31 Jan 2017

Meat free January

I finally got my butt into gear last night and went and tried out a yoga class near my flat which was all sorts of dandy. BUT, I dunno what I did cos every time I laugh or cough my stomach is like ‘nah uh pal’. Omg so much ache.

Lol, my life is so exciting.

I think I might have mentioned somewhere around here that I was giving up meat in January, and now the end of the month is here already (what the heck?!), it’s time to reflect on how it went no?


Tbh, there wasn’t really one thing that prompted me to make the decision to stop with the meat. It had been growing for a while. I should say that, whilst I didn’t class myself as a veggie, for a while growing up, I was raised on a vegetarian diet. My step-dad was a vegetarian and my dad seemed to have a liking for quorn so, whilst I did still eat meat, whatever household I was in, we were often eating vegetarian options. I think it’s because of this that me and my sister have never been that bothered about meat. I do have a bit of a weakness for chorizo and I won’t pretend I haven’t loved a good old burger or bolognese in the past, but I’ve also been known to get strangely squeamish over meat, both when preparing it raw and when actually eating it. I’ve never been entirely sure where this stems from.

In the past few months, for whatever reason, that squeamishness started to get worse and I started to feel a bit... weird I guess, when eating meat.

And then I became hyper aware of the effects the industry has on the environment which is something that had passed me by until the last couple of years. My sister went vegan last year (told you she wasn’t fussed about meat) and her main motivation was due to the environmental impact so I learned a lot from her. Things like, if every person ate just ONE less meat-based meal a week, it’s the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars of the road. TEN THOUSAND. If we all just swapped for a veggie meal once a week! A vegan’s carbon footprint is EIGHTEEN TIMES LOWER than that of a meat eater. That. Is. Ridiculous.

I don’t want to start a big lecture here, you’re perfectly capable of doing the research, but I was shocked to discover facts like the ones above and I do think it’s time we stopped ignoring them, and discuss more. Particularly when there's a moronic president currently ignoring climate change.

Everyone is different. Some people are very much all-or-nothing. Some people can change to veganism over night. Other people, like myself, want to make a difference but I just know that if I tried the all-or-nothing style, I would fail within a week (mainly cos I love cheese...). But that doesn’t mean I can’t cut down on things and still make a difference. It’s unnecessary for us to mass produce certain foods on the scale we do and if the demand were to go down, so would the production.

So I decided to try it out. I wasn’t doing it just for January, but January was a trial period, to see how it went. I continued to eat a small amount of fish but stopped eating meat completely. I became a pescatarian, if we’re gonna get technical.

So, how’d it go?

Well... it was easy. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it was. I mean, because I wasn’t a huge meat fan anyway, I didn’t actually eat a lot of it in the first place so I guess it was easier for me, someone who naturally veers towards the veggie option, than it would be for someone who has meat in every meal. But, practically speaking, it isn’t remotely hard to be a vegetarian when cooking your own food.

The main thing to think about was the fact that G is a meat eater and continued to be so. Obviously we cook meals together so I thought there would be some impracticality but, again, I was surprised at how little there was. We had a few meals where there was both (i.e. he had meat sausages, I had veggie sausages), but otherwise G ended up eating a lot of veggie meals as well. I’d say I probably ate a bit more fish than I did before; in those times when throwing quorn chicken or tofu into a curry just wasn’t want I was digging - prawns it was. Mostly, when it was time for what would usually be a meat-based meal, I enjoyed no longer needing an excuse to raid the veggie section in the supermarket. Give me Tesco’s spicy Mexican bean burgers any day of the week. Those guys are just <3<3<3

Oh and I also discovered Jamie Oliver’s lentil bolognese which is ridiculously tasty. I’ve had it twice this week already.

