How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

FeaturedHow To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Travelling long-term is something that I always wanted to do and to this day I have an ever-growing list of places that I want to see and experiences that I want to have. However, as much as I want to travel long-term, continuing to learn and build my CV  is important to me too.

With the internet and changing attitudes to a work-life balance, the way that we learn and work isn’t the same as it has been in the past. Education can extend past the walls of a classroom and working doesn’t mean having to do the 9-5 in an office.

There have never been more opportunities to travel the world and build your CV at the same time than there are today. Here are some of my favourites.

Paid and unpaid internships

Paid or unpaid internships are a fantastic way to gain skills and experience in an industry that you are interested in.  In terms of a learning opportunity, I can’t recommend them enough.

What’s great about internships is that they are generally really hands-on, giving you the knowledge, experience and the confidence to work in that industry after. What’s more, doing an internship in a foreign country is really going to make your CV stand out from the crowd.

Throughout my time spent in Australia on a working holiday, I have done three internships in marketing and content writing, all of which have taught me more than I’d ever learned in a classroom, as well as looking great on my CV.

There are loads of paid and unpaid internships around and a good place to find these is on job sites like Indeed, Seek and Jora. Travel agencies like STA and GVI also offer plenty of internships abroad opportunities too, although these usually come at a cost.

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Online courses

Never underestimate the value of online courses: they are a fantastic learning opportunity and demonstrate a willingness to learn on your CV. What’s more, they needn’t cost you any money, with plenty of free courses available.

Depending on the topic of study in, some platforms will be more suitable for you than others. A couple of places that I have done online learning include Skillshare, Moz and Google’s Digital Garage.

Study abroad

If you prefer to learn in the classroom but you’d like to combine it with living abroad then studying in another country is a fantastic idea. After spending a year on a working holiday in Australia, I am now staying longer in Melbourne to study here. Being an international student is a completely new experience for me and it’s an invaluable one, allowing me to combine getting a qualification with travelling long term. You can read more about my experience of transferring from a working holiday to a student visa here.

Language courses

Following on from study abroad options, opting to learn a language in the very country that it’s spoken is an incredible learning opportunity. Not only is immersing yourself in a country the most effective way to learn a language, but it’s also a fun and unique experience. These days, having a second or even third language to add to your resume is a skill that many employers look for so enrolling in a language school abroad really is a smart move.

There’s no end of options when it comes to language courses abroad. Some of my favourite ideas are Spanish school in Barcelona, Spanish school in San Pedro, Guatemala or learning Korean in Seoul (like one of my best friends, Izzy is currently doing).

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Volunteer abroad

Volunteering is an incredible and meaningful way to travel long-term while doing some good and improving your CV. Volunteering abroad is also incredibly diverse and there’s a wide range of areas that you can work in. This can include anything from marine conservation to community development.

Teaching abroad

If you’ve been researching long-term travel then TEFL is something that you’re probably familiar with, right? Getting your TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification, allows to teach and live in an endless list of countries across the globe. Not only is this a unique and culturally enriching experience, but it is also one that allows you to earn money abroad. That way, you can afford to travel long term while developing new skills to add to your CV.

Working abroad

If you already have some qualifications or work experience then why not try working abroad? Of course, the country that you are from will have some bearing in terms of which countries you’re legally allowed to work in.

Some common options: a working holiday in Australia or New Zealand, a working holiday in Canada or a working holiday in England. You could also work in the US as a Camp America counseller or through being an Au Pair on a J1 Visa. For Europeans, why not try working in another European country? Alternatively, another option is becoming a tour guide with a company like G Adventures or Contiki where you actually get paid to travel.

How To Travel Long-Term And Build Your CV At The Same Time

Blogging 

Last but not least, blogging is one of my favourite ways to travel long-term while creating something to show for it. Setting up a blog is quick and easy and you don’t have to be tech-savvy or invest in lots of expensive equipment to do it. All you need to do is sign up for a blogging platform like WordPress and start writing. To start with, you’ll probably just be writing for your friends and family. However, stick with it, and who knows, one day you might be being paid to travel the world.

