What to Pack in your Carry-on Bag for a Long Flight

By Posted on 5 min read 1115 views

What’s in my hand luggage

As I write this, I have an empty suitcase staring at me, waiting to be filled for our very exciting trip to Rome and Japan. At least I have my hand luggage sorted! I’ve been on enough painful long-haul flights where I’ve been freezing, dehydrated, or unable to sleep to know exactly what I need to bring with me. You might think this is a lot of stuff, but we are going to be travelling for over 16 hours so I think it’s justified! Read on to find out what I’m packing in my carry-on…


Keeping entertained

Although most long-haul flights have in-flight entertainment, you might still have a bit of dead time at some point in your trip: on the train, waiting at the gate or between flights. I’m flying from Rome to Tokyo via Moscow next week and the first flight doesn’t have any in-flight entertainment, so I’m definitely going to need a few things to keep me busy for 3hrs 45mins!

I’m really into podcasts at the moment so I’ll be downloading a few so I can listen offline (you need to download Serial if you haven’t already). I think they can be nice to listen to as you’re drifting to sleep on the plane. I love my Happy Plugs wireless headphones – it’s great not to have any wires bothering you when you have lots of things to carry around, and the rose gold details on them are so nice.

I’ll also download a few shows on my iPad mini (definitely Peaky Blinders!) and bring along my cute little cactus audio splitter so Chris and I can watch them together (sadly this doesn’t work with bluetooth earphones!). My iPad pouch is a lovely souvenir from my trip to Peru.

Bringing a book with you is always a good idea, just in case you want to take a break from staring at a screen. My current read in preparation for our trip is Modern Japan which is a super interesting history book! I also like to have a notebook with me in case I think of any blog post ideas, and on some trips I keep a daily diary as well. Papier do some beautiful notebooks. A pen is also essential in case you need to fill in a landing card!

[amazon_link asins=’B0157D3KQ0,B01NBSW6KR,B00KVLYFHM,1786574497,8867320602,B06XHZLCV5′ template=’NewProductCarousel’ store=’citcoo-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’bdb40000-dda2-11e7-9c10-ff89c1f4f72d’]


Catching some zzz’s

The number one most important thing for me when I’m on a night flight is to make sure I have an eye mask. I like this one because it doesn’t touch my eyes. I also bring a neck pillow with me – at the moment I have a standard one I picked up at the airport but I’d like to get one with proper chin support like this one. When I’m ready to go to sleep I spritz a bit of deep sleep pillow spray from This Works which has a lovely lavender fragrance, and pop in some ear plugs to block out engine noises and crying babies.

[amazon_link asins=’B01M3PNHKJ,B012RVMYYE,B0746LJNS7,B071127TS1′ template=’NewProductCarousel’ store=’citcoo-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’b72a7061-ddaa-11e7-840b-4baddd635392′]


Getting comfortable

I’m going to be trying these flight socks for the first time on the way to Tokyo. Hopefully they will keep my feet from getting swollen like they usually do! I’ll also be wearing some super warm and comfy leggings that I just bought from Uniqlo because there’s nothing worse than wearing tight jeans on a long flight. Airplanes are often very cold so I’ll bring a the biggest scarf I can find and some warm layers with me too.

[amazon_link asins=’B076CYSY1Q,B071FTB29K,B073WWBX8S,B073QSGBNR,B001DZVEZ6′ template=’NewProductCarousel’ store=’citcoo-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’a1d1242f-ddb0-11e7-ac08-1f782fa4661b’]


Staying healthy and feeling fresh

Planes dehydrate you so I always buy a big bottle of water (and often a green juice from Pret) before boarding. I know they’ll serve water on the plane but it’s easier to just have your own bottle if you get thirsty in the middle of the night. You should be drinking at least a litre of water to stay hydrated on a six to eight hour flight.