 I noticed it most when I was in restaurants. Before, I would take in the whole menu, whereas now I have to specifically scan for the vegetarian stuff. It surprised me how many places still offer a poor selection of vegetarian options. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some places are great and it wasn’t like I was sat there with a side salad. But it did make me realise that a lot of my meat eating beforehand actually occurred when I was in a restaurant, probably from lack of choice.

On the plus side, the vegetarian options are usually cheaper.

The other thing that surprised me was people’s reactions. Some people didn’t really bat an eyelid, which is what I was expecting. It’s hardly a new concept. On the other hand, I had some friends who looked genuinely surprised, or even shocked, which bemused me. They didn’t seem to have a clue as to why I would give up meat and a lot of people still seemed unaware that the industry even has any effect on the environment, which was interesting. People also seemed to feel the need to talk about times when I had enjoyed meat in the past. Which was just a bit odd. I was never denying I’d eaten meat in the past... that’s kinda what I mean when I say I’m ‘giving it up’.

What did I miss?

This chorizo pasta dish, which is a favourite of mine. So surprisingly little. I realised that I would miss fish a lot more than meat if I gave that up as well which I wasn’t expecting. Something to consider in the future.

So what next?

Well, I don’t know how this fits morally, but February 1st will see me making the above chorizo pasta dish for dinner. But then, I’m right back at it. Not just for January. I think this may be for keeps? We’ll see how it goes. I think the trick for someone with my personality is not to say ‘never again’. Forever puts me off, forever seems like an impractical challenge and I start wondering about a situation that might occur where I suddenly really want my favourite chorizo pasta meal... like Phoebe’s pregnancy-meat cravings (Friends ref).  So I guess, if I really want something, I’ll probably have it. But I can’t imagine that happening a lot at all, particularly the more time goes on.

I’m eating options that, in my opinion, are more interesting and I’m trying to make a small, good impact on the environment. I figure that’s okay for now.

I'll keep you updated and, if you've got this far, thanks for reading this long-ass post!

30 Jan 2017

January reads: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue

I’m currently uploading a video to YouTube and my internet is like lol, sure pal, keep dreamin’. It’s been TWO HOURS and I’m still nowhere near being finished, and it’s using up all the bandwidth so G is giving me evils as he switches his phone from wifi to data. It’s also weirdly dark outside and there’s fog pressing against the windows so I’m guessing this means that dementors are roaming the streets which, given the current state of the world and you-know-who, wouldn’t be surprising.

 In the meantime, I thought we’d talk about books. I’m a big believer in spreading the love for books and reading, and throwing recommendations out there. And it’s something I want to get into the habit of doing more regularly on the blog – it’s kinda been infrequent up until now.  So this is, hopefully, the start of a monthly blog post which will give you book(s) recommendations.

Given how big an effect this book had and the moving film that was made, you’ve probably already heard of Room.

But if you haven’t, imagine the latest series of The Missing from the point of view of the little girl born in captivity.

Jack is five and lives in Room with his Ma. Room has one locked door, a skylight and measures eleven feet by eleven feet. It’s the only world he has ever known, until the day his Ma confesses that there is a world outside.

Inspired by shocking cases such as that of Josef Fritzel, this is a book that doesn’t hold back on detail yet is unique in the way that everything, both horrific and lovely, is explored through the innocence of Jack’s eyes. It makes it an unsettling read and I thought this might mean that I would read it slowly but I literally couldn’t; it was like reading a gripping thriller. Even when the chapters were slow paced, the depth of the imagination and Jack’s development was so compelling; this is a book to read in one sitting.

I would also recommend watching the film. There are details missed out but it captures the story and feeling of the book, and is well-worthy of all the awards it received.

Buy here. Film trailer here.

Happy reading <3

29 Jan 2017

Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle (with a video)

Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed (cos I kept posting pictures of blue skies and beaches), that we took a trip down Devon/Dorset way the other weekend.

It was a surprise trip for my step-dad’s 50th birthday and somewhat of a military operation to get nine people and a dog down there without him being aware of it. My mum had to tell him they were going on a surprise weekend away, just the two of them, and then get imaginative as to why they were staying somewhere that could sleep ten people. 

