Villa Borghese | When in Rome

Villa Borghese is a public park that is charming for all of the right reasons; and some of the wrong reasons. Probably season-dependent, but the grass was tired and unkept. This only increased its attractiveness, and complimented its brilliant fountains, glorious reflections and quiet park benches. All the while, its views, museums, bicycles and lively atmosphere didn’t overshadow the park’s quietly confident ways. Everything in the giant park just made sense; it all fitted together like an accidentally intricate puzzle.

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Our first visit to the park began with confused brows, “It’s… so… quiet.” I think we picked the perfect time to visit Rome. Assuming its far from crowded manner was due to the time of the year combined with the most perfect temperature, mid-June brought a fantastic trip for my brother and me. Trips to Villa Borghese confirmed this. We were able to explore the stunning park without feeling overwhelmed and pushed out because of tourists. We wandered slowly, picking which path to choose next; not wanting an agenda, specifically. We watched a dog plop into a fountain and doggy paddle a few laps of the light but electric blue water.

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The glorious Temple of Aesculapius is, perhaps, the park’s main event. We read the board before the great monument that explains the history while a busker played the violin, adding another layer to the already lovely atmosphere. We walked around, admiring the reflections before searching the water for… tortoises. Wait, what? We excitedly pointed a few out before realising a whole huge family of them were sunbathing on the rocks a little further on, blending into their sunbeds for the day.

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As spoken about in my post about my favourite points of view in Rome, we spent some time at the park’s lookout point. I’m sure the view inspired the existence of every good adjective ever, my eyes taking less than a second to fall in love with it. We took photos, our eyes bathing in its brilliance, allowing the stop to round off the most amazing park in the best kind of way. The park has everything from silly and fun tourist activities (riding about on pedal bikes), chances for a slice of quiet (park benches in or out of the sun) to dashes of history to get to know Rome that little bit better.

IMG_2295IMG_2312We returned to Villa Borghese on the Sunday evening before we headed out for dinner. We sat by a little fountain to read; but, instead, we (surprise, surprise) played Uno! Although it was definitely the perfect spot to read, it was fun all the same. We walked slowly out of the park, catching an awesome evening atmosphere on the way. Cones were placed in a line, while rollerbladers performed tricks that were so impressive they had a big crowd around them.

You simply must visit Villa Borghese if you visit Rome in the future. We didn’t cover it all or spend as long as we would have loved to in particular parts. Along with the River Tiber, I’m certain it’s my favourite place in Rome- I’ve written a whole post dedicated to it, after all. Whether you want a grand adventure exploring the park or a quiet spot of tranquillity for a chapter or two, Villa Borghese will help you get there.

~ Kat ~

21 Italian Adventures | When in Rome

I was endlessly lucky on my 21st birthday this year. I was beyond spoilt; part of this included the stupidly generous gift from my brother… A trip to Rome. I had the best time; exploring the beautiful capital city of Italy for two and a half days. I adore the Italian lifestyle and concluded that it is a very relaxed lifestyle; relaxed yet passionate. The Italians seem to have understood what life should be about, and I enjoyed pretending to be Italian for a few days, hoping to take this brilliant nature with me. When in Rome, I took advantage of my surroundings and took part in a few mini Italian adventures- as outlined below!

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  1. A Peroni (or two) in the sun
  2. A cold Birra Moretti after a long – long – walk
  3. Eating pizza
  4. Eating pasta
  5. And eating all of the gelato
  6. Walking, what I like to call, an Italian amount of steps (a lot of steps)
  7. Travelling by foot to ensure maximum Rome absorbance
  8. Hearing Italian pop songs in between too many English-speaking pop songs
  9. Spotting city-goers who just had to be Italian (dressed well; looked super chilled and weren’t sweating like my brother and me)
  10. Falling for the charms of every Italian waiter/waitress. The Italians know how to draw you in
  11. Laughing at the restaurants competing cheerily with each other
  12. Waking up to bright blue skies every single day
  13. Adoring the many fountains that I just must have one in my garden when I’m older
  14. Becoming ever-so-slightly accustomed to the hilly-ness of the city
  15. Feeding off of the excitement that surrounds the Famous Places- you can laugh at tourism all you like but there’s something infectious that comes with it for free
  16. Indulging in an Italian sunset falling upon the famous city; lilac, peach and orange
  17. Catching the Italian language (and not having a clue what has been said- lazy Brit)
  18. Enjoying evenings beside the glistening river
  19. Becoming a massive fan of architecture because you simply can’t not be when in Rome
  20. Nearly – nearly – understanding the crazy road system (as a pedestrian; I definitely don’t understand it as a driver)
  21. Adoring Italy so much that I want to live there- it’s basically a guaranteed by-product

