A week in the Alps: Slope essentials

In January, I had a week in Tignes, France. It was brilliant! I had not skied since I was 13 so it was good to get on the slopes again.

The trip was booked through Wasteland Ski who specialise in group bookings and, by the sounds of it, students! It was so reasonable for a week skiing.

A ski/ snowboard trip is difficult to pack for when you have never been before. I have made a little ‘to pack’ list, as I know at least one person forgot something!

It is difficult to describe as a lot of people will roll their eyes at you if you try to explain (from experience!) but you probably won’t be AS cold as you would expect to be as its a different type of cold temperature. Obviously, you still wear your thermals etc. but you have to remember you will be doing a lot of moving around (hopefully) when you are on the slopes. Clothes wise, I think most people bought items from AmazonTK Maxx and Mountain Warehouse. In an ideal world, I would have got all my clothes from Sweaty Betty but my bank balance did not agree.

  • Ski/snowboard jacket.
  • Ski/snowboard pants (salopettes).
  • Ski/snowboard gloves.
  • Ski/snowboard goggles.
  • Ski/snowboard socks.
  • Cosy hat.
  • Thermals.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Suncream SPF 30+ and Lip Balm SPF 15+ (do not underestimate the power of the sun on the slopes and the wind burns!)
  • Ski/snowboard helmet (some people just wear beanie hats- which gives me the fear! Especially because I am doing my dissertation on concussion…).
  • Comfy warm boots/footwear (I had Doc Martens which were ideal).
  • Balaclava/ neck warmer.
  • Hand warmers (I bought 40 of these off Amazon and actually used about 3 the full trip)
  • Camera- a GoPro would be perfect to attach to your helmet. (I was so busy I did not even bother taking mine out- just iPhone photos).
  • Swimming costume- this sounds silly, but in ski resorts, there are a lot of spas, and you will like some time to recover. 
  • Hot water bottle. I was the only person to pack this and it was SO good after skiing. Not even so much for heat, it is good for aches and pains after a day on the slopes.

Some people may find this basic, whereas others may not think of some of these things!

La Folie Douce is a MUST if you are near one. Such a good vibe. Have a look at your piste maps first. Some people were put off because they were not confident on blue slopes but it wasn’t til one of our last days we found alternative routes to places and ski lifts!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

Sticking to your New Years Resolution after January

“Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go”

The majority of people will have quit their new years’ resolution by now- but why?

Resolutions need to be realistic and manageable, and you need to actually want to commit to it! It could be a ‘cheat meal’ where you decide that’s the end of the diet or an awkward gym experience where you decide you’re never going back. There is alwaaaays going to be some barriers along the way, but it does not mean you need to give up!

If you change too much too soon, you may just switch back to your old habits. So, I’ve looked at common things that people look to change.

  • Weight Loss

Yes- Cutting out carbs does help you lose weight fast, but is not a sustainable way to live. You need carbs to give you energy. Another shortcut could be using these fat burning shakes/teas/pills. These can actually be dangerous for you and it will not give you long-term results to a healthier, happier you. SO, make gradual changes to your weekly shop. Avoid ingredients with added sugars and keep fat low- in particular, saturated and trans fats.

Oil when cooking foods. Try using coconut oil or a spray. Some foods that you fry, use a grill instead so you’re not using any oil. I recently tried the low kcal spray and its good, and you hardly need any of it. When cooking veg, try to steam.

  • Staying hydrated

Aim to have a small glass of water when you first wake up and aim to fill your bottle up more and more as during the day. Add lemon or something to make it more appealing. Ideally, aim for at least 2 litres of water a day. If you are not in the habit of drinking much water during the day, it will be difficult to go from a class to this 2 litres goal, so gradually drink more throughout the day.

Your daily cuppa- every day take a little less sugar/ syrup before you realise you don’t need any. It may also be a suggestion to try alternative teas- such as green, lemon, ginger or peppermint. People just love the comfort of a hot cuppa rather than the actual taste.

Read the facts here.

