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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

This year I've flown with quite a few airlines that have been a first for me - if it's the cheapest by £100 on SkyScanner anything goes. Flying back and forth from uni a couple of times a year meant I was familiar with Easyjet, Monarch, Ryanair and British Airways - but since I've been travelling to a lot of other destinations recently I've also got to try Emirates, Air India and some other questionable ones that still managed to get us there in one piece. During our Easter trip, after a very bumpy journey with one airline my friend suggested - 'G you should make a blog post reviewing all the airlines you fly with.' So here I am finally following up on that. I can't recall exactly all of my experiences, so we'll kick things off with the airline I used for my trip to Bratislava last week. 


Airline | Ryanair

Trip: Malaga - Bratislava
Journey time: 3 hours
Cost: 60 euros return 
Hand-luggage allowance: You can bring your 10kg HL case and a handbag on the plane with you for an extra charge - if you purchase a standard ticket then your 10kg bag will be placed in the hold for free once you're boarding and you can only bring your hand bag on the plane with you. 

Comments: When Ryanair announced their new HL policy last year I was confused - did this mean we'd have to pay just to bring the suitcase with us? As someone who usually travels with hand luggage only this would have been annoying. But once discovering it just meant they put it in the hold for you it actually makes everything a bit easier, as everyone gets on the plane easier and you disembark quicker as well. There's obviously the annoying extra wait by the luggage belt instead of heading straight to arrivals but it's not a big deal. What is annoying about their refurbishment is that they no longer have pockets in front of your seat! Which means I have to balance all of my snacks on my lap when the tray is being occupied by my books and i-pad *first world problems*. 

As with all my lists, I will keep adding to this as I keep flying. I'd love to hear in the comments about some of the best airlines you've flown with (and your worst!). 




Saturday, 13 October 2018

Flashback to a couple of years back and I remember watching Eurotrip on TV and when they arrived in run down, scary, Bratislava I remember thinking 'god I am never going there'. Their bad rep didn't end there as they were also one of the locations chosen for Hostel (a film where tourists basically get butchered up). Our tour guide even told us that tourism to Slovakia even dropped 75% after this movie was released. After watching this I thought to myself, it can't actually be that bad, so I googled it and found that it was actually quite a beautiful place. So off I went to Skyscanner to check how much flights were, asked my gang who was up for a random trip to Bratislava and off we went. I think a weekend in Bratislava is a good amount of time as you can probably see everything you want to see in 2-3 days, we even managed to take a day trip to Vienna (although that you definitely can't achieve everything in a day). If you're looking for a cheap, wonderful weekend break then here's my guide to Bratislava, Slovakia.

tea with gi bratislava guide

Getting from Bratislava Airport to the Centre

Since there was 3 of us we got a transfer from ShuttleDirect and paid 5 euros each which took us from door to door and took around 15 minutes. A taxi outside the the airport will probably cost you a bit more, but from the centre to the airport we also paid 15 euros in total for a taxi.

Where to stay in Bratislava

Accommodation in Bratislava is relatively cheap, and we were pretty happy with our deal. We paid 70 euros each for a 3 night stay, in a 3 star hotel in the centre. The Elisabeth Old Town hotel is close to many cafes, Lidl and places of interest - including the Blue Church (perfect for Instagram). The rooms are simple but beds are comfy (with huge pillows), room was clean and the showers were powerful and hot. 


Breakfast | Urban House

If I lived in Bratislava, this would probably be where I'd meet up with my friends on a weekly basis. Clearly the locals thought so too because it was full of students and people working on their laptops. When we arrived we had just missed out on the breakfast menu so opted for something brunchy instead. I had rye bread with a beetroot spread and smoked salmon and my friends went for the avocado egg toast with roasted cashew nuts - both were equally delicious. Their gingerbread lattes were also a good shout.

urban house bratislava

AM | Tour the Old Town 

The beauty of smart phones is we no longer need to carry a compass and map around with us. It also means that you can take a self-guided tour of Bratislava via an app. This basically uses Maps on your phone (you don't need data running) and takes you to the main sites in the Old Town and explains to you what they mean so you're not just staring at a building thinking 'nice, what is it?'. If you'd rather just search things as you go - I definitely recommend seeing St Elisabeth Church (Blue Church), The Man at Work, Michael's Gate and Primate's Palace. Just walking around the town you'll see a lot of pretty streets to photograph and for a great background for the gram.

old town bratislava

Lunch | Verne

If you're looking for somewhere to try authentic Slovakian food at good prices (not tourist traps) then Verne is a good choice. A word of warning is that the staff here are not the friendliest, but if you just want somewhere to stop quickly for lunch then 'whatever dude no tip for you'. We had the Slovak goulash and to be honest, it was full of flavour but the presentation was eh, spaghetti hoops-esque. I think the Hungarian goulash would have been a better shout (judging by the guy's plate who was sat beside me). 

