John Muir- Mountain Man & Inspiration To Lovers Of The Wild

adventure, mountains, nature, snowboarding, Travel, travel blog, Uncategorized

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I am often asked who is my idol, who pushes me, encourages me, to which I would be likely to answer-athletes like Kjersti Buaas, Aimee Fuller and the likes. However, if you were to ask me, who is my inspiration and why, I think can think of a seemingly unlikely character that, without falter, inspires me in every meaning of the word.

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They say, empowered women, empower women and I firmly believe that I look up to women to guide me to go bigger, ride harder and be a better version of myself. BUT, when it comes to inspiration, why I continue to pursue freeride, why I will not succumb to the societal pressures to fulfill the normal life of a 25yr old, and listen to the call of the mountains, it has to be John Muir.

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So, who is John Muir, well thanks to the wonder of the internet, here is a little description of this incredible environmental warrior:

“John Muir (April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) also known as “John of the Mountains”, was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions. His activism has helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is a prominent American conservation organization.”

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John felt most at home in the mountains, a man who famously was never able to sit still for long, felt the mountains call him. A call to action that he rightly understood as his duty to protect the environment, nature and all the grandeur of the landscape around him.

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Muir has been called the “patron saint of the American wilderness” and its “archetypal free spirit.” “As a dreamer and activist, his eloquent words changed the way Americans saw their mountains, forests, seashores, and deserts”,-Gretel Ehrlich. He not only led the efforts to protect forest areas and have some designated as national parks, but his writings presented “human culture and wild nature as one of humility and respect for all life.  

Muir seems to understand what nature is trying to communicate to us; in a time before civilization was able to fully grasp the importance of championing environmental protection measures.

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Above all what inspires me about Muir was his ethereal, magical and just damn right amazing use of the English language. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the mountain man himself.  These quotes can sooth an intrepid travelers soul, just what your inner nomad needs to hear:

 

  • Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
  • The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
  • In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
  • When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
  • Rocks and waters, etc., are words of God, and so are men. We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love.
  • Storms of every sort, torrents, earthquakes, cataclysms, ‘convulsions of nature,’ etc., however mysterious and lawless at first sight they may seem, are only harmonious notes in the song of creation, varied expressions of God’s love.
  • Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us, God.
  • How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!
  • Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
  • The mountains are calling and I must go.

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Although John, who was raised deeply religious as was normal in his native Scotland, he grew to expand upon his beliefs about “God” and how the idea of a prime maker relates to nature. I understand how it may be hard for some to relate and many find it a little uncomfortable to mention God, or any names indeed that suggest a religious orientation. However, when thinking of all of nature’s awesome power, the mountains in all their glory, one can’t help but sit back and contemplate a little.

 

So, there you have it guys, I hope you found this short piece interesting and that you too can find some comfort in the immortal words of John Muir. I find whenever I am feeling a little melancholy for the mountains, his words match perfectly to any feelings of longing, he helps he slowly turn those feelings to a sense of belonging, we all are indeed, part of the grand picture. It is up to us to understand how we fit in and how we plan to use our influence to protect what we hold so dear. . . . . Nature and the mountains.

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Positive Female Role Models In Snow Sports- A List Of Ladies You Need To Be Following

activity, adventure, blogger, body image, bodypositive, freeride world tour, girlpower, girls, snowboarding, Travel, travel blog, travel hacks, Uncategorized, Yoga, yoga lifestyle

Positive Female Role Models In Snow Sports- Ladies To Love, Look Up To And Those Who Empower Freeriders Of All Ages!

Be powerful, be bold, empower others and lead the way. That’s how it should be within the sporting world. I want to see strong ladies paving the way for others. The sporting industry is a mess at the moment, we have sports brands employing models to advertise fitness gear, we have less televised coverage of major sporting events not even to mention the lesser known events where women are involved. The constraints are the same in the snow sports world as well. Thankfully, incredible ladies like some of the lasses mentioned below are finally getting the recognition they deserve, largely through the medium of social media. Social media has helped these ladies inspire girls like me, I look up to them, I am EXTREMELY lucky to know some of them, to have ridden with them and get to learn from them first hand.

The whole essence of empowering other women, like me, or younger girls looking up to snow sports rider who for some, are the sports stars of their lives, akin to how some may idolize footballers for example- is we get that pang of excitement when we see their new post on Instagram, we want to know what they are up too and we see how they portray themselves and how they inspire other women, showing us what we can aspire to be. These women are my inspiration, they are some real bad-ass babes and I highly recommend, you start following them too!