I’m always tempted to buy unhealthy treats at the airport before I board but this time I’ve decided I’m going to bring lots of healthy snacks with me: almonds, fresh fruit, maybe a bag of Propercorn. Apparently the average brit consumes 3,400 calories while flying (!) which I want to avoid!

I always carry some paracetamol and travel sickness tablets, just in case. I’ve caught colds on so many flights that I now also bring a Vicks First Defence spray and some hand gel with me to help ward off the germs!

Also essential to keep me feeling fresh is having all of my dental essentials with me. I’ll bring a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash with me so I don’t end up feeling gross halfway through the flight.

[amazon_link asins=’B015FHJEVS,B073HF2BYV,B074288GWV,B003ARRDSC,B004GKQGDK,B00MY5P2M0′ template=’NewProductCarousel’ store=’citcoo-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’fa628284-ddad-11e7-9048-fd22428e3fa6′]


Skincare saviours

The low moisture levels in the cabin mean moisturising has never been more important! I always carry some moisturiser and lip balm with me when I’m travelling. I’ll slather some cream over my face as soon as I board and re-apply after a few hours. My favourites right now are Glossier’s Balm Dotcom in cherry (get 10% off using my link) and the Magic Cream Moisturiser from Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Icons set. I’ve been using Clarins’ anti-aging hand cream every day so that’s coming with me too. The pink pouches that come with every Glossier order are ideal for carrying liquids and creams in my bag and through airport security.

[amazon_link asins=’B00375L8R4,B00EU8A49K,B00F0O5AOM,B0756LJXQR,B0773N5K3L,B016UYPVCQ’ template=’NewProductCarousel’ store=’citcoo-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’a015dcc9-ddac-11e7-983a-55af3d19a093′]

That’s it I think! What items do you always take with you on flights?

What to Do in Berlin in One Day

By Posted on 4 min read 1657 views
berlin itinerary

Berlin: One Day Itinerary

Now, I’m not suggesting that you only need one day in the great city of Berlin, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got! Whether you’re in town for a business trip or for quick city break like I was last month, you’ll want to make the most of what little time you have and see some of Berlin’s most famous attractions.

Here’s my one day itinerary which makes it easy to see most of Berlin’s highlights on foot.

potsdamer platz berlin wall
Start at Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz is a major intersection of roads but also a public square. It used to have the Berlin Wall running through it, and you’ll see a few pieces of it on display next to the metro station exit.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Berlin holocaust memorial
Make your way to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

This 19,000 square meter Holocaust Memorial built between 2003 and 2004 is an impressive sight to see. It is made up of 2,711 concrete blocks of different sizes, ranging from 0.2m to 4.7 m, all arranged on uneven ground. I recommend you wander around the blocks, see how you feel when you are so deep inside the memorial that you can’t see anything else around you. Please, just don’t play hide and seek or sit on the blocks! Have a think about whether this is a good memorial for up to 6 million Jews (there is a lot of debate about this) but please be respectful.

Brandenburg Gate
Walk over to the Brandenburg Gate

Built in the 18th century to mark the end of the boulevard Unter den Linden, the Brandenburg Gate is now a symbol of German unity. This gate has gone though a lot! The chariot and horse statue at the top of it was once stolen by Napoleon’s army and taken to France. The gate itself was heavily damaged during WWII, and its access was cut off when the Berlin Wall went up in 1961.

Reichstag Berlin
Reichstag and pretzels
Grab a pretzel at the Reichstag

The Reichstag is the meeting place for the German parliament, the Bundestag. The building was badly damaged by a fire in the 30s and wasn’t properly restored until 1999.

If you wish to visit the building, be sure to book online in advance or reserve a table at the restaurant. It can get busy so you might want to visit early in the morning or late at night to beat the crowds!

Berlin river
Avocado cafe Berlin
Walk along the river and stop to enjoy the view

If you can get a table with a view, I’d definitely recommend making a pit stop at The Avocado, a cute little cafe by the river.

I really enjoyed my lunch there, in the sun, with a view of Museum Island. I had been expecting Berlin to be cold in October so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to eat outside.