Travelling in itself is one of the most valuable things that you could do, particularly in your early twenties. Even without working or studying abroad, travelling helps to develop a huge range of skills including everything from budgeting to conversation skills and resilience. However,  if you want to travel long-term but you’d like a little more structure, then some of the ideas in this blog post might be a great option for you.

Have you ever done, or are considering doing any of the long-term travel ideas in this blog post? Get in touch- I’d love to hear. 

 

How I’m staying in Australia for a second year WITHOUT doing my farm work

FeaturedHow I'm staying in Australia for a second year WITHOUT doing my farm work

Everything you need to know about bridging visas, student visas and working holidays in Australia

So, this week it’s been one year since I touched base down in Australia at the start of my working holiday. At the time, I had no clue how significant this decision to leave home in the UK and come to Melbourne was going to be. It was, in my mind, just another trip.

A year on and a lot of things have changed. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and explore a country that’s on a lot of people’s bucket lists and the chance to do iconic things like sailing through the Whitsundays, seeing the Sydney Opera House and encountering more Australian wildlife than I can name. However, what is more significant is the extent to which my working holiday has become so much more than that. I have made emotional ties here in Melbourne, I’ve developed a work routine, a network of friends, a deep knowledge of a new city.  I even managed to build my CV alongside all of this, doing multiple internships and freelance writing jobs while I was here.

I’d always presumed that by the time October came around, I’d be ready to leave Melbourne. But the reality is, I’m just not. However, I have a problem. You can’t just come and go to Australia as you please. To qualify for the second Working Holiday Visa, you have to have completed (and been signed off of) 88 days of farm work in rural Australia: something of which I didn’t do. So, what are my options?

In this blog post, I explain everything that came into my decision-making process of transferring on to a student visa, including the financial costs, the visa conditions and most importantly, how to do it. Here’s how to stay in Australia if you haven’t done your farm work. 

Student Visa Subclass 500 Terms and conditions 

The student visa subclass 500 allows you to stay in Australia for as long as you are enrolled in a course and for up to 5 years. To qualify this you must be enrolled in an eligible course of study (so you can’t just study any old course), study full time and hold overseas student health cover.

To adhere to your visa conditions you must participate in 20 hours of classroom time a week and not work more than 20 hours a week (apart from in school holidays where there are no limitations). Apart from that, the student visa is very similar to that of a working holiday. You enjoy all of the same freedoms, except for the bonus that you get taxed less- yay.

Finding a course in Australia

I think that studying at any age is a great thing to do, and having the opportunity to further my education in a city that I love seemed like a win-win. There is a range of courses that will allow you to stay in Australia on a student visa and these vary from full degrees to shorter diplomas and Certificate IVs.

Finding an eligible course that is relevant to you can be a bit overwhelming. It was because of this is decided to go through an agency called Australian Study Solutions. There are loads of these agencies around and for a small fee, they will help match you to a course that suits your educational and financial needs; as well as a course that matches the time that your WH visa ends. They will also assist you in the student visa application process, which is a lot more laborious than the WH one.

Applying for your visa

When you’ve found a course that you want to study, your first step is going to be to apply to that school, either directly or through the agency. When they send you a letter of offer and you have made the first payment, you then need to wait for your Certificate of Enrolment documents. When you have these, you can apply for the visa.

You need to do this on the Australian home affairs website (or you agent will do it for you). To apply you must fill in an official form 956 form, make the payment of $620, pay for your health cover and also write a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) letter.

The GTE Letter

This is a letter to the government that explains who you are, what visas you’ve previously held, what and why you want to study in Australia and the details of that course. The thing to remember about the GTE is that it is an example that you only want to remain in Australia temporarily. You MUST make it clear that you plan on returning to your home country after your studies.

