I’m pretty sure Venice is on most people’s bucket list. If it isn’t, it definitely should be a place you visit before you die. It’s a phenomenal city built on stilts over the Adriatic Sea in northern Italy. There are more than 100 small islands that make up Venice and they are all connected by bridges. There is almost like a one-way system as you often have to go around other islands. Through the middle of Venice is the Grand Canal which is what the river Thames is to London. There are only three bridges that cross the canal so be sure to plan your journey when navigating the islands. It's not as simple as crossing the road.

Venice is a beautiful city and is absolutely stunning during the day and night. There is something calming about being surrounded by water and watching the current bob. The Venice film festival was on so we took the boat out to Lido where it is held. Timothée Chalamet was there for his screening of The King. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see him.

Where to stay in Venice…

Venice can be really expensive, but it can also be done affordably. Mestre is located on the mainland and is at the end of the road that’ll take you to the Venice islands. It is often cheaper to stay here and travel into Venice will cost you no more than €3 on the bus or train. My friend and I stayed in a small one bed AirBnB not far from Mestre station.


Travelling in Venice…

Travelling around and between the islands can get quite expensive. I'd recommend buying a three-day pass at the train station. It came to €30 each. The pass allows unlimited travel around Venice and access to all the museums. You can ride the Vaporettos (water buses) and have a mini-tour of the main islands and surrounding islands.

What to do…

There are lots to do in Venice. Expect lots of walking around, exploring and getting lost. When you first arrive, take your time getting to explore what’s around you. There are lots of narrow passageways but they all have signs pointing you in the direction of the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square.

Doge’s Palace is stunning not only from the outside but inside too. The palace dates back to 1340 and was residence to the supreme authority of the former Venetian Republic (Doge). It can get really busy during the day but the crowds lighten in the evening. We went in the evening and it felt like we were the only ones there. You can get in free under the travel pass I mentioned above or pay for entry.

During your stay, I’d recommend visiting the Murano and Burano islands. They are about 20 minutes from Venice and are definitely worth the trip. Burano is the furthest island so I’d suggest going there first. You’ll probably recognise it from all the pictures of multi-coloured houses. I read that the houses are in different colours so the fishing men could locate their houses better. Burano has a rich history of lace and there are plenty of shops where you can pick up some lace. Murano is famous for its glass and is something you’ll see all over Venice. When I went, we visited the glass museum. Just a warning if you’re not sure whether to go or not- it mostly contained numerous cabinets of glass. 

If you're looking to escape and the crowds and want to relax on the beach, take a Vaporetto to Lido. It has a long strip of soft sand and looks out into the Adriatic sea.



Where to eat…

We indulged ourselves in dairy-free ice cream and stuffed our faces with pizza. A lot of restaurants around the Venice islands are accommodating to different dietary requirements. We were quite fortunate in being able to buy dairy-free ice cream and also eat a gluten-free pizza and pasta. Just look out for ‘senza glutine’ on the signs. On most days, we would share a pizza for lunch and head back to the flat to make dinner.

Katie Bucknell wrote a post called Gluten-Free Venice and it was really helpful in finding restaurants we could eat at. Restaurants in Venice can be quite expensive but there are tons listed in the post including ones tucked in little alleyways. 

Enjoy your holiday and I hope this post has helped

Love, Aoife xo


I love Valentine’s Day probably more than I should as a single lady. I’m a hopeless romantic and Valentine’s day is all about showing your appreciation and love for someone. Any excuse to demonstrate this and to celebrate something, I’m always up for it. I love the story behind Valentine’s day too and how the priest wrote letters to the jailer’s daughter signing it ‘Love, your Valentine’. This year got me thinking about love languages, what they mean and what mine is.

In 1992, Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. It outlines five ways in how people express and experience love between romantic partners. I, personally, think this works a little in how we express love and gratitude to family members and friends as well. It's how we interact with one another.

