What to do When you have Itchy Feet…

If you read my blog regularly (thank you!) then you will know how much I love traveling and how I am always dreaming about new places I want to visit and discover.  Apart from fashion, traveling is my favorite thing to do with my time and I have invested so much time and energy into taking big trips and seeing the world.  That’s because traveling inspires me, the discovery and new experiences it brings helps me to grow and change the way I see the world and it makes me feel happy and excited about life.  I honestly feel so lucky for all the incredible places I have visited so far and I can’t wait for all the future trips I plan on taking.

Right now we are starting to research for our summer trip and we are thinking Colombia in South America!  So I have been reading a lot of travel guides and searching travel blogs for tips about top places to visit in Colombia.  All this makes me super excited because Colombia sounds amazing!  And it also brings back beautiful memories of my gap year traveling around South America! But it is also giving me pretty itchy feet and making me yearn for my South American travels right now.

I am lucky because it will only be about ten weeks until we take our summer trip but I know there have been times when there have been no trips on the horizon and my life has been consumed by day to day things and working.  And in times like this its easy to feel like travel is far away and out of sync with your lifestyle.  So today I wanted to share with you my five easy ideas to do when you have itchy feet and how to bring adventure into your life when you can’t travel anywhere.

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Research.

Even if you don’t have any trips coming up in the immediate future always keep yourself open to the idea of traveling by doing research.  Read travel magazines and blogs, save and rip out articles of places you want to visit, make a Pinterest Board of travel ideas or make a travel book of places you dream of visiting.  Keeping you travel dreams in mind increase the chances of you actually making them a reality and gives you things to feel excited for in the future.

Inspire Yourself.

Search for new sources of inspiration by watching travel documentary’s, reading magazines like National Geographic, visiting photography and anthropology exhibitions, reading travel books and journals and watching adventure films.  Following the adventures of others will open you mind and bring you inspiration for exciting things you can to do in the future.

Embrace Your Local Scene.

Find out what exciting things your local scene has to offer and make an effort to visit them in your free time.  If you are really busy dedicate one day a month to having fun and take off for an adventure in your city or local area.  Visit museum or exhibitions, soak up the culture in another near-by town, go hiking or cycling and explore the countryside or check out local festivals and events.  You may be surprised how much your area has to offer and it will give you appreciation of the amazing place you live in.  To find out about whats going on check Trip Advisors of your town, blog posts, facebook events and local magazines and newspapers.

Push Yourself to Try New Things.

Create adventure in your day to day life by pushing yourself to try new things and create new experiences.  Eat out at new restaurants, take some fun classes, try new sports, experiment with cooking exotic foods, visit parts of your city you haven’t seen before.  Including new things in your life keeps you feeling inspired and energized, helps you learn and grow and can even open doors to new opportunities and introduce you to new people.

Get Creative.

Remember and feel gratitude for all the amazing trips you have always taking by finding creative ways to honor them.  Create scrap books or your trips or make a photo wall in your home showing all your favorite trips and experiences.  Honoring your past travels in this way will help to keep them alive and fill your life with positivity and achievement.

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How to Live Like a Milanese…

I have been living in Milan for nearly three years now, and although England is definitely still my home, I find it amazing to see how settled and homely Milan feels to me now.  I really noticed it on my recent trip home last month.  I was so excited to go home and had such strong feelings of being home when I arrived, but then when I got back to Milan a week later it felt like I was coming home too.  I found it so interested how both places can feel like home to me but in two very different ways, and it made me happy to think Milan has become my home away from home.

I started to think about all the little personalities traits and Milan-isms this city has for me that makes it different from home.  And though I am definitely still 100% English, I have noticed myself picking up on them and how they have become normal for me.  It reminds me how no two countries or even cities are the same which is why traveling is so exciting and eye opening for me.

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(Photo from Pinterest.com)

Here are some of the things that make up the personality of Milan for me…

Saying Ciao A Lot.   Especially when speaking on the telephone, which Italians love to do.  When you want to end the conversation you have to say Ciao Ciao Ciao and then they say Ciao Ciao Ciao and it goes on for a little while.

Taking Regular Espresso Breaks.  Italians go for espresso several times a day and there are so many coffee shops all over Milan.  You order and drink it standing at the bar and are in and out really fast.  It’s a great pick me up when you are on the run.  Normally there are lots of people bustling to get to the front but the coffee people always seem to know who’s drink is who’s!

Becoming a Regular at Your Favorite Cafe or Restaurant.  If you keep going back to the same place and they get to know you they will greet you like family, bring you things to try from the kitchen and make you feel so welcome every time you stop by.

Having Good Shoes and Handbags is Essential.  Milanese girls always have beautiful shoes and handbags made of high quality leather.  Its a great way to transform a basic outfit into something elegant and chic.