Bridging visa

Student visas can take anything from 43 to 77 days to process. However don’t stress, if your WH visa is coming to end in a matter of days, like mine, you don’t have to leave the country. Once your student visa application is lodged (and when your current visa ends) you immediately move on to a Bridging visa A.

This takes the role of your applied visa (so in my case a student visa). The only conditions are that you cannot work legally on that visa until the first day of your new course and you must not leave the country. If you do need to leave Australia, you need to apply for Bridging visa B- basically a bridging visa of your bridging visa for your student visa. Complicated right?

How much transferring to a student visa really costs

Moving from the WH visa to a student one can be painful as you initially have to make a lot of payments. However, after you’ve paid that first chunk, the rest is a lot less expensive. Anyway,  if you’re gaining the opportunity to study in a country that you love then it’s worth it.

Here’s a breakdown of the payments that you will have to make:

1 .The cost of your chosen course (and agent fee). Average costs are:

Certificate IVs: $4000

Diploma courses: $7000 a year

Bachelor Degree at University: $20,000 a year

Bachelor Degree at college: $12,000 a year

(Don’t stress as these can usually be paid in instalments during your course). 

2. The cost of your visa: Around $620 AUD per application

3. Your overseas health cover: Prices vary but usually around $500 for a year

So that’s it, that’s pretty much everything you need to know about applying for a student visa in Australia. Obviously, if you want to stay in Australia after your first Working Holiday visa then doing your farm work is a lot cheaper and easier. However, if there’s a course of study you’re genuinely interested in and if you run out of time to do your farmwork, then a student visa is a great option.

How I'm staying in Australia for a second year WITHOUT doing my farm work

The course I have chosen to study is a certificate and diploma in business and marketing here in Melbourne. It’s a great option for me as it correlates with my writing background and builds on the marketing internships and self-taught learning that I have done in the past. Alongside this, I am continuing at my cafe job, starting a new digital marketing internship at a startup company and even moving house next week. Updates coming on the blog.

Life on a working holiday in Melbourne has been out of this world and I’m hoping this year as a student will be even better. Now it’s time to do as you always should in Melbourne, head to a rooftop bar and have a drink to the start of something new.

City Girl Vs Small Town Girl: Life In Melbourne

FeaturedLife In Melbourne

When I was 18, I followed a life long dream and made the move from my small town of Brighton up to the UK’s capital of London.

At first, the hustle and bustle and novelty of walking past iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace as part of my daily commute was overwhelming.

However, it was a brief stint that lasted just a few months until the loneliness and franticness of the city wore me down and I moved back home. That experience in London led me to believe that I just wasn’t a city girl and I was resigned to that: until I moved to Melbourne.

I arrived in Melbourne at the end of last year on a Working Holiday Visa- you can follow my travels from day one on this section of the blog.

The decision to do so was totally random and in my mind a short term one. At first, I said I’d be home by Christmas, then that extended into April. Then April came and I said I’d stay until summer. Then that brings us up to the current date now, almost one year on and still here. 

Although it’s been voted the world’s second most livable city for years in a row according to the Global Livability Index (coming in only after Vienna), Melbourne isn’t a place that’s particularly high on the tourist map- I’m guessing mainly because it’s so damn far away from the rest of the world.

So why Melbourne?

Well, I’ve visited quite a few cities over the last few years: Paris, New York, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Sydney and Hanoi, to namedrop a few. However, there’s just something about Melbourne that makes it so unique in comparison to other places that I’ve been to.

Life In Melbourne

 

Space

For starters, on the map, Melbourne is way bigger than London (almost six and a half times bigger) to be exact. However, Melbourne’s Central Business District or CBD is much smaller and way more compact so almost everywhere is in walking distance. Secondly, its population is proportionally lower than London at 5 million compared to 8 million. So, although Melbourne’s tourist attractions, bars and restaurants busy, it never feels overcrowded.

