Sustainable fashion is the topic on everyone's lips at the moment. With the world in chaos around us, it's no surprise that individuals are starting to take a closer look at how we can find ways to reduce our impact on the environment. It's a topic that I've always been very interested in, but even more so since I started traveling. When you live out of a backpack and constantly move between places, it really opens your eyes to the amount of waste in the world and the focus on materialism.
I won't lie, I'm very guilty of giving into the latest high street fashions and cheap clothing that was made in some factory in Asia. But just as I have done with my vegetarian diet, using less plastic and recycling, I'm trying to make small changes in my life which could make a big impact on the world around me. I'm over all this preaching nonsense, I think making good decisions comes down to education and allowing people to make mistakes and educate themselves, not shaming them.
I'm so excited to share this collaboration with a new fashion brand, Wool&, and had so much fun shooting the pictures for this feature. How did I know that this was a brand I wanted to share with you? Well very simply, their values centre around the ideas of "Live simply. Consume carefully. Do good." Exactly my motto for life! Wool& have created the most practical, and most wearable dress in my wardrobe which I find very exciting because it is the perfect dress for travel. I've always loved fashion, but my adventurous side always calls for practicality and to finally have a dress that can keep up with my travels is amazing! The Rowena Swing dress is made of merino wool, which means it's naturally wrinkle resistant, odor resistant, breathable, temperature regulating and quick drying. Could a dress be any more practical? Oh yeah, and it has pockets. (That's right, you heard me ladies!)
Just like the idea that travelers should leave nothing but footprints behind them, I've always tried to lead my life along the idea that we should have as little impact on the world around us as possible. There are so many ways to reduce our carbon footprint, from eating less meat, to traveling in a sustainable way to support responsible tourism and local communities instead of bigger corporations. We can limit the amount of plastic and packaging we use, try to use cruelty-free products and invest in a reusable water bottle. I'm not perfect by a long shot, but I really do try to do my bit and look at the bigger picture. But how does this apply to the clothes on my back?
Instead of giving in to every fast fashion craving, I take a step back and ask myself if I really need the item and whether it will last. Because sustainable fashion is about more than just wearing clothes made of bamboo – it's about choosing classic investment pieces that will transcend the seasons and will last for years. It's about buying clothes made of good quality, natural materials that don't harm the environment and will be loved time and time again. I'm a huge fan of vintage and second-hand shopping, when traveling, this is my main source of clothes. It's also about supporting businesses that don't take advantage of their workers for cheap labour and realising that with every penny we spend, we are casting a vote.
Read this post: The Trouble With Being An Ethical Traveler
I know we live in a world of fashion bloggers and models, where every girl on Instagram seems to have a new outfit in every photo. But I'm here to bust this idea that we need to constantly be buying new things to look good. Honestly, who has the time or the money to spend on this? Because those girls on Insta who are always wearing the latest fashions and styles, quite often, they are being sent clothes for photos and are making money from the links they share! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but if you're not an influencer, it's not always the most attainable lifestyle.
The happiest I've ever been was when I was living in the same manky old bikini and beach dress combo every day. I didn't care what I looked like, I cared how I felt, and I felt happy. So let's take a step back from this idea that we constantly need new clothes to feel and look good. Re-wearing and re-styling clothes is cool and I love to keep repeat featuring clothes on my posts because I really love them and genuinely wear them all the time. I don't see the point in having endless wardrobes of clothes that never get worn, I'd much rather have a few choice sustainable fashion items that I love to put on.
I've stayed in some amazingly unique places throughout my years of traveling. From treehouses and safari camps, to eco-lodges and 5* luxury hotels designed like palaces. It's an experience that can take a holiday to the next level, turning it into a true adventure from the second you wake up, to the moment you lay your head down on the pillow at night. There are so many options – from the budget-friendly, to the rather more luxury choices, and each of them is designed to offer a fully immersive experience you won't forget, even long after your tan has faded.
Traveling in this way was something I never truly experienced until I traveled solo and finally had completely freedom to design every aspect of my travels. Since setting out four years ago, I've stayed in a circus school, at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, and at a yoga retreat in Cambodia. I've gone luxury glamping in the UK, and stayed in safari camps and treehouses on the edge of the jungle in Sri Lanka and many more. These are traveling moments I will never forget - going to sleep surrounded by jungle sounds, lazy afternoons spent trying to tightrope walk and waking up to the sound of elephants just outside the window.
So many of us find our travel inspo from social media, and in particular Instagram, so it's no surprise that accommodation has come in leaps and bounds to satisfy our lust for unique places and unusual experiences. I recently wrote an article on whether Instagram has changed the way we travel for student magazine, Kettle Mag, which debated whether we are traveling for the 'gram or the experience and it's a question that is still praying on my mind. But whether we are in it for the photo opportunities, or simply want an adventure, it seems that staying in unique places is a great way to upgrade your traveling style.
