Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Adventures of Rome August 2017

It's a little late, try two months to be exact, but I guess some things are better late than never. In fact I may struggle to piece the whole experience back together, due to A) it was two months ago, and B) it was a short stay, and cramming so many activities into such a short period of time, is more difficult than what I had anticipated.

I'm lucky enough to say this is my second time not celebrating my Birthday in the UK. This was my gift from my Boyfriend, it was something we had both wanted to do for a long time and along with a lot of saving, we finally managed to pull it off!

Day 1

We left for the airport at 4am on the Sunday, and eventually made it to our hotel around 1pm, we were exhausted but we wanted to make sure we got another whole day there. The lady on the desk instantly became by best friend ever, due to her telling me we share the same Birthday, though to be honest I never saw her again after that.. She seemed to disappear. 

We did manage to have a nap before we set out to explore our surroundings. It was needed, I was getting very grumpy at this point (me and a lack of sleep combination is a challenging prospect. We took a walk to get our first glimpse of the Colosseum from outside, it was absolutely breathtaking. My first thought was it looked an awful lot bigger in the real world than it did on the holiday brochures.. 

Walking around the area was surreal, we took routes down alleys so we got a glimpse of the places tourists don't really go to, because we wanted to get a taste of Italy for what it really is. I guess you could say we kinda cheated the first night though due to the fact we got a McDonald's and took it back to our room. Did I say I was tired? Mcdonald's is where I discovered something about Italian people; they don't queue! Everyone just pushes in front of one another, they don't really seem to understand 'the system'.

Day 2

We planned our trip before we came, being with someone who lives life by an itinerary is like having your own tour guide, which makes my life a bit more organised as I'm the opposite. I'm more of a 'let's see where the wind takes us' kinda girl, which never really works. We started off at the Colosseum despite being warned about the waiting times, we actually got in within about 10 minutes. Inside was even more breathtaking than the outside. This was followed by going to the Forum and all the Roman ruins. Don't get me wrong I loved it, but once we had decided we'd had enough, it took us an hour to find an exit, it got to the point we actually said to each other we accept the fact we were stuck in there for good. 

When we had escaped, we headed back to freshen up and get ready to go for dinner. This is where we found a lovely quiet restaurant down one of the alleys I mentioned. It had an outside area, where it was just the two of us, no one around, and it was probably the most romantic meal we've ever had. I'm not one who likes going for meals so this part of the holiday was particularly challenging, but I felt very comfortable here. This is where I tried my first Italian pizza. Where now I have become a pizza snob, because no pizza has ever compared to this one.

Day 3

It's my Birthday!!

So, today was the day Melanie gets to call the shots. We spent the day exploring places like The Spanish Steps, The Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, Sephora, (of course!) etc,  and this was by far my favourite day of the trip. We found another place to grab some lunch, this is where I discovered fact number 2 about Italians, in some restaurants the staff like to literally stand over you whilst you're eating. This was probably the most uncomfortable meal I have ever had in my life.

We did some awesome things that were on our to do list. We went to a little ice cream place which we found as the most recommended place for ice cream on trip adviser. Not i'm not really mad on ice cream, but this was something else. I can honestly say that this puts Ben & Jerry's to shame. We sat in this cute little street next to the ice cream parlour, in the shade, where I got most of it down myself than I did in my mouth. That's my inner 5 year old emerging. 

It wouldn't be a Mel and Dan adventure though without some form of challenge..

(see my Paris post here). Dan took us for about a 5 mile walk, which took twice as long in the heat, I don't think we were quite prepared for the weather. Don't get me wrong it was beautiful, but for a vacation that is made up of mostly walking, I wouldn't recommend this if you're British and anti heat. 

This is the cool part, because for my Birthday meal we went to the Hard Rock Cafe, where it's become 'a thing' now for us to go to Hard Rock Cafes on my Birthday. (Last year we went to London, year before Paris). They had some Elton John memorabilia on the walls, so I was snapping away to show pictures to my Dad. He's always joked he has a thing for Elton. 

Day 4

It was our last full day in the beautiful city, and today we planned to go to the Vatican. I'm not sure what I was expecting to be honest. This wasn't really something that interested me as such. But it was a pretty stunning building. I have a thing for buildings.. Dan however would happily spend hours looking and reading every little detail. 

If you go to the Vatican I recommend not eating in their cafe, it was overpriced and for the money totally not worth it. I had the most expensive cheese and ham toastie I've ever had in my life and it was two pieces of stale bread with a slice of ham and a slice of cheese. This is where if I was at home I would have wrote an email and complained as I'm really good at that. 

