Berlin Travel Diary

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The day after I finished up my exams, I packed my suitcase and got on a plane to Berlin. In advance of my upcoming US move, I wanted to make the most of my short summer holiday and see as much of Europe as I possibly could before moving. I travelled with my best friend from high school, Sarah, and we stayed in the gorgeous Charlottenburg area of Berlin. Sarah and I took German class together in high school, so it seemed quite fitting that we travel to Germany for the first time together with each other. 


So CoCo, Inverness

Sunday, 28 May 2017

When visiting Inverness there was one place I knew I had to visit. After recommendations from both Lucy and Anastasia, I had my heart set on So Coco, a chocolate based cafe. We actually went for breakfast. Churros for breakfast? We were on holiday! 

We arrived about 10 am after having a short walk through the city centre and it was very quiet. After bagging a window seat we sat down to peruse their menu. We opted to go for the churros for two platter which comes with 6 churros and two dipping pots. We selected white chocolate and milk chocolate. The two pots were more than enough and the chocolate was so rich and creamy. The churros were excellent but missing the cinnamon which I thought was a bit unusual. I ended up completely covered in chocolate and icing sugar - can't take me anywhere! 


York in a Day

Wednesday, 24 May 2017
I'm getting a bit nostalgic about leaving the UK and have been trying to make the most of my time left here. That means I've got a few places I still want to see. York has always really stuck out to me for being a really old and historic city, one that I definitely wanted to explore. It's only 2.5 hours from Edinburgh by train so when I saw some cheap tickets going I decided to book myself a spontaneous day trip! A day was long enough to walk around the city and see the sites but a little longer would be needed if you want to see museums etc. I loved that York was so accessible for a day trip but at the same time somewhere you could definitely spend more time too. 

My train arrived in York around 12 o'clock after a slight delay due to an accident. I'd had lunch on the train so when I met my friend Emma we headed straight into the city to have a good old look around. Emma is from a village really close by so she was an excellent tour guide to have! York is such a small city so it was a really nice one to just walk around. Can easily see everything on foot without having to walk more than maybe 15 minutes. 

Books To Give You Wanderlust

Sunday, 21 May 2017
One of the things that I love about reading is that it can transport you anywhere: to a different city, a different country, even a different galaxy. But sometimes that doesn't quite seem enough. Sometimes after reading a book I feel overpowered with feelings of wanderlust. Sometimes it's not enough to simply read about it: I'm inspired to travel there myself. Here are some books on my shelves that have filled me with wanderlust.

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a bit of a weird one to include but stay with me here. This book follows two children during WW2 - one in France and one in Germany. The French girl is blind but has been built a model of Paris by her guardian. The way that things are described in this book is so rich and deep as they are using descriptions rather than sight. Even though this book is set in wartime I found myself daydreaming of long walks through Parisian streets and idyllic French life. 


Cross Highlands Road Trip

Wednesday, 17 May 2017
On my recent trip to Inverness and Skye, we saw some amazing scenery. Outside of the cities, there is so much to see just driving around. The roads are a bit twisty but that means that you really get to go along with the landscape. We literally went from heavy snow to blazing sunshine in the space of a weekend. I don't think I've heard of anything so Scottish! 

We stopped to take these snowy photos when driving to Inverness. The snow got really heavy not long after this but was so beautiful. We didn't have to go anywhere special to get a view like this either, this was literally at the side of the main road between Edinburgh and Inverness. We had pulled into a little lay-by so we could stretch our legs after we had been in the car for so long. 

Breakfast at The Huxley, Edinburgh

Sunday, 14 May 2017
I am a woman on a mission. Despite having lived in Edinburgh for almost three years, I've tried very few spots for breakfast/brunch. And I want to change that! So an invitation to try out the breakfast menu at The Huxley was the perfect thing to find in my inbox. Located right at the West end of Princes Street, The Huxley is in a fantastic central location in Edinburgh. With modern, cool decor and a great atmosphere it makes a great spot for a meal. You may remember my previous review of dinner at The Huxley. I enjoyed my dinner there so much that I had real high hopes for the breakfast menu. Lucy and I headed down on a sunny Friday morning for a catch up over breakfast (or brunch, whatever you want to call it). 