We’re all attracted to new experiences and original things to see and do. Whether you’re wanting to tick off those bucket list dreams or are looking to book an exclusive place for a romantic getaway with your partner, a solo trip or a family holiday. Online holiday home insurance provider Schofields have created this great infographic on their top unique places you can stay and it's given me total travel inspo for my next trip!
This has always sounded so crazy to me, the idea of staying in a cave, let alone one underground! It would definitely be an experience to remember. Exploring Turkey? Don't forget to stop in Goreme, which has been high on my bucket list for many years. A tiny town in the magical destination of Cappadocia where the skies are filled with hot air balloons at dawn and dusk. Ever since I first went in a hot air balloon in Sri Lanka, I've been dying to experience it again and I can't imagine anything more out of this world than getting to do that after spending the night in a cave in the hillside, with mountain views from the balcony, and even a fireplace. If you've ever seen pictures of this other-worldly landscape, you'll know exactly what I mean. (£115 pp per night)
Staying in a treehouse was one of my all-time dreams and I was lucky enough to experience when traveling in Sri Lanka last year. But this amazing tree hotel in Luleå, Sweden, has once again sparked my imagination with ideas for future travels. There are many options to choose from here, like the mirror cube, the UFO and the 7th room, sleeping up to five people. All of which are completely unique spaces and are up high in the trees, providing a secluded experience with spectacular views. (£57 pp per night)
It's interesting that many of the most popular and creative options actually revolve around trying to get closer to nature, with some retaining the luxuries of a hotel but others going back to basics. Kolarbyn Eco Lodge is based in Skinnskatteberg, Västmanland, Sweden, and is perfect for those who want to get back to nature. It has no electricity, no showers, and no TV, it sleeps two adults and one child, and comes complete with a stove, firewood and bunks. You can even indulge in local activities including horse riding, hiking and wildlife spotting. (£67 pp per night)
Head to the beautiful Ubud, Indonesia, to stay in a bamboo built house for a similarly environmentally-friendly retreat. Don't miss these unique places as a truly unique way to experience Indonesia. The open-air leaf-shaped house sleeps two people, and even has wi-fi available, it also features a swimming pool to relax and unwind in after a long day of exploring. (£36 pp per night)
If an unusual experience is what you're looking for, check out Little River, New Zealand, where you can actually stay in one of eight unique silo houses. These unique places are environmentally friendly and the properties are fully kitted out with satellite TVs, luxury suites and kitchenette facilities. Each silo sleeps two people and will give you an experience to remember. (£100 pp per night)
While you're in New Zealand, it would be rude not to take a trip over to Port Levy, Canterbury, to sleep with the stars and experience great views and the fantastic New Zealand countryside. There are many solar-powered pure pods to choose from, all isolated for complete privacy, and they feature an all-round glass view to watch the stars at night. They are also insulated for winter, and use solar electricity, and an environmentally-friendly fridge and water system, plus bio-fuel heaters for heating and hot water. (£140 pp per night)
They say "no man is an island", well by paying a visit to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, England, you can be! This private island No Man's Fort out at sea has 23 bedrooms, its own laser tag arena, historic tours, house parties, restaurants and great all-round accommodation which even offers a speedboat experience.
Camping, but with a very unique type of tent. These bubble domes are based in Lough Finn, Ireland, and offer a completely different experience with see-through walls that allow you to come face to face with nature. Sleeping two people, these bubbles offer a chance to full immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Ireland, or you could even explore similar accommodation in places like Iceland and Finland. (£122 pp per night)
When the weather outside is less than sunny, why not treat yourself to a stay at this healthy indoor sun therapy home in Kent, England? With weather in the UK being less than reliable, it's a perfect way to ensure you have private sandy beach access by staying at this re-purposed seaside hotel. The property can sleep up to thirteen people and has seven bedrooms, a cinema room, jacuzzi and of course, an indoor beach. (£150 pp per night)
Where is the most unique place you've ever stayed? Which of these would you most love to stay at?
With all these ideas, I'm starting to feel that familiar longing to book a trip! Check out this awesome infographic from Schofields for more inspo!
Dresden is such an easily forgotten Baroque gem when it comes to exploring Germany. Often overshadowed by the showier Munich and and edgier Berlin, so many don't realise the city offers a whole new side to the country. Dresden is a city steeped in history, heritage and beauty. It was the first place I have been in Germany where I truly felt like I had stepped back in time with some of the most beautiful architecture and streets I have found in Europe. Comparable to Vienna and Prague, the city is a perfect weekend escape, or even a day trip from another nearby city.
While we decided to drive through and spend an afternoon in the city on our way from Saxon Switzerland National Park to Prague, it would be a great place to visit if you were staying in any of the nearby cities, or to head for a whole weekend. Dresden was everything I had been missing about Europe while living in Australia, its streets are filled with stories from times gone by and it is a great place to indulge your love of the arts, music and theatre. While it was gorgeous in the summer sunshine, now is actually the perfect time to visit with it being the German capital of Christmas and boasting some of the most beautiful Christmas markets designed to make your winter sparkle.