I might have been home for a few days now but I’m still very much, mentally, in Rome. “This time last week I was…”, I keep beginning utterances with. It’s a city that’s definitely hard to forget but I’m enjoying documenting it like an online scrapbook all the same; wishing to remember every detail possible. I still have a few more posts up my sleeve; photographs I’m excited to share and tips that may be handy. Have you been to Italy? What made you feel particularly Italian?

~ Kat ~

P.S. Rome from my Favourite Points of View

Rome from My Favourite Points of View | When in Rome

A bumpy and brilliant skyline against easy blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Picture perfect green dots that protect the river elegantly flowing through the city. The silhouette of concrete magnificence that teases an even better view when you see it up close. Rome’s beauty is just like the books say and it is from every single angle. Timelessly strong yet needing our attention right this second. Rome so often politely requested our mouths to form the perfect “o” shape and today I am documenting my favourite places to catch slices of Rome in one wonderful blink of an eye.

IMG_2310.JPGVilla Borghese’s lookout point brings tourists the views fairytales can only dream of. The day was a little misty from up high but the view brought the perfect pops of colour to complement the oranges ahead of the trees. I think the lookout point brings an element of “normal” to the grand city; a charming amount of normality to a city otherwise stand alone. Every time I analyse this photo, I find something new and I don’t wish to exhaust this any time soon. (I like to pretend I’m still exploring the city.)

IMG_2403.JPGTwo out of three evenings in the sizzling capital city of Italy were spent on the riverbank that overlooked the River Tiber, which brought a splash of calm to our agenda-filled days. While a large chunk of Rome could not be absorbed from my seat by the water, one of my favourite parts of Rome could. The riverbank never strayed into “busy” territory, but those who pondered by brought a content kind of liveliness a day on our feet desired. My eyes fell into the river’s reflections and I could quite happily dwindle away every evening by that river… If only.

IMG_2343.JPGThe Altare dell Patria’s steps are not only impressive, but they lead to the perfect lookout point for anyone who adores architecture or is merely a novice who is starry eyed in the face of the plethora of differing make ups of buildings. My brother and I said hello to the building every time we passed and revisited because it was too tempting not to. Whether Rome was brilliantly busy or unusually quiet, the Altare dell Patria treats the eyes to the view of grand buildings, spectacular colours and an injection of the city’s unique vibe.

It is amazingly easy to stumble across a breath-taking view when visiting Rome. I could have rambled on for ever about this place and that place, but these three views appeared in my mind so quickly that I couldn’t deny an obvious top three. An extra view, however, I want to quickly mention is the view at the Knights of Malta Keyhole. I didn’t want to say too much because it’s meant to be a surprise (don’t google!), but I must say that the queue is worth the peek through the keyhole. Have you been to Rome? What are your favourite views?

~ Kat ~

P.S. Yesterday I blogged about day three of my trip: Day Three: 4 Scoops.

Day Three: 4 Scoops | When in Rome

Sunday promised another blue-skied, beaming-sun kind of day- just a few degrees cooler than the two days prior. Although we did question our weather apps, claiming this fact. And I guess that accounts for why we tested out a total of four scoops of gelato on Sunday. We needed cooling down, after all. Sunday began our final 24 hours in Rome and I gave my achy feet a talking to before we headed out into the city.                                                                                                                       IMG_2529Ancient Rome was our first stop. Vowing that the next time we visit we will have enough time for the tours of the grand history of Rome, we opted for a wander round. The Colosseum was breath-taking. My mouth replicated the shape of the most famous amphitheatre. We wandered around the giant piece of history and tried to get at least one good snap of the – let’s face it – most difficult piece of art to capture ever. While we questioned the process behind admiring a building that endured such suffering, we admired its magnificence all the same. After a slow ponder around, we stopped off for a slice of shade and a few games of Uno before walking a long time – both of us moaning – until we reached an Italian restaurant; ready to order the best pizza I have ever eaten (plus an amazingly refreshing half a pint of Birra Moretti).

