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First day back at work after two weeks away is always a struggle but I'm happy to get back into a healthier routine after far too much dim sum and ramen! 😋 I've added Hong Kong and Tokyo to my Stories highlights for those who missed my updates!

We found this pretty street in Shibuya, Tokyo, near the famous and very hectic Scramble/crossing. So nice to see some more traditional streets hidden amongst the super modern tower blocks and huge neon lights.

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First day back at work...

After a long hiatus from the blog, I've just shared some of my recent favourites. From @oddboxldn to @olio_ex, they're all helping to make our lives more sustainable! Click the link in my profile and let me know what you think.
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Featuring my beautiful WWF KeepCup!
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After a long hiatus from...

Spending a few days enjoying Sicilian views, sunshine, food, and spritz!
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Spending a few days enjoying...

Take me back please!! đŸ™đŸ» The walk to the calanques near Marseille was tough in the heat but the views made it worth doing! Loved having a picnic in the shade before going for a swim in the clear waters.
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#calanques

Take me back please!! đŸ™đŸ»...

When you spot a pretty backdrop! đŸƒâ€â™€ïž Marrakesh was 10x more beautiful than I had been expecting, with decorative arches, colourful tiled courtyards and orange trees being common sights. I loved the smells as well - argan oil, orange blossom and fresh mint all remind me of Morrocco now.
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When you spot a pretty...

I think the cats of Essaouira and Marrakesh deserve to have a post dedicated to them, given how much time I spent admiring them! 😍 #catsofmorocco
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I think the cats of...

What to Eat in Iceland

By Posted on 5 min read 1435 views

As I’ve already mentioned in my travel tips for Iceland post, my mother is Icelandic and I have been to Iceland at least once a year since I was a baby. One of the things that I look forward to the most whenever I go back to Iceland is the food. There are so many delicious Icelandic treats that you just can’t find in London!

It would be a shame for you to miss out on the best food that Iceland has to offer when you visit, so I’ve put together this mini culinary guide which will hopefully help you to know what to look out for in shops and on restaurant menus. The best food will of course always be homemade, but I’ve included some popular addresses for you to discover.

icelandic rye bread rugbraud

RĂșgbrauĂ°

RĂșgbrauĂ° is Icelandic rye bread. It’s a bit dense but soft, moist, and slightly sweet, and it’s delicious with a slice of cheese or just some good butter. Traditionally, it was made by using geothermal heat from the ground near hot springs. How cool is that!

Where to find it: any supermarket like BĂłnus or Hagkaup, or even at a food shop in Keflavik airport. Laugarvatn Fontana geothermal baths offer a ‘Rye Bread Experience‘ which seems like a great way to try RĂșgbrauĂ° made the old-fashioned way.

icelandic lobster

“Lobster” and Lobster soup

So technically what Icelanders call lobster is actually langoustine but it tastes just as good as real lobster, if not even better! Cooked with a bit of lemon and parsley and a whole lot of butter, it is served with potatoes – Icelanders love potatoes – and bread. Every time I go to Iceland, lobster is one of the things I look forward to eating the most. Just be prepared for a bit of messy eating with your fingers!

icelandic lobster soup

Icelandic lobster soup is also so delicious! It’s similar to French lobster bisque: very creamy, and very tasty. Don’t forget to mop up every last bit with a piece of bread.

Where to have them: FjöruborĂ°iĂ°, a short drive outside of Reykjavik, is THE place for lobster. In the centre of town, try Torfan, Saegreifinn (The Sea Baron) or Lobster and Stuff by the harbour.

icelandic meringue cake

Cakes

Iceland has the craziest cakes. Seriously! Who would have guessed that Daim bar cake would become a classic? My favourite is meringue cake (pictured) with a layer of light and fluffy whipped cream in the middle and a drizzle of caramel on top. Skyr cheesecake also seems to be everywhere nowadays.