With easy access by plane, train, bus and even by car, there's honestly no reason not to pay the city a visit. As I've said, it's a great place to spend a day while passing through to your next destination. Or you could spend a whole weekend there exploring at your own pace and enjoying the Christmas markets. If you've been exploring the nearby countries, there is also great international rail connections to Aarhus, Budapest, Bratislava, Prague, Vienna and Zurich. Once you arrive, you have your pick of exploring on foot or by bike, or using the public transport network by using buses, trains, trams and ferries. You can find out more about this, plus timetables and prepaid travel cards here.
If you love cities bursting with history and beauty, prepare to be wowed by Dresden. One of the few cities in Germany that wasn't destroyed or devastated by the wars, it rose majestically from the ashes and remains beautifully preserved today. Previously the seat of the Saxon rulers, it is clear that they lavished their attention on the city and blessed it with amazing architectural treasures in glittering palaces and stunning gardens and soaring churches that dominate the skyline. My best advice for exploring the city? Take your time. Don't rush and really take it all in. It's an amazing city and one worth appreciating.
This one was spectacular in the sunshine and perfect for walking around in the afternoon. Enjoy magnificent Baroque architecture at this 18th century palace on the banks of the river Elbe. Designed by court architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, it is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Germany. With grounds filled with trickling fountains and statues of mythological figures, it's worth walking around the outside of the palace to really appreciate it's beauty. It served as the orangery, exhibition gallery and festival arena of the Dresden Court, but now houses the Dresden State Art Collections.
My favourite building in Dresden and one that will honestly take your breath away. I'm so sad I didn't get more photos there, but I managed to capture the stunning ceiling. This incredible reconstruction project saw the Dresden Frauenkirche transform from a Catholic to Protestant church during the Reformation, before being replaced in the 18th century by a larger Baroque Lutheran building.
Destroyed during Allied bombing in 1945,the ruins were kept and stored to be reconstructed following the reunification of Germany in 1990, with the church eventually reopening in 2005. Whether you're interested in history and architecture or not, this one will blow you away by it's fine embellishment and decoration, with gold and pink adorning the walls and the most intricately painted ceilings.
For fans of the arts, the Semperoper is a must-see in the historic centre of Dresden. Nestled on the west side of Dresden's Theaterplatz, one of Germany's finest public squares, is the city's opera house which is also home to the Semperoper Ballett. Built in the style of the Italian High Renaissance, explore the gardens at your leisure, or, to experience the magnificent interiors, attend a performance or take a tour.
One of the oldest buildings in Dresden, the Royal Palace was the seat of the kings of Saxony of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. With over 800 years of history lying in its walls, it is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque to Neo-renaissance and is beautiful to explore, especially in the evening.
Perfect for sunny afternoon stroll, "The Balcony of Europe" stretches alongside the city and high above the banks of the river Elbe. We were amazed that we were overlooking the same river as we do back in Hamburg, but I will say that Dresden's Brühls Terrace is a touch prettier than Hamburg's more industrial style. This historic architectural ensemble begins at the Schlossplatz on the site of the old city ramparts where you head up the steps.
Stroll along the promenade to find the Dolphin Fountain, the College of Art, The Moritz Monument, and below find the Terrassenufer, the main landing stage for cruise boats. If I can give you one tip for exploring this section, make sure you go into the College of Art and explore, cut straight through the entrance hall and go out the opposite doors to the courtyard. It was one of my favourite secret finds when exploring Dresden, like a secret garden time forgot and some seriously beautiful hidden archtecture.
This Baroque palace in Moritzburg, is about 13km northwest of the Saxon capital, Dresden, and makes a perfect day trip from the city. This stunning palace features an island, lakes and an 18th-century hunting lodge in the grounds. All feature the stunning designs, detail and luxe interiors.
Another spectacular sight, Dresden Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is another building with an imposing character. Looming across the square, it makes an impression as you wander down from Brühls Terrace. We couldn't go inside straight away due to a service ongoing, but we're so glad we went back later on because honestly, the building was breathtaking from the inside. So detailed and so much interesting history.
This amazing wall is quite a sight and luckily we stumbled across it when exploring the city. It was the original city exit to the Elbe Bridge and the first of the city's many Renaissance buildings. The famous Fürstenzug, the Procession of Princes, is a 102-meter-long portrait of the Dukes, Electors, and Kings of the house of Wettin, together with leading German figures from the arts and sciences.
Are you planning a visit to Germany? Dresden is such a great city for exploring history, heritage and the true beauty of Europe. Plus it's much quieter and smaller, so perfect for exploring on foot and for a more relaxed visit. After seeing how good the Christmas Markets are up in Hamburg, I can't even imagine how amazing they are over in the "home of Christmas".
Have you been to Dresden? How was your experience? What is your favourite European city?