Arianna Tricomi

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This Italian babe is as smart as she is strong. Arianna is THE PERFECT balance in how you can pursue your passion in sport and in education. Now a qualified Physio AND a fully fledged rider on the freeride world tour, she is totally killing it. She shows us how we can perfect the work life balance to achieve everything we want in life- NOTHING HAS TO SUFFER, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL. Having just signed another 2 yr contract with Scott, I can’t wait what this bad ass skier babe does next.  FOLLOW HER HERE

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Kjersti Buaas

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Not the first time I have paid tribute to this epic babe! Kjersti Buaas is a real hero of mine. She is the epitome of zen, balancing a love for yoga and the outdoors with the continual pushing of boundaries in snowboarding. From park to the back country, she is truly incredible. Kjersti rides with power and grace and she is all about the good karma. Kjersti is strong, strong in mind and body, this comes from a genuine connection with the earth through yoga and exploring nature- this is a really special match. You can’t help but feel good about life when you follow her. Traveling the world with her own brand of effortless cool! Follow her here! 

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Marte Tveten

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Marte is the queen of Scandi cool, this Norwegian babe is a rising star and I could not be more proud of her. Everytime I head to her insta I am taken aback by the brilliant stuff she is doing! I am so lucky to know and love this lady, having ridden with her many a time, I know that she will continue to do bigger and better things. Demonstrating how girls can be just as daring, adventurous and boisterous as any male rider. She rips on and off her skis, she is sweet and just a genuinely lovely person. Follow her here! 

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Annika Farjh

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Okay, I may be total bias as she is one of my besties but you know what NO, Annika deserve EVERY bit of recognition she deserves. From just skiing around for the sheer love of skiing and freeriding to now pushing herself to the limits, showing the world what she is up to through her Instagram and her blog; Annika is up and coming! I see big things on the horizon for her, considering that Annika embodies the skier girl attitude. She is all about encouraging and pushing the ladies around her, helping my friends and I strive to go bigger and do better. Annika is always improving and she is a real force to be reckoned with! Such a strong rider. I cannot wait to head to Japan with this babe, together I know we can conquer ANY ADVENTURE. Sleeves up, ski boots on and we can head for the horizon. Follow her here! 

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Mirte Van Dijk

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Mirte is WANDERLUST! Following her is exactly what you need to see on a boring Monday. When I am home working in the down season, I look to Mirte for inspiration on how one can turn their passion into a career. From her love of ski mountaineering, touring, a general passion for the outdoors and adventure, paired with a genuine skill in photography and content production, Mirte has built a social media profile to rival the big names like @roundtheworldgirl or @erinoutdoors. Having spent time with Mirte, listened to her ideas and worked with her, I know she practice what she preaches. It’s this level of integrity and authenticity that make for a really inspirational person. Follow her here.

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Jackie Paaso

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Jackie is an idol of mine. Whenever we have correspondents through blogging or article writing, I always blush a little as she is just the most down to earth and genuine person. I remember when I first saw Jackie taking part in an audition in the film “Game Of Gnar” I know she was an incredible spirit. A rider that shredz with strength, endurance and fearlessness, watching her in the FWT is a real inspiration. With a deep affiliation to the outdoors, traveling the world along side her bae, the legend that is Reine Barkered we see some amazing stuff from Jackie. Not to mention is is championing mountain safety with her involvement with “SAFE AS” Clinics! 

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Alexa Hohenberg

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WHAT. A .HERO! Alexa IS girl power and it’s awesome to see. Again its not the first time I’ve paid tribute to this mega babe but Alexa needs more people shouting about her! Creator of the epic blog “Still Stoked“, Alexa is calling the industry out on it’s bullshit, she praises achievement, spreads the love and over all inspires women from surf to snow! If you have ever felt frustrated about the snow sports world or the fitness industry, Alexa will no doubt have taken your exact thoughts and written about it on her fiercely popular blog! I watch this lady like a hawk and I am always stoked to see what she comes out with! Be strong and confident, that’s what she teaches us!  Follow her her.

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Sian Lewis

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MASSIVE GIRL CRUSH ALERT! I knew Sian 6 years ago when we did our very first season in Cervinia and since then she has gone to do some amazing things in the outdoors and adventure world. Not just snow sports but if you want inspiration about traveling, lifestyle and how to be confident and happy in your own skin, Sian is the girl to follow! She is a bad ass journalist, writing for The Independent and the BBC as well as her killer personal blog, aptly named “The Girl Outdoors”, Sian is killing it. Sian talks about all the nuances of adventure travel for girls, the good, the bad and the ugly, inspiring and motivating. Get out there, get back to nature and enjoy being you! Follow her here.