Skipping Happy Hour For Aperitivo Instead.  Nearly every bar in Milan does Aperitvo in the evenings and its so good.  Order a Spritz or Prosecco and get served yummy snacks of olives, cheeses, salads, pasta and savory pastries with your drinks.

The Rules are Made to be Broken.  Italians follow the rules up until a point but they are very comfortable bending them when they need to and are totally fine with you doing the same.  Need to park in the middle of the road while you run into a store to pick something up – no problem.  Don’t have time to buy a ticket before you jump on the train – no problem.  Just flash them a smile and its always fine.

Dressing Stylish is a Priority.  In Milan everyone loves fashion and being stylish and chic is a major priority.  I love it because everyone of all generations always looks beautiful and you can get so much style inspiration from the people you see on the streets.

Taking your Dog Everywhere.  Milanese people love dogs and they bring there little dogs out with them everywhere they go.  In restaurants, cafes, on the trams – once I even saw people bringing their dogs around Ikea!!

Sushi is Everyone’s Favorite International Food.  Italians are really proud of their heritage and their food and don’t often eat the food of other cultures.  However the exception to this in Milan is Sushi which everyone loves and there are sushi places all over the city.

Picking up on these things makes me feel like I am starting to live a little more like the Milanese and makes me so happy Milan has become my second home.

What are your favorite differences about living abroad? Let me know in the comments below…

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How to Create a Home When you Love Travelling…

As you will well know if you have been reading my blog for a while – I love to travel! Along with fashion it is one of my favorite things.  Before starting university I took a year out with my best friends and traveled South America, Australia and part of Asia.  During summer breaks at university I traveled to Morocco and more of South East Asia and I also studied in Italy.  All of these experiences have been incredible and have shaped who I am as a person and I feel really lucky to have already experienced so much in my life.

Now I live in Milan, Italy – where I moved nearly three years ago.  This experience is a little different from my other travels because I am based in one place and hold down a normal (ish) job.  I still have the adventure of traveling but I am also building a life and a home here and developing my career.  As much as I like to find excitement in taking trips and visiting new places I also love how much I feel at home in Milan.  And I love the beautiful apartment that we live in and are redecorating to make our own.  Maybe we wont be here forever, we might move back to England or move to somewhere completely new, but the more I travel the more I believe it’s important to have somewhere that feels like home to come back to.  Somewhere that leaves me feeling balanced and relaxed and where I can recharge before my next big adventure.  So in today’s post I want to share with you five tips for creating a home when you love to travel…

Display Photos & Souvenirs taken from your Adventures.  These will serve as visual reminders of all the amazing adventures you have already had and make your home feel rich with memories.

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Buy Cushions, Throws & Fabrics on your Travels to Decorate your House.  Whenever I travel to a new place I always look for traditional, ethnic fabrics to buy and place around my house.  We have cushions on our sofa from Sri Lanka and throws on the beds from Costa Rica.  We mixed these with more minimal, neutral items to create colorful focus pieces that remind us of our travels.

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Bring the Things from Home you Care About.  Moving to another country normally involves cramming everything you own into one suitcase and means anything ‘non-essential’ needs to be left behind. But try to make room for a few of the things you really care about – like old photographs, letters from friends or jewellery & trinkets from family.  Having these things close to hand in your new space will make you feel comforted and create a feeling of being home.

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Include Some Inspiration.  Think about what you dream of achieving in your life and fill your home with items that align with that.  My home is filled with travel guides and maps to plan my next adventures and photography & fashion books so I can always find inspiration close by.

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Fill your Home with Love & Happiness.  Don’t just see your house as a go-to base in between trips or as somewhere you are only staying for the duration of your trip.  Fill your home with love & happiness and create positive memories there too.  Play music, cook tasty food, burn beautiful smelling candles, buy fresh flowers and invite friends over for dinners and parties.  All these things will bring life and love into your home so your adventures continue even when you are not traveling.

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(all photos taken from pinterest.com)

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Why Traveling is Good for the Soul

Hello friends,

I hope you are all great after an amazing Easter weekend!

We had a really great time and five amazing days visiting my family in England! Even though I was technically going home, the whole weekend felt like a holiday.  I felt so excited all last week in the build up to going away and it was amazing to have long, fun filled days together without having to think about responsibilities or work.  We went out for lunch, watched the rugby with friends, ate amazing food, caught up with family at our big party on Easter Sunday and had long walks in the countryside.  It was so much fun!