The avocado and cream cheese combo was a revelation!

Berlin river and museum island
Bode Museum Berlin
Explore Museum Island

Cross the bridge over to Museum Island, which is home to five museums: Pergamon Museum, Bode-Museum, New Museum, Old National Gallery, and Old Museum. If you only have one day in Berlin, I’m afraid you won’t have time to visit them all. Take a peek inside Bode-Museum’s main hall (pictured above) which you can enter without a ticket.

Berliner dom
Stop to admire Berliner Dom

The largest church in the city, Berlin’s Cathedral can be admired from the gardens in front of it, or you can pay the 7€ entry fee if you want to see the inside of this baroque style building. If you climb up the steps to the top you’ll be rewarded with some nice city views.

Gendarmenmarkt and horse
Walk over to Gendarmenmarkt

This is said to be one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares, with the grand Konzerthaus (concert hall) and 18th century French and German Church buildings. Visit around Christmas time to enjoy a wonderful festive market. On your way here, check out some of the architecture on Unter den Linden boulevard, including the Berlin State Opera and the Humboldt University.

Checkpoint Charlie?

So to be honest, I’m not sure if I should be recommending this one. I’ve included it because it is so famous but it really feels like a bit of a tourist trap! This was once the border crossing between East and West Berlin and many people tried, some more successfully than others, to get across to the West side here.

I didn’t have time to visit the museum, but it has very mixed reviews.

Berliner Fernsehturm
Dinner with a view

For a memorable dinner (or drinks) head to the Berliner Fernsehturm, a TV tower that’s 200 meters tall and offers great views over the city. The restaurant is revolving so your view will be constantly changing over the space of one hour! I’ve heard it’s very nice for breakfast too.

Enjoy a show

I’d highly recommend catching a show while you’re in Berlin. Chamaleon theatre specialises in contemporary circus in a beautiful, intimate venue – read my review of their latest show here!

Hotel Palace Berlin
Off to bed!

If, like me, you woke up very early to catch your flight to Berlin, you’re going to want to go back to a nice bed. I can highly recommend Hotel Palace Berlin. I enjoyed my room there so much that I found it extremely difficult to make myself go out and explore the city! My room even had a great view over the zoo and the Tiergarten park. The hotel’s location was perfect, near the metro but also in the heart of Berlin’s best shopping district. Make sure you visit the city’s biggest and most famous department store nearby, KaDeWe!

If you still have energy, go out an enjoy Berlin’s world-renowned nightlife instead!

So that’s the end of a very cultural day in Berlin! Next time I’m there I want to venture to some of the hipper areas like Kreuzberg or Neukölln and experience more of arty, cool Berlin.

Have you been to Berlin? What do you love about it?

What to do in Berlin in one day. Here's a simple itinerary to help you navigate the city and see all of its most famous attractions, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Checkpoint Charlie.


Review: Parade at the Chamaeleon Theatre, Berlin

By Posted on 2 min read 740 views

Back in the summer I received an email inviting me to Berlin to watch the all new PARADE show at the CHAMÄLEON Theatre. Needless to say, I hopped, skipped and jumped at the opportunity. It’s not every day that you get to spend a weekend in one of Europe’s coolest cities and at the same time get to see one of its most unique shows.

CHAMÄLEON is a small theatre located in the heart of Berlin. It puts on two shows a year and focuses on contemporary circus which includes acrobatics, dance, live music and sometimes even singing. I was lucky enough to chat with a couple of people who work there and I could immediately tell that they are incredibly passionate about what they do!

The stage itself is in a beautiful historic ballroom in the Art Nouveau building of Hackesche Höfe. It’s quite an intimate venue with small tables and table service. Sitting at our table (sipping on a gin & tonic) I felt much closer to the performers than I ever do at many of London’s big West End theatres.

The show itself was really impressive. PARADE blends comedy with acrobatics, dance and music. The performers, who come from all over the world and met for the first time this summer, have great chemistry and work together well to achieve amazing acrobatic feats.