  • The Gym

The fear about joining the gym- but what is it that actually puts people off? Not knowing what to do- get yourself a plan to follow. There are so many free workouts available on the internet these days, I have pinned some on my Pinterest. Normally people are fine getting on a machine and using it, but they are unsure of how many reps and sets they should be aiming for. This means if someone else comes along looking to use it you just get up mid-set and offer it to them, there is nothing wrong with saying you will be another few minutes. Everyone was new to the gym once! I put my headphones in and find it easy to block everyone off. Try some classes as this may be more of a push if you have a day and time to follow. Even if you go to the gym, start to warm up for 20 minutes and decide you are really not in the mood- this is soo much better than not going to the gym at all! Remember that and do not be too hard on yourself. If you are a student, save some money when joining the gym by reading the post here.

I always thought the saying was 21 days to form a habit, but reading more they say it can take 66 days. This just shows that everyone is different, and that is ok!

Good luck with whatever you plan to do/ change/ start/ quit this year.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

NYE in Venice

This NYE was spent in Venice. We flew out midday on the 31st and stayed until the evening of the 4th. The place was beautiful and didn’t even look real! The weather was average for anywhere in Europe at this time and rained for one day.


We tried Airbnb for the first time and will definitely use it again. Our stunning studio (here) was in Murano with a garden and patio area right on the water (like most things in Venice). It was a 20 minute water taxi from the airport and only about 5 minutes water taxi from mainland Venice. Murano is full of stunning handmade glass. Unfortunately, the glass lamp on my wish list is €28k…

For the bells, we were in Piazza San Marco (or St. Marks Square) where the atmosphere was amazing!


Water taxis were €20 euro for a 24-hour pass into Venice which we were surprised at as the airport return was cheaper. It was cheaper the more days you bought. We were annoyed as once we bought a ticket not once was it checked in the week! (I wouldn’t risk it though as there is a fine!). The maps to get around the place on the water are like the London underground with the colours and is pretty simple to follow. Just make sure you get on the correct route in the right direction or you will do a lap of the islands before you get to where you wanna be!

The food, as expected, was yum. We love bread and oils, pasta and pizza and this was what we had for brekkie, lunch and dinner every day. Prosecco and bellini even tasted soo much better here. We did try our first Hard Rock Cafe for some lovely cocktails and fajitas. It felt like we spent a lot of money over the 5 days, but meals were about €30 so it must have been everything in between. Everywhere I go, I seem to talk about the hot chocolates but, these were soooo good!

We bought a museum pass and we went to a few churches. I would definitely recommend going into St Mark’s Basilica. No photographs are allowed inside here, which is common inside the churches, so you need to see it for yourself to appreciate it! I did get a picture on the balcony at the top.

The shops were great. As my brother reminded me of the quote when I sent him pictures ‘Italians do it better’. If you were after a nice handbag, you were in the right place! I love the look of shops, I think even more so now that Ovosi Clothing has recently reopened with their new concept store, I appreciate the detail more.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

Spending my 21st in New York City

To celebrate my 21st birthday, I went to New York last week for 5 days and it was amazing. It was my first time in New York (America for that matter) and the huge hype of the Big Apple did not disappoint.

6 ladies made the trip- my cousin, mum and aunties. With my recent trips, I’ve always planned the itinerary prior to arriving but this time it was all taken care of by my auntie who had been in the last couple of years. Hallelujah. Hopefully, this blog post can help anyone if they are looking for some recommendations!

We flew from Edinburgh Wednesday- Sunday/ Monday with United Airlines. Bearing in mind we went the 2nd week in October… it was soo hot (27degrees), humid and rained once on the Sunday- which was actually quite a relief. This went against everyone’s recommendations of how cold New York would be at this time of year. (The locals did say this was unusual)

To see…

We started off with a night cruise which I would 100% recommend. It sets off about 7pm and was perfect to hear about the history of the island as well as seeing the skyline lit up. The company was Circle Line and it was the Harbor Lights tour.

