I’m an Irish female who’s been travelling here and there for years now but I’m brand new to blogging. (Be patient – my IT skills are in urgent need of an upgrade and my photos are slow to move across devices but I’ll get there.) I’m not the most intrepid traveller (you won’t catch me eating gourmet rats or sleeping in a yurt with a family of goatherds), but I do look for a lot more than an annual holiday on the beach.

I love landscape, culture, great food and new experiences but a little bit of shopping and pampering also goes a long way. And more great food. When I prepare for a trip, I often find the guidebooks a little frustrating because I think they can be too neutral and objective. It can be difficult to gauge if a place is really worth visiting or definitely one to skip. Don’t get me wrong; I’d be lost without Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor but over the years I’ve always found word-of-mouth recommendations along with people’s passions and stories more helpful and inspiring than looking up lists of basilicas/temples/ancient ruins/national parks. I also try to get in touch with friends of friends – ex-pats or natives – who are living in the country in question to see what kind of restaurants, attractions or experiences they recommend. If I’ve put their recommendations to the test and found them to be spot on, I usually save their emails and pass them on to other friends who are headed in that direction. This kind of information is indispensable (but not infallible).

Now that I’m back from Asia, friends of friends are already asking me to pass on some tips and pointers for their next trip so this blog is my attempt to organise all my information and put it to good use. Word of warning: information dates quickly, restaurants shut down, venues change their opening hours and sometimes even a museum can shut down, so make sure the information you’re getting is fresh or still relevant. If your friends walk all over Rome looking for an adorable little trattoria recommended by you, only to find it barricaded when they get there, they won’t be your friends for very long! Prices change too so I won’t be detailing the exact cost of everything on my trip; it’ll probably have risen by the time you get there or else you’ll haggle better than me and get it for half the price!