IMG_2563.JPGIMG_2583.JPGThe Vatican was my brother’s favourite destination of the trip and it’s easy to see why. My camera didn’t even nearly do the place justice. The Papal Basilica is crucial to the city’s skyline and wonderful to see up close. Religious or not, its glory immediately and modestly demands respect from anyone and everyone. The glistening water dancing in the sunshine provided a little relief from the hot day and added to the simplistic beauty of the place. It was our final big stop in Rome and it’s a sight I will never forget.

IMG_2595.JPGBy 6pm we had freshened up ready to enjoy our final evening in Rome. As we adored watching the evening unravel by the river the evening before, we headed straight there for dinner. Many have pointed out our first mistake (wanting sushi in Rome) and it had crossed our mind. We had headed out for a sushi bar we had spotted- sushi and jazz, it promised. While it was delicious, 20 euros were dropped for a total of 6 calamari and 6 sushi rolls. Oops. Lesson learnt: Stick with pizza and pasta when in Rome.

IMG_2601.JPGAll in all, my brother and I devoured nine scoops of ice cream over the two and half days we were in Rome- it’s impressive, I know. Whether we purchased them from a little ice cream shop or what seemed like a chain of some sort, our tongues were pretty delighted. Now considering myself a gelato expert, I have listed below my top four (because I couldn’t choose only three) favourite flavours I tried:

1. Pistachio

2. White chocolate

3. Passion fruit

4. Cherry

Early the next morning we headed back to the UK and, thankfully, to the one of the hottest days in England this year. I almost exclusively leave the UK on a sunny day and return on the rainiest and glummest day possible, so it was nice to get back and get to the gym, exchanging my scoop of gelato per hand for weights and fruit. Eugh. I miss you Rome.

~ Kat ~

P.S. Day Two: 40,000 Steps

Day Two: 40,000 Steps | When in Rome

Saturday opened its eyes without a struggle. A heavy and well-deserved sleep ensured this. Fuelled by our busy itinerary, my brother and I got ready and headed to a local cafe for the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. After an awesome day one in Rome, we were eager to get our feet back on the dusty pavement. An hour or two more of getting to know the city ensured that I was well and truly in love- and I didn’t need rose-tinted glasses. Rome has its own beautiful filter even Instagram couldn’t replicate.

IMG_2277.JPGVilla Borghese gardens greeted us early Saturday morning; unassuming and modest. A few runners and dog-walkers joined us; it was, otherwise, very quiet. Although the grass was tired and parts far from groomed, my brother and I were charmed. So much so that we returned. Visiting parks are my favourite parts of breaks away- in Cardiff, I lived minutes a way from two of my favourite places which happened to be two humble and stunning parks. As much as I’d like to ramble on for ever, I will be doing so in a few days- dedicating a whole post to maybe my favourite place in Rome. If you visit the city, you must see it. It’s really something.

IMG_2318IMG_2322IMG_2327.JPGOne of the few attractions in Rome that felt overwhelmingly busy was the next stop: the Spanish Steps. With the Trinita dei Monti church overlooking the steps and excited tourists, the Spanish steps are grand but simple. Busy but lovely. Despite having to avoid constant attempts at being sold roses, it’s definitely worth a visit. I’m hoping to read up more on the history as soon as possible, alongside other monuments and places my brother and I wished we knew more about.

We stopped off at the Trevi Fountain for a second visit; wanting to snap a better picture and admire its undeniable beauty, once again. It’s definitely in my top five favourite gems of Rome, even if it’s, for sure, the most uncomfortable place in Rome. If I visit again (which I hope to), I will make sure to wake up super early to catch its glory in the sunrise and without the crowds. Next, we headed to Pizza in Trevi after drooling at the slices of pizza tourists grinned at the day before. While we both adored our slice, we were a little foolish. They gesture at how much you want, asking if that’s the right size. Each of us agreed to their generous gesture, before it got weighed and we paid around about 17 euros for lunch- although we were given enough to save for later, which was great for a long walk back to the hotel.

IMG_2348IMG_2356IMG_2373Altare della Patria is a monument which was built for Victor Emmanuel. It’s huge and white and incredibly beautiful. My brother and I marvelled at its structure and the view it provided. Round the corner from the coliseum and the perfect headquarters for some busy photos of the brilliance of Italian buildings, the monument is something else. After taking a few snaps and feeling incredibly fatigued with the 36 degree heat coupled with a lot of steps, my brother and I walked a little to seek refuge in a little restaurant. I had two halves of Peroni (something I was particularly excited about- and, my gosh, it didn’t disappoint) and we continued our Uno championship while laughing at the copious amounts of sweat hugging our faces and arms.