Australia’s cultural capital

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital which means that there’s an overwhelming amount of exhibitions and galleries to explore on days off from work. That goes without mentioning the countless festivals and events that are held throughout the year- and then, of course, there’s Melbournes ever-changing street art scene.

Eating and drinking

Next reason- Melbourne’s drinking and dining scene in the city is out of this world. If you’re a foodie then this is the city for you. Last week, my parents visited me from the UK and they commented about the huge amount of dining options available in the city: and it’s true. Next, there’s the city’s love affair with coffee. Melbournian’s are coffee addicts and Melbourne has more cafes per capita than any other city in the world. In fact, it’s actually referred to as the coffee capital of the world. 

The best of both worlds 

Like my hometown, Brighton, Melbourne is located on the coast. This means that in summer, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to relax on and enjoy the warm weather. What’s more, Melbourne is also surrounded with outstanding natural beauty in all directions such as National Parks, vineyards and of course one of the world’s most iconic drives, the Great Ocean Road. This coupled with everything that the city has to offer, means that Melbourne is the best compromise between city living and the great outdoors.

Life In Melbourne

I could go on and name lot’s more reasons why I love Melbourne so much but you only need to go and take a look through the posts on this blog to see why. Besides, that’s not the point of this post. The purpose that I’m trying to get across is that this move has proved to me why it’s important to keep expanding your comfort zone.

I’m from a small UK town of 600,000 people. It’s by the coast and it’s seasonal meaning that winters are quiet and sleepy. At home, I spend my weekends going for walks and baking rather than doing the rounds of rooftop bars and making coffees in a busy cafe with queues out of the door.

My time living in London led me to believe that I wasn’t a city girl but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was content with my lifestyle in the UK but in Melbourne, I’ve never felt more alive. In a city where I have the space to express myself and do the things that I love but also an ever-changing list of places and events to keep me occupied, this year living in the city has been one of the best of my life.

It all goes to show that sometimes if things aren’t going to plan, it’s not you who needs to change but the place that you’re in itself. 

Have you ever had an experience similar to mine where changing the place that you lived changed your whole perspective? Please get in touch, I’d love to hear.

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it’s like to make coffee in Melbourne 

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it's like to make coffee in Melbourne 

I love the routine that I have going in Melbourne- and when I’m not busy writing or out exploring the city, you’ll find me at my cafe job, making coffees.

Coffee making is something that I’ve been doing on and off for the last few years back in England- ever since I was seventeen and I got my first cafe job. It’s a job that I not only enjoy but it’s one that has enabled me to fund many a trip over the last few years.

If you’ve never done it and you too love drinking coffee and enjoy chatting to the public then I would encourage you to go on a barista course: it’s a valuable set of skills to have that you can use anywhere in the world- plus cafe work can be a lot of fun.

Having said that, before I got to Melbourne I was very doubtful that I’d manage to find a coffee making job at all. Melbourne is famous for its coffee and boasts some of the best baristas and cafes in the world.

I was worried that I wouldn’t make the cut.

Thankfully, by some miracle, I managed to find some work pretty quickly. Since then my coffee-making abilities and my caffeine tolerance have been pushed to the limit- but being a barista has never been more fun than here.

On difficult coffee orders

It’s always when I have a ton of dockets up that I get that request for- an extra hot, dirty chai latte with almond milk, please. To the average person, coffee is coffee, right? Well to many customers there are a lot of variables and common requests include everything from burning hot to weak, 3/4 full, in a mug, made using particular brands of milk or made with varying quantities of foam.

On coconut milk

Soy, almond and lactose-free are fine but I’m sorry coconut milk is just a nightmare to work with.

On regular customers

We have a lot of regular customers who come to get coffee and chatting to them makes my day. Most people are really friendly and will always ask questions about you and what you’re doing. I always try and remember the names of our regulars, but between staff members, we often refer to people by their coffee order instead.