 We had to get the food delivered to my sister’s house in Winchester, G and I had to drive via Winchester to pick up said sister and then try and fit said food into our tiny car. 

The tesco delivery guy took one look at our car and was like ‘no chance love’ but we proved him wrong. Who doesn’t enjoy a journey where you’ve got to worry about the possibilities of squashing a birthday cake or a bottle of champagne smashing onto your head? 

We pootled down nice country roads (although anything would have seemed nice after the hellhole that is the M25 with roadworks), breezing past Stonehenge and witnessing the most glorious sunset whilst munching on jelly babies. 

We arrived in the dark, driving through the gatehouse – yup, it had a gatehouse – archway, parking behind some trees and trying to close the car doors quietly. We then crept towards the castle, clinging onto a helium ‘50’ balloon which was rustling conspicuously loud and trying to escape in the wind.

We knocked on the first door we saw and got no answer – a true sign of how big the place was. Eventually we realised we should go through the gate where we found another door that also looked like it could be the entrance. We ran and ducked under the windows and knocked on this one instead which turned out to be the right one because my step-dad, who was expecting a Tesco delivery, answered and we yelled SURPRISE in his face. 

And then about an hour later, his best friend plus family also showed up on the doorstep and did the same. 

Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle
Devon & Lyme Regis: The weekend we stayed in a castle

It was genuinely a lovely weekend. 

The weather was frosty, with sunshine and clear blue skies. It was busy, with people dotted around everywhere; leaning against the kitchen surfaces chatting, playing with Paddy the dog, carrying dishes of food into the big dining room and lounging by the fire. 

We took a trip to Lyme Regis, taking a long walk along the beach which was dotted with colourful beach huts. The kids and Paddy could run around like crazy, I could take lots of photos of those beach huts and then we all took a walk along the famous Lyme Regis Cobb, and naturally had a family photo shoot at the end with that endless horizon view as our background.  We had a pub lunch (drooling over the memory of the halloumi ciabatta) and wandered around the slightly-tacky tourist shops before heading back to laze by the fire eating birthday cake (I made this chocolate and Guinness cake again and can confirm it's the best cake ever. EVER). We ate hearty brunches and dinners (with so many puddings) at the big dining room table and played murder in the dark (after muchos begging from the kids) and explored that flippin’ dreamy castle.

Because really though, the best part of the weekend was the venue. The castle, as we called it. 

THIS is where we stayed (full tour in video below). It’s the remains of a medieval manor house. It has three floors, five bedrooms, five bathrooms, three (some hidden) staircases, an enormous living room, dining room and kitchen, a secret room hidden behind a curtain in the living room which hosted what we assumed was the original (huuuuuge) kitchen fireplace, and a medieval great hall on the top floor. Oh and maybe a ghost. 

The size, the hidden rooms/staircases and the general air of history made the place feel magical. I felt like a child again, wanting to run around and explore with my imagination running wild. 

It gave me such a rush of affection for winter ‘staycations’; hiring a big house in the British countryside and bundling in with your favourite people. You don’t need plans or focus because it’s the middle of winter. You can all just laze and chat and eat, and it’s pretty darn lovely. 

(I’ve started making lil videos and the one from this babe of a weekend is below. It’s not compulsory viewing or anything; but there is a dog chasing balloons.) 

25 Jan 2017

Let's Talk About The Current Political Vibes

I’m currently listening to Ed Sheeran’s new songs on repeat and burning a ‘fresh linen’ candle. The study door won’t close properly all of a sudden so I’ve stuck a foot stool in front of it to keep it closed.

Essentially, I’ve barricaded myself into the smallest room in our flat and I have no intention of leaving anytime soon. I’m wondering if this is the start of my descent into despair... but, hey, Ed’s new songs are awesome so I’m pretty cool with the current situ.

