All posts filed under: Travel

Pulling out of the Berlin Marathon – why I’m not being hard on myself

It’s a phrase you hear often, but yet a lot of people, me included, never seem to listen. Why is it resonating now? Well, as I sit on my poolside hotel bed that we booked as a post marathon treat watching four Englishmen stalk slowly past me to the exit, legs tense, walks resembling John Wayne, I can’t help but feel like an idiot. Yesterday was the Berlin Marathon, one of the six world major championships. I am in Berlin because last year I set myself a challenge to run all six world majors and I was meant to run it. But a couple of months ago I did something I never really thought I’d do. I… dun dun duuuuun, pulled out! I even sighed as I just wrote that sentence. I’m not a quitter, but recently I have come to realise that I set very high standards for myself. Standards that don’t mean a single thing to anyone else in the world. So why do I keep them? If anyone has the answer, please …

Cignale Enoteca, Tokyo

  You’d think that a self confessed raw fish obsessive who has booked a trip to Tokyo would want to spend each day – morning, noon and night – slurping up every silky seafood slither in sight. Right? Well, I thought so too, until I made my 10 year dream trip to Tokyo a reality. Why? Because on the flight there, good old lunch.money told me that whatever the Japanese turn their hand to, kitchen based or otherwise, turns out to be the best in the world. So when I came across the 2016 Monocle Restaurant Awards list and saw that the number 1 spot had been awarded to a small rustic restaurant in Tokyo, run by Japanese chef, Toshiji Tomori, who spent 4 years learning his trade in Italy, there was no question I would be booking it. It may not have a Michelin star, but anyone who goes to Tokyo with bookings only at spots recommended solely by the foodie elite, are a bit stupid in my eyes. It’s not to say I …

Two Michelin starred dining at Ren, Tokyo

“I literally have no idea where this place is”, I mumbled as I wandered down a dimly lit alleyway in Tokyo’s upmarket Shinjuku district, spying thorough windows of restaurants that were not the one we were looking for. It was 5.30pm and we had been saving ourselves for dinner most of the day. And I was on the verge of severe hanger. Luckily, lunch.money saved us both by popping into a local bakery to ask directions. The young cashier took his phone, turned it around what must have been about 5 times and scratched her head. Finally, her eyes lit up and she ran out of the shop, gesturing for us to follow her. She took us down a side road and pointed to an unassuming doorway, which looked like it belonged to a block of flats. This was to become a common occurrence on our trip, we soon realised. Once we had finally located the restaurant, we waited outside before realising that the wooden lattice door was ready for us to slide open and …

How to Eat Well in Dublin and Belfast

We have all experienced addiction at some point in our lives. If you’re reading this and you haven’t, I’m sorry but you’re not human. A few years ago I was completely and utterly infatuated. The lucky recipient of my affections? If you know me you might have guessed…  Salmon. But only the raw kind. Oh yes, it just HAD to be raw. And as much as I still adore salmon sashimi, my affections have now turned to another satisfying sea creature… the Oyster. So you can imagine the first thing that went though my head when I booked to go to Dublin and Belfast? No, it wasn’t the fact that I’d finally get to explore Temple Bar, or that I might even see Cillian Murphy roaming the streets (although of course I will forever live in hope of that). No, it was that I would get to eat my bodyweight in delicious oysters. And that I did.  But eating oysters wasn’t the only item on the to do list. Pippa and I were there for …

Festival Review – Electric Castle, Romania

“What are you going to write about?” asked Alex. I thought about it for a second and when I responded, he looked surprised. “I don’t know, because it hasn’t happened yet”, I smiled as I melted into my seat. Lucy and I had just stopped the wrong bus in its tracks and bundled ourselves on, not so elegantly pulling our suitcase and bumping into poor unsuspecting passengers on the way to a couple of empty seats at the back. The boiling hot bus, which seemed to have rolled straight out of the 70’s, was full of subdued festival goers on the way to one of Romania’s biggest festivals, Electric Castle. And Alex? He was my new Romanian friend from Romania’s non-official second capital, Cluj-Napoca. It was the truth. I could have guessed and said that I was going to interview a few bands, or that I was there to review specific bands, but no. I was there to review the experience – and if my previous festival experiences are anything to go by, I knew …

Bridget Jones does Snowbombing

“I feel like Bridget Jones does skiing”, I mutter to my friend as we near the top of the gondola escalator, skis ever so elegantly slipping out of my grip and ski boots digging into my shin causing me to walk like John Wayne in his worst form. She turns around, giggles, and promptly agrees with me. “Let’s do this”, she said. And as those three empowering words escaped her mouth, I knew that the next few days were going to be unforgettable. You may be wondering how I ended up at a banging dance music festival, with skiing as an additional activity no less, three weeks before the London Marathon. Well, let me tell you. I’m a weak ‘yes’ person who will not turn a fun opportunity down. And when I received the text asking if I was up for a week of two of my favourite things combined, music and skiing, I just had to say yes. Five days of hungover skiing and five epic Jäeger Bomb fuelled nights of debauchery. What could …

Dancing in Transylvania: Electric Castle Festival, 12th-16th July

It has taken me four years to realise that to have fun; the real kind, not the ‘how can I make myself look like I’m having fun when really I’m just an anxiety attack waiting to happen’ kind of fun, I need to do two things. Number 1 – Just Say No. The FOMO is real, people. But it doesn’t need to be. It took a 40 year old journalist I met recently to tell me that getting over FOMO was one of the best things he had ever done. “It takes time, but it will come”, he said to me as we departed a ski lift on the top of a mountain in Mayrhofen. We were at Snowbombing festival and he was there to cover the festival for an online music magazine. He was having fun, not drinking, skiing loads every day, and most importantly left the festival with an average of 40 hours’ sleep during the week. I, on the other hand, drank my body weight in Jägermeister and beer, danced until 5am …