On the people that don’t know what they want

In Melbourne more than any other city, there are a lot of customers who know exactly what they want when it comes to coffee. The other half- Well they don’t have a foggy clue. Requests for ‘just a coffee’ are the norm. Sometimes you’ll bring over a short mac and they’ll laugh or complain that their cappuccino is too foamy. Difficult requests are the worst but those customers that require a breakdown of every single coffee on the menu, well they come pretty close.

On making coffee

Melbourne is famous for its coffee and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what makes the coffee different here to coffee at home in England- and I’m sorry, there is a difference. The fundamentals are that coffees in Australia are generally weaker, with a regular size containing just one shot of espresso. However, the coffee sizes are also smaller here so it evens it out. in Australia, a lot more emphasis is given to the espresso shot here- whereas in England its all about the aesthetics (aka latte art). Here the baristas know the importance of packing the coffee properly and they can spot the difference between an over and under-extracted shot: something that I had to get to grips with.

On coffee making hacks 

A barista will know that there is a difference between a latte and a flat white-despite the cup. That being that a flat white should have virtually no foam. However, if you’re inundated with coffee orders, you can use the same milk to make the two. Just pour the flat white first, holding the milk jug at a height so that the foam doesn’t sit on the coffee. Then use the remainder of the milk to make the latte.

On Magic Coffee 

Contrary to the name, no special powers are required here. Magic coffee is a special Melbourne creation- and it’s quite a particular one. Technically, a magic coffee is like a smaller stronger latte that is made over a double ristretto or restricted espresso ( that’s the first half of the espresso shot only). If you were to serve this is in a normal latte glass, you would then top it up to two thirds full with steamed latte milk.

On Melbourne

There are a lot of fantastic cafes and baristas in Melbourne. I don’t claim to be anywhere near the best however I wanted to assure anyone that’s coming to the city and hoping to find cafe work. There’s a lot of prestige that goes with being a Melbourne Barista- but you don’t have to be a latte art genius or a pro at grinder calibrations to get a job. You need to be chatty, hard-working, enthusiastic and most importantly, you need to have a love of coffee and a drive to find out as much as you can about making and drinking it.

So don’t let your fears hold you back. If you’re looking for a coffee-making job in Melbourne, just get out there, get chatting and hand out some CVs. After all, it’s worth a shot.

5 Things That Prove Collingwood Is Melbourne’s Coolest Inner Suburb

5 Things That Prove Collingwood is Melbourne’s coolest inner suburb

Carlton, Fitzroy, Brunswick- I thought I was familiar with all of Melbourne’s coolest inner suburbs. That was until I stumbled across Collingwood. Nestled in between Fitzroy and Abbotsford, Collingwood is one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets and although small, there are plenty of reasons to visit. Need some inspiration? Here are 5 of my favourite things to do in Collingwood.

 

You can have a $6 beer in an old rooftop train overlooking the city 

Standing out in a city that boasts as many quirky and game-changing bars as Melbourne is hard. However walking past rooftop burger bar, Easeys, is sure to stop you in your tracks. 

Housed in a rooftop train carriage overlooking Melbourne’s CBD, Collingwood’s Easey’s is undoubtedly the quirkiest place to grab some burgers and drinks. Best of all, a trip to this Melbourne institution needn’t be expensive with cheap drink deals meaning you can enjoy the view with a beer or cider for just $6. What’s more, Easey’s burgers are rated some of the best in the city- and their vegetarian burger (your mate) is one of the best I have had in my life. Just be sure to book a table for a guaranteed spot. 

You can try some of Melbourne’s best coffee at Proud Mary

Known not only for serving the best coffee in Collingwood but also some of the best in the whole of Melbourne, Proud Mary is one cafe that you’ll definitely want to stop by. Their house-roasted coffee and freshly made pastries are just the start of it all. Proud Mary also offers an all-day breakfast menu that features the likes of lemon curd hotcakes and salted caramel french toast, meaning that this innovative cafe is bound to make it on to your list of Melbourne favourites.