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So there you have it, a short list of some of the most amazing lasses out there, (well in my opinion) but I highly recommend you follow them, listen to them, read all the material they put out there and let girls that are really JUST LIKE YOU-empower you to be the best version of yourself. No matter how low you may be feeling or how disgruntled you are about the images you are used to seeing, these ladies will restore your faith in #GirlPower!

5 Resorts To Visit In Northern Italy- A Freeriders Dream

adventure, inspiration, instagram, Italy, snowboarding, Travel, travel blog, Uncategorized, winter

5 Resorts To Visit In Northern Italy- A Freeriders Dream

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“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”. Giuseppe Verdi What a perfect quote to summarize the unique and inspiring feelings one gets when you visit Italy. From Rome to Florence, from Naples to Turin and Milan, from sea to mountains Italy is something else. For a lot of the British public in particular, when you think of a classic ski holiday, we automatically think of France or Austria but there are those among us Brits that are, in the know, so to speak. I spend my life in the mountains and most of my year in Italy and and although all these resorts are virtually on my doorstep, I still consider myself immensely lucky to visit these resorts. Not only because I have the benefit of gazing up at the ore inspiring scenery but also because I can discover the most secrets lines!

 

Courmayeur

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Situated on the French/Italian border, at the mouth on the Monte Bianco tunnel, Courmayeur is blessed with tree lined runs, restaurants and bars to rival any major Italian city and scenery for days! Let’s break it down by what’s important as we only want a small summary: you can pick up a pizza and a beer and lunch for about 15€in total, the lift passes are moderately priced but the freeride potential, man, that’s where courmayeur stands out. Taking the James Bond style cable car up to Cresta Youla and beyond to the tippy top and Cresta Arp, you are greeted with the feeling of being top of the world, staring down into the wild, deserted, unpopulated backcountry area. For more info on where to stay, head to the tourism website or check out Air b&b. Be sure to be up first lift and enjoy a full days ski to take in everything this amazing resort has to offer.

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Gressoney

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A real secret spot, a hidden gem, nestled in the heart of the Aosta Valley, Gressoney is slowly receiving the notoriety it deserves on the freeride scene. However, selfishly, many of us who know and love the resort, would rather this resort stay in the shadows. Home to a freeride zone full of countless lines. By taking a few lifts away from the main body of the resort, you have unprecedented access to breathtaking views and really exciting terrain. The freeride zone is home of amazing open faces above the tree line, jumps and cliffs plus many a touring adventures! So, Pizza and beer wise? A little cheaper, you’re looking about 12€, ideal to save some pennies as there is no apres ski either. Although, after a day shredding the freeride zone, no doubt you will be heading for a chilled beer in front on the fire, back at your accommodation. For more info, click here to head to the tourism website.

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Pila

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Pila, oh Pila, a resort that is very close to my heart. As you climb the mountain and the valley drops away behind, it reveals the most imposing mountain range. With impeccable tree lined runs, perfect corduroy runs, steep, dotted with mouth watering bars and restaurants plus some amazing backcountry lines, you have a recipe for the Italian Dolce Vita! As freeriders we pay little attention to the piste but pila is worth having a little shred, the runs are a little steeper than the rest of the valley and with the literally PERFECTLY groomed piste, you can really let your hair down and accelerate. It’s rather funny, whenever i visit, with my freeride friends in tow, we cause a lot of stress of the piste police, ripping around at full speed, to take advantage on the conditions. Heading up to the Couis 2 chair lift, you have 360 views of The Matterhorn, Monte Bianco, Gran San Bernard and Monte Rosa, the most impressive panorama! Watch out for the secret freeride spots around Couis 1 and Couis 2, grab your touring equipment and head on up! Grab a pizza and a beer for around 10€ here and stay cheap too! Click here to visit the tourism website!

Chamois

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Chamois lives in the shadow of Cervinia but we like is that way, included on the Cervinia pass but just 20 minutes down the road, Chamois is a locals secret! Chamois has long since been the spot that local freeriders head too, a day or 2 after a large fall to enjoy the undisturbed peace and tranquility above the clouds. Noone skies Chamois after a big snowfall which is the biggest shame/gift! The pass is cheaper and you can snap up the pizza and a lunch time beer for about 10€. We have driven down to enjoy the touring/snowshoeing opportunities and we have not been disappointed with the conditions. You still have the incredibly iconic views of the Matterhorn which is a true sight for sore eyes!  Click here for more info.