The best way to see everything is on the bus tour. We used Big Bus Tours, New York and used the red route. It is great to just drive around the city and listen to some of the history behind it. We had it for 2 days and I noticed that they have a lot of buses in different cities so I would definitely use the company again. The bus trip allowed us to hop off near the Rockefeller, One World Observatory (which is next to 9/11 memorial and museum), Trump tower etc.

The two amazing shows we went to see were Anastasia and Kinky Boots. We all love our musicals but this exceeded the high expectations we already had!

Central park really surprised me and I could have spent all day there. I knew it was huge but I did not realise how much there was to actually see and do in the park so it was helpful to have a guided tour around it. Unlimited Biking provided the tour and guide- we had Daniel who was lovely and certainly knew his stuff!

One thing I had planned to do was a helicopter ride but we heard such mixed reviews about it. The minimum to pay for a 15-minute trip was $190. If anyone has any recommendations to try I would love to hear them! I feel like with the Top of the Rock and World Observatory we managed to see the city from above anyway.

Shopping was good on 5th avenue. I can understand why people go with empty suitcases… My group of girls all got Tiffany necklaces for their 21st and I was the last to celebrate mine. They had decided that it would be nice for me to get mine there so it was lovely as the Tiffanys was like a heavenly museum. I could have spent a lot of time and money!

To eat… 

Ellen’s Stardust Diner was out of this world and where I spent my birthday breakfast! I had the fruit pebble pancakes and raspberry cava and the service and atmosphere was brilliant. It really is like the movies that there is always a waiter/ waitress bursting out into song on top of the tables.

Seans Bar & Kitchen was along the road from our hotel, across from Rockefeller centre and in between our hotel and 5th Avenue. It was a nice Irish bar, the breakfast was great and the staff were lovely.

Johns pizza. We went to the Times Square restaurant as we randomly picked it while walking the streets. It wasn’t until after we went we realised there was such a hype for it- their original one is in Greenwich village and apparently worth the visit. It was great! Pizza is a must in NY and I’m currently craving it now as I should be sleeping but have the good old jet lag.

Sugar Factory was on my list of places to try for a cocktail. It was a bit further out and as we were going to see two musicals we did not have time to go at night. There was a smaller one near us at Times Square where we went but we did not try the amazing looking drinks!!

There are TGIS which we went to which is as fabulous for cocktails as they are in the UK and the food is a similar menu. I was told there was a Starbucks on pretty much every corner but it was only when we were needing a cuppa we couldn’t get a cafe for miles. You can always grab something from here or the plenty of Pret A Manger’s.

All the menus are like $15-25 for your average meal which is reasonable but note there is tax and compulsory gratuity which adds on about $15 to everything.

To stay…

We stayed in the The Gallivant Times Square. The location is perfect here. On the doorstop to Broadway theatres and along the road from Times Square (of course), the Rockefeller and the bus stop for the bus tours. We were within walking distance to the pier for the boat trip, Central Park etc and got the hop on bus to get to the 9/11 area.

We were speaking about going a bit further out when we booked it but prices didn’t decrease by much and this one looked lovely. Again, look out for the small print when booking for additional taxes etc!

I took money out at an ATM in the hotel and there was only like a $2 charge and the exchange rate was pretty average so that was fine. Remember to apply for your ESTAs before you go to make sure you are allowed in the country!

I had an amazing time and I already cannot wait to plan to return to NYC.

Thanks for reading!
Hannah x

Student Edit | Budgeting

Following from my moving out post, another huge influence on your student experience is how you manage to balance your finances.

I personally think I’ve always been good at budgeting (contrary to my mum’s opinion on my shopping habits). Here are some tips to be able to afford the necessities, and the extras.
Plan- this goes for everything- rent, bills, food shops, holidays, events, gym membership etc.

Food shop- Try and refrain from picking up as-you-go from an express shop. I do a weekly shop and sometimes go to 2 or 3 places for different fresh and frozen food. I tend to cook lunches which saves me paying a fiver for something on the campus that I don’t really like or find nutritious. I also think with student discounts, eating out is very reasonable. Some places do 20-40% off throughout the week with UNiDAYS!