The evening was dawning on us so had to fulfil part of our to do list before we called it a day, this was to get coffee! We found the coolest little coffee place ever, where next door was a man outside another restaurant signing to a band, like you see in the movies, it was surreal. So with the sound of his beautiful voice in the background and the cheapest but best coffee I've ever had, we sat outside and looked back on our adventure before we went to get dinner for one last time. 

We went back to the first place we went, the lovely little quiet restaurant with the lovely, friendly, Italian man. We sat inside this time as the outside bit was closed. Can I just say that I managed to have pizza four times whilst being out here, but that still wasn't enough! The decor inside was even more awesome than the outside. This was probably the time I felt like I was most in Italy, because it felt like the culture was all on the walls and surrounding us. 

The 3rd thing I learnt about Italians was they are not afraid to have ice cream parlours open at 11:30 at night, this was the coolest thing ever! Were doing it wrong over here. Forget bars and clubs!!

Day 5

All we were interested on the day we had to go home, was making sure we didn't miss the flight again. We had planned to get the airport way before we needed to be there, just because we didn't want to relive the last time.

We packed up our things and headed to sign out. This is where it's confusing, but to get to the room you have to go through  3/4 different doors, which are all locked, and the same if you want to get out, it's quite a nightmare but I guess you can be assured that you are safe. We headed to reception and went through the four doors to hand the key to the lady at reception who didn't understand we wanted to hand the key back, went out the front door which locked behind us, for Dan to discover he left our passports in the room. You can only imagine the nightmare it was to try and get back in to explain the the lady who didn't speak English that we needed the key back to get our stuff. 

We made it home eventually, without missing any flights! I would say that's a mission accomplished. People have kept asking me would I go back, the honest answer is, I wouldn't say no.. I mean I would probably go in winter months if I was to go again. But I've seen it all now, I would rather go explore somewhere new. Though one day I will return to somewhere in Italy just for pizza alone.

Thursday, 6 July 2017


I love woodlands, forests, in fact anywhere that is surrounded by the beauty of the earths nature, and away from the worlds business, is my idea of heaven. There is nothing more comforting and relaxing than walking through areas like this, and in a area surrounded by concrete it can be refreshing. I've always lived in the city, but I've always felt like it can be a bit suffocating, and I'm sure the day will come where I can spread my wings away from it all - just not yet. 

I've always felt an attachment to the beauty of nature. Though some would say their idea of a holiday includes sun, sand, beach, sea, my idea of heaven would be surrounded by mountains, lakes, trees, which to me is perfection in a landscape. Even the thought of it breaks me great calm and happiness. 

It's so easy to be consumed by the place we live in, and the things that surround us, and I myself don't want to be defined by it. I don't want to be stuck in a concrete jungle, It may be ideal for some people, but not for me. That's why it is so important to seek further than what is on the doorstep. 

I say my area is a concrete jungle, to some extent that is true, but there are parts around here that remind you that there is beauty to the world. 

Every day I do the same walk, a 40 minute minute work from one place to another, and I pass the same things which can get tiring. When the view you are walking consists of a cocktail of cars, pavements, roads and the things we are used to. I think It's easy to forget sometimes that this isn't the world, this is just a part of it. Just because you see a small grain of it every day, doesn't mean that that's it. There is more out there, and this may not be where you belong. You just have to fight to find it. And it's important to take a step outside of that, because like I said, it can be consuming. 

It may be simple but days like this, walking through a woodland, and space surrounded by sights and scents that bring me joy, makes me happy. And it's the simple things that make us the happiest. 


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Homesick For a Place You've Not Ventured

I'm not a religious person by all means, but one thing that has always fascinated me is the idea of people having a past life and the prospect of reincarnation. This is something I would quite like to believe in.

I'm quite spiritual when it comes to things like this. I don't just believe that there is 'nothing else out there', I believe that it's ignorant to the idea that there completely isn't. I'm quite into my ghost hunting and forever watching documentaries and Ghost Adventures, I've had a few experiences myself. Some things's just can't be explained, even by science. 

Have you ever had a moment and felt like you've been there before? Or perhaps even felt like you've been somewhere before, you know for a fact you haven't, but when something feels so familiar it makes you question yourself? This is what I feel like when I think of Australia.

