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10 European Cities You Just Have To Visit

10 European Cities You Just Have To Visit

As a keen traveller who’s always planning her next adventure, I do a heck of a lot of research on cities I need to visit and destinations that will suit not only my taste for travel but my budget too! As a UK citizen, travelling around Europe is ideal as nowhere is too far, flights are cheap and also relatively inexpensive. So today I’m sharing with you my top 10 European Cities that you should definitely be adding to your travel bucket list!

1. London

I suppose I should begin with my own capital city! I’ve always loved London since a young age, the buzz just draws you in. You will never run out of sights to see, restaurants to try and pop-up events to head to. The city is just bursting with culture, don’t just stick to central London either, there are plenty of things to do in East London as well.

Make sure you stop by Sketch for afternoon tea, stay at the Hoxton and dine at Dishoom.

2. Rome

The perfect destination to head to with your partner. There’s no denying Rome is a romantic city, although that being said, I am yet to visit Venice! There are obvious sights such as the Coliseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Trevi foundation to visit, all of which do not disappoint! I would advise to try and book a tour before you head off to Rome as it saves lots of time and queuing. Take a leisurely stroll around the cobbled streets with a gelato in hand. Try some of the back streets for true Italian food rather than some of the restaurants that are slap bang in the centre and offer a more tourist centred menu.

Stay at the Regina Hotel Baglioni, take a Segway tour and eat plenty of gelato.

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3. Berlin

A stark contrast to Rome are the graffiti’d walls of Berlin. An exciting city, this has to be one of my favourite destinations for a long weekend. Bursting with restaurants, bars, boutiques and rich history. Berlin is not be missed off your travel list. Make sure you visit the Brandenburg gate, the Reichstag and the Berlin wall to take in the history of the city. After you’ve visited the city’s main spots, enjoy the many bars and stunning city art and architecture. Berlin is also home to many parks and gardens too, so if you’re visiting in the summer time try and plan a picnic too.

Stay at the Titanic Gendarmenmarkt, visit Voo store for the best threads and eat at Cookies Cream for great vegetarian food.

4. Dublin

If you’re based in the UK, Dublin is under an hour away by airplane but even if you’re further away it’s still well worth a visit! Enjoy a pint of Guinness as you overlook the city from the Guinness Storehouse panoramic bar. The Temple Bar area of the city is a must-visit with tonnes of pubs and bars to enjoy whilst watching the world go by. The temple bar region is great for a younger audience with lots of different eateries, vintage shops and other little gems.

Stay at The Westbury for a touch of luxury or The Temple Inn for a more affordable stay.

5. Stockholm

Slick and stylish, Stockholm is the the ultimate destination for fans of Scandinavian design and minimalism. Bursting with inspiring street style, picturesque cobbled pathways and endless cafés, there are so many aspects to this city to enjoy. Be sure to enjoy a boat trip of the islands whilst viewing the stunning architecture the city has to offer.

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Stay at Hotel J, eat at Lilla Ego and make sure you visit Acne Studios for high end designer fashion.

6. Paris

The city of love! Paris is definitely one of those places you just have to visit at some point in your life. The city is truly stunning and of course the Eiffel Tower is an absolute must see. Wander down the gorgeous streets and be sure to stop for a macaroon and café latte! This is a seriously stylish city, oozing elegance and class. You have to experience some Parisian shopping, it’s not all about Chanel and design fashion though, there are some great vintage stores with many hidden gems.

Stay at the stylish Hotel Recamier, stop for a hot chocolate at Angelina and enjoy an éclair from l’éclair de genie.

7. Cambridge  

The historic university of Cambridge has so much to offer. Walk around the stunning university grounds and be sure to take a punt down on the river! There are plenty of boutiques, cafés and restaurants to visit, and make sure you head to the University Botanic Gardens and Fitzwilliam Museum for a fun, affordable day out. There’s always something to see at one of the city’s theatres, and there are lots of bars to keep you entertained in the evening also. There’s also the nearby Newmarket Races which are well worth a visit!

Stay at the Bedford Lodge Hotel, eat pizza at La Margherita and stop for a drink at student favourite, The Snug.

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8. Barcelona

Flights to Barcelona can be very cheap from the UK so it’s no wonder it’s such a popular holiday destination. You can enjoy the best of both worlds with a city vibe as well as a beach. Make sure you see some of Gaudi’s work whist you’re there, the Casa Batllo is a must see for all Gaudi lovers. To ensure you see as much of the city as you can then I would recommend a cycle tour. There’s no better way to see the sights and learn all about Barcelona’s history.

Stay at the H10 Catalunya Palace and be sure to book your cycle tour before you go!

9. Prague

Take in the sights of this medieval city and its stunning gothic architecture. It’s the perfect Christmas break destination but can be enjoyed year-round! Highlights of the city include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge and the infamous John Lennon Wall. There are also other fun activities you can try including a cycle trip from Prague to Vienna. The beer museum is also a popular tourist attract, offering a lively atmosphere and plenty of different beers to ‘test’.

Stay at the Boho Prague Hotel and eat a Kolkovna restaurant.

10. Budapest

Often described as a ‘fairytale city’ it’s not hard to see why, the city castles look like they’ve come straight out of a Disney movie. The city itself is breath-taking, full of charm and incredible architecture everywhere you turn. You must be sure to visit the Budapest Parliament, the building is quite simply beautiful. Find the best view of the city at the Fisherman’s Bastion, a tip though, be sure to get there early to take in the best view without swarms of other people.

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Stay at the Corinthia hotel and spa for a touch of luxury and be sure to stop by the Ruin Pubs too.

Where is next on your travel list?

Featured photo credit: inyourpocket.com via inyourpocket.com

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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