trip to the Trossachs where we’d rented out a cottage for a few days of rest, relaxation, hiking and tons of board games. This absolutely fabulous holiday was not only an amazing way to reconnect with amazing humans, but it cost me less than £200 for a 4 night stay.
Loch Katrine a few minutes away from the cottage
Here’s the breakdown of the spending: Continue reading
I was lucky enough to take a city break in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. My mate’s a nanny and gets time off when her “family” is away. She happened to be going to Frankfurt so we tacked on our first visit to Berlin – a city that has been in the top 5 of my travel list for a few years now. Here’s a breakdown of what we did and how much the trip cost me.
The Berlin cathedral church which we learnt about on the Original ‘free’ walking tour
I rarely take more than a few days off at a time so when I travel for longer than a long weekend I like to maximise my time away. When I started planning my trip to Budapest, I had a look at the most interesting and easily accessible cities to it and settled on Vienna. It also happened to be on my must-see list so I was happy! Now you might recall that I splurged a little in Budapest so I needed to keep Vienna as frugal as possible. I had no idea where to start but got a good idea of prices and an itinerary from On the Luce’s “Visiting Vienna on a budget” article.
I’ve been buzzing this week about my 8 day long holiday – the longest time off I’ve had since last November – which I started in Budapest last weekend. I have no idea what I was expecting of Budapest but I didn’t expect it to be quite so
modern, western European, I don’t know. It seemed rather London-y. Maybe all of Europe is similar. It’s a city that’s been on my must-see list for years but I never quite got round to it until now and boy, was it worth the wait?!
Stunning Vajdahunyad castle within the City park
One of the highlights of my year is my trip to Paris with my football team. We take part in a weekend-long tournament that usually involves a lot of singing, dancing, drinking, playing football and generally having a blast. I suppose this weekend could rightly be compared to Spring break, a hen/stag do, or other such lads/ladies on tour situation. Last year, my Paris trip was the straw before the straw that broke the camel’s back. I somehow managed to spend three or four hundred pounds more than I planned to and it had the most disastrous impact on my financial situation.
View from Hotel de Ville
Early views for my 5.40am train
The fanciest registration venue ever for a football tournament
I like a good time. I like lush surroundings. Jet-setting. I like the flexibility of being able to change my train or plane tickets. Personal space. Comfort. Cool sheets. Temperature-controlled environments. I like fresh food. In-season produce. Fair-trade and organic food. I like durable clothes. Expensive shoes. The latest gadgets. Wonderful experiences. Unforgettable memories. Instagram-worthy photos. I love all of this but the thing is, I can’t afford it all. Continue reading
I came out of my hotel room and walked with swag to the hotel reception to checkout. I was proud of the fact that I’d come in massively within budget and had more than enough cash to settle the additional charges for my hotel room. The receptionist hands over my bill and all I can see is a bill for £1067(!) when I’d been expecting to pay for the one £23 breakfast buffet meal that I’d charged to my room. My eyes popped but I tried really quickly to cover the alarm bells. We usually get hotel bookings made centrally so that no one has to settle such huge bills on their personal cards but it appeared that someone had forgotten to do so. Continue reading
How many times have you thought about doing something, or read about someone else’s achievement, and thought “I want to do that, but I’ll do it one day”? I bet it happens a lot. I’d even bet that it’s happened once this week. With the number of things and people and skills I admire, I’d argue I experience this at least once a week. It’s otherwise known as the bucket list but I haven’t used that term because apparently that’s a millennial thing and apparently I’m not a millennial. Continue reading
*Which is not her real name
In the personal finance blogosphere, there is a general derision for any desire to keep up with the Joneses. We are encouraged to chart a different path, embrace different choices and follow the road less travelled. I’ve also recently read an article, possibly from the Our Next Life blog, about how this conversely sets a different kind of target. FIRE enthusiasts are keeping up with a different kind of Joneses (perhaps we should call them the Smiths who seem an altogether more frugal sort). This morning I saw a Facebook post. My friend Yoko is coming back to London after months of travelling. And it got me thinking. Whilst I might eschew living like most people, I definitely want to live like Yoko.
I’ve been trying to learn Italian for a few years. My first trip, after I’d got a graduate job and felt entitled to start seeing the world (in style), was to Rome. I went with a work friend and we picked Rome because at the time we were obsessed with Dan Brown books and Angels and Demons had just been released. We wanted to see all the places that were mentioned in the book plus who doesn’t love Italy? I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food, the ambience, the weather (in March), and most of all the language. I don’t think I made any serious efforts to learn how to speak though until 2009 when I met my kick-ass friend FL who I girl-crushed on and wanted to impress with my language skills. Continue reading