Italy Edits May 1st (1 of 7)

La Thuile

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Bordering with the sensational resort of La Rosiere, La Thuile is a really eclectic mix of the Italian and the French! La Thuile offers challenging piste skiing and the difficulty level is nicely reflected in the backcountry. I am always stoked to see when pro riders film in La Thuile which the Petit brother did back in 2015, they found some amazing spots, great pillow lines and other exciting features just waiting to be discovered. Your pizza and beer lunch will be about €15 here, prices on the mountain are a little more expensive due to the growing tourist industry in the resort but that also means after a longs days shredding, there will be plenty of life in the pubs for some Italian style apres ski! Stay in the planibel complex to keep the cost down or treat yourself to a cozy chalet, either way, more info can be found on the tourism website!

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Okay, so basically this list is narrowed down to just the Aosta Valley but after 7 seasons in the area, you get to know a thing or 2; that is what freeriding is all about, sharing the knowledge, the secrets and the low. After all, the Aosta Valley is a gem in the southern alps.

 

Be sure to hit me up with a message if you want to know more, I am here to answer any questions you may have about the area. Be sure to send me your images if you have been before! I would LOVE TO SEE!

Until next time. . .

 

Big love to the Aosta Valley tourist board for the images! For further details on the creds, message me!

Barcelona- Exploring, Discovering and Meandering

adventure, snowboarding, Travel, travel blog, travel hacks, Uncategorized

Barcelona what can I say, you were sweet, warm, welcoming and over all a pleasure from start to finish. One must be quick on their feet, armed and ready for a 48 hour stay in one of Europe’s most loved cities as only a certain about of aimless strolling is allowed! But, with food and drink, history and exploration in mind, Kate and I set ourselves the heft task of doing as much as we could in this incredible city in just 2 days.

Now, this is the time to say that I did little to no research prior to departure, this is generally rather out of character for me as I am normally organised and keeping a watchful eye on my check list, well in advance of departure however this time round, what with work and general down season life pressure; I was totally unprepared. I am so glad Kate was my travel buddy on this trip as she was fantastic, she has browsed articles, looked online and had some super ideas for how we would soak up all of Barcelona’s amazing culture.

 

Now don’t get too excited, this blog is no Conde Nast article, or a piece from Sunday Times Travel, no, this is a quick fire summary and overall recommendation of this truly captivating city!

 

Accommodation

AIR B&B is life! Kate found us the most perfect apartment. The owner, Luis was sweet, helpful and really welcoming. He greeted us eagerly and ensured we had everything we needed, not to mention giving us plenty of insider info. Luis managed to purchase a few apartments in the building during the financial crash in spain, we kept them and did them p and now he regularly rents out numerous rooms and has the whole thing down to a T. Check him out on Air B&B right here by clicking this link! Make sure you tell him Kate and Angelica sent you!

 

Food

Strangely, (well perhaps not for 2 millennials) but the meal that stood out the most to us was Brunch. Now I cannot speak highly enough our the brunch spot, Brunch&Cake have a few spots around the city, each as delicious as the next, some cute street corners to beach front locations, we actually ate here on the Saturday and the Sunday. The service was totally impeccable and the options for carnivores and herbivores alike was amazing. As vegans, kate and I devoured the Match pancakes with Pistachio cream and “life changing” Granola. Simply Instagram heaven! Tapas wise, we actually found the spots around our Air B&B around Placa Catalunya. Cute little local spots, serving the most amazing tapas to match your cool dry Cava or glass of Sangria! What could be better, totally dreamy!

 

Culture

The Catalan culture is really special, a fiercely independent region, they are proud of their heritage and diversification from mainland spain. The language is a closer derivative of French and Italian than Spanish and man do they speak fast! The history is totally captivating so be sure to take every opportunity to learn something about the area, particularly a walking tour of the city’s hidden secrets. . .
Sights

There is something terribly curious and totally ore inspiring around every corner in Barcelona. From the architecture to the atmosphere it’s the epitome of cool! Okay let’s cover the most notable thing first- La Sagrada Familia- during high season you absolutely have to book. We went early evening and we still couldn’t get in. We saw the enormity of this world famous landmark from the outside but it doesn’t quite do it justice. Click here to head to the website to book in advance of your trip. One site that Kate was over the moon to visit was the Park Guell. I was so glad she recommended we visit as it was really something. Again, you should absolutely book but it was worth the 8€ per person. Click here to book. This Gaudi masterpiece offers unprecedented views over the city along with a really tranquil setting, despite the hoards of people, even at 8pm at night!  Lastly, the best way to see plenty of the city FAST is to take a walking tour. Come armed with comfy shoes and child like enthusiasm to learn and you will be set. We did the same walking tour in Berlin with NEW EUROPE and the guides are just amazing. Super informative and this particular guide was a total hero. Be sure to get on the tour with Leon when you visit Barcelona. They have so many amazing options to suit every traveler from the hidden secrets tour to the tapas tour!