From a young age I've always has a fascination with Australia as a whole. From a young age I made a friend from Australia who after a while flew back, she was me penpal for a while. I then had a supply teacher who was temporarily in the UK, he got us to have penpals with his students back down under. I grew up trying to find out more about the place, and for some reason have always been drawn to Brisbane. 

When I was about 15 I met my best friend, he also had a fascination with the country, this was one of the first things we bonded over which looking back now, is pretty cool. We one summer planned to make a trip over there, but I had to quit my job at the time and started College was this dream never became a reality. 

In my teen years, I started to listen to more Australian bands. I don't even remember how this came about, but I decided that Australia has some of the best Metal and Hardcore bands, which I still listen to now. I started listening to Short Fast Loud, and that became like a ritual every Wednesday and was one of my favourite parts of the week.

I feel like where I am now, there's too much concrete. I feel like I'd be at more peace surrounded by greenery, forests, sea, the beauty of the natural world. I have always loved the carefree attitude of the Australians I've met and spoke to, their humour and the way the majority of them like to do good for the world and take care of the land that surrounds them. 

I recently saw In Hearts Wake doing an event where they went around beaches and collected rubbish with their fans. I so wished I could have been a part of that. This really inspired me. 

I don't really think it's all that crazy. It's a strange one, I know this is technically home, but it doesn't always feel like I belong here. As if my spirt belongs somewhere else, and whenever I think about Australia the only way I can describe it is as if I'm homesick for the place. Like I'm longing to go back there. Which is where it becomes strange because I've never actually set foot there. 

I believe though that just because you are in one place, doesn't actually mean you belong there. And if you think about it, that's a fantastic way to strive for more, to achieve dreams. I know I will make it there one day. I'm thirsty for it.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

(Wo)mans Best Friend

My happiness is on a bit of a high at the moment, for one silly little reason; there's a dog around. Unfortunately, he's only here temporarily as were looking after him whilst his Mommy and Daddy are off on their holidays. 

Since my dog past away in October 2015, there has definitely felt like a big space missing. I think it's only something you truly understand if you have been in that situation yourself. I grew up with my dog, Ralph, we had him for 16 years, so when he was put to sleep, it was undoubtably the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, as I am sure many people will understand. But I think once you have had a connection with a dog like I did, you are a dog lover for life - you're always going to want that companion.

I am at the stage now where I'm ready to meet a new best friend, a friend to share with Dan (though he will be mainly mine, he can have a cat). It's just not the right time. For now I am borrowing other peoples dogs and going crazy for every single one I pass on the street. I can't help myself, they really are the greatest sidekick you could ever ask for.

Which is why I am so happy at the moment. Because the past week we've had this little guy to wake up to, he's ever so sweet. And nothing soothes stress and anxiety more than sitting and cuddling a furry friend. Nothing. I stand by that. 

I am available if anyone needs a dog sitter haha.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Big Upcoming Posts

I have a few posts planned which I will be doing soon. But I also have a few main posts coming up which I'm really looking forward to doing! I'm just trying to figure out the best form of documenting them! 

So far, I have three interesting events coming up which I think would be fun to write about and share with people.

Ocean Grove - On Sunday I'm seeing a band called Ocean Grove, these guys are doing their first UK headline show, which has now sold out! I am so excited for this. I'll probably just write my usual summary of the gig on here.

Holiday - August I'm heading to Rome! It's my first time, this is me calling out to anyone who has already visited Rome, or anyone who is from Rome. I'd love to know some quirky, unusual places to go, places off the map that aren't your usual tourist attractions! 

I'm thinking about doing some videography for this, alongside a blog post of my trip! Looking back, I wish I did this for Paris, but I reckon this is a great time to start. Put some of my previous Media Production skills back in action and to good use. If you want to see my Paris post - click here.

New Found Glory - October see's another very special time which I'm pretty sure I have mentioned before. 3 dates with my main boys in New Found Glory. This will either be 3 individual posts, or one mega post - I'm currently undecided. Though I will be too busy moshing my pants off (I don't care how old I am, rules don't apply when it comes to your favourite music), I am going to try my best to get a few shots, without being that person who gets on everyones nerves - including myself. 

If you are unaware for any reason which I am sure you are not, NFG are playing 3 London dates in a row, covering 6 of their albums. If anyone else is going, I'd love to hear! Or even if you're a NFG fan. NFG have some of the most awesome, dedicated and friendly fans. I kid you not, I've lost count how many times I've been to a NFG show and someone random has given me a high five, just out of their pure excitement. 

Anyways, enough rambling. I just wanted to document upcoming events that I will be documenting in some form.

Melanie x