Now I love a festival, probably more than most people. The music, the food, the friends, the laughing at others who completely disregard normal standards of behaviour. But what’s the best way to improve a festival? Turn it into a holiday! So with festival season in full swing, here are 6 of the best festivals around the world that are worth the camping and greasy hair.

Glastonbury, Great Britain

Based on the premise of community and sustainability, Britain’s biggest festival still has the power to compete on the global festival scene. With 1000 acres of ridiculously well designed farm, you can find everything from chart topping acts to dance lessons to pottery classes. Glastonbury is definitely more than just the music and with an incredibly varied program, you can truly find something for all ages and tastes. Don’t miss a late night party in the infamous Shangri La and be sure to fully explore the sight to discover hidden treasures such as the samba bus and the forgotten forest. You’ll have to be on the ball to get tickets though as it’s known to sell out within minutes. Good luck!

Coachella, USA

Located in the California desert, Coachella is a festival Mecca where it’s almost against the law to be without a flower headband and glitter. Spread across two weekends in April, you definitely won’t need to pack your wellies as you brush shoulders with countless celebrities as the rest of us scroll through the endless Instagram posts, filled with envy. Combining the hottest music stars with up and coming acts and art installations, Coachella is perfect for those who want to kick back and relax whilst experiencing the buzz of one of the world’s biggest festivals.

Tomorrowland, Belgium

Every year thousands of people from all over the world descend on the small town of Boom in Belgium for a celebration of electronic music that’s like nothing else you can imagine. The world’s best DJs provide the entertainment at Tomorowland, along with incredible sets and stages, until the early hours of the morning. Whilst it’s very likely that you won’t sleep all weekend, it is definitely an experience not to be missed.

Fuji Rock, Japan

Set in the stunning Japanese mountains, there’s always something new to be found at Fuji Rock. With remote, quirky stages hidden around the site, you may need to hike or take a gondola to reach some of the entertainment. They hit a perfect balance of huge westerns acts and eastern favourites to give an authentic experience where you can get a taste of Japanese culture whilst still being able to find something to sing along to.

Sziget, Hungary

Sziget, in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, takes over a whole island in the middle of the Danube for a full week of music, art, performance and fun. The self-named “island of freedom” also features a beach for those who like to sweat off a hangover and is an easy train ride back into the city. With music only starting at 3pm, the morning gives you plenty of time to explore the quirky city. I’d highly recommend a trip to the world famous bath houses, both for the cultural experience and availability of adequate cleaning facilities. You’ll really need it.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 12.33.20

Rock in Rio, Brazil

A city famous for carnival is sure to put on a pretty special festival, and Rock in Rio does just that.It claims to be the world’s biggest music festival after branching out to include locations in Las Vegas and Lisbon. Unlike many festivals, the actual headliners continue into the early hours of the morning, for those who really fancy seeing Rod Stewart at 2am (no, really), but they are supported by a wide variety of DJs and dance acts if that’s more your style.

What’s your favourite festival? Let me know below!

Katie x

The Basics

IAmsterdam

Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Currency: Euro

Language: Dutch but English is widely spoken

Climate: Cold season is November to March with high season June to September with very little extreme weather

What to Do

  • Museums: Amsterdam is famous for its museums and with over 60 to choose from, you’ll be able to find something for everyone. The Van Gogh museum houses an impressive collection of works you will have seen in a school text book whilst the Sex Museum provides an option for those with, err, less refined taste. The museum square is also home to one of the famous I Amsterdam signs and a huge paddling pool to cool off in.
  • Vondelpark: Grab a picnic and head to this beautiful park if the weather is good. It’ll probably be packed and you’ll soon find out little clothing Europeans wear but it’s a great place to people watch.
  • Anne Frank’s House: Visit the actual house where the Frank family hid during World War 2 and learn about their experience. There’s even a real Oscar statue in there. I’m not sure why, but there is.
  • Rent Bikes: Many locals use bikes to get around but if you want a more relaxing ride, stick to quite streets and parks to get a real feel for the city.

Amsterdam

  • Coffee Shops and The Red Light District: Whilst this stereotypical side of Amsterdam isn’t really my thing, it is a unique experience to walk through the district. Brace yourself, and don’t expect to meet the love of your life down there.
  • Canal Cruise: There are so many different options if you fancy getting on the water. From large, packed cruises to private boats, there’s something for every price range and it really lets you see Amsterdam from a different perspective.
  • Artis Zoo: I can’t resist a zoo and I’ve been to quite a few in my time but this one did not disappoint. There’s even a planetarium and aquarium on the grounds.