The five languages are (according to 5lovelanguages.com):
- Receiving Gifts: “A gift says, ‘he was thinking about me’"
- Quality Time: “Giving your spouse your undivided attention.”
- Words of Affirmation: “Using words to build up the other person.”
- Acts of Service: “Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like. Such as cooking a meal, washing dishes, vacuuming floors etc.”
- Physical Touch: “Holding hands, hugging, sexual intercourse, are all expressions of love.”

According to Chapman, we have a primary love language that speaks more deeply to us and a secondary love language. If you’re not sure what your love language is, there are plenty of quizzes and tests online you can take for free. But it's ultimately about which one you can relate to the most.


My primary love language is Acts of Service with my second language as Physical Touch. I think it’s important to demonstrate your love and gratitude through doing nice things for others such as helping them out and doing something that needs to be done. I also relate to Physical Touch as I love giving hugs and I crave them too. I also like holding hands and even sitting close by to someone and feeling their presence too.

Knowing your love language and your partner’s love language, according to the experts, can help make your relationship stronger because you know each other on a deeper level. Whenever I ask people about what they’re doing for Valentine’s, they also go ‘I’ll get a card and some chocolates or flowers’. Gifts can be very thoughtful and I don’t know anyone who’s ever said no to chocolates. But, why don’t you learn about your partners love language and celebrate Valentine’s doing something they’d appreciate more such as spending quality time with them, doing acts of service or building them up etc?

What is your love language and do you believe in them?

Love, your Valentine xo

A new year gives you the opportunity to explore new places and try out new things. Unfortunately, last year I was unable to do most of the things I had planned when I was in London because I worked throughout most of the summer holidays. Since my exams finish in May and I graduate in July, I will officially be free from being a student which means I'll have more time on my hands before I start working *sarcastic yay*. What's on my list for things I want to do in 2020?

Visit a new place in London // 
Last year, Aoife and I went to Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park and it was so gorgeous and peaceful! After uploading a video on Snapchat, I received countless messages asking about the location, Many people were surprised to find that the garden was in London. There are loads of places I haven't discovered or yet seen. One of the places I really want to visit is Kew Garden which looks beautiful. When I planned to go last year, it was raining but I'm going to make sure I see it this year!

Solo Trip // 
Since I can't travel during summer at the moment -I have eczema and a skin disorder that makes my skin sensitive to the sun- I thought it would be great to go somewhere in Europe during my reading week this month. I know most of my friends are not available or don't really want to go...so, why not make it my first ever solo trip? After travelling to Venice last August, I have to go back to Italy! I would love to go to Milan or to Florence for a few days. The whole experience of travelling alone can definitely be daunting but this doesn't put me off at all! I know I would meet great people along the way. It would truly be an unforgettable experience.


Spa Day // 
Because I deserve it and you do too! I would love to treat myself to a self-pampering day where I can unwind, focus on my wellness and enjoy a relaxing massage that puts me to sleep. I've seen so many incredible places for a spa getaway trip- maybe I have plans for my 21st after all!

Go to another city // 
I have never been to another city outside London before. Except for Leicester since  I go to university there. Birmingham and Nottingham are only a train away so I don't really have any excuses! After being told how big Manchester is, I would love to spend a day experiencing city life elsewhere.

Attend a Meditation Class // 
Life can become stressful, overwhelming and chaotic. Sitting in silence and focusing on your breathing is a really good technique that allows you to refocus and bring yourself into the present. If you're on a spiritual journey, you know how important it is to stay in silence without being consumed by excessive thinking. A friend recommended a meditation class in Leicester that she really enjoyed. I would love to surround myself with people who are in touch with their spirituality whilst learning how to meditate more effectively without being distracted by excessive thought.

What new things would you like to try this year?



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Hey, it's me Aoife! I hope you enjoyed Rashidah's blog post. I also wrote a guest post over on her blog about books that have changed my life which you can read here.