Where to eat it: seafood restaurant Fjöruborðið makes a great meringue cake, or Kaffitar and various other cafés and restaurants. The bigger the better!

icelandic pastry vinarbraud

Pastry

Scandinavia is well known for its pastries, and Icelandic bakers have borrowed a lot from their Danish cousins. I recommend trying kleinur, which are kind of like twisted donuts, and vĂ­narbrauĂ°, which are usually filled with custard/marzipan and topped with a bit of icing.

Where to find them: Bakari Sandholt is a good bakery in Reykjavik, but most supermarkets also have their own decent bakeries.

icelandic smoked lamb hangikjot

Lamb and Flatbrauð

Another type of traditional bread you should try is flatbrauĂ°, which is also rye bread but is flat and moon shaped. It’s lovely warm with a bit of butter and some cheese or salmon. A great topping you should try is hangikjöt, or smoked lamb. Hangikjöt is a favourite at Christmas with potatoes, peas, and a white sauce, but you can also buy slices from the supermarket for a delicious sandwich filling.

Actually, all Icelandic lamb is delicious so have some roast lamb as well if you can!

Where to have it: in Reykjavik try Cafe Loki, Kaffivagninn or Laekjarbrekka, or get some from a supermarket if you’re doing a road trip. For roast lamb, try Einar Ben or GrillmarkaĂ°inn.

ice cream valdis reykjavik

All Kinds of Dairy

Icelanders are very proud of their dairy. They will tell you that they have the best butter, milk, and cream in the world – and I have to agree with them! Honestly, Icelandic butter is out of this world. As a result of having fantastic cream, Iceland also boasts amazing ice cream (Ă­s). The country also has its very own type of yogurt that has recently become available in the UK: Skyr is a thick, low fat, and high protein yogurt.

Where to try it: try the ice cream from Valdis or Eldur & Is. I recommend getting a scoop of blueberry skyr, but if you’re more adventurous you should try ‘salmiakki’ flavour (sort of liquorice).

icelandic salmon fish

Fish

So this might sound obvious, but you really should try some fish while you’re in Iceland. Being surrounded by oceans (and salmon fishing rivers) does make many people fish experts! Top ones to try include smoked salmon, marinated salmon (graflax), fishballs (fiskibollur), and salted cod. For a healthy (and smelly) snack, I recommend getting a packet of dried fish (harĂ°fiskur) – it sounds weird but you might just love it!

Where to eat itKaffivagninn or Laekjarbrekka, and most other restaurants around the country!

icelandic hot dog

Hot Dogs (Pylsur)

Hot dogs are an important part of the modern Icelandic diet! They are sold at almost every petrol station in the country and in many places in Reykjavik. Icelandic sausages are supposedly made with some lamb, which is what makes their taste a little different. I recommend asking for your pylsur “with everything” (meĂ° öllu), meaning with ketchup, mustard, remoulade (remĂșlaĂ°i – a mayonnaise based sauce), diced raw onions, and crunchy fried onions.

Where to eat them: the most famous place is BĂŠjarins Beztu Pylsur but the hot dogs you get at petrol station restaurants and tourist sites are often great too.

ponnukokur icelandic crepes v2

Icelandic Crepes (Pönnukökur)

If an Icelandic family invite you to come over for an afternoon coffee, there is a 60% chance that they will have freshly made pönnukökur ready for you. Traditionally, these are served with sugar or with whipped cream and blueberry jam. Although pönnukökur look similar to French crepes, I would argue that they are different (and better!).

Where to have them: Cafe de Paris, C is for Cookie, or any Icelandic grandmother’s kitchen!

Although Icelandic food can sometimes seem like an overload of potato and fish, it can actually be pretty exciting if you know what to look for. Food is a big part of any trip for me and I’m always very eager to eat local foods on my travels, from pastry in Finland to sweets in Japan. I could spend hours exploring foreign supermarkets! I hope that this guide will get you excited about eating your way through Iceland.