I think I’m addicted to the news atm. You may have noticed that there’s a lot of shit going down in the world right now (and if you haven’t, where the actual eff have you been hiding?) and I seem to be glued to twitter the news all the time to see the next instalment.

And by instalment, I mean the next giant turd that is being hurled out into the world.


And for that reason, I’m doing it. I’m bringing up politics on the blog.

Soz. Not soz.

I wouldn’t usually delve down this path. If I’m perfectly honest, despite the fact that I pay attention, read articles and watch the news, I still don’t feel like I know enough to write about it. Politics is a complex beast and there is a lot to get your head around and I never feel like I’ve grasped the complex details enough to write about it outside of friendly discussions with my pals.

But I’ve kinda reached a point where I’m past that.

Because I am such a mess of thoughts and emotions that I just want to shout them out as loud as I possibly can. Because not quite getting your head around the complexities of voting systems and government doesn’t mean you can’t spot the toxicity that’s spreading through the world like wildfire.

And I. Am. Done.

I am so aware that as a white, middle-class, straight, cis-gendered person, I was automatically born onto the easier ride and it would be so easy to keep my head down, keep burning my candles and listening to Ed Sheeran and hope it all blows over and doesn’t directly affect me.

But then, well...

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

Yeah, that.

At the beginning of 2016, a bizarre number of big names dying seemed like the main thing the year would be remembered for.


I know bringing up the topic of Brexit is a little bit like poking an angry snake so I won’t stay here too long.

Yes, I voted remain. Yes, I was upset with the results.

But I wasn’t angry at those who I was able to have healthy, friendly discussions with about their legitimate, well-researched reasons for voting to leave.

What I was angry about was the hate and vile that suddenly seemed to be swirling around the place. When white, privileged men stood in front of that poster and spouted blatant discrimination at minorities which, in turn, encouraged people to quote these thoughts back at me like they were now acceptable and legitimate.

Yeah, that pissed me off.

But then it got worse. Those views got worse.

Because there now seems to be an excessively rich tangerine running a very big and very powerful country that affects the entire world, and the first days of his presidency have been downright alarming.

I’ve spent a lot of the last week shouting at the TV (which G is loving btw. Ahem).

Some issues raised in the past few days have made me so angry that I’ve been incoherent when trying to articulate my thoughts aloud.

Like I have so many feelings about men dictating laws about women’s reproductive rights, and anti-feminist women, and the future of the free press (the crowds were smaller idiot; brazen lying doesn’t stop me having eyes), and climate change, and equality for all, and whether women are ever asking to be raped.


But I also find those feelings stressful and anxiety-inducing and kinda like I just want to lie in bed and cry for a while.

So how do you find the balance?

How do you balance the anger felt at the outright misogyny displayed by the likes of Tangerine Ballbag and Piers bloody Morgan and yet still focus on going to work and keep spinning the many plates of your life?

Well, to conclude this slightly directionless post, I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out.

I do know that I want to focus on my loved ones and plan holidays and write blog posts about small, happy, slightly trivial, things.

I want to live my small, happy life.

But I also know that I want to roar with the masses. Because our basic rights that enable us to live these small, happy lives are being threatened by those who believe they are somehow superior.

And enough is enough. I have the right to decide what to do with my body. I have the right to fully-informed healthcare. I have the right to walk down the street holding hands with the person I love. I have the right to live on a safe, healthy planet. I have the right to express my creativity. I have the right to live a life free from discrimination against my skin colour and gender.

I will never stop believing in those rights. And if I am forced to fight for them, then I will.

20 Jan 2017

I definitely haven't got this

I definitely haven't got this

I’ve been having a ‘quarter-life crisis’ kinda morning. All the worries, ya know? I also spilt water INTO my slipper whilst doing the washing up and had period pains so bad that I felt sick; I had to sip water and take deep breaths for a while.