And it reminded me of the main reason I love traveling – because it is good for the soul!  Having a packed out work schedule, a long to-do list and a whole load of boring responsibilities can sometimes mean we get stuck in the day to day stuff and forgot to make the most out of life.  Having an exceptional and beautiful life is something I am always working for and traveling reminds me of how important that is.  So just in case you needed a little reminder or wanted some inspiration to go traveling, here is my list of why traveling is good for the soul…

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(sigiriya – sri lanka – summer 2015)

Traveling opens your mind to new cultures, ideas and ways of thinking.

It allows you to build amazing memories with new people and places.

Traveling gives you the freedom to make the most of every opportunity and fill your day with exciting new experiences.

It can push you out of your comfort zone, boost your confidence and help you discover all the amazing things you can achieve.

With all the incredible experiences and challenges you are faced with, traveling helps you to get prospective and give you inspiration on the kind of life you want to live.

Traveling teaches you to live in the moment, enjoy every experience to its fullest and let go of negativity from the past.

Traveling lets you chill out and take a break from our crazy, fast paced lives…

which can give you the head space you need to reflect on your life and feel inspired to make some positive changes for the future.

And it teaches you to trust your instincts, your ability and your ambitions and goals, which leads to a full and happy life.

I decided pretty early on that I wanted my life to be adventurous, beautiful, exciting and interesting and traveling is one of my favorite ways to do that.  I hope it does the same for you!

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Staying Chic on a 15 Hour Flight…

When flying to Sri Lanka we were in transit for 15 hours! That is a mix of flight time and waiting in airports because there was unfortunately no direct flights from Milan. We were in a similar situation last year with our flight to Costa Rica and when we finally arrived at our destination, it took me several days and a lot of strange sleeping patterns to feel normal again. So this year I decided to be prepared and make an emergency beauty plan to bring with me on the plane to feel more healthy when we arrive.

In case you have some long-haul flights scheduled this summer too I have shared it with you here – I hope it can help.

Staying Chic on a 15 Hour Flight

– Stay hydrated. Drink as much water as possible, and then drink more! And avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks which are dehydrating.

– Bring healthy snacks with you on the plane to eat when you get hungry mid-flight to help you avoid the salty junk food that is available. Ideas could be fruit, raw veg sticks like carrot/ celery/ cucumber, nuts and seeds or granola bars.

– Pack some relaxation teas. If like me your are scared of flying, it’s good to have something comforting to keep you relaxed and de-stressed. I love this Relaxation Tea from Pukka.

– Look after your skin. The night before your flight do a hydrating facial so your skin is in tip-top condition.  Once on the flight I like to remove my make up so my skin can breath. I pack a mini cleanser and moisteriser and regularly apply them to keep my skin hydrated during the flight.

– Apply Hydration Gel to your under-eyes. Again do this regularly. For long flights I love Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels from Skyn Iceland. Just stick the patches under your eyes for ten minutes and let them work their magic.

– Keep your lips and hands soft too by bringing a lip butter and soft hand cream. If you don’t think you have enough space in your bag for everything, transfer the products into mini-bottles so you only carry on the flight what you need.

– Bring a sleep mask to block out the light so you can get some proper sleep. Try to keep you body insync with your timezones. If are travelling at night try to get a full nights sleep, if you are travelling in the day try and stay awake with a few little naps if you need. You can sleep in the evening when you arrive at your destination.

– Pack fresh clothes. By the end of your flight you will be grateful for something fresh to wear. I always change just before the flight lands so I arrive at my destination feeling renewed. At this point I also reapply my make up and spray on some perfume. If you don’t have space in your hand luggage for a whole new outfit bring the essentials like a new top.

Do you have any tips for long-haul flight? Let me know in the comments below…

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The Positives & Negatives to Building your Fashion Career Abroad

I recently took part in an interview for my former university magazine about what it is like building my fashion career while living abroad.  The reason I took part in the interview was because moving to Italy (and the extensive travelling I did before university) are some of the most important experiences I have had and have helped to shape me as a person.  I hoped that by speaking about my positive experience it would encourage anyone considering studying or working abroad to pursue their dream, because it really can lead you to wonderful places.  In the interview I spoke a lot about how studying abroad and afterwards moving abroad to pursue a career in fashion has changed my life and led to so many positive developments, both professionally and personally.

With this in mind I have decided to include on here a list of the positives and negatives of living and working abroad to give more advise to anyone who is thinking about making the jump.  In regards to the ‘negatives’ section, I have included this because I think it is important to give a balanced description of what to expect when moving abroad.  Generally my experience here has been incredible, but it isn’t always sunshine and fun, and so I think it is important to be real.  I hope you find it helpful, and if you want anymore advise about building your fashion career abroad, please get in touch in the comment below!

