You may have noticed I’ve been AWOL. In fact this is the first blog I’ve posted on Hannah Gets Hench for a really long time. Have you missed me? In this post I’m going to explain why. And more importantly, why I’ve returned. (Don’t worry […]
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Italy has been on my ‘must-see’ destination list for such a long time; after all it’s the home of pizza, pasta and gelato! Earlier this month I finally got to visit and it completely surpassed my expectations.
I went with Ellie, would you believe it’s our 3rd trip together in less than a year, for a long weekend. We left early on Thursday morning and spent 4 days there; with 2 days in Rome, one day in Florence and our last day In Pisa before an early flight home on Monday morning.
It was difficult to see everything we wanted to in such a short space of time, especially as one of my favourite parts of travelling is wandering around and not sticking to a schedule, but I feel like we packed in a lot.
10 things you must do in Italy
Drink with the bohemians in Trastevere
Trastevere is a quirky neighbourhood a short walk away from the busy tourist spots in Rome. It’s a favourite with locals and tourists alike because of its unique coffee shops, bars and restaurants. We were there on Thursday and Friday night and people of all ages gathered in the Piazza di San Calisto (a pretty square with a fountain) to dance and watch live music. This reminded me of watching the people dancing and singing by the Seine River when I visited Paris (post here.)
Join in with Appertiv
What’s better than enjoying a cocktail while you watch the sun set on piazza navona? Free snacks! Italian bars and restaurants serve you free snacks when you buy a drink between 16.30pm and 7pm (times sometimes vary so be sure to check) and includes a variety of bread, meats, cheeses and olives. Appertiv quickly became our favourite pre-dinner ritual.
View Florence’s magical skyline
If you climb up a LOT of steps towards the Piazzale Michelangelo you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Florence’s skyline and the river Arno. It’s well worth the walk, we also visited a beautiful church and walked through a very old cemetery.
We went in the day, but I can imagine the view would be even more magical at night.
Discover hidden streets
Italy is a photographer’s dream, everywhere looks so interesting and beautiful! Wandering down streets and finding places away from the beaten track is something every tourist should do.
Rome’s streets are very narrow and cobbled with ivy cascading from the top and religious pictures featured in the walls. While Florence is much wider and more Venetian in their architecture, featuring big window shutters and washing hanging down. On the other hand, Pisa is more colourful, open and less cobbled.
Try a negroni
There is one drink you MUST try when you are in Italy, if you dare! A Negroni is a traditional Italian cocktail consisting of one-part gin, one-part vermouth rosso and one-part Campari, garnished with orange peel. Let me tell you, it is not like an Aperol Spritz!
See the sights up close and personal
You can’t visit Italy without seeing some famous landmarks! If you’re in Rome you should definitely visit the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain; we also saw the Spanish Steps, the Vatican and the Pantheon (although I was refused entry because of my white vest top…)
Laugh at tower tourists
Speaking of famous sights, if you visit Pisa you must see the Leaning Tower. Pisa is actually really tiny and although it has lots of gorgeous marble architecture, there isn’t a great deal to do apart from visit the tower and admire the beautiful buildings close by.
We had a great time watching all the other tourists try and get the perfect leaning tower picture. I found it quite difficult to get a good shot so just opted for a normal one instead. Could you do better?
Spot 10 sausage dogs
I was surprised and delighted at how many dachshunds I saw during my trip to Italy. Although they are popular in England, I have never seen as many in such a short space of time! There were also lots of poodles, chihuahuas and spaniels (I have no pictures of the puppers!)
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I would absolutely love to return to Italy, especially Rome, and would highly recommend it to anyone.
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When I first heard about Intuitive Eating I was a little sceptical, doesn’t it just mean eating whatever you want all the time? Why does this need to be a ‘movement’? Surely there are some health implications for this?
After some serious sarcastic eye rolls and a lot of research later, I discovered Intuitive Eating was much more than that.
Intuitive Eating helps us to develop a happy and healthy relationship with food and teaches us to listen to what our body wants. It stops us from starving and restricting ourselves and helps us to quit binging and overeating for good.
Most importantly, Intuitive Eating sticks its middle finger up to diet culture and refuses to accept it as the norm; instead it encourages you make peace with food and find complete and utter pleasure in eating once again. Sounds great, right?
You can see why I was seduced by Intuitive Eating, but there’s more to it than just cracking open a pack of biscuits and chomping away. In fact, Intuitive Eating has its own set of core principles.
Here are a few of my favourites (because if I went into them all this blog would turn into a book):
Reject the diet mentality
Don’t you think it’s shocking how diet culture has become such a normal part of our society?
Just pick up any beauty magazine and count how many times it mentions weight loss or body transformations. Listen in on people’s conversations and hear how many people are scorning themselves for not ‘being good’ and restricting themselves.
The first step to Intuitive Eating is to reject diet culture by staying away from media that tells you that you need to lose weight to be worthwhile. Avoid diet chat, people that constantly talk about losing weight. I know this may be difficult, so instead of avoiding people you could try not engaging in the conversation when they bring it up.
Make peace with food
Food is food; it’s not good and it’s not bad. It’s simply fuel that helps you survive.