So that’s nice.

It’s Friday afternoon so I’ve plonked myself in Costa, eaten a tuna melt panini, read a chapter of my book and opened my laptop. I’m hoping all of this is gonna help me feel a bit better about life.

Ironically, I just realised that my last post ended with the words ‘You have SO GOT THIS’.


You have got this by the way; I have every confidence in you. But you may also be having a day like I’m having. Where you feel like you definitely, 100%, haven’t got this.

When you’ve spent half the morning googling alternative career options and your period pains are making you feel like you’re gonna vom and there’s washing up water running into your slippers and FFS he-who-should-not-be-named is being sworn in as President as we speak. 

And you know what? Sometimes it’s just really nice to admit it. Hence this blog post.

When you have days where pretending that you feel confident about your life choices is too much. When you have days where you compare yourself to every goddamn person on social media. Where you have days when all you’ve eaten is pasta and cake, you haven’t washed your hair in four days and you just cried watching bloody Coronation Street.

Yeah, those days. Those days are the days when, actually, instead of pretending you are nailing this shit, you should just hold up your hands and say do you know what guys? I definitely am NOT nailing this shit. I definitely am NOT being a #girlboss, #sassqueen etc. 

I’m actually feeling confused and alarmed at the void that is the future because I haven’t got a bloody clue what I’m supposed to be doing. And I can’t be doing with that thought today. And I’m worried this is going to drive me to buying a second caramel shortbread in Costa.

So that’s my day. Life is fine, there’s nothing serious wrong, but I don’t feel like I’m nailing it today and I think we should all be willing to admit it when these days happen. 

Is that okay?

Good. Shall I get you a caramel shortbread as well?

12 Jan 2017

16 Signs You're Nailing This Adulting Thing

16 Signs You're Nailing This Adulting Thing

Let's face it, sometimes we all need reminding that we're not totally failing at life. Sometimes it feels like all ya want to do is go back to being the age of 12 when your biggest problem was which pjs to take to the next girlie sleepover. Just think, you'd never even heard of an ISA account back then. Simpler times eh?

There will always be days when all you feel good for is a netflix binge and family size bag of m&ms but mostly babes, you is doing okay. You're being pretty successful at this adulting business and here's why:

1) You dress appropriately for the weather; you take an umbrella when it rains and a coat when it's cold etc. No more wearing a summer dress for a night out in November = no more hypothermia. You totes got this! 

2) You eat avocado and kale and broccoli voluntarily. You are a health goddess darling. 

3) You have a spare phone charger because you’re PREPARED. That's right. 

4) You now get drunk on decent wine, as opposed to tesco value vodka. Get you. 

5) You no longer upload 250 photos to Facebook every time you have a night out... Which used to be three times a week. Ain't nobody got time for that.

6) You bitch about your friend’s political views, rather than their questionable choice of partner or hair colour. You so mature now. 

7) You’ve got spare stamps in the drawer. And they are first class. Who even are you?! 

8) Your work contract is permanent. High five babes. 

9) You no longer have to throw away pants cos you totally misjudged your period. Look at you nailing life girl. 

10) You can go to the cinema or to a restaurant on your own without worrying about being judged. You is a strong, independent woman, or man for that matter. 

11) You probably prefer Costa to a bar and you ain’t even ashamed. Hot choc for life.

12) You can’t even remember the last time your card got declined. And you’re making rent. Woah, who is this sass queen?!

13) You have a Holland and Barrett loyalty card and you ain’t even sorry.  

14) You can spend about four hours drooling over kitchen wear in the fancy cook shop and about ten seconds in River Island. Cos what the eff am I supposed to do with metallic gold leggings? 

15) You’ve eaten in fancier places than Pizza Express and they didn’t chuck you out. You must actually look like a real life adult. Nailing this shit. 

16) You’ve already achieved some of your dreams. Sure, that dream may be the fact that you have a holiday to New York booked but, hey, your bank account is still functioning. Look at you going somewhere in life. 