Amsterdam

Where to Stay

Budget

  • There are a wide range of city centre hostels available in Amsterdam but be sure to book early as the best ones are known to fill up fast. Shelter City has been voted Amsterdam’s favourite hostel whilst Bob’s Youth Hostel promises to bring the party with a bar boasting the cheapest beer in A-dam.
  • Because of the city’s great transport links, airport hotels are a good option for those looking to avoid packed dorms. The cheapest option is the Ibis Budget which offers basic rooms for as little as €60 a night. Be sure to buy a travel pass though as you’ll need to get into town.

AMSTERDAM

Splurge

  • Lloyd Hotel: This unique hotel is about a 15 minute tram ride out of the city but it’s perfect for those who want to be surprised. The rooms at Lloyd Hotel range from 1 to 5 stars, with the most luxurious boasting a bed big enough to fit 7. That sounds like there’ll be plenty of covers to steal. It also a cultural embassy but I honestly have no idea what that means.
  • The Toren: TripAdvisor’s number one hotel in Amsterdam, The Toren is a small, trendy hotel in Amsterdam’s heart. Be warned that the decor could be described as excessive but the service is second to none.

Top Tips

  • If you’re staying out of the city or plan on travelling around a lot, buy a multi-day unlimited travel pass. It’s cheaper and eliminates the need to waste time buying a ticket on every tram. Simply scan in and out on every mode of transport and you’ll successfully avoid the judging glares of agitated locals.
  • For the museums and Anne Frank’s house, buy tickets online and get there early. The queues can be HUGE and you really don’t want to be wasting your day waiting around.

Amsterdam

 

  • If you’re looking for a chilled night out or a few drinks in a nice bar, avoid the red light district. As much as it’s great to see for a few minutes, at night it can turn into a seedy, Magaluf style party town which really ruins your quiet drinks.
  • If you’re planning on heading to a lot of the attractions then look at buying an I Amsterdam card which can save you money on multiple attraction tickets.

Hope you’ve found this guide helpful and that you have the best time in Amsterdam! I know I did!

Katie x

Everyone loves a fancy meal and graduation is the perfect excuse to dress up and splash out (especially if your parents are paying). But after living on such a budget for three years, it can be hard to know where to eat outside of Eat4Less and Wetherspoons. Don’t fret though as here are a few great options for the big day.

Silk Room

The Silk Room restaurant is a graduation staple, and every year they put together a special graduation menu, offering 3 courses for under £30. Although the choice is limited (think meat, fish or vegetarian), it’s great value for money considering the quality of the restaurant. Silk Room also houses a champagne bar so there really is no better place for a celebration.

The Botanist

botanist
The Botanist is a go-to for any occasion and graduation dinner is no different. Whilst the food here is good quality and reasonably priced, it is eclipsed by the true stars of the show, the extensive cocktail menu and stunning views of the city. Request a table by the window or head up to the rooftop terrace to add some real atmosphere to your night (although it may be ruined because every person on your course will probably be in here).

Viva Brazil

Viva Brazil is my personal favourite and is great for families that are looking for something a little different. Take your seat and wait for the servers to bring 14 different cuts of barbecued meat to your table. Whilst they do have a vegetarian option, I would definitely only recommend this place to meat lovers (unless you want to pay £15 for some salad and bread). They even offer 2 for 1 cocktails before 8pm if you fancy a drink with dinner.

Pleased To Meet You

Another cocktail bar with an often overlooked food menu, PTMY has a huge range of gin based drinks as well as a swanky new restaurant area. Head down early to catch the 2 for £10 cocktail happy hour then stay to sample their classic British cuisine.

Longhorns

longhorns

Instagram: @longhornsbbq

Whilst Longhorns may not scream “special occasion”, it’s a great option if you’re looking to stay in Jesmond for the evening. Whilst it may not be luxurious, the atmosphere is great and you really can’t beat piles of barbecued meat on a tray. If you’re there between Thursday and Sunday, head downstairs to the secret speakeasy and grab a drink or two from their highly talented cocktail artists.

Wherever you chose to go, or if you’re just going to get a takeaway, have a great graduation and congratulations on your degree!

Katie x


This post is in partnership with Easiliving. If you’re looking for somewhere to live after graduation, they after a great range of affordable professional lets.

Although the current weather is less than ideal, it is June, so it’s perfectly reasonable to expect some sun very soon and Newcastle has some great places to relax and catch a few rays. Whether you have a spare hour or a full day, here are some of my favourites to explore.

