International Women’s Day (IWD) is on the horizon, so it seems timely to pay homage to the wonderful creative women in the world who continue to inspire through their work. Photographers, writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, leaders and more: you absolutely inspire me.
To celebrate IWD, Tuesday 8 March, photos by female photographers have been released from the CEWE Photo Award, and some have been shared with us to showcase to you!
The CEWE Photo Award is one of the world’s largest photo competitions, and invites submissions in some of my favourite categories including travel, animals, architecture, landscapes and food.
Travel and culture category: three young children walk along a uniquely structured building in Myanmar, photographed by Laura Menesini
People category: A woman in traditional celebration festival attire admires her reflection in a mirror as the sun sets in Venice, by Mia Feres
The beautiful thing about this award is that an opportunity is open for all creatives at any level, from amateur to established professionals.
Entrants were asked to submit photos that celebrated the competition’s ‘Our World is Beautiful’ theme.
The images showcased here are some of the best from the wonderful creative women who submitted their work. It really makes me want to dust off my EOS and get back out there.
Animal category: a curious pup takes a closer look at a purple flower on its daily walk through the park in Austria, photographed by Corinna Kobliska
Food and cooking category: a selection of jam shortbread biscuits