Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Hidden Gems Of Prague Travel Guide

Hidden Gems Of Prague Travel Guide


A few weeks back I escaped the nine to five for a quick European city break. My destination: Prague...

Those planning a trip to the Czech capital will no doubt have a sight-seeing plan of action in mind; Old town square, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle. So I thought I'd share a few places I visited or came across in between the tourist hotspots - some were discovered along the way and others came from pre-trip planning.










To do

Havel's Market - A few minutes' walk from Old Town Square, Havel's Market isn't exactly off the beaten track but I always enjoy visiting a local market to soak up the atmosphere.

This is a picture-worthy street lined with stalls that are packed full of souvenirs, crafts, flowers and fresh produce. The market is open daily through to 6.30pm so can easily be slotted into a 2-3 day itinerary.

We visited early on Friday afternoon and got to leisurely browse along the way. Passing through again on Saturday, the market was far busier with large tourist groups so if possible, I would recommend visiting on a weekday or earlier in the morning.
John Lennon Wall - Having lived in Liverpool as a student, I developed a love and appreciation of The Beatles so naturally, I knew I had to see the graffiti covered wall of murals and tributes to John Lennon.

The wall is in the Mala Strana area of Prague which you can reach in just under 10 minutes once you've crossed Charles Bridge to the castle side of town.
I learnt that people are free to add to the wall so it's continually changing with new tags and graffiti. This does mean you're not seeing the wall as it would've appeared in the 1980's but I still enjoyed taking it all in and finding layers of tributes to John Lennon and The Beatles.
Hidden Gems Of Prague Travel Guide Restaurace Tiskarna
Hidden Gems Of Prague Travel Guide Green Tomato





To re-fuel

We tried to avoid eating in the centre of Old Town Square fearing pricey tourist traps. That said, Restaurace Tiskarna was a good find and only a short walk away from the centre of town. There was a nice menu of Czech dishes and of course, plenty of beer options. There's a modern feel to the interior, with painted brick walls and hanging light bulbs throughout. The restaurant was also surprisingly large, we passed lots of small dining areas spanning two floors and were led to the basement to a comfy booth. Best of all, the bill at the end of the night was very reasonable, around the £50 mark for 3 main meals, shared sides and 2 drinks each.

On the flip side, if you're looking for a break from Czech cuisine, Green Tomato's  pizza and pasta menu hit the spot. This was actually our first meal in Prague which we discovered down the road from our hotel. A blogging fail, I devoured my meal before remembering to snap a photo but as someone who isn't usually so keen on pizza, I can vouch that they were freshly made and delicious. The restaurant is decorated with antique furniture and lit with beautiful Tiffany lamps - quite the opposite to the modern feel of Restaurace Tiskarna but just as eye-catching.

Hidden Gems Of Prague Travel Guide T'Anker Terrace
Hidden Gems Of Prague Travel Guide T'Anker Terrace




To drink

T’anker - because no trip is complete without a rooftop view for the 'gram. Finding T’anker terrace is quest in itself. Fortunately I'd read a few TripAdvisor comments warning that this place can be difficult to reach but guided by some helpful comments, we navigated to the Palladium shopping mall and found the tucked away lift (there's also a staircase should you fancy clocking up some extra steps!) opposite the entrance. Disclaimer: if I can find it, anyone can!

Once you arrive, there is an indoor area and outdoor terrace with a beautiful view of Old Town. We just stopped for a quick drink after an long afternoon of walking but food was also on the menu. I opted for a mojito having finally reached my Pilsner limit. There was a nice choice of cocktails as well as a huge menu of Czech and other European beers. There was a nice buzz about the place but I suspect it would get busier later in the evening.

And because I'm a foodie at heart, I’ve compiled a quickfire round-up of additional places for drinks or a bite to eat in Prague:
- Bake shop - on the look out for some baked goods to bring home, a lovely girl in a nearby florist suggested this place. We picked up some biscuits and spied a tasty looking lunch menu as well as cakes and pastries.
- Tlusta Koala - styled up as an English pub, this place is packed full of quirky knick-knacks and framed prints and has a huge selection of beer on offer.
- Banh-mi-ba - I can't get enough of Vietnamese food and whilst I can't say the Banh Mi (a Vietnamese baguette filled with pork and fresh salad) was as tasty as the ones I ate in Vietnam, it was a nice change to have some Asian flavours.
- Sisters - I didn't get round to visiting but read rave reviews about their open sandwiches, a great lunch option I'm sure!

So that's my alternative Prague guide - I hope it comes in useful to those of you planning a trip of your own!