It’s incredible what the human body can do. One of the performers, Beata Surmiak from Poland, was particularly impressive and really was the star of the show! She was incredibly strong and could balance her whole body on one hand, on a guys head! I was blown away by her skills.

The show also featured live video animations controlled by the artists in real time in front of the audience, and a great soundtrack of electronic music, pop songs, and live percussion. This made the show even more dynamic and immersive.

Patiently waiting for my G&T before the show starts

Overall, I found the show really enjoyable, impressive, funny and full of surprises! I’d recommend an evening at the CHAMÄLEON Theatre to anyone visiting Berlin. It’s something a bit different that you won’t find elsewhere!

I was a guest of the CHAMÄLEON Theatre however my enthusiasm for PARADE is 100% genuine!

My Detailed 2 Week Peru Itinerary

By Posted on 12 min read 4564 views

Machu Picchu peru itinerary

When planning our short trip to Peru (yes, 2 weeks is short!) we found it tough to decide what to see. Everyone goes to Machu Picchu, but beyond that there are so many lesser-known (but amazing) places to visit that we really had to cut down our wish list to fit everything into just two weeks.

We went with Peru Hop to get us around the country and this made our lives really easy (read about our bus experience here). I’d definitely recommend that if you want to do a similar itinerary.

Here’s our basic itinerary:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3
Islas Ballestas and Huacachina

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6
Colca Canyon

Day 7
Colca Canyon

Day 8

Day 9
Uros and Amantani Islands

Day 10
Taquile Island

Day 11

Day 12
Sacred Valley

Day 13
Machu Picchu

Day 14

Day 15
Lima then fly home

As you can see, we did a lot of travelling and didn’t stay in any one place for very long. It was tiring but so exciting and definitely worth it! We got to see so much and we really made the most of our time. If you’d rather have a more relaxed experience then I would suggest skipping the two days in Colca Canyon.

If you’re after a full, detailed itinerary with hotels, restaurants, and activities, you’re in the right place!

[metaslider id=4808]
Day 1

I arrived in Lima early on Saturday morning after hopping on a plane from London after work on Friday night. Although I had heard not-so-great things about Lima, I was determined to give the city a chance so I joined a free walking tour of the old town. I fell in love with the colourful colonial architecture and met some nice travellers to have lunch with. I then spent the afternoon walking from Parque del Amor in Miraflores (by the seaside) to the Bridge of Sighs in Barranco (area with bohemian vibes) before meeting my friends for dinner by the pre-Inca ruins of Huaca Pucllana.

  • Stay here: Pariwana hostel has a fun atmosphere, in a nice location. It was easy to meet people there.
  • Eat here: Punto Azul or La Mar for ceviche for lunch, and Huaca Pucllana for dinner in an amazing setting.
  • Do this: A walking tour is great if you’re short on time or if you’re travelling solo. Lima by Walking starts tours in Parque Kennedy which is close to many hotels in Miraflores.

Read about why I think Lima is massively underrated!


Day 2

Our Peru Hop bus picked us up in front of our hostel early in the morning and took us to Cristo Pacifico to show us the view of the city and tell us a little bit about the history of Peru. After another quick stop at a bakery for freshly baked bread, our bus took us to a quiet beach where we chatted with friendly coastguards who gave us a list of Peruvian foods we should try. We arrived in Paracas around lunchtime, had some ceviche, walked along the beach and had a few beers while watching the sunset. Nice and relaxing!

  • Stay here: Kokopelli hostel is really nice. It has a pool and a great bar right on the beach.
  • Eat herePukasoncco does good traditional food, including vegetarian options.
  • Do this: catch the sunset on the beach and book your tour to the Islas Ballestas.
[metaslider id=4886]
Day 3
Islas Ballestas & Huacachina

I think this was one of the best days of my life!