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(photo taken from pinterest.com)

Positives

  • You can travel the world while building for your future.  Living abroad allows me to experience life in a different culture, learn languages, try new food, see new places and meet amazing people.  But unlike when I was backpacking in South America, I am also working everyday which means I am gaining invaluable experience as a Fashion Stylist, building my professional network and increasing my Styling portfolio.  These are things that will help me in my future even if I decide to move back home.
  • It can take you in any direction. When I moved back to Milan after university I knew I wanted to work in Fashion but I was torn between two area to specialise in.  I arranged a meeting with an international Stylist to ask advise about breaking into the industry in Milan, one thing led to another, and I now work in Styling .  It was something I was always considering, but following this career path was the best decision I could have made.  I now spend everyday doing a job I feel extremely passionate about and love every minuet of.  It was moving to Milan that allowed me to follow this, so you never know what opportunities might present themselves for you.
  • Provides inspiration and develops creativity. Working in a different culture exposes me to different working styles and ways to be creative.  It has also introduced me to many fashion brands, Italian style, photographers, artists, architecture, exhibitions and culture.  All these things combine to provide me with new kinds of inspiration which develop my ideas and direction as a Stylist.
  • When you have to travel for work, you also discover beautiful new places.  On a few occasions I have been lucky enough to travel to locations for photo shoots. In the last year I have been to Venice, Cortina and rural Liguria for shoots and so, as well as doing my job, I have also been able to explore more of Italy.
  • In your free time you get to be a tourist.  When I am not working I use my free time to explore Milan, visit the sights and museums, try new food and study Italian.  Its like being a tourist but its also my home.

Negatives

  • The language barrier can sometimes be tough.   I arrived in Italy speaking only a little bit of Italian, so when I first started working it could be REALLY hard.  Not only do I work flat out but also in a language that isn’t my own, which can be confusing/exhausting.  I still have a long way to go with my Italian, but as I have improved, work has gotten easier.  You just need to be prepared to work harder than those who are native speakers.
  • Be prepared to work twice as hard to establish yourself.  Being foreign sometimes does make it hard for me to establish myself.  I don’t have all my contacts I made at university, I am speaking in a different language and I am new to the culture.  For me, thats fine because i love to be challenged and I love seeing the positive results of my hard work, but be prepared to work twice as hard at everything than you would if you were at home.
  • You leave your friends and family at home and it can be hard to meet new people.  Especially in Milan, a city where everyone is trying to make it, it can be hard to meet people and make friends.  Lucky for me I have made some amazing and welcoming friends here and make the effort to see my friends and family at home as much as I can.  But at the start it could be hard.  You just have to get yourself out there, join clubs & groups and speak to people even if it seems a bit scary at first!

But really, if you are thinking about moving abroad to work, whether in fashion or another industry, just go for it! For me the positives have always outweighed the negatives and working as a Fashion Stylist and living in Milan is one of the best experiences I have had.

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How to explore a European city when you visit for work…

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(Photo from Pinterest.com)

Last week I was lucky enough to be sent to Amsterdam to assist with the prep work for an upcoming campaign shoot.  The project was very nice and it was my first time working with this client so I was excited for the new experience with them and to see what I could learn.  At the same time I was also really looking forward to visiting a new city.
I have done quite a lot of travelling during my university years and think I am quite good at exploring new places and making the most of my time there.  Saying that, this trip was only my second time travelling for work, a totally different experience from my backpacking trips.

Since Amsterdam is a European city that has always been high on my travel bucket list I wanted to make sure I made the most of my visit while also being super focussed on work.  I came up with these ideas to make my stay amazing and productive and thought I would share them with you guys to.  Hopefully they are helpful next time you are away for work…

1. Research the city’s top sites before you go and decide upon one or two things you really want to see.  For me if was the Nine Streets (nine little streets filled with cool boutique shops) which I managed to explore on my last afternoon before my flight home.

2. Make the most of your evenings.  I wanted an early night so I was fresh for the next mornings work but I tried to do one nice thing each evening for an hour.  Explore the shops, find a local restaurant, stroll around a nice neighborhood… its surprising how much you can see and learn about the city.  Plus its a good way to wind down after a jam-packed day!

3. Check out the closing times.  Lots of the tourist sites and museums will have one day they stay open late.  For example in Amsterdam the Anne Frank House is open till 9pm on Fridays.  Visiting in the evening could be a great way to squeeze in that sight you really wanted to see after you’ve finished your days work.

4. Get active and explore the city. Cycle, walk around, go running, just be active and move.  As I was in Amsterdam I had a bike to travel around on and I enjoyed waking up early and going for a bike ride before work or taking a detour on my way back to the hotel to see something new.

5. Try some new food.  Part of learning about a new culture is trying their food.  Even if you schedule is crazy and you don’t have time for my other ideas you can still try some local food at dinner each evening or something tasty for breakfast. I tried cinnamon waffles and ate lots of pumpkin soup, it was yum!

I hope my tips make your next trip amazing.

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