PM | Explore Bratislava castle

Described by many as 'an upside down table', Bratislava Castle was built in the 18th Century and was recently renovated. If you want to get some nice shots here try and get here before the sun goes down, but it also does give a lovely view of the city in the evening. You can roam around the outside of the castle and gardens for free but you'll have to pay to enter the actual castle.

Tea & Cake | Zeppelin 

It was meant to be tea and cake but then we were discussing how 3/4 of us had never had an Aperol Spritz - so it became Aperol Spritz & Cake time. As you can see from the photo there was a large selection of homemade cakes available. The oreo cheesecake was heavenly. 

zeppelin bratislava

Dinner | Bistro St Germain

We had originally planned to go for dinner at BeAbout because their burger selection looked awesome and only cost like 8 euros. Sadly, when we rang two hours earlier they were fully booked for the night, so it's clearly a popular Friday night destination (it is also close to the university). Instead, we stumbled upon Bistro St Germain and when we initially walked in we thought it looked hella fancy. It's a cute little place with nice lighting and bookshelves and the prices were actually pretty decent. We all had the bacon burger with blue cheese and I definitely recommend getting a side of chips (they're sort of thinly sliced potatoes on a stick) with parmesan and rosemary. There was also a rose wine that tasted like chocolate guys!!

If you're not ready for the night to end yet.....

As always, what's the best way to meet people when you're travelling? A pub crawl! We went with Be Free Tours* which took us through 2 bars and 2 clubs and included free welcome shots (I swear one of them was a mix of vodka and sambuca), 1 hour of unlimited beer in the first bar, drinking games and a girl handing you 'shots' of vodka redbull on the way to the next place. I, hate beer so opted for paying 3 euros for a glass of wine instead - even when it's free I couldn't do it. The music scene in Bratislava tends to range from commercial music and then moves towards 'Slovak rap' later in the evening. 

One of the bars was kind of a speak easy because it appeared to be a pretty chilled bar at the top and then downstairs there was the most up-beat, enthusiastic DJ I have ever seen! There was Las Ketchup, Ricky Martin, Venga Boys and then songs we'd never heard of in our lives. 'The Club' was the last place we made it to, and they played your usual throwbacks and danceable songs. If you want to join the pub crawl wristbands cost 12 euros. 


Breakfast | W Cafe or Cafe Mondieu 

We technically had 3 breakfasts in Bratislava, so for your second day I think both of these are good, but you'll also find there are plenty of cute and cosy coffee shops around the town.  W Cafe serves your basics - eggs benedict, cinnamon swirls, vanilla lattes etc. Cafe Mondieu on the other hand has about 20 different breakfast options. I had brioche french toast with berries, my friend had french toast with bacon and eggs and another went for a simple omelette. You'll actually find there are a couple of these bistros scattered around the town. 

cafe mondieu bratislava

AM | Head to the museums

I kindly received a Bratislava City Card* which gets you complimentary entrance to lots of museums, free access to the buses and trams, and a lot of other discounts. A gallery we enjoyed was the Slovak National Gallery which is free for everyone. There was an interesting room with paintings to portray 'Slovakian Fairytales'. Although some got a bit creepy looking.

If you want a little taste of New York in Bratislava then the Nedbalka Gallery* is often compared to the Guggenheim museum (probably because they both have the same white swirling architecture). If you're a fan of modern art then this is probably the best one in the city. There's 4 floors and each is dedicated to a different form of art work. A great feature I found from the museum is that they give you a tablet that allows you to take a photo of a painting and it then gives you a bit of bio of what the painting is about. Me and my friends played a fun game of 'let's guess what this painting means before we read it'. Entrance to the museum if 4 euros or free with your Bratislava Card. 

nedbalka gallery

Lunch: Slovak Pub

This is another place where you can try local foods at inexpensive prices - but it's a popular one so if you're going to go here for dinner I recommend you book in advance! I went all out and went for a 3 course slovakian meal - Kapustnica to start (sauerkraut soup with sausage), Haluski for main (gnocchi with sheeps cheese and bacon bits), and Apple Strudel for dessert - and I ate every last bite.