We met up with our Peru Hop group for the Islas Ballestas tour they organised for us. The tour took about two hours. It took us past the “Candelabra“, a mysterious prehistoric geoglyph, before showing us around the islands that are full of wildlife. We were lucky enough to see a few penguins (!) and many birds and sea lions. I actually felt quite emotional seeing these wild animals up close. We were there at the end of March and there were hundreds of baby sea lions. Amazing!

  • Top tip: don’t forget sunscreen and hats for the boat tour.

After the tour we got on the Peru Hop bus to Paracas National Reserve. I really wasn’t expecting much from this stop but the landscapes actually blew me away. We stopped to admire La Catedral, Playa Roja, and Supay Beach.

[metaslider id=4877]

We arrived in Huacachina in the afternoon and got ourselves booked onto a dune buggy and sandboarding tour. Do not miss this! Even if you don’t want to do the sandboarding you’ll enjoy the views from the desert and if you’re lucky you will catch an amazing sunset. I was a bit scared to do the sandboarding but in the end I did it lying down on my front and it was sooo fun!

After dinner we went back up to the dunes with a group of new friends and had beers by a bonfire, surrounded by stray but friendly dogs. Nothing beats a bit of spontaneity!

  • Stay here: Banana’s Adventure is where most people on our bus stayed. It has a great atmosphere, a bar and a small pool. Best breakfast of our trip too!
  • Eat here: Banana’s hostel has a varied menu and lots of veggie options. La Casa de Bamboo also has good reviews.
  • Do this: you have to do a dune buggy and sandboarding tour! A bit scary but incredibly fun. If you stay at Banana’s it will be included in the price of your stay.
  • Top tip: leggings are a good idea for the sandboarding to avoid sandburn (but shorts are okay)

Check out my Huacachina post for more tips and photos!

[metaslider id=4903]
Day 4

We spent the morning lazing by the pool in Huacachina, then joined Peru Hop for a Pisco vineyard tour. I have to admit I didn’t enjoy it much because I had a stomach bug at that point! The bus then took us to see the Nazca Lines, a collection of huge mysterious pre-Incan geoglyphs that form animal shapes in the desert sands. We were able to see a few shapes from the viewing platform but if you are interested in seeing the lines better you should stay in Nazca for a night and go on a flight above the lines. Personally I’m not sure I’d trust that the little planes used there are safe, so do your research first!

After a pretty awful dinner at a petrol station, we got back on the bus for a long, bumpy night time drive to Arequipa.

[metaslider id=4915]

Day 5

The bus dropped us off at our hotel early in the morning and we went off to explore the city straight away. We learned to tell the difference between llamas and alpacas at Mundo Alpaca, checked out the bank at beautiful Casa del Moral, and spent a couple of hours exploring the colourful Santa Catalina Monastery.

  • Stay here: Dragonfly hostel was cheap, central and quiet. If you’d like to treat yourself to something a little more special, I think Katari Hotel and Casa Andina Select both look fantastic!
  • Eat here: Crepisimo for crepes, Zig Zag for delicious steak or grilled fish. Try queso helado ice cream  (literally ‘frozen cheese’) from the corner of Plaza de Armas.
  • Do this: visit Santa Catalina Monastery, Mundo Alpaca, Casa del Moral, Mirador de Yanahuara, and Museo Santuarios Andinos.
  • Top tip: Again, if you only do one thing, visit Santa Catalina Monastery. Check the opening times before you go as last entry is 4pm on some days.

Read my full guide to Arequipa for more tips and photos.

[metaslider id=4937]

Days 6 and 7
Colca Canyon

Although many people will hike the Colca Canyon, we chickened out and went with a 2 day 1 night guided bus tour. I’m not a fan of guided tours so this was probably my least favourite part of our trip. It involved spending a lot of time in buses and eating in the mostly mediocre restaurants our guide took us to (food is SO important to me when I’m travelling!). I also suffered from the worst headache of my life because of the altitude (3,635m in Chivay). However, we did see stunning landscapes, lovely little towns, and some wildlife – so it was all worth it! We were lucky enough to see many condors, which are way more impressive than you could ever imagine.