Private lets rent will be monthly and can come out at any point of the month, which may not go in your favour in terms of when payday falls. I would have as many as 4 bank accounts: a general current account, a current account only for flat bills (when in a shared flat it’s good to have a nominated person for this so you’re not accidentally dipping into other people’s money). Additionally, have a savings account which will do for the more weekly events that can be dipped into. Finally, an ISA savings account which is for the bigger things like holidays which should not be touched if possible. Even if you do need to go into this, you do not feel as guilty as it’s there for emergencies. Some places (halls) accept your full term rent upfront at the start of the year. This normally saves you a small % as they prefer you to do this. Obviously, this can be an extortionate amount to pay upfront. However, if you have savings or your loan already it is great to save you the hassle of keeping track of an instalment date and having to keep money aside.

Student loan. Decide if you really need a loan or if it is just out of habit as you know it is available. Even if you do not think you need it but it will come in handy, set it up for a different account (perhaps your savings) and hide the amount from your banking app so you are less tempted. Listening to friends, an overdraft can be quite a tricky situation to get out of if you get carried away too early. Read the small print and make sure you look at your limit and do not think it is a shopping fund!

I had a nightmare with jobs in the first year- two places went bankrupt which made paydays less than expected when I had already mentally spent the money. In this occasion, it’s good to have an emergency fund.

Fair enough, a gym membership will not be on someone’s priority list when moving out. However, I have ended up saving time and money planning this. I used my UNiDAYS app for Pure Gym (use my referral code when signing up: 191P114874). When I went to view my flat, Pure Gym was the closest and I had previously been a member there. They are very reasonable anyway but when I used the UNiDAYS discount, I did not pay a joining fee and I got 20% off!! I also have paid off 9 months and delayed the start date to the week I moved in. This was ideal and you will probably pay about £10-15 a month depending on the gym. This app is not only useful for gym memberships but there are plenty other discounts on there so definitely check it out.

Freshers. I would definitely recommend going along to the fair/ open day and see what is around you. Your university or college will have links with some places so it is good to know where you can get extra discounts and this can become your ‘go-to’.

Thanks again for reading!

Hannah x

Student Edit | Moving Out

I moved away from home 3 years ago (aged 17) and I’ve had some people now asking me what it is like and looking for some advice so thought I would write a post as I ended up loving moving out.

Make it homely! Especially if you’re in student halls, everyone’s room looks the same so it is good to give it a proper personal touch. Some places do not allow candles (they’re good for show anyway) so you could get a lil salt lamp (read my post about salt lamps here. We got everything matching in the first year and went sooo overboard. Can you move out though and not spend a day/ fortune in Ikea? I find Home Bargains, Ikea, Primark, Urban Outfitters,  Amazon are great to kit you out. Most letting agencies do not allow you to put nails through the walls, but some halls have pin boards- so organise some polaroids of your favourite things and even some study notes.

Get all the paperwork out the way before you go! Tv license, council tax, electricity, home insurance, wifi etc… In halls, all of this is pretty much ticked off the list for you. If you are in a private let though, it is important to get it out the way sooner rather than later. As a student, there will be a lot of exemptions/ reductions so you do not want to pay more than you need to. (You may need your matriculation number but even proof of acceptance can work).

Transport! I knew straight away I was never going to bring my car to Edinburgh as it would be more hassle than it is worth. Even if you do have parking available, have a look to see if it will be practical commuting with a car or if there are easier options. I cycled everywhere in my second year in Edinburgh. I barely cycled in the first year and I remember when we moved from one flat to the other I even walked with it cause I was too nervous hahaha. Once I got over that initial fear of city driving it was fab- I saved money, a lot of time and got fitter! So, take time to look at different options- even a plan B and C for rainy days and give yourself plenty of time. You will probably find people in the same building trying to get to the same place as you.