What’s the first thing you want to eat when you go to Iceland?

Will it be cake or dried fish?

An insider's guide to the best of Icelandic food.

Exploring Icelandic Waterfalls in Reykjavik

By Posted on 2 min read 254 views

reykjavik waterfall iceland

Waterfalls

With a couple of spare hours in between visiting family in Reykjavik, my father and I headed to ElliĂ°aĂĄrdalur, which is a quick drive away from the centre of town. It’s a sort of park/forest with a river running through it and a couple of small but lovely waterfalls.

iceland waterfall reykjavikelidaardalur reykjavik lupins

We had such a great time exploring ElliĂ°aĂĄrdalur and taking pictures in the waterfalls and and the lupin flowers! It rained most of the time we were there but that didn’t stop us. This is what’s amazing about Iceland; the weather is often bad but the country is so beautiful that it really doesn’t matter how cold, windy or rainy it is. You kind of always expect the worst weather so when you get a bit of sunshine you appreciate it so much more.

elidaardalur reykjaviklupins iceland

Lo & Sons Camera Bag

A few years ago, after typing “stylish camera bag” several times into Google and not finding anything good, I resorted to buying the most generic, boring black nylon camera bag. Whenever people would take pictures of me on my travels I would hide the bag where it wouldn’t be seen – it was a bit of an eyesore!

Naturally, I was thrilled when Lo & Sons got in touch to ask if I’d like to try out their Claremont bag. This trip to Iceland was my first time trying out the camera bag they kindly sent me.

lo sons claremont bag

If you’re looking for a camera bag for your DSLR, I highly recommend this one. I carried it in the rain, jumped on rocks across the river, and wasn’t worried about my camera at all. The leather seems really sturdy! It’s stylish enough that people don’t even know it’s made to carry a camera. It has two little compartments for SD memory cards and one little zip at the back where you can keep your travel card/passport/phone. The inside is padded and is designed to fit a camera and a spare lens.

lo and sons baglo sons claremont baglo & sons camera bag

reykjavik waterfall

Do you carry a DSLR with you on your travels? or are you an iPhone photographer?

Many thanks to Lo & Sons for sending me the Claremont bag.
Love of waterfalls and stylish bags is entirely my own!

10 Insider Travel Tips for Iceland

By Posted on 5 min read 464 views
Thingvellir Iceland

My mother is Icelandic and most of her family, including my grandmother and all of my cousins, still live in Reykjavik. I’ve been going to Iceland at least once a year since I was born, usually at Christmas or in the summer, sometimes both. I have been to Reykjavik more times than I can count, been on several road trips around the country, and seen the midnight sun at our family farm up North many times. My advice for travelling to Iceland probably won’t be the same as what’s in your typical guidebook, because I’ve never truly felt like a tourist when visiting the country. These are my tips for getting the most out of your trip to Iceland, and perhaps getting a bit more of an authentic experience!

Avoid cliché foods

Tourists are often tempted to try exotic foods like whale meat or puffin meat. These aren’t actually eaten by locals that much (if at all), and are mostly just put on menus for tourists. On the other hand, a very common snack is dried fish, or harĂ°fiskur. My favourite is bitafiskur which is small pieces, perfect for a healthy protein snack! You may also come across putrefied cubes of shark, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you are feeling very adventurous – I think my grandmother is the only person in my family who actually likes them! I would recommend sticking to roast lamb and fresh fish most of the time. Oh, and have a lobster soup and try some things from a bakery!

 

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Don’t buy a traditional sweater

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the traditional wooly jumpers that every Icelander owns (AKA lopapeysa). The problem is that unless you live in a very cold place (i.e. not London) these will be too warm for you to wear when you get back home. Instead, get a modern version. Farmers Market does some beautiful ones that much thinner than the original, and you should also be able to find some cotton or fleece versions in tourist shops (and avoid the itchiness too!).