IMG_2411IMG_2427IMG_2472My brother and I both picked a spinach and ricotta stuffed ravioli with tomato-y sauce for dinner before heading to the River Tiber to an Aperol Spritz bar (it was as orange as it sounds but lovely all the same), picking the seats that gave us the best view for plenty of photo opportunities. The river is beyond dreamy; I could stare into its majestic reflections for a few hours and feel content. But how did we dwindle away the hours, you ask (you didn’t ask but I’m going to tell you)… Uno.

I was delighted that we bumped into a half marathon on our walk back. I forced my brother to spectate with me, telling him it’s my version of his love for planes. I was astonished at the fitness of these runners. It started at 9pm (presumably because daytime heat is just too much) but it was still 30 degrees. I clapped and grinned at my favourite sport and decided that I have to return for the city and for the event. We arrived back and checked our step count- over 40,000 steps were stepped. It must have been the amazing amount of white and bright steps Rome offers. Although my feet were willing me to stop, exploring my new favourite city by foot is something I could never regret. Even if my blisters are saying, “Told you so!” now we’re home.

~ Kat ~

Day One: Rome-ing Around | When in Rome

While London rested for a few more hours until the final day of work for a week was complete, my brother and I awoke and beat the newspapers to the racks outside of the shops. Friday 16th: 4am wake up. Time for Rome. I travelled to London the previous evening, silver rucksack packed; purple suitcase by my side. After dinner in the city and a short yet not so sweet sleep, we sleepily made our way to Stansted Airport Friday morning. My brother and I began our first city break adventure (hopefully of many!) in the ridiculously cool city of Rome.

IMG_2220IMG_2234After a childhood of holidays beginning with my brother, curly-haired and eager-eyed at the sight of planes (he would purchase a model of the plane we’d travelled on- this trip was no exception), not much had changed. Well, except one thing. Jordan is on his way to getting his pilot’s licence and, at the airport, his eyes were wider than ever; his head in the clouds. He explained to me a couple of different types of planes and complimented pilots’ landings; once aboard, he peeked into the cockpit excitedly, claimed the pilots were the coolest people in the world before filming the take off. Just over two hours later, and a few games into our Uno Championship (we decided we would play as many as many games as possible and tally the score- I won mwaha!), we landed in the capital of Italy after playing eye spy as we pointed out parts of Italy from up above.

After a 45 minute coach journey, we’d arrived, sweaty Brits facing over 30 degree heat the UK doesn’t often see. Following a quick freshen up, we aimed for one certainty: gelato. A walk away from our hotel was the centre of the hustle and bustle, and ice cream greeted us, teasing us behind glass. I picked two flavours I can only pick as the perfect pair: pistachio and white chocolate. Without our mum to tell us not to spoil our dinner, we checked out the Trevi Fountain and the surrounding area, licking our ice cream happily, despite knowing we were also looking out for someone to have dinner. (In the film Remember Me, Ally eats dessert first because what if she were to die before the sweet stuff and she never got to have her favourite food? I like this philosophy a lot.)

IMG_2232IMG_2216IMG_2215We decided to go to Osteria Dell Allora, choosing bruschetta for starter, Jordan choosing four cheese gnocchi for main and me choosing my absolute favourite pasta dish: seafood (calamari, muscles and something delicious I couldn’t quite discern) pasta. It set us up perfectly for a further wander, admiring the glistening white buildings and the evening heat that felt glorious on our summer-shy skin. We noted how quiet the city felt; a complete juxtaposition to my brother’s city, London. Although we weren’t sure why. We became architecture’s number one fans, while deciding we were qualified to analyse the fountains and their unique characters. We marvelled at the Pantheon and were amazed at how many beautiful buildings and famous Italian wonders we’d already seen. We even managed to get a first glimpse at the beautiful River Tiber.

IMG_2246IMG_2243IMG_2253Although we headed out into Rome mid-afternoon and headed back in time for a ten and a half hour sleep (we are not big sleepers- we were astonished), we felt like we walked lots, saw lots and ate plenty of Italian food for one evening. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of less than half a day on a city break:

  • Explore the city by foot- I will always believe it’s the best way to find the big stuff and the hidden gems, and my brother and I managed both on our first evening!
  • Tick a few things off of your bucket list early- we saw the Trevi Fountain and ate a lot of gelato (not that it was our last experience of either that night!).
  • Be prepared to get to know your area. Don’t expect to have a map in your mind immediately, but pay attention and become accustomed to your surroundings.