Although some food is more beneficial to our bodies than others, think blueberries and walnuts, other foods are just enjoyable to eat, mac n cheese and doughnuts here’s looking at you, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so. By following Intuitive Eating, you are giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and not restrict yourself. After all, restriction leads to bingeing and that fosters guilt. Aim to eat foods that make you feel good and offer yourself kind nutritional advice that helps instead of critiques your food choices.
Deal with your Feelings without using food
I’m an emotional eater, always have been. Whenever something happens in my life I turn to food. Whether its sadness, boredom, stress, anxiety, loneliness– I will find a food for that. But eating for an emotional hunger will only make us feel worse in the long run. Once you’ve finished eating, the source of the emotion will still be there, plus the the discomfort of overeating. Find ways to overcome your issues without using food.
Respect your body
Respect your body and embrace the person that you are. As I discussed in this post, it’s important to celebrate our differences and embrace different body shapes. It’s hard to completely reject diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body.
You can be body positive and love exercise!
Focus on how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If your only motivation is to lose weight and you consistently put yourself through gruelling sessions, your enjoyment of exercise will quickly be exhausted and you’ll end up hating it.
As you can see, Intuitive Eating is a really positive way to think about food and I am trying to embrace it as much as I can. Since learning about body positivity, I have altered the way I think about eating and the effect diet culture has on my mental health. Although undoing a lifetime of diet culture won’t come easily, I am proud to say that I am making progress and being less critical of myself and my body.
Hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to learn more about Intuitive Eating I found this site helpful when learning about the core principles of Initiative Eating (it includes all 10).
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I’ve heard many things about Boomtown festival, some good some bad, but mainly that it was unlike any other festival. Last week I put this to the test and experienced the madness that was Boomtown Chapter 9: Behind the Mask
Located in Winchester, which is basically at the bottom of the country, Boomtown is one of the most diverse festivals on the scene. It features a variety of musical genres, with everything from indie, country, folk, drum & bass, house and many more. The festival prides itself on creating an immersive experience, using very well structured set designs and actors to make attendees feel like they’ve entered a dream like town in a different world.
I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive before I went to Boomtown. I didn’t know many people that had been previously and the ones I knew were going seemed a bit…wild? I’d heard stories that on the last night everyone descended to the forest banging on pots and pans until 7am refusing to accept the festival was over. I was worried it would be a weekend of ‘free spirits’ reviving the flower power movement one illegal substance at a time. I also had no idea what to wear (‘do people even wear clothes at boomtown?!’) and racked up a large online order filled with backless sequin crop tops, velvet play-suits and patterned flares.
I guess I’m writing this blog to put anyone who is worried about going to Boomtown next year at ease, because it was easily one of the best festivals I’ve been to. It’s huge and crazy at times, but the atmosphere is incredible and there is something for everyone. So much effort was put into creating an entire town to party in, complete with districts, sub-towns and hidden venues.
There is nothing scary about it, and even though 60% of the people there did have dreadlocks, most punters are your average ravers. There’s a good mix of young and old people and you even spot a few families around due to the special Kidz’ Town section. Of course, there were still chavs there, but they flock to any place with music and the possibility of getting off your face for four days.
Tips & tricks for Boomtown Festival
Be prepared for a big queue – Some people had to queue for 7+ hours to get in to the festival, so be prepared for long waits. We were also stuck in at least an hour’s worth of traffic once we got closer to the time.
Explore everything on the first day – Boomtown is massive, we spent most of our time in the same areas but looking back on it I wish I’d explored more. We found an amazing place on the last day which was a bit of a walk from the main old town section.
HOOCH – They sell Hooch at all the bars! Even better, they sell Hula Hooch! In case you didn’t know, hooch is a retro alcoholic lemonade style drink and it is delightful.
Make the most of it from the moment you wake up – Once again, I spent quite a lot of time hanging around the campsite drinking and getting ready, when I should have gotten ready as quick as possible and explored the festival. You can take alcohol from the campsite with you, so there’s no excuse to stay in one place.
Take a few outfits but don’t go crazy – Although there were loads of people who were dressed up, most people didn’t make as much effort with their outfits as I’d imagined. Honestly, everyone is having such a good time no one really cares what you look like. It’s definitely a low maintenance/no judgement festival. I ended up wearing the same top most of the time because I really liked it!
Take ear plugs – The music goes on all night, even when the main stages are finished there’s always something going on and rowdy people making noise. If you want to sleep, then pack some ear plugs.
Try the food – Boomtown has loads of quality food vendors in each of the sections, I tried a Tibetan place which was amazing and a peking duck wrap place that was so good we kept going back to for more! However, it’s not cheap so make sure you bring enough money for food for 4 days (about £10 per meal).
Bring sun cream – Apparently, beautiful weather is a Boomtown tradition so make sure you bring your sun cream. It was boiling every day and lots of the people we were with got sunburnt/sunstroke so don’t risk it!
Festival season is over, which makes me so sad because I enjoy going to them so much (here’s some of the reasons why I do!) Hope you enjoyed this post, I will try and write some more event style posts for the future.
Have you even been to Boomtown? What’s your favourite festival?