The Monthly Scrapbook | June

Like all the adults say, June has flown by. It was all my feet barely touched the ground and in the blink of an eye, it’s nearly July. It’s been a brilliantly busy month and I’ve decided to focus on a few awesome parts of this last month. This last month that even managed to provide the UK with a good few days of glorious sun and helped me get a little bit of a tan for my graduation next month, eeep!

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The first highlight of June began on the very first day of (what turned out to be quite) the summery month. My monthly online newsletter all about feminism kickstarted the month and the 1st was a very proud day for me. Not only did I adore the mini debate it sparked, I loved having friends and even people I don’t know reading my friend’s and my words. Feminism Up (which you can subscribe to HERE!) has also meant a further excuse to meet up with my friends throughout the month, including a trip to the beach for ice cream and photographs with my good friend Tom who I rarely get to see because he lives up North!

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This month faced up to the fact that university is well and truly over, and did so with two trips to clean my house and take home my stuff. The first trip started with good friends and a pub evening which felt needed after a month of not seeing my favourite coursemates. This week, however, saw the final trip up to my home for the last two years, to do one final clean and take a few pictures outside our run down house that we like to pretend is charming, but, truthfully it’s not. But if you don’t laugh about it, you cry! After half an hour of tackling bin bags that had split open, Rose, Harry (two of my housemates) and I took a few snaps, and I made them promise they’d look for a flat in Cardiff with a “Joey” room for me to stay in.

HonorJune ended with a spontaneous trip to get another ear piercing. I had vaguely wondered if I wanted a second earlobe piercing, but a message from Honor that read “I really fancy getting more ear piercings today” confirmed that, yes, I did want another one. Even though it was just about the least edgy spontaneous trip ever, we joked about the I-didn’t-wake-up-knowing-this-would-happen-today-ness all the same. The trip ended with us trying a chai latte for the first time ever and after just one sip, we knew this would be a regular thing.

With many (last week I went to the beach four times!) beach trips, hours in the pub and even the best few days in Rome, June has been pretty sunny! It’s been full of highlights and while it’s been bloomin’ great, I’m really excited to get myself one of those adult routines people talk about. Can I just grab one at the supermarket?

~ Kat ~

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A Sunday with Cheese, Chilli and Beer

Like all of our other friends last weekend, Aaron and I headed to a festival. Oh, no… not that festival. Aaron and I are massive foodies and Aaron is also super interested in growing his own vegetables. A peek out of the window Sunday morning revealed an overcast but perfectly pleasant day ahead (and a pretend photographer’s field day lighting-wise). Basingstoke welcomed The Cheese and Chilli Festival this last weekend, promising weekend fun for all. So I slipped on my 21-year-old-going-on-middle-aged shirt, charged my camera and mentally prepared myself for the many tasters I was about to taste. Now that’s my kind of Sunday.

IMG_2663.JPGIMG_2606.JPGIMG_2616IMG_2621.JPGIMG_2624.JPGIMG_2653.JPGIMG_2678The atmosphere was really lovely; local people wanting to support really brilliant and innovative businesses while enjoying what turned out to be a pretty great summer’s day- clouds and all. Little pop up stalls dotted the outside of the field, making certain that at least one stall’s goodies would be somebody’s cup of tea… or perfect chilli cheese in my case/caramelised onion chutney/chilli oil. The festival provided entertainment including stunt shows, bird demonstrations and chilli eating competitions. The companies are eager to interact with you, welcoming questions and even dishing out freebies on top of the testers- we were given a popcorn (the sweetcorn-looking thing)!

Not only did we each purchase a (different) ginger beer with a chilli kick, Aaron left with two chilli plants and a satay sauce which we tested beforehand and it was delicious. I could have easily bought every cheese I tried- the chilli flavours or an apple flavour I tested being my favourites. We learnt about new companies and took away leaflets for them that I genuinely plan on referring back to. The festival gave me brilliant gift ideas, and if I was a cheese and chilli fan before, I’m a superfan now. (Could I be any less of a 21 year old?)

The Cheese and Chilli Festival is heading to Guildford, Swindon and Winchester, so if you are local to any of these, I completely recommend going. Children are free, seniors pay £3 and we paid £7 each for our tickets. Local and regional cheeses are displayed to test and maybe buy at what we thought were all really reasonable prices. We didn’t once feel a price was a bit off (even if the blue cheese smelt it to me) and we always enjoyed the cheese! Stupidly hot chillies will be there too if you want to be as silly as me to try the hottest chilli in jam-form (I looked like a toddler having a tantrum after I made that fatal mistake). So if you love cheese and chilli (and all that’s in between) just like me, see what’s going on in your area because it made for a very lovely Sunday!

~ Kat ~

One City, Two Feet | When in Rome

I am a big advocate for exploring a city by foot to maximise adventures, sightseeing and, of course, opportunities to sneak into a bar for a quick beverage. My city breaks to Dublin and Paris gave me this mentality ,and while Aaron and I walked lots in these cities, I learnt a lot about the benefits of touring by walking on my trip to Rome. We didn’t once touch public transport and although metros and trams are naturally brilliant, I adored giving my feet a hard time and seeing every beautiful Italian building I possibly could by doing so.

IMG_2594Every corner of Rome tells a story, whether that be a tiny tale or a grand series of events. History oozes out of the city and tourists are aware of the famous ground they are stood upon. Italy is on almost everyone’s bucket list and I know it occupied my number one spot since I was a child. My favourite food was pizza. It only made sense. Where else would I go? As I got older, enjoyed history and learning in general, Italy became an attractive bucket list bullet point for a million other reasons. I genuinely believe I wouldn’t have felt as adventure-fulfilled without the many blisters on my feet by the time the last evening rolled about.

The history of Rome is even popular among the youngest of children. Perhaps because of its colourful and very scary past, children tune in a little more forgiving of learning about what happened way before they were born. I remember learning about the Coliseum and its purpose long before I retained other historical facts. I think we are all interested in gladiators and chariot races and all of the whys, whens and whos. My forgotten love for history easily crept up on me when walking around, taking in even the smallest of details among those big things we were told about as kids. Learning is something I adore and by using my two feet all times in Rome, I realised I want to read a good few books about the history of Rome. I didn’t know enough about the brilliant sights that accompanied me on my wanders.

I think the sheer amount more you see by foot is priceless. My brother and I might not have visited and marvelled at the Altare dell Patria quite so many times; we might not have found my very favourite scoop of ice cream (pistachio- and I had pistachio on two occasions); we might not have had so many opportunities to bring out our Uno cards. To get the most out of just a few days in a city, the city demands respect. A lot of love in a short amount of time. And for that, two feet need to be at one with the city at all times.

I aim to run at every location I visit. However, due to luggage restrictions, I could not in Rome. Being someone who loves working out on holiday, this didn’t need to suck. And the over 100,000 steps we accumulated in two and a half days ensured this. Through walking, not only can you always be up close and personal with a city, you can see so many possible eating spots for “later” and make a well-informed (it’s an important part of the day!) decision about where you’re going to get your Italian carbs in! This is my last post in my seven day run of posts about my amazing trip to Rome. I am super grateful for the stupidly awesome birthday present but I am equally delighted to announce that the Uno championship we took part in (it’s less official than I made that sound) consisting of 127 games finished with one deserved winner. And that winner was me.

~ Kat ~

P.S. Yesterday I wrote about my favourite place in Rome.

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 ~