PM | Walking tour of Bratislava

The best way to cover most places and find out a bit of history, culture and recommendations from the area is to take a guided walking tour. I usually use Sandermans or BeFreeTours that both offer 'free' walking tours and are based on tips. All the tours I've done with them have been entertaining and keep you switched on. Our guide Juro told us about Slovakian traditions (some strange ones at that), taught us some Slovakian tongue twisters that I definitely can't repeat now, told us where to get the best wine food and drinks and of course gave us a bit of insight on Slovakia through the decades. He also spoke about Eurotrip and Hostel (yay) - and the fact that tourism to Bratislava dropped 75% after that movie!!

old town bratislava

Coffee & Cake | Cafe Mondieu

We had to come back here because we saw these chocolate fondue pots on the menu and our sweet tooth's couldn't leave without trying them. I basically got a tiny mug filled with white chocolate and strawberries and I was loving life. Of course with a vanilla latte on the side. 

cafe mondieu

Dinner | Grand Cru Wine Gallery

If you're looking for a more chilled evening drinking wine and reminiscing about your trip with your travel companions, then what better way to do it than sampling different Slovakian wines? This place is located near St Michael's Gate and is a great place for nibbles and well, wine. They mainly serve panini's and cheese and ham boards etc. 

Evening | Spooky Legends of Bratislava tour

So I think after a couple of glasses this makes for an entertaining way to finish your evening - we were very much in a state of 'what is he on about' half the time and if it was a tour that we had to pay 10 euros for we probably wouldn't rate it much, but this tour is also tip based. The tour guide was entertaining in that he got in to character, although he lost me a couple of times with his stories. 


The only thing we didn't really have time to see was Devin Castle as it was a bit further out from the centre. If you'd like to purchase tickets for other things to do in Bratislava then GetYourGuide is a good place for it. 

Have you ever been to Slovakia or heard much about it before? Would love to hear what you got up to if you have!



* I received some complimentary tickets and experiences whilst on my trip to Bratislava but all opinions and words are my own *

bratislava travel guide


Sunday, 30 September 2018

October means a number of things to me - sweater weather, spiced lattes, failing at carving pumpkins and an excuse to make everyone around me watch as many scary movies as possible. I still remember when I was like 10 I was secretly watching this vampire movie on TV and I was scared sh*tless for about a week. I've always loved horrors so I feel like I no longer have to run from point A to B in the house after watching one as it takes a lot more to scare me, I still fall for all the jump scares though.  If you're also a horror/thriller movie enthusiast, here's a Halloween movie for you to watch every day throughout October. 

tea with gi halloween movies

1. The Conjuring - paranormal investigators help a family get rid of a devil or some paranormal entity in their house.  
2. Sinister - about a house that convinces kids to murder their family in crazy ways and video tape it. 
3. When a Stranger Calls - teenage girl babysits rich kid in a big house in the middle of nowhere and gets a call that someone is in the house to kill her. 
4. The Craft - a cool group of witches doing witchy things. 
5. Veronica - not the ghost that haunted the girl's bathroom in middle school, but a girl who plays the Ouija board and summons an evil spirit into her home (in Spanish). 
6. The House at the End of the Street - Jennifer Lawrence moves to a small town and finds that an accident happened (in the house at the end of the street) and then befriends the only survivor (who's also very cute).
7. It Follows - A curse that gets passed on after you have sexual intercourse with someone - I feel like this movie was a metaphor for STIs.
8. The Babadook - A little boy is convinced the creepy thing in his book is haunting him at night (the boy was creepier in my opinion). 
9. The Orphan - family adopts a 'little orphan girl' who then appears to be more trouble and full of secrets than they expected.
10. Halloween - A man who goes on a killing spree on Halloween night. 
11. Hocus Pocus - the second best Halloween movie. 
12. Lights Out - sister tries to stop the supernatural spirit haunting her little brother that appears to be connected to their mother. 
13. Mother! - couple moves into a new home and then random guests keep appearing - this movie made me feel so uncomfortable/anxious I almost left the cinema. 
14. Berlin Syndrome - girl goes to Germany, has a one night stand and gets kidnapped by the hot German guy.
15. Gone - girl's sister goes missing and she's certain it's the guy who kidnapped her a few years ago who's come back for her sis but the police don't believe her. 
16. IT - creepy clown who takes kids. 
17. Before I Wake - whenever this boy has nightmares the 'monsters' he imagines come to life in the house (this also got really sad really quickly). 
18. Gothika - psychiatrist has an accident and ends up being put in the asylum as a patient because they think she's crazy. 
19. Truth or Dare - truth or dare but deadly. 
20. The Boy - A nanny babysitting a life-sized doll who then appears to be more real than fake. 
21. Get Out - an African-American guy visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, but then he starts to notice a lot of strange things happening around him. 
22. House of Wax - bunch of teenagers camp out near a house of wax and things get waxy - Paris Hilton is also in this. 
23. Don't Breathe - 3 teenagers try to rob a blind man but then get more than they bargained for. 
24. One Missed Call - people start receiving voice mails from their future selves with details of their death. 
25. Blair Witch Project - three film makers go to a forest to document the Blair Witch legend and then leave the footage behind. 
26. Hereditary - a girl gets her head chopped off when she's sticking her head out the window and then some shit happens and then the family starts getting haunted and dark secrets are revealed. 
27. The Witch - A family in 1630s New England and a girl who gets accused of being a witch and using dark magic.
28. The Purge - one night of the year in America where all crime is legal. 
29. The Visit - two teenagers go stay with their 'grandparents' for a week and things start to get really really weird. 
30. Hush - an intruder in a deaf girls house.
31. Halloween Town - the best Halloween movie of all time. If you've never heard of it it's a Disney movie about a half mortal girl who crosses into another realm (HalloweenTown) to help her witchy grandma save the town from something evil.