You have SO GOT THIS. 

7 Jan 2017

Here's why Budapest is marvellous

Why Budapest is marvellous

I should warn you now that this is a longer-than-usual post. The kind you should probably read with a cup of tea and a scented candle burning, rather than on your phone in a cheeky five minute break from doing your emails. This was originally going to be two posts; a ‘reasons why you should go to Budapest’ type thing and a more diary like one about our weekend.

And then it all kind of came out in one go, and I didn’t want to try and edit or split it up so this is what you’ve got. A beautiful mess if you like. And I hope it maybe convinces you to book a lil weekend away to this gorgeous city whilst those January sales are doing their thing.  Enjoy.

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest

In the week leading up to our trip in July last year I got a rough cold and missed my friend's 30th birthday. Which was trivial compared to that fact that one of my Budapest companions was taken into hospital and was only discharged 36 hours before we left. And G's nan was also taken into hospital, meaning he rushed down to Kent suddenly and I didn't see him for six days.

During what should have been a sunshiny, happy week building up to exciting things, I mostly just felt worried about everyone and guilty for not being able to do anything.

But, at 6am on the Saturday morning, I arrived at the sheer delight that is Luton airport and waded my way through hordes of suitcases. Squinting through the obscene orange that is easy jet merchandise, I found one of my friends, E, on the phone and jumping up and down like a lunatic because she'd managed to lose my other friend, L, despite the fact that they'd arrived together.

Without so much as a word, I joined in the jumping up and down and was rewarded by L jumping onto my back.

And all was well again.

Luton airport gets more hideous every time I go but we got through security (with E proclaiming loudly how she didn't understand why it was necessary to point out that electric drills couldn’t be taken on planes) and we managed to grab croissants and coffee amongst the madness before heading to our gate. We were all sat separately yet I somehow ended up with a row to myself so heyhey things were looking up even more. We slept through the journey cos none of us can hack a 5am start.

Budapest is HOT in the summer. Think 30 plus degrees. This did not help our tiredness when we arrived. But we got through the shuttle bus and the metro (which is so, so easy to navigate btw) without collapsing, and found our little apartment (booked with major cheapness through Airbnb) just as were we wondering if it was time for a nap. And we looooved it. The building was set round a semi-circular courtyard with layers of balconies. Our apartment was on the top layer and it was beyond cute. It was probably designed for just the one person but it was perfect for the three of us for a couple of days, and gave us a taste of what it was like to live as a local.

We found a little cafe just around the corner where we had the dreamiest of flavoured lemonades. We didn’t realise then that this is a thing in Budapest and would be the first of many different flavours. We also had goat’s cheese burgers, which were literally the biggest, creamiest chunk of goat’s cheese in a bun with a whole host of other goodies. Guys, we were so happy.

Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest
Why you should go to Budapest

We had loads more energy once we were full of lemonade and cheese so we headed into the centre (we stayed in the Jewish quarter). I quickly gathered that Budapest was a combination of devastatingly beautiful and yet had a shabby-chic vibe going on, and I really did love it almost instantly. 

I’d done a bit of research beforehand and a lot of the internet suggested going to Gelarto Rosa was a must in Budapest so we pretty much headed straight there.

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

 Guys, the internet is right. Gelarto Rosa is ESSENTIAL. It’s ice cream expertly shaped into a rose. You get a whole combination of amazing flavours and it is fascinating to watch the rose being made; food artistry. My favourite kind. After we’d taken enough photos to fill our camera memories forever more, and exclaimed in joy at all the different flavours as we slurped, we kept on wandering at a very slow pace cos jeeeez, the heat but that was probably the best way to take it all in. We ended up in a bar on the edge of the Danube, drinking raspberry lemonade. Hey, UK, could you up your lemonade game please? It is poor in comparison. We chatted, drank and chatted some more before taking a walk over Szechenyi Chain Bridge which, FYI, may be the prettiest bridge ever, with some of the prettiest views ever and OMG IT’S ALL SO PRETTY. 