5 Things That Prove Collingwood is Melbourne’s coolest inner suburb

You can hunt out great street art

Street art is everywhere in Melbourne but perhaps some of the cities lesser-known murals are located in the inner city suburbs like Collingwood and Fitzroy. So, don’t forget to bring your camera while you take a stroll around the area and be sure to wander around the lanes and alleyways that go off of Smith Street in order to find some of the best artwork. 

You can reinvent your look at Vintage Garage 

Melbourne boasts its fair share of vintage and op shops but perhaps the creme de la creme of them all is Collingwood’s Vintage Garage. This eclectic shop is a fantastic mismatch of vintage party wear, everyday clothes, old records and other bric and brac. It’s an easy place to pass a few hours and you’re bound to come away with a lot of things that you just didn’t know you needed.

5 Things That Prove Collingwood is Melbourne’s coolest inner suburb

5 Things That Prove Collingwood is Melbourne’s coolest inner suburb

Have brunch in a plant shop at Cibi’s 

Last but not least, Cibi’s is a cute little Japanese cafe and plant shop and it’s one of Collingwood’s best-kept secrets. Although the cafe has fantastic food, serving up a modern take on healthy Japanese breakfast and lunch dishes, what Cibi’s is really known for is its gorgeous decor. Set in a gorgeous open-plan setting, Cibi’s is an eclectic mix of a cafe, a plant shop and a speciality grocery store, meaning that you can get all of your errands done in one go. 

5 Things That Prove Collingwood is Melbourne’s coolest inner suburb

In a city where there is as much to do as Melbourne, It’s so easy to never leave the city centre. However, suburbs like Collingwood prove that some of the city’s best-kept secrets lie in the outskirts.

What’s your favourite inner city or outer suburb of Melbourne? And more importantly,  why? Share your thoughts in the comments below or alternatively get in touch. 

Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Whether you’re starting out on a solo backpacking trip around Asia or you’re just simply passing through, the idea of being alone in a city as busy as Bangkok can be a little overwhelming.

I remember that when I first set out solo travelling a couple of years ago, it wasn’t until I was in that hotel room in Bangkok’s city centre that reality really set in: I thought, what the heck am I doing here? Since then I’ve been solo in the city a few times and I can vouch for the fact that not only is Bangkok an easy city to be a solo traveller in, it’s a really fun one too.

So, if you too are feeling daunted at the prospect of being alone in the busy Thai capital, don’t stress. Here are my top tips on how to enjoy Bangkok as a solo traveller.

Book a hostel

That moment that I mentioned, where I was alone in a nice hotel room in Bangkok freaking out about things, is exactly the reason why you should book a hostel if you are a solo traveller. While having a luxurious hotel room is nice, backpacker hostels offer the chance to meet people who you can explore the city with and have some fun. What’s more, hostels are generally cheaper, better located and fully equipped to help you sort out all of your travel arrangements.

Use Grab or Uber instead of taking a taxi

Whenever I travel alone, that initial getting from the airport to my accommodation is the thing that I always find the most stressful. Bangkok is notorious for its taxi scams so save yourself the hassle (and the money) and download one of the ride apps such as Grab or Uber. You can order a car from the airport by connecting to the wifi or alternatively pick up a cheap sim card once you land. This way you have a price set before you get in the car and you don’t have to stress about being scammed or the driver not knowing where they are going.Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Solo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Eat a lot

Bangkok is a great city to be solo in because you could basically spend the entire length of your day eating. Seriously, the Thai capital is a metropolis of mouthwatering spicy street food and sweet treats, all of it for very little money. Being a solo traveller means that you don’t have to comprise with anyone else so you can eat what you want- when you want it. What’s more, Bangkok’s incredible street food scene means that you could even grab your food to go if you feel stressed about dining alone.