After our first few hours in Rome, my brother and I were super excited to began day two, plan and sun cream at the ready. This trip was a unbelievably generous 21st birthday present from my brother so thank you so much for that, bro! I’ll be blogging about it every day for the next week to collate a kind of scrapbook of the trip!

~ Kat ~

P.S. I wrote about what my essentials for a summer city break are HERE!

What’s in my Backpack? | Summer City Break Essentials

Tomorrow my brother and I are heading to (what have I heard is) the beautiful city of Rome. After months of stalking Instagram accounts, reading tales of bloggers in Rome and excitedly flicking through my Lonely Planet guide, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Although I am questioning the practicality of my (what I have heard is a controversially) beautiful silver backpack, I purchased my new favourite accessory with Rome in mind. I believe I’m going to look as cool as cucumber. Here are the bits and bobs I will be popping in my rucksack every morning (and shoving in my brother’s backpack because I’m choosing silver over sensible).

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The Sensible Section

  • Suncream
  • Water
  • Plasters
  • Harem pants
  • A light cardigan
  • Sunglasses
  • Brush
  • Hairbands

As we all should be, I am such a suncream keen bean. Without the mixture of suncream and water, I get a dosage of heat exhaustion and that is not pretty- especially not abroad when you want to be having fun. We will be walking a lot and stumbling across a few blisters- plasters will ease the whining. I will keep some harem pants close to me for destinations that require more coverage in order to be respectful, a light cardigan if my shoulders need covering (from the sun, mostly!) and sunglasses to save my eyes! I will keep a brush and hairbands with me for when the city temperatures overwhelm me and my hair, as per usual, refuses to cooperate.

The Fun Stuff

  • A notepad and pen: I am visiting Rome with a strong intention to purchase many a beverage and sit outside pretending to be Italian at as many cafes as possible. Thus, a notepad is key. I bought my brother a matching one. Since we are not averse to being a little pretentious, the thought of sitting al fresco with a drink in one hand and a pen in another to write out all we have done makes me super excited.
  • Uno: My brother and I intend to play Uno a lot in Rome (whilst being super cultural, of course). So much that we are going to keep a tally (an I-tally, if you will). Uno is probably the most important essential in this post- a hand with two +4s will only create the best memories.
  • A book (Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama): I hope to have plenty of opportunities to soak in greenery with a book in my hand. My brother bought me this book for my birthday and I’m excited to see what it’s like. We will be surrounded by such incredible sights and they need to be the backdrop for a chapter or two.

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The Organisation Musts

  • The Lonely Planet (Rome 2017 edition): I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it enough on the blog, but The Lonely Planet guides are my true love. My brother and I have planned our trip with this book at the very centre of it. I’m sure I’ll be bringing it out to help us on our adventures along the way.
  • A little money pouch: Being very wary of pick-pocketers, I’ll store my money in a little pouch all locked away in my bag for all of the gelato I’m going to test.
  • Portable charger: A portable charger is a definite essential if I use my phone to take photos and upload an Instagram or three per day. Mine is super small and will slot perfectly into my bag without taking up much space at all.

What are your summer city break essentials? While pottering around in places such as cities I am extra cautious about pesky pick-pocketers. I’m very careful about what I take with me; the number one essential really being a sense of awareness and common sense (you’ve taught me well, mum). I’m counting down the hours until I step off of the plane and into a place I am assured will be one of my favourite destinations yet! Eeee!

Have you been to Rome? I would appreciate any tips!

~ Kat ~

Scales Shmales

Before tip-tapping away about why we shouldn’t value our lives with a strong focus on a number, of course, scales can be absolutely vital in determining health for some people; a tool needed when wanting to health up. I also am no nutritionist, but I love health, however, despise the notion of obsession that so many experience. And often, at the heart of it, is this sad step (as Joe Wicks brilliantly calls it) that we are repulsed by and yet also worship; eager to impress it; eager for it to bring us happiness. Wait? A device can bring us happiness?! (Spoilers: it can’t.)