Normally if I'm having brunch I'll get some fresh orange juice or a cup of tea. But Lucy and I were drawn to the fresh smoothies. Lucy chose a raspberry based smoothie and my smoothie of choice contained carrot and pineapple. They were absolutely delicious. Very refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to the brunch. You couldn't tell the smoothie had carrot in it, great way to sneak in some veggies. 

Isle of Skye Travel Diary

Wednesday, 10 May 2017
I've always wanted to visit the Isle of Skye so in a spontaneous decision we decide to book one night there for our weekend road trip. We booked this air bnb which was actually beautiful but in the south of the island. We opted to drive rather than get the ferry but if you do take the ferry this is a perfect location! We arrived on the island about 2 and drove straight to the fairy pools, stopping to take photos on the way of course.

To get to the fairy pools you park up and walk from there. It's a very short walk and only takes about 20 minutes but involves a lot of hills and stepping stones so maybe not the best if you aren't too steady on your feet. The photos I've taken don't really do them justice but they are so beautiful. The pools consist of a series of waterfalls and pools of the bluest water. It's supposed to be good luck to swim in the pools but considering it was so cold we gave it a miss. We did watch one brave man take the plunge however!

Switching to Mac: 2 Years On

Sunday, 7 May 2017
When I first changed from PC to Mac I wrote this post about switching to Mac. I didn't expect it to be popular but it's slowly grown into one of my most popular posts and I get a lot of questions asking about how I've gotten on. I decided to write this follow-up post for that reason! Long story short: I love my MacBook. I don't care if this is the 'dark side'. I love it and I'm not going back. Despite being almost two years old the laptop still runs like brand new. I can see myself having it for a good few years yet. Yes, the transition is a bit odd - it's the little differences that really through off - but in the end, it's worth it. This is how I made the transition as smooth as possible!

Google Is Your Friend
When I first got a Mac I was very confused. Everything seemed so different and I just kept thinking - what have I done?! However, I swiftly realised that there was an answer to every question I had and all I had to do was Google it. Seriously, not matter how stupid and small the question may seem - someone else has already asked it and the answer is out there waiting for you. 


How To Get Rid of an Instagram Shadowban

Wednesday, 3 May 2017
The Instagram community appears to be in a total frenzy at the moment, with bot outings and shadowbans galore. I've never used a bot before but unfortunately, I was shadowbanned a few weeks ago. Thankfully I managed to overcome it and I'm back on track. Instagram shadowbans are really designed to catch out spam accounts but unfortunately, real people get caught up in them too. I've been reading up on them so I'm sharing all the information I've learnt and hopefully letting you know how you can solve the problem if you've been affected yourself. 

So what is an Instagram Shadowban?

This is the name given to Instagram blocking your post(s) from appearings on hashtags or locations. It makes it really hard to have your photos found by new people. Essentially, if you're attempting to grow your following then it is a real life nightmare.

Why do they occur?

There also doesn't seem to be a set of rules that will get you shadowbanned but here are some things that people believe have gotten them banned:
  • Repetitively using the same hashtags.
  • Repetitively using too many hashtags.
  • Putting hashtags in the comments, not the caption.
  • Using some sort of automated bot to like photos/follow accounts.
  • Bulk replying to comments.
  • Using Instagram pods.
  • Liking or engaging with 'dodgy content' like porn etc.
Personally, I think my ban occurred because of using the same hashtags. But generally, anything that could be considered as 'spammy' behaviour is looked upon disfavourably by Instagram 

How to find out if you've been shadowbanned:

The best way to find out if you've been shadowbanned is to ask an account that doesn't follow you to check if your photos are appearing in the hashtags. If not, then you've probably been shadowbanned. It'll be easy enough to find someone to do this on a blogger's FB group or by asking on Twitter.

Also normally if your photo is appearing on hashtags then your photos will be liked by people who don't follow you. If the only people liking your photos are your followers then this can also really easily hint at a shadowban.

There have been various websites going around that can apparently check for you but I'm not sure how accurate they really are.