Take time to wonder… Edinburgh is a lovely city. From a living perspective, it is important to take a walk around the surrounding areas and really get your bearings. Find cute cafes you like or shortcuts to the train station. After 3 years I am still finding hidden places that we have run out of time to visit. I always made an effort to make at least 1 day a week to visit a new place in the city or surrounding area. You really do need to make the most of it and not put it off. Before you know it, you will be graduated!

Phone home if you need to! You can be very content moving out but still feel homesick every so often. I text my parents throughout the day to keep them updated to tell them very minor things and to check up on everyone and everything at home (more often than not to get updated pictures of the dogs…). It is important to find that balance so you do not get homesick.

Get your stationary kitted out! Get organised before you start your course as it will make it easier when the workload begins to pile up.

Icebreakers! If you are moving in with people. Remember, everyone else is in the exact same boat as you so will probably be just as nervous, if not more. Be open about what you like and there is absolutely no point in being anything but yourself because you are gonna be living with these people for a year!

Plan to budget! This ends up stressing people out and it is shame when people need to miss out on things. Read separate post on how to help balance your dolla here.

For me, moving out really topped the experience of going on to study. 100% fending for yourself to cook/ clean/ shop/ general adulting is great to become independent. Of course, there are sooo much more to studies (social aspect/ the actual studying part) but feeling settled in where you live is the best place to start!

Thanks for reading, 

Hannah x

A week in the Costa Smeralda

To plan our summer holiday, we literally zoomed in on random islands to check the names and to see if there were flights from the UK. This resulted in a week in Sardinia.

We stayed at Cala di Lepre which was on the north coast/ emerald coast/ costa smeralda. It was a stunning resort and there were frequent buggies to take you to the pool and restaurants. We were half board and the food was unreal for a buffet!

It was quite a walk to the city centre (Palau), as the paths weren’t great but it was manageable. There were frequent buses or taxis, which was no more than 15€.

We went on a few boat trips and they were stunning. The water was unreal and it was pretty obvious how it got its nickname. We had a day trip to Bonifacio, Corsica, which was lovely to have a taste of Italy and France in one day.

It was a very chilled holiday and I think most hotels appeared to be resorts which were quite remote from the rest. I would love to have a holiday home here as it really was a perfect chilled getaway that I think would appeal to a lot of my friends and family!

Thanks for reading,  

Hannah x

North Coast 500

I, like many others, always want to escape on holiday to a foreign country with better weather. This makes us forget about the beautiful country we live in is. So… for Reiss’ 21st, we decided to do a road trip around the Scottish Highlands.

A lot of people have asked how many days it took, where we stayed etc. so I thought I would write a list if anyone is interested in doing it in the future.

We went in the middle of May from Wednesday morning- Sunday night.

On the first day, we drove from Edinburgh up past Inverness and stayed in a cute Wigman near the Muir of Ord. It was in the grounds of an activity centre which was very peaceful as there were people staying in the house but not in the wigwam next to us so we literally felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.

Dunrobin Castle 

On Thursday, we drove from Inverness to John o’ Groats. We stopped at Dunrobbin castle which was stunning and walked around the gardens of Castle of Mey. We went to John o’ Groats sign and Dunnet Head and then made our way to our 2nd wigwam near Wick. It was looking over a field and we had a BBQ which was lovely.


On the 3rd day, we drove along to Scourie and the views along the North Coast were breathtaking.  We stopped at some beaches and the only official tourist-y attraction we stopped at was smoo cave which was cool. We stopped at a small market where Cocoa Mountain is where they apparently make the best hot chocolates. It was one of the best hot chocolates we have had to be fair. We stayed at Scourie Lodge B&B which was a quaint building looking over the water which was beautiful. It was a nice place to walk around for the evening.

Scourie Lodge Gardens 

On the 4th day, it rained the majority of the day. Again, the views along this coast were like something you would see in the Caribbean… We went up and along Applecross Pass which is a must! I was cautious driving along the road as it was very narrow (the majority of the roads up in the highlands are one way with frequent passing places). We spent our last night staying in Movyegan House on Loch Duich– which again, was stunning.