I probably weigh myself about four or five times a year. I really buy into the idea that if we are eating a balanced diet and exercising lots (whilst also looking after our mental health), how we feel is what health is. Of course there are ifs and buts but I’m lucky enough to say that’s all that there is for me. Healthy and happy? That’s what I strive for. Call me selfish but I want to live for as long as I possibly can- longevity is my priority. A month or so ago was one of my “ooooh, I forgot about scales” moments. I brought down the scales and stepped on them. In this moment I fully understood the term “flabbergasted.” I’d gained 5lb. For someone who “never” fluctuates from a particular weight, yeah, I was shocked, astounded and most certainly flabbergasted all at once.

I’ve always been pretty sensible about how I think about my body. Even when I was a self-conscious teenager, I’ve been raised with a healthy attitude towards food (with the accidental eating of five galaxy cake bars some afternoons). And in a change of some digits, I felt that monster so many of my friends are slaves to. I got it. It crept up inside me, my eyes widened and I hurriedly popped the scales back in their spot. Rationality was out of the question; panic was well and truly on the table. Alongside my porridge with fruit- a breakfast I’m eating as often as possible to compliment my lifestyle. I stared at the breakfast I used to despise and I scoffed: well, you’ve been no help.

I know I’m lucky to have a healthy mindset without any invasion from awful illnesses but after half an hour, I decided: scales shmales. 

Our bodies are clever things. They deal with a lot. They try to help us out even when we aren’t helping them out. They forgive a lot. Now I know muscle weighs more than fat (and if this is the answer to that 5lb, I was still aghast). And I know us women have a million factors that affect that silly number (and, once again, I still didn’t blink for a minute or so). And, yes, I know I’m pretty respectful of my body (and I still questioned what I haven’t been doing to maintain a particular weight). But, despite all of this and more, I freaked out.

My friends – male and female – suffer with a number that isn’t as easily translatable as we all still believe. A friend checks her weight every single day- even though she knows how nonsensical the science behind this is. It simply doesn’t accurately define anything. A friend works out at the gym and looks brilliant- but he gets down about his “number” never getting heavier. Body worries come in all different shapes and sizes; just like us. There is no one size fits all, but I’m pretty certain abolishing the scales’ (or dramatically reducing) input in our lives makes a brilliant difference. Find alternative ways to measure your health- it sounds cliche; but start with happiness.

That 5lb? Honestly, I don’t know if it’s still there. I don’t know if I’ve lost, maintained or gained weight. Blissfully ignorant is how I like it. I’m at the gym or swimming, running or Zumba-ing to inspire those endorphins. I’m eating in my own balanced kind of way. And while I’ve been cracking open a bottle of beer a bit too frequently lately (note to self: choose gin more often), I’m super happy. I think I’ve spotted my arms tightening and my longer runs I wasn’t able to do a couple of months ago have congratulated my legs. It’s a good thing to like ourselves, and maybe we go back to the scales because they make us feel so glum. We’re not supposed to like ourselves, my goodness. But our bodies are here for the long-run and let’s fuel them with a balanced diet, exercise and strive for far better outlooks while it looks out for us every single second of the day.

So many factors affect our weight and health is not easily defined, but we fall for this idea that we just must be this perfect weight to be happy. And yet I’m happiest when I define my health with a smile at my reflection or a happy sigh at some new muscle definition. While I will probably wipe the dust of the scales a couple of times a year, I’m going to avoid them even more. If we are doing our best (and are lucky enough to have this outlook and choice), scales shmales.

~ Kat ~

 

How to: Hygge in the Summertime

After reading The Art of Hygge by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen before YouTubing how to pronounce “hygge” (“hoo-gah”) to confirm my pronunciation, I consider myself a fully-qualified expert- with letters after my name and everything. We’ve all heard how Denmark breathes happiness; their lifestyle being one of a kind. It is often thought that hygge is partly responsible for this. Hygge describes feeling “cosy” and “comfortable,” and although these qualities are ones us silly British people ascribe solely to winter, it is more than applicable to my favourite season of them all- summer! This glorious book opened my eyes to those little things in life that make us content and happy that can most certainly be applied over the next few months.

IMG_2156As soon as the first layer of winter frost hugs the cars in the streets, I bring out my candles, finding comfort in their yellow flicker many of us see as only compatible with cold evenings. Yet candles are essential to hygge; they create an “inviting atmosphere.” While I wouldn’t normally pick out my favourite candle excitedly like a kid in a sweet shop (or me in a sweet shop) on a summer’s evening, I did just that last week. And holy moly, we should not deprive ourselves of candles during the summertime.