Monday, 30 April 2018

The April Review

Prague castle









Prague city break

Prague Old Town
In a blink of an eye, April has been and gone. We had a fleeting taste of summer weather but it seems we're back to coats and boots for the foreseeable - come on sandals weather, we're ready for you!

Pretty Prague

My last trip away was in October so I had very itchy feet to say the least. I booked a fairly last minute long weekend away to Prague, a city which has been on my travel list for a few years now. My three days were spent ticking off the main sights and sampling as many Czech beers as possible. I won't go into anything specific here as I have a Prague post coming soon (such as tease) but the days away were exactly what I needed. March-June is a busy work period so even a few days out of my normal routine and exploring a new city was the perfect way to give me some respite and feel inspired again.

Pause for thought

April hasn't been the best month for sticking to my 2018 goals of prioritising fitness and work/life balance. In fact, it's probably been the worst yet. A busy month meant I only ran once in April and when I did get to it I couldn't even manage 5k. It was a bit disheartening feeling like my fitness was back to square one but I suppose giving myself a hard time won't get me back out there any quicker. 

I've also been  thinking a lot about my future lately - career, personal life and whilst May is my busiest month at work, I will be making time to look after myself and do what's best for me.

A tribute to Avicii

I was so sad to hear of the death of Avicii last week. I love dance music and tracks like Levels, Wake me up and I could be the one are some of my most listened to songs. I still remember hearing The Nights and wanting to immediately drop everything and seek adventure. I wish I'd gotten to see Avicii perform these songs live, I can only imagine how electric the atmosphere would've been in a crowd captured by his feel good music.


I'll end this post with a few lyrics from The Nights, in tribute to Avicii and his wonderful music.



When you get older
Your wild life will live for younger days

Think of me if you're afraid.

He said, 'One day you'll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember'
X



Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Tips For Getting Out Of A Nine To Five Rut


Sometimes I find myself at my desk, absent-mindedly staring out the window, asking myself important questions. Like how many work emails have I actually sent in my working life? Or exactly how many cups of tea I have guzzled since discovering the office kitchen...

Having a routine is great but I think it's only natural to feel overly-comfortable and a little stagnant when you've worked in the same place or role for a number of years. I've jotted down a few things you can do to help work your way out of a nine to five rut and feel energised and motivated again. 


Step away from your desk

If you work in an office you'll only know how easy it is to lunch at your desk and waste away your lunch hour. Don't get me wrong, I love an ASOS lunchtime browse but getting out of the office for fresh air and a change of scene can help improve concentration and give you some perspective, particularly if it's been a busy or stressful start to the day.

Update your CV

Even if you aren't job hunting, keeping your CV up to date is a great way of tracking your skills and progress and reminding you of your own abilities. You've gotten this far for a reason, own it! And if you do then get the itch to apply for a new role, you won't have to panic about updating your five year old CV against a looming deadline. 

Utilise LinkedIn

Similar to my first point, it's important to keep your Linkedin profile up to date - or setting one up if you haven't already done so. I'm guilty of not looking after my profile as much as I should - I list my employment history nut need to add a brief summary of each role so that's my homework for the week. LinkedIn is essentially virtual networking so there's no harm in showing off where you've worked or what you've achieved. Following brands and companies in your industry and beyond is also an easy way to keep up with the latest news and trends.  

Work on your side hustle

Whether it's a blog, youtube channel or small business - doing something for yourself gives you a mental and physical break from the nine to five job and routine. You could be running your own social media account, writing, organising an event or teaching a class, make it something you enjoy so you have a creative outlet alongside your day job.

Talk it out

Talk to colleagues (and if you feel comfortable) management or HR about your position (professionally and with realistic expectations). It may feel a little bit cheeky asking others to set aside time to talk about your role and career, but if your employer truly values you they will hear you out. There's no harm asking, you may be given more responsibilities or new projects to work on - maybe even opportunities to shadow senior team members or other departments. Even if you've been in a role for a few years, don't assume there are no other options left for you.

Training 

These days we are lucky to have so much information at our fingertips, there's really no excuse not to keep learning. Many employers offer some form of training but if not, there are tonnes of resources online, including many free courses - Coursea is a great example. It may seem overwhelming knowing where to start, especially if you've settled into a day job with a fixed routine but if you want to push yourself, pick one area and dedicate time to study and build on it.


These are just some ways that give me a boost when I feel my motivation wavering. Not only will they allow you to push yourself and continue looking for ways to better your skills, they may also help boost productivity at work. I hope some of you find them useful too!