Night Life

A photo by Jez Timms. unsplash.com/photos/b8se0pUeaA0

The night life was super cool, as you can imagine, there is a really great mix between the hipster and the effortlessly stylish. Friday consisted of Cava, tapas and massive catch ups but Saturday we were ready to hit the town. We firstly headed down to the beach to Blue Beach Bar on Carrer De Guitert for some Sangria. You can take the absolutely lovely walk along to Playa Olimpic, which is about 15 mins long. It takes you so plenty of clubs including the big names like Pacha and lots of beach front bars. I HATE CLUBS so we walked straight past to set up camp in a few of the more chilled out bars to drink Cava and put the world to rights!

 

Beach

The best beach was around Carrer De Guitert, there are plenty of bars to stay refreshed and they made the ideal spot to grab lunch. Plus it was only a very short walk from Brunch&Cake, you can walk your little food baby all the way to the sand. Kate and I were in need of some chilled out time so we opted to sun ourselves for a few hours on Sunday afternoon after a long meader from the Air B&B to the brunch spot. The sea is a little dirty sadly due to the little so be sure you don’t continue to this, make sure you take all your rubbish with you. It was high season and therefore VERY hot, also be sure to stay hydrated.

So that’s it. That was my whistle stop tour of Barca. Short but sweet. I highly recommend this city and if you are lucky enough to stay for longer, head to the tourism website to discover the many things kate and I didn’t get a chance to see. Be sure to tag me in your images and let me know how you got on! I would love to hear!

Until next time. . .

 

How To Pack/Travel light- 5 simple ideas

adventure, blog, blogger, europe, explore, Travel, travel blog, travel hacks, Uncategorized

How To Pack/Travel light- For a city break

Now, I am certainly no expert, not the best start to a blog, I know; I am always complaining about forgetting something, wishing I had bought that item that in my head seemed it would change my entire wardrobe. BUT  with the amount that I travel I have mastered a few hacks that I wanted to pass on. Having just got back from Berlin (Blog to follow soon), I wanted to share some ideas with you.

Mostly likely you are working with hand baggage allowance which doesn’t leave much room but for a few days, even up to a week in some cases, it’s all you need to pack the absolute essentials. It always takes the hassle our of the traveling part, which makes the over all experience more enjoyable.

Short and sweet, here are my tips on- How To Pack/Travel Light For A City Break.

A trusty holdall. 

I absolutesb2507_blackly swear by my Sweaty Betty holdall. I bought the original holdall which I believe is still available but, pictured here is a beautiful alternative- the Union Jack Hold All. The carry straps go comfortably over your shoulders and fit like a back pack if you have to lug it around town or the extended strap is ideal. It is really spacious and there is even a section for your laptop. You cal also carry items under which is ideal if you to separate clothes if you have been to the beach or simply clothes you won’t wear again. TO SHOP THIS ITEM CLICK HERE.

 

The perfect back pack

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Again, I am all about that Sweaty Betty lifestyle. If I am doing anything outdoorsy then of course it’s my Vaude day packs. However for traveling and exploring a new city, my Sweaty Betty all sports backpack is that one item I worship like a total geek. I am rarely seen without it off the mountain. There are plenty of compartments and it’s light weight. TO SHOP THIS ITEM, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

Your favorite comfy shoes

My conveStockSnap_BD31KHIDA7rse have become my off mountain uniform. They seem to go with EVERYTHING and few could disagree that no matter what the occasion converse are perfect. Whenever heading on a city break I am always sure to take my converse; to go sight seeing, chilled park hangs and matching with a cute dress to head out for drinks! Stress free packing.

Sunnies

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I am one of those people that has always LOVED wearing my sunglasses. I mean, I was bullied for ever little thing in high school, even down to the fact that when it was sunny, guess what- I wore sunglasses. I digress. I am never without my sunglasses and I recently picked up a few awesome pairs on ASOS. They look similar to the Ray Ban round metal frames but without the price tag.

Think simple for your #OOTD

My mum always jokes that I have no idea what I am doing if I am not wearing layers of back country clothing. Truth is, I have always had a very distinct sense of style. I love sports luxe. Probably why I love Sweaty Betty so much but pairing basic sport pieces with the odd statement item like a patterned jacket. That’s why whenever I am traveling on a city break I think simple. My face statement leggings with a loose fit T or simple a basic light cotton jumper and a cute skirt. Plus my converse of course. It never fails!

 

I hope you found this blog useful. Let me know what you think. The Berlin Travel blog is coming VERY soon indeed but until then. . . .