For more movie ideas you can head to my movie review list. What are some of your all time favourite scary movies? 


scary movies october


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

I want to start by saying to all my friends reading this, some of you may have inspired parts of this but I have also drawn from other experiences and exaggerated a bit for comedic effect, so please don't be offended (unless you think the shoe fits, kidding, kinda). I've had quite a few group trips over the last 2 years - including a press trip to India with 29 other bloggers, trips with my family, fast paced eurotrips with my best friends and even throwing my sister and two of my best friends (who barely knew each other at the time) in a group to go to Malta to fill our room of 4. They say you really get to know someone when you go on holiday with them, and I can safely say after returning I could have done with not seeing any of their faces for 2 weeks they all passed the test. Here's 6 types of people you're likely to travel with on holiday. 

malta tea with gi

1. The clip-board organiser. 

Ok so I'm not that exaggerated, I draw the line at google docs and spreadsheets. This is the person who knows what time you're sitting down to have tea and cake and how long it's going to take you to walk from your hotel to the breakfast bar (because that's already been decided too) and probably learnt a few phrases in Japanese just for the lols. It may sometimes feel like you're on a school trip with them, but at least you'll know you won't be leaving Paris without tasting the best croissants in the city, taking photos in the most beautiful spots and drinking in the best bars. 

2. The one who's just there to get drunk. 

This person probably had Magaluf on their list first but you guys negotiated and settled for Ibiza. A hike or an afternoon exploring museums is usually not on their agenda. They just want to know what the local beer is, what parties are on and the hotel room is mainly used for sleeping off hangovers. The great thing about them is that if none of you are particularly 'feeling it' they'll be there to hype you up until you are. 

3. The pensioner. 

You can usually identify this person when the majority of their vocab on the trip consists of 'I'm tired' 'what time are we going back to the room?' and usually wants to be back in bed by 9pm. To make sure this person goes the distance, make sure they drink a cup of coffee at every food break. This person is useful because often you're probably in need of a nap too so you just need to wait for them to suggest it. You'll also want to thank them for stopping you from staying out until 4am if you've got a flight to catch the next day. 

4. The one who doesn't even know what country you're in. 

This person likely said yes to the trip without even knowing where the hell on the map it is. They're easy to travel with in the sense that they're not fussy but maybe they wouldn't be the most ideal person to be lost in the middle of Athens with because they haven't been paying attention to anything the whole time. They probably trust you with your judgement and ideas which is good, but we all know collaboration is key! 

5. The one who's there to 'find themself'. 

This person is either well travelled or spent 2 weeks in Bali to figure out who they are and now thinks he's the healer of the world. Every trip with them turns into a deep conversation about the world and how we are all connected and life is beautiful. Or chances are, you probably meet them in a hostel or bar and they'll be sure to drop in how they climbed kilimanjaro and about the time they almost died from rabies. 

6. The Kardashian. 

If you really want this person to come along, then it's best to leave the airline you're flying with and hotel you're staying at until you land in the airport. The thought of staying at a hostel would repulse them, and the only type of street food they'd be fine with eating is bottled Fiji water from the machine. They probably have good taste though, so if you're looking to splurge on a fancy dinner one night they'll probably know where to look.  

7. The 'go with the flow-er'.

Probably the best and easiest person to travel with. This person is usually down for whatever - pub crawling in Prague, trying 3 course local foods, fine with walking 40 minutes to a restaurant that ends up being below average and then doesn't complain, sees the funny side when things go wrong and also offers to use their 3G to google map directions.

prague tea with gi

When you travel in a group sometimes it's hard for everyone to agree on everything - from who gets to sleep in what bed to what cuisine you're going to have for dinner. Even if you were to have every type of person above in one trip, the chances are all the little bumps you have will make for funny stories later - as long as you don't have more than one of each, then things mights get a bit tricky. 

What kind of traveller do you think you are? 


travel with on holiday


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