Unfortunately I have no idea where we stayed (hotel with no name!) or even where we ate because everything was organised for us.

One thing we did which was pretty hilarious was go to a really basic, tiny hair salon in Chivay to have our hair dried because our hotel didn’t have any hairdryers!

  • Stay here: if I could do it again I’d skip the organised tour and stay at the Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs. Looks SO lovely!
  • Do this: visit Cruz del Condor, go for a dip in La Calera hot springs, look out for vicuñas and alpacas, and pose for a photo with a baby alpaca in Maca village.
  • Drink this: coca tea or my favourite, Inka tea, are said to help with the altitude.

[metaslider id=5203]

Day 8

After our two days in the Canyon, we returned to Arequipa for a night before getting back on the bus with Peru Hop early the next morning. We stopped once for a delicious breakfast (chicken and avocado sandwich) and again to admire the view from the Lagunillas viewpoint. We made it to Puno around 1pm and went straight to lunch on the main plaza. We did some souvenir shopping by the harbour and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the local market (you should find it if you walk down Titicaca street). I loved spotting colourful classic VW Beetles and pimped up mototaxis.

  • Stay here: Posada Kusillos is a centrally located B&B run by a lovely, welcoming family with a friendly dog called Jacinto.
  • Eat here: Mojsa for lunch with a view of the main square, and La Casona for delicious trout!
  • Do this: book your tour to the islands of Lake Titicaca.
  • Top tip: do some haggling at the Feria Artesanal market by the harbour and you can get some really good prices on your typical Peruvian souvenirs.

[metaslider id=5204]

Day 9
Uros and Amantani Islands

We opted for a two day, one night tour of Lake Titicaca including a homestay with locals on Amantani.

Day one started with our tour guide taking us to one of the 42 floating Uros islands. The locals told us a bit about how they live and took us on a short trip on one of their elegant boats. The Uros people make everything with reeds: boats, huts, and even the islands themselves. Kids happily munch on them. Although it was interesting to see how these people live, I have to say the whole thing felt a little bit staged and touristy. The next two islands felt much more authentic.

After Uros, we navigated to Amantani where we were to stay one night. We were divided into small groups of two to four people, with each group assigned to a local family. Our adoptive father Wilfredo took us to his beautiful home, where we had a very basic bedroom with candles for lights. The electric generator wasn’t working while we were there so going to the outdoor toilet in the dark was interesting! Evening activities included hiking up to a temple with a great view and going to a party organised for visitors.

  • Stay here: a local’s home on Amantani or Taquile.
  • Eat here: your host’s kitchen! We had delicious quinoa soup and local cheese.
  • Do this: hike up to Pachatata temple and try on the local traditional outfits.
  • Top tip: learn some basic Spanish before you go – the family you stay with will appreciate it!

[metaslider id=5240]

Day 10
Taquile Island

After staying the night on Amantani, we headed to Taquile island where we learned about local customs, including the different meanings of the hats people wear. We walked across the middle of the island, stopping to buy handmade knitted items (traditionally made by men) and snoop around the busy street market. Lunch consisted of quinoa soup and trout in the most beautiful spot with a view of the lake.

After lunch it was time for us to head back to Puno where we explored a little more before spending the night on the bumpy night bus to Cusco.

  • Top tip: buy something from the Taquile cooperative. The knitted products there were so affordable and much better quality than most of what we saw elsewhere in Peru. You’ll also be helping the local community!
 [metaslider id=5265]
Day 11

We arrived in Cusco really early in the morning and enjoyed our first shower in two days (!) as soon as we got to our hotel. I was so excited about being in Cusco that I then went straight out to explore with Arina. We wandered around the beautiful Plaza Mayor and had breakfast in the San Blas neighbourhood. We visited Qorikancha which once was the most important temple of the Inca empire, but was destroyed by Spanish conquistadors who used it to build a baroque-style convent.