Try the fast food

Controversial, I know – but Icelandic hot dogs are the best! I think it’s because they’re made with local lamb and paired with soft, slightly sweet bread, and topped with crunchy fried onion. You can’t visit the country without trying one. Baejarins Beztu Pylsur is the most famous hot dog place in Reykjavik, but I think they’re great in most petrol stations in the country. It’s everyone’s favourite road trip lunch.

Also worth trying are the soft serve ice creams. In Iceland, it’s never too cold to have an ice cream! They’re also much more exciting than anything we have in the UK. Watch as your waiter dips the ice cream in your chosen sauce and sprinkles it with your favourite topping. Heaven!

hallgrimskirkja view

Go to the top of the church

The best view of Reykjavik can be seen from the top of HallgrĂ­mskirkja.

Be prepared for the Blue Lagoon

Make sure you smother your hair in conditioner and leave it in when you go for a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon. Skipping this step can result in your hair feeling very dry afterwards. Another tip for the blue lagoon is to go when you’re on the way to/from the airport because it’s on the way.

Listen to the music

Iceland has produced some incredible artists, and I always think that local music makes for the most perfect soundtrack when you’re admiring the country’s landscapes. Get your playlist ready by adding Sigur Ros, Of Monsters and Men, FM Belfast, Retro Stefson, and Sin Fang to it. A great way to experience the country would be to go to a festival – Iceland Airwaves is the main one and Secret Solstice is awesome too! Here’s a roundup of all the festivals.

 

iceland glaciers jokulsarlon

Be prepared for any kind of weather

Icelandic weather is unpredictable. It can go from sun to sleet to snowstorm in one day, so make sure you always bring layers, gloves and hats with you! Read about travel blogger Laura’s experience of Iceland’s weather if you don’t believe me. Definitely pack a windproof jacket, no matter the season, as it can get awfully windy in Iceland (you can also get great gear from local brands like 66°NORTH, Cintamani, Icewear or ZO-ON). Although if you don’t want to look like a total tourist in Reykjavik, bring some normal shoes to change into when you’re done with your hiking! I’m always amused when I see people dressed like they are going for a hike in the North Pole on the high street in the middle of the summer.

Check out the nightlife

Most people visit Iceland to see the waterfalls, geysers, and hot springs, but I think the nightlife is really worth seeing too. Icelanders know how to party! Reykjavik is small and all the nightlife is concentrated around Laugavegur and its side streets. All the bars are very close together, making it easy to go from one to the next and find your favourite. Streets are often filled with people, as the locals usually hop from one bar to another, running into lots of friends and acquaintances and getting really drunk. Fridays and Saturdays are best, and the party really starts after midnight (or even 2am) – a night out will often finish at 5am. FYI, drinking age is 20 in Iceland! Bring your ID if you look young.

Make some local friends

Whether it’s your tour guide, the hotel owner, or a random drunk person you meet in a bar, make friends with at least one Icelander while you’re in the country. I always think that Icelanders are really interesting people – usually quite outspoken, funny and friendly. They are very proud of their country and will tell you about things you could never read about in a guidebook. When they’re drunk they tend to either sing or get into fights, so be nice!

 

icelandic horses

Say hi to the horses!

Make sure you at least stop by the side of the road to say hello to some lovely Icelandic horses. Riding a horse in the Icelandic countryside is such a beautiful experience, I would recommend it to anyone! Icelandic horses are very easy to ride and they are much smaller than other horse breeds. They’re also very furry and adorable!

 

iceland lake

These are the main tips that I give to any friends or colleagues who are preparing a trip to Iceland, but I could keep going! Please let me know if you have any specific questions about travelling to the land of ice and fire! 🙂

Planning a trip to Iceland? Norman has some great tips to help you decide when to visit. If you’re only in the country for a couple of days, I’d recommend reading Penelope’s guide to making the most of 48 hours in Iceland.

An insider's top tips for anyone travelling to Iceland.