It’s a grey July day here in London, and there’s a dull, intermittent drizzle. I’ve spent the morning sorting through holiday photos — you can tell that most of them were taken by my brother, an art history student, by the numbing number of photos of paving stones, brickwork, and statues —  listening to the gentle pitter-patter of the rain and watching the the little rivulets of rainwater chase each other down the windowpane. I don’t mind it really, and I’m actually quite enjoying being back in a moderate climate. I love the sun — in case you hadn’t guessed from the name of the blog — but the Italian sun? Only in moderation. Just looking back at the photos almost makes me perspire.

We spent a week in Siena, Tuscany, and heat and mosquitos aside it is a beautiful place. We had a fairly intense sight-seeing agenda, visiting Florence, Luca, and umpteen other pretty Tuscan towns and villages, but we did also squeeze in time to relax, swim, revive a little of my GCSE Italian, and sample the region’s food and wine.

View Full Post

I miss the Californian sun. My trip feels like a long time ago now, but those four days will retain their warm glow in my mind through the coming weeks; the warm sand, the gently swaying palm trees, the the ever-present outline of the mountains against the sky.

The weather’s not been so bad here lately, though. I’m gazing wistfully out of the window as dusk falls over Oxford, and the old sun throws its last desperate beams of light and colour across the dulling sky. There’s not a cloud in sight, and it’s one of those beautiful clear evenings of low but lasting light that marks the transition of late spring into early summer. I might be stuck inside neck-deep in an increasingly incoherent essay about the Anglo-Irish conflict (you try making sense of that) and simultaneously attempting to learn the conjugations of all sixteen Russian verbs used to express our verb “to go”, but evenings like this give a sense of perspective.

One of my favourite things about LA was how easily available healthy food was. Pretty much every shopping mall, restaurant or street offered fresh juices and smoothies, and delicious healthy salads. I had a lot of smoothies — however, I also had a lot of things that weren’t smoothies, so a super-ultra-detoxing green smoothie bowl modelled on the ones I had in LA has been perfect for breakfasts this last week. A smoothie alone isn’t quite enough to replace an entire meal for me, which is why I like to make it extra thick and put it in a bowl with loads of toppings (I love it with homemade granola) but you could just as easily keep it as a regular smoothie.

View Full Post

Hello from Los Angeles! I’m jet-lagged and sleep-deprived and not entirely sure why I’m here or what I’m doing, but very happy to be here all the same — I enjoyed crashing my dad’s business trip to San Francisco so much last November that I decided to do it again. The surrealness of the trip kicked in this morning when, thanks to jet lag, I woke early enough to be able to see the sun rising behind the palm trees, skyscrapers and mountains on the horizon from my eighth-floor balcony.  It certainly beats Oxford in exam season.

It isn’t always easy to stay healthy when travelling, especially when crossing multiple time zones, as you sleep less, eat more, and your internal mealtime clock gets a shake up. Healthy food can also be harder to find, or else astronomically expensive. But proper nourishment is actually really important in helping your body to adjust and feel at its best, given the extra pressure being put on it. That isn’t to say that I think you should be obsessive about it – eating is an essential part of experiencing a new place, and holidays especially should be a time to unwind and not be overly concerned about what you eat. I will be eating my fair share of fried food and baked goods over the next few days, but with the knowledge that I will get the most out of the trip if I don’t overdo it, and balance it with plenty of whole-foods too. View Full Post

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d visited Paris recently. It was actually my third visit, and by far my favourite. Not being eaten alive by bedbugs in a dodgy hostel this time round probably had a lot to do with that, but it was also the company and the timing. Virginia and I discovered that we are very compatible travelling companions and expect similar things out of a trip — food being priority number one. View Full Post