After stopping for a lovely cheese and avocado sandwich, we explored the old town a bit more, including the colourful San Pedro market. Our final stop for the day was Sacsayhuaman (or ‘sexy woman’ to some!), an Inca citadel/fortress with an interesting story and great views over Cusco. I highly recommend visiting this site as it was a great taster for what we were about to see at Machu Picchu!

  • Stay here: Hostal El Peregrino felt almost luxurious after a night on the bus and two days without showers!
  • Do this: don’t miss Sacsayhuaman and the view of the city from up there.

[metaslider id=5296]

Day 12
Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes

We joined a small group tour to the Sacred Valley as this seemed like the easiest way to see some of the villages and sights there. We started off by visiting a weaving cooperative in Chinchero, where some local ladies showed us how wool is dyed and weaved the traditional way. Our tour also took us to the impressive archeological site of Moray, which is thought to be where Incas experimented with agriculture on different levels of terraces. The last stop for us was the Maras Salt Mines (Salinas). These beautiful salt pools spread out on a hillside are all managed by different families and the salt produced is sold through a cooperative. It was amazing to taste the salty water that comes out of a nearby spring! After this stop we got a taxi to take us to Ollantaytambo where we caught the train to Aguas Calientes. After dropping off our bags at a basic hotel, we explored the touristy town which is everyone’s stop before Machu Picchu.

  • Do this: don’t miss Moray and the Salinas. Get on the Vistadome train for amazing views on your way to Aguas Calientes!
  • Stay here:  we stayed at Catari’s House which was basic but fine for what was quite a short night. If you plan on spending a bit more time at the hotel, Panorama B&B looks great.
  • Eat here: Tree House was a nice escape from all the tourist traps of Aguas Calientes, but it is a bit on the expensive side.
  • Top tip: spend a night in Ollantaytambo if you have enough time. I wish we’d had the time to visit the ruins there!

[metaslider id=5326]

Day 13
Machu Picchu

We woke up incredibly early, intending to get the first bus up to Machu Picchu at 5:30. We were at the bus stop at 4:58 and made it onto a bus at 5:37, arriving at the citadel at 6:00, just in time for it to open! Waking up so early was hard but it was 100% worth it. We got to see an empty Machu Picchu and didn’t have to share the best photo spots with too many people.

After exploring for hours, getting soaked while hiking the Montaña, and taking hundreds of pictures, we headed back to Cusco in time for dinner.

  • Do this: get there when it opens, I promise it’s worth it!
  • Top tip: 1) bring lunch and snacks. 2) go up the stairs to your left when you enter the citadel – the best view can be seen from the ‘Watchman’s Hut’.

[metaslider id=5403]

Day 14

On our final day in Cusco, we visited three more Inca ruins: Q’enqo, Pukapukara and Tambomachay. I have to admit that these were not very exciting to see the day after visiting Machu Picchu – I’d recommend visiting them first and combining them with your visit with Sacsayhuaman (see Day 11). We also got drenched in the rain at Q’enqo so I don’t have the best memories of it!

After changing into dry clothes we went to the Museo Historico Regional which is a great place to learn more about Peru’s history. We also returned to San Pedro Market to pick up a few last souvenirs.

  • Stay here: Hostel Kokopelli had a great atmosphere, really nice food and was perfectly clean. We had a fun evening drinking piscos there.
  • Eat this: street food! We bought some delicious stuffed churros and grilled meat from street vendors and I regretted not trying any before day 14!
punto azul lima
Day 15
Lima then flight home!

On our last day, we caught an early flight from Cusco to Lima and hopped into a taxi (I’d recommend Taxi Green) to Miraflores. Our number one goal was to eat one last ceviche before flying home to London, and we nailed it. We found our way to Punto Azul which turned out to be super popular with locals at the weekends (go early to reserve a table!). With our bellies full, we wandered around the neighbourhood a bit more and stocked up on exotic Peruvian snacks at a supermarket before heading back to the airport! 🙁


Needless to say, we were sad to have to leave beautiful Peru after only two weeks! If you can, I’d definitely recommend staying longer and taking the time to explore each place a bit more. I would have loved to spend more time in Cusco and the Sacred Valley and maybe even do the Rainbow Mountain hike.