The Best Beach: Tynemouth

The beach may seem like an obvious when it comes to sunny day activities but that’s no reason to overlook the gorgeous seaside town. Grab some fish and chips at Longsands Fish Kitchen and take a walk along the sand, or, if you’re like me and really prefer to not find sand in your shoes for weeks, then take a seat up at the prior to enjoy your food sand-free. If you want to make more of a day of it, there are loads of really nice pubs to try when the sun starts to disappear. Many of them even have live music nights and pub quizzes to keep you entertained.

tynemouth

The Best Park: Jesmond Dene

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jesmond Dene is the perfect place to relax in the sun. Take a BBQ, a frisbee and a rounders set to really make the most of the day or just stop by for a quick walk on your lunch break. It’s so big that whilst most parks fill up on sunny days, you’ll always find a spot here, although maybe not one big enough for that game of rounders. Even if the weather doesn’t improve everyone should take a trip to the Dene petting zoo because any weather is perfect for cuddling bunnies.

The Best Bars: The Quayside

The Quayside is probably not the place you’d choose for a day in the sun but you can’t beat it if you have some spare time to kill. The bars here are a winner in summer due to the abundance of outdoor seating, overlooking everyone’s favourite bridges. There’s a surprisingly upmarket Wetherspoons for those on a budget whilst Pitcher and Piano is great for anyone wanting to splash the cash. Also, if you’re craving a beach but don’t have time to make it the coast then you can even enjoy the Quayside Seaside, all the irritating parts of the beach with none of the actual fun, what more could you want?

Where are your favourite summer spots? Let me know below!

Katie x


This post is in partnership with Easiliving. They offer affordable, quality housing in the Newcastle area, allowing you to really enjoy this amazing city.

Whilst the summer dream may be jetting off to Asia or America for months at a time, the reality is often a bit different with real life (and money) getting in the way. However, Europe offers some great destinations a lot closer to home at a fraction of the price

Budapest

Hungary’s capital is fast becoming the go-to destination for young people and summer is the perfect time to experience it. Taking a dip in one of the world famous bath houses is a must, if you can bare to be around that many middle aged men in speedos, and the water is the perfect hangover cure for those who many have got a little too involved in Budapest’s notorious night life. If music is more your thing, grab a ticket for Sziget, a 7 day festival which takes over an entire island in the middle of the Danube. This year’s acts include Rhianna, Muse and David Guetta so it promises to be huge.

Top Tip: Flights to Budapest in the summer can be a little pricey so try heading into a nearby city like Prague or Vienna and get the train in. It’s like two holidays for the price of one!

Croatia

Croatia is perfect for those who are looking for beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather but with a side of culture. Head to Dubrovnik, an old, pedestrian-only town on the coast to sail and snorkel in the clear water or explore the city and indulge in some local cuisine. The beauty continues inland but to really make the most of the scenery, travel down the coast or catch a boat to one of the many stunning islands. Music festivals are also common here with Hideout and Outlook becoming two of the most popular festivals around because of their proximity to the beach.

  Amsterdam

Set on a series of beautiful canals, Amsterdam is the perfect city to explore in the summer. With a wide variety of museums as well as a great zoo and a Heineken beer tour, you’ll find something to suit everyone. Be sure to go to the Anne Frank house and walk through the annexe which hid the family for all those years and learn about their incredible story. As for food, there is an abundance of cafes, bakeries and, for some reason, Argentinian steak houses, where you can eat for a reasonable price before heading to a bar for a drink overlooking the canal

Top Tip: Buy a transport pass for the duration of your trip. You’ll use the trams way more than you expect and the passes make it a whole lot cheaper and you avoid angering Dutch people by trying to figure out how to pay the driver.

Barcelona

Barcelona gives you the best of both worlds with a city and beach combined in one neat package. Relax in Parc Guell, take a tour of Sagrada Familia and take a stroll down the bustling city streets. For those looking for a great view, head to Turo dela Rovira viewpoint and watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea or check out a flamenco show to really get immersed in the culture.

Greek Islands

With so many islands to choose from, Greek island hoping can really be the perfect holiday for anyone. From relaxing beaches and scenic walks to raging night life and water sports, you really can have it all in just one trip. Some of the most popular islands are Santorini and Mykonos, which are both situated in The Cyclades, fairly close to Athens. Here you rent an apartment and a scooter for a reasonable price and live in the slow lane, just soaking up the sun and taking in the view. You’ll never want to leave!

If you’re looking for a longer trip, you could combine these destination with an Interrail pass which allows you to use the European train network for a select number of days each month. Perfect for young, budget travellers!

Katie x

This post is in partnership with Easiliving. They offer affordable housing in Newcastle so you always have a home to return to after your travels!