Walk wherever you can

The best way to get orientated in Bangkok is to walk as much as you can. Many of the cities main attractions are in walking distance of each other so try and save getting a tuk-tuk or the Skytrain for when you’re travelling long distances. If you are looking for walking routes in the city, I’ve included a few links to some self-guided walking tours of Bangkok here.

Find a pool

Wandering around a city as hot and humid as Bangkok can get pretty tiring after a few hours. So, if you’re looking recuperate after a busy day out then I really recommend finding a pool. I stayed at Mad Monkey Backpackers hostel which had its own pool. However, if you don’t mind parting with a little more money then the rooftop pool at the Sofitel hotel is supposed to be incredible.

Do a cooking class

Travelling solo but don’t particularly want to be alone? Booking a class is a great option. There are loads of companies running them throughout the city and not only are they a lot of fun, but they are a great way to meet like-minded travellers.

Solo In Bangkok: Survival TipsSolo In Bangkok: Survival Tips

Be alcohol savvy

Lastly, on a more serious note, remember to look after yourself when it comes to going out. Bangkok has a wild party scene- and as fun as it is to drink out of buckets and dance to your heart’s content, remember not to get too carried away. The best thing to do is buddy up with a few people from your hostel and stick together. Don’t go home alone and make sure you get a taxi. When buying drinks, keep a hold of yours at all time and make sure that they mix the buckets and cocktails in front of you in the bars. Generally, though, going out in Bangkok has always been a laugh and I’ve never had any problems.

I hope that you found this advice helpful. If you’re planning a solo trip to Thailand and the rest of South-East Asia then trust me you’re in for a treat. I don’t think there’s a better or more exciting region to travel alone in.

Do you have any questions about solo travel or female travel in Thailand? Or any tips of your own that you want to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or feel free to get in touch with me here. 

 

My New Weekly Ritual? Brunetti on Lygon Street

I have had a slight obsession with Melbourne’s inner city of Carlton ever since I first set foot there earlier this year. Primarily known for its unbeatable Italian food on Lygon Street, Carlton is an eclectic mix of award-winning restaurants, quirky cafes and boutique shops- basically, everything that I love in life. However, for an area that’s in such close proximity to Melbourne’s CBD,  I don’t visit it enough. Today, I decided to right some wrongs and take a trip over there to indulge my sweet tooth.

After a couple of glasses of wine too many last night with my friend and following a run to make up for it in the morning, I had only one thing on my mind: cake. Now, I know that Carlton is jam-packed with chocolatiers, gelaterias and bakeries to choose from and I could have been more adventurous. However, when it comes to the creme de la creme of them all, Lygon Street’s Brunetti wins every time.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetBrunetti on Lygon StreetBrunetti on Lygon StreetBrunetti on Lygon StreetBrunetti on Lygon StreetBrunetti on Lygon Street

Living in Melbourne and not having heard of Brunetti’s is like living in England and not knowing about the royal family: ok well maybe not that extreme, but you get the picture.  This Italian originated cafe is a local institution and despite the steep prices, it really is the place to go when it comes to eating out.

Walking into the Lygon street store is like stepping into sugar heaven. As soon as you enter, you’re greeted with cabinets and cabinets of all things sweet, cream-filled and wonderful. I’m talking counters of delicate pastries and individual cakes with a sheen so great you can see your reflection in it.  There are homemade chocolates and gelato served in swirling piles. Walk further in and you can tuck into some freshly made pizza, handmade fresh pasta or indulge in some arancini. The individual mini cake portions mean its the ideal place to dine solo but the spacious seating and relaxed vibe also make it perfect for a catch up with friends.

I think I debated for a good half an hour before making my pick: a heavenly tasting oreo cheesecake and a pot of tea. I spend a good hour there devouring both my cake and book. Now I declare- Friday in Melbourne is my day- devoted to nothing other than myself and a good slab of something sweet.

What’s your favourite place for coffee and cake in Melbourne? And do you have a weekly ritual that you just couldn’t do without? I’d love to hear your thoughts.