Are you planning a trip to Peru?

Let me know your questions, thoughts, and experiences in the comments!

A detailed 2 week itinerary for Peru, including stops in Huacachina, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Read for tips for restaurants, hotels and activities!

London: Roast Restaurant Review

By Posted on 3 min read 954 views

Roast Restaurant

After what felt like a very long week at work, I took Chris to Roast Restaurant for a special date night dinner last Friday. I’d noticed the elegant restaurant above Borough Market before but hadn’t had a chance to try it.

The restaurant has great big windows with views over the hustle and bustle of the market below and St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance.

We were lucky enough to get a fantastic table by the window – I’d definitely try to request one again next time!

Roast’s menu was perfect for Chris – he is definitely a meat-eater whereas I’m quite happy to go veggie now and then. His picks were so predictable! The Welsh man chose to start with chorizo Scotch egg followed by a Welsh rump of lamb. I wanted something a little out of the ordinary, so ordered crab and avocado to start with, followed by the famous “Roast” burger.

If you enjoy wine, Roast has a sommelier who can help you to pick the perfect bottle to go with your meal. He was so lovely but we’re just not wine drinkers! Instead, we had gin cocktails and craft beer.

The chorizo Scotch egg with piccalilli was perfectly done: slightly crunchy on the outside and a slightly runny yolk. The chorizo was a nice twist on a classic.

My Dorset crab and avocado with cucumber, white radish and apple was beautiful. The combination of flavours worked really well and I found the whole thing very light and refreshing – perfect before a hearty main!

Next time I’d like to try the charcoal soufflé – it looks incredible! Check it out on Katy‘s blog.

Chris’ Welsh rump of lamb with tabbouleh and harissa carrot was perfectly cooked and the Welshman connoisseur was very satisfied. They did his national dish justice!

I was amazed when my main arrived. It looked glorious!

The ‘Roast’ burger included 48 Day dry aged sirloin of beef with ale cheddar, pickled red cabbage, carrot piccalilli, and Yorkshire pudding. It even came with its own little jug of gravy! The beef was cooked just the way I like it, the gravy was better than most, and the cheese was so tasty and mustardy. The Yorkshire pudding was perfect as well (and not dry like the one I had in York!).

Don’t I look happy?

As if all of this food wasn’t enough, I got greedy and ordered a side as well!

The grilled field mushrooms with garlic and parsley butter were sooo delicious. I am a big fan of garlicky mushrooms.

And now for the most important part of the meal for me…

I went for one of my very favourite desserts: sticky date pudding with toffee sauce, almond brittle and clotted cream. IT WAS FABULOUS! I was very, very full by that point but that didn’t stop me from gobbling up the whole thing. The pudding was beautifully moist and the sauce was almost like salted caramel.


Chris had the Dorset blueberry cheesecake with stem ginger shortbread. It was an unorthodox take on the traditional cheesecake, with a combination of textures: jelly, crunchy meringue, shortbread, ice cream and creamy cheesecake. This made Chris a very happy man!

London blog restaurant review

I’d definitely return to Roast just to have that sticky toffee pudding again.


  • the food was delicious
  • the service was friendly yet professional
  • the atmosphere is relaxed but still feels special
  • the location in Borough market is fabulous – I’d recommend going for a drink at one of the neighbouring bars before or after your meal here.

I’ll be recommending Roast to anyone who wants to try British food done well. I find that the UK doesn’t deserve its bad reputation for food – you just need to visit the right restaurant or gastropub to really come to appreciate it!

We were guests of the restaurant for this review but I will definitely be back for a good Sunday roast and that excellent sticky toffee pudding!