Loch Duich 

We drove back on the Sunday with some D-tours to some places we thought would look nice. On the North Coast, I would recommend staying in the places we stayed but I would not try and plan much else around it. There are plenty of viewing points, passing places and tourist attractions where you can stop and take a walk around. It would have been good to have a couple of more days to have the flexibility to travel across to some of the islands and really to be able to chill. We bought an official NC500 map at Dunrobbin Castle gift shop which was really helpful. I got very little/ no phone signal anywhere and it was so good not being on my phone too (other than to take photos of course).

Overall we drove 881 miles door to door and I would definitely recommend doing it!
Places we stayed:

Night 1: Muir of Ord- Glamping

Night 2: Near Wick- Wigwam

Night 3: Scourie- B&B

Night 4: Loch Duich- B&B

To find accommodation, I worked out the maximum about of miles we would like to travel and rough places to stop. I used booking.com to find some nice places to stay. It was nice to have Wigwams and B&B but if you were looking to spend less on accommodation there are plenty of campsites scattered across the route. A couple we spoke to on route booked there campsite each day as they went along.

Reiss also took his new camera, can see highlights on his Youtube video. 

Here are some random pictures from the trip:

Applecross Pass 
Little Gruinard
Ruins of Ardvreck castle
West Coast
Smoo Cave
The only traffic…
Dunnet Head
Castle of Mey
John O’Groats

Thanks for reading,  

Hannah x

A day in Millport

Last year, I set myself the task of taking part in 16 challenges throughout the year. Millport Day always falls on the last weekend of March so is always one of the first.

It is an annual ladies day that a family friend organises every year for 100 lovely ladies. It was originally set up a number of years ago to raise money for Williams Syndrome which is close to our hearts. It is always a fabulous day out and the sunshine made it even better this year.

Millport is lovely. The Isle of Cumbrae is approximately 12 miles to cycle around it and took me just under an hour. This included a photo stop or two. A quick ferry from Largs makes it easily accessible. To hire a bike it is about £5 too for a couple of hours. I would love to go back later in the year, but the schedule is looking pretty hectic with moving down south after the summer.

There are a few challenges throughout the year (not as much as last year!) which I will be keeping a diary of. A big one in 5 weeks time… eek!

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Thanks for reading, 

Hannah x

Himalayan Salt Lamps

My auntie always had a salt lamp when I was younger and I remeber I always found it intriguing! I found one in a shop a couple of months ago and it was 40 pounds. I was not sure how much they should be so decided to shop around. I finally found them at Edinburgh Christmas Markets (about 20 pounds) and it wasn’t till I was buying them I realised the numerous benefits of having one in your home.

I am no expert at all but I am open to trying new things and am happy with it so far! I have also read an article to say none of this is true…. so at least, if anything, they look good!

To start off- The lamps apparently help your moods- you feel healthier and more ‘balanced’.

These lamps are known to kill bacteria and eliminate positively charged ions. They also contain certain minerals that help increase your feeling of wellness.

These negatively charged ions not only help your mood, they also help to increase blood flow to the brain. This helps with your energy and concentration levels. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, a healthy mind=healthy body=easier life!

This is one I have definitely noticed (or maybe a coincidence that my sleeping pattern is slightly better than it has been in the past). The salt lamp is helpful to get a better sleep. If you have it on before you go to sleep- research has shown you are likely to fall asleep faster and into a deeper, restful sleep.

In addition to these, manufacturers have said that the negative ions can help to kill bacteria. This means that toxins are removed from the air- making it ‘cleaner’. It also helps to counteract dangerous radiation that has been known to lead to increased blood pressure and various types of cancer. It can also help with chronic headaches.

Are you convinced yet???

This is just one of the steps I am taking to help with the effects of technology etc. Another thing I am trying is staying off my phone before I go to sleep!!! And stopping scrolling through my phone for 20 minutes every morning in bed before I get up. Awful.

There are some reasonably priced ones on Amazon!

Thanks for reading, 

Hannah x