This brilliant book showed me that there are so many hyggelig ideas I am already incorporating into my life that have been a particularly welcome feature of my summers. Wanting to incorporate the Danish way as much as possible, I will be using this little book as a guidebook for a wonderfully happy summer. Here are a few ways I’ve already been letting cosy into my summers:

  • Natural lighting is “essential to our happiness,” and while I cheer at the sight of natural lighting during the winter (it’s a necessity when my Instagram theme matches the dull sky outside), summer’s frequent giving of natural light during our warmer months ensures I am hygge’s number one fan all year round.
  • Fresh air and the outside can sprinkle hygge into our lives in abundance. A Danish proverb insists “fresh air keeps the doctor poor” and, like so many of us, I itch to be outside for as many hours as possible in the summer months. Grey sky or picture-perfect blue, I am not one to suffer inside!
  • S’mores are my new favourite thing. Just a few weeks ago I had my first s’more (I’m very late to the party), and with it’s gooey centre and warm and crunchy hug protecting it, I can confirm that’s one cosy summer necessity.

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Now feeling a bit too big for my flip flops, I believe a few things I adore to do in the summertime encourage the feeling of hygge:

  • Making homemade lemonade (on a Sunday- for extra hygge points).
  • Slipping on wellington boots and splashing in summer’s tears.
  • Having a BBQ on the beach.

The Art of Hygge is not only the perfect gift and coffee table book, it is simply a brilliant reminder of the warmth the simple things can provide us with when Britain is being Britain, and raining its way all the way through June, July and August. It’s actually the kind of book I adore delving into in order to feel cosy; to experience hygge itself. A Friday evening was spent, wrapped up in a blanket, a candle flickering in my peripheral vision while I fell for this book’s magical words and soothing design. I’m a sucker for cosy-looking pictures and this book delivers these beautifully. With ideas to further explain the notion of hygge, recipes to help us hygge up and little DIY tricks to make our every day feel that bit more cosy, it’s a book we all need to help us when we get swept up in the hustle and bustle of Monday to Sunday.

I can’t wait to dip in and out of The Art of Hygge, taking its advice and following its oh-so-hygge recipes. Do you need to smother your life with hygge? Do you already? Let me know!

~ Kat ~

The Yearly Sunset Tradition

Last Saturday continued a tradition Alissa and I have carried out for the last three years: sunset, cider and selfies. A Saturday after both of us finish exams for the summer, Alissa and I head down to the beach with ciders and snacks (this trip also included prosecco and Malibu- we have finished university, after all). We breathe a fair few sighs of relief, sip on summery drinks and snack while we watch the sun get sleepy before it shuts its eyes for a few hours. Our yearly evening viewing at the beach is our equivalent of the cast of High School Musical’s “What Time Is It?” After months of counting down, we unwind to the sound of waves and feel relieved that it is time to be chillin’ out. Smooth.

SunsetttttSunset meSunset selfieSunsettI am currently making my way through a brilliantly eye-opening book about hygge (more on that on the blog later), the Danish word that doesn’t perfectly translate to feeling “cosy.” As the book describes, “there is something inherently powerful and sacred about sunsets.” The colours that so fantastically and yet easily glide through the sky naturally inspire the feeling of hygge. It is probably my favourite way to feel cosy, while bowing down to the brilliance of nature. Living by the beach is my favourite thing about where I live (only a walk away from the best ice cream ever is the second best selling point), and I live for evenings like this: pebbles beneath my feet; camera in hand; a friend by my side!

A theme that made me adore Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (wait a few moments- I am making my way to an A-Level-y point here) is the power of nature. Although we rarely empathise with the protagonist, Victor, his relationship with nature is an interesting one. Many of the beautiful parts of the story are written with nature as its backdrop; the reader acknowledging the power of nature alongside Victor. It is the evenings that are accompanied by the pebbles and the sea that I feel a little – a little – like Victor. The poignant focus on the sky, the sea and the land (rather than ourselves) is something we would all benefit from; even if we aren’t planning on creating a monster any time soon.

Even though I’m still waiting for my letter to Hogwarts (as a mature student), I believe sunsets are the closest thing us muggles will get to magic. It’s pretty hard to not romanticise nature’s dance when your TV for the evening is the sky. While we don’t change the channel, the sky tells us a different story with its every change of colour. Alissa and I rounded off our night with a drink at the pub- just another hyggelig activity to end a pretty perfect evening!

~ Kat ~