There was a funicular railway on the other side of the bridge, taking you up Castle Hill. I mean, sure, you could have walked up for free but why would you not want to take the vintage transport?!  Plus it was like £4 so you’re hardly gonna break the bank. Some maaaay have said that we enjoyed it too much for our age but they would be wrong. You can never have too much fun and it was the best. 

Oh man, the views from Castle Hill. You could see across the whole city, and we were up there just as the sun started to go down which bathed everything in a beautiful glow *insert heart eye emoji*. 

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

As well as bridges, Budapest has a lot of public baths that are a must-do if you’re there. It’s the city of spas after all! One of the most famous ones is the Gellert Baths and Hotel which we headed to on our second day after inhaling a lot of pastries for breakfast. The place was full of beautiful mosaic floors, marble columns and stained glass windows. Hands down, the fanciest bathing experience you will ever have kids. There’s naturally heated pools on the inside, which they are a little strict about (you have to have your hair in a net and that kinda thing) and then there’s an enormous bath (complete with wave machines) outside. It was equally as beautiful as indoors and a lot cleaner than you imagine public baths. The water was crystal clear and there was no chance of, ew, accidentally swallowing a plaster. We spent a good while basking in the waters, helping along that tan and chatting the day away.

Oh and just FYI, right next to Gellert Baths is a church IN A CAVE. Yes, you did read that right. Yes, you should go check it out.

The other must-do is Margaret island which was probably my favourite part of Budapest (if you absolutely forced me to pick). It’s right in the middle of the river, in the centre of the city and is mostly covered with parks, topped with medieval ruins. The summer is the perfect time to take a picnic and just chill, which we did expertly. We also did an awful lot of wandering, which was lovely as the sun started to set, and checked out the various food stalls. They all seemed to mostly sell the famous Budapest chimney rolls (kinda like long, hollow doughnuts – I recommend the cinnamon ones) and candyfloss. Quite frankly, I don’t think any three people have ever enjoyed their candyfloss as much as we did…

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

The best thing about Margaret island though, is the musical fountain. I’ve seen a fair amount of internet folk talking about this since we went, but beforehand, we had no idea it existed. And it was absolutely the best thing to unexpectedly discover. The water dances to the music. Every hour, it shoots water into the air, twisting and turning in hundreds of different patterns, all in time to music. And there’s lights to go with it. It was so magical and when we finally pulled ourselves away from it, we all had the biggest smiles on our faces. 

Naturally, once it was truly dark, we had to go check out the famous Ruin bars. We didn’t stay for ages because we’re old women who were needing our beds but we absolutely loved the quirkiness of them. They were shabby but beautiful decorated with hundreds of colourful fairy lights and other random objects. It was busy but pretty chilled; you didn’t feel crammed or like you couldn’t just go for a drink and chat. And the drinks were so cheap. £3 for a cocktail guys! 

The other thing I’d say is worth checking out (I mean, I’m sure there is plenty more but I was only there for 2 days so give a girl a break) is the Hungarian Houses of Parliament. I’ve never seen a building like it before. It was stunning. We went on a guided tour around the inside, which I wouldn’t say is essential but very interesting. However, it is essential to look at the outside of the building. Your Instagram feed won’t regret it.

Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous
Why Budapest is marvellous

Budapest was a truly magical place, and so cheap which is an absolute double win. The most magical thing for me, though, was my two travel companions. I'm so grateful for friends who have known me since I was an ickle kid with a bob haircut and northern accent (in a southern school... Honestly, you'd have thought I was some kind of alien). Who have seen me grow, seen me be my ultimate best and at my absolute low. I felt truly lucky to spend those few days together, laughing and nattering in such a beautiful city. 

Why Budapest is marvellous