Travel cheap to Koh Lanta, Thailand

While Elizaveta and the southern hemisphere is currently rocking out to the warm weather, us northerners aren’t so lucky. The days are cold and dark (Edinburgh’s sun set around 3:30 pm in December though it is slowly getting lighter later! My skin though is so freakin’ white I’m just vapours, which really just blends into the atmospheric Edinburgh fog) and if you’re like me, you may be craving some winter sun after the busy holidays. Of course January can be the most skint month of the year – but if you plan carefully – you can take advantage of all the great flight deals that are offered at the beginning of the year. Now that is a resolution I can get behind! Read More

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How we greeted the Monkey in Moscow (Rushin’ to a Russian New Year Pt 2)

Season’s Greetings dear friends, long-time readers and first-time callers! I hope all of you who do the Christmas thing have had a wonderful time and those of you who do the Boxing Day sales have made it out alive – with a truck full of bargains and all of your own limbs intact. Read More

Enjoying Christmas when you’re far from home

I’m pretty lucky. I have a rich history of Christmas gatherings with my family. And my grandpa – well, he was basically Jimmy Stewart. Every Christmas the massive tree would be perfectly shaped and glittering from the window, luminaries would dot the sidewalk, a star in the attic would shine out, green pine and a fresh wreath would be on the porch and the red door would welcome visitors. When you entered the house from the bitter cold, you’d get the biggest, most sincere hugs from him amidst the warm, scratchy sounds of Lawrence Welk and The Ames Brothers’ Christmas albums coming from the record player. As you strolled further inside, the pine garland wrapped up the stairs and the dinner table decked out with the famous Christmas punch, honey-baked ham, cheese ball, sugar cookies, homemade cinnamon roll and dinner rolls, cheesy potatoes and more surrounded by glimmering candles.

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Rushin’ to a Russian end of year

As the days rush by faster and faster to the end of the year I’m finding myself desperately trying to finish off all unfinished business and tie up any loose ends. I’ve always said it’s a Russian thing as I’ve madly summarized my years in the past but many cultures regard the new year as a new start and its logical that we must first finish and leave behind the current year. Back in September, I shared with everyone my Aussie festive season experience past. Then I shared with you my 12 Pubs of Christmas experience of Edinburgh. As promised, this is time to talk about the Russian festivities. Read More

Summer is coming: A sampler of the warmer months in Melbourne

As I sit and write this “hot off the press” post for your enjoyment, I obsessively check the temperature. This is a bit of a personal hobby of mine that I picked up from my bestie. She adopted it while living in a foreign climate for a semester of her uni. I guess being Moscow born and Melbourne raised, it’s a logical step for me to develop a fondness for temperature watching. Or maybe I just need to get out more. In any case, the Melbourne Observations page of the Bureau of Meteorology website is one of my favorite tabs on any computer I occupy. Read More

That one time I got smacked in the head by a glass… How to heal scars

This post is a slight detour from my normal travel and expat-based posts – more of those to follow after this post! But as this did happen abroad, I thought it was worth mentioning and it’s peppered with expat, mindset and skincare tips.

So if you follow me on Instagram, you know that during September, I looked like Frankenstein. I mean I do love me some Halloween, but it wasn’t because I was really eager for some pumpkin spice lattes that I was sporting stitches and scabby gashes. After celebrating the last night of the Edinburgh Fringe (the world’s biggest art festival) with friends, we went to a club and bar off the Royal Mile where towards the end of the night when I was contemplating leaving for my warm bed, I was accidentally smacked in the head with a thick tumbler glass. I turned to my friends complaining that it hurt and that’s when I saw their shocked faces while I tasted iron. Yep. That’s right guys – I had a head wound and in typical head wound fashion – it was a gusher. Read More

Oktoberfest in New Mexico

This is part 2 of HB’s long weekend roadtrip to New Mexico. Read her first post where she went hiking around Taos, New Mexico.

We first learned of the weekend’s Oktoberfest celebrations when we parked at a Bavarian restaurant in order to reach the trailhead for our moonlight hike. The owner of the inn invited us to come back in the morning for the festivities while the staff fed us soup and pretzels, despite having closed the kitchen, when they learned that we had just arrived after driving so long only to find that the hike was cancelled. Read More

The birthplace of Halloween

I’ve celebrated 8 spooky Halloweens in Scotland. While its celebrations are less flamboyant than what I’m used to in the States (and I love me some over the top events – especially of the scary variety), there’s something to be said for Scotland’s understated acknowledgement of the holiday it invented. Read More

Hiking in New Mexico

Remember when the music brought us all together to stand inside the rain? – Harry Chapin

Ever felt like you need to get out of dodge and just hit the road? Has that feeling ever hit you just as your birthday comes around AND it happens to be Oktoberfest?

There’s only so much concrete, heat and flatness that a soul can take. Knowing this, my husband planned a getaway for us to Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico. If you ever find yourself in need of road trip, here’s a recap of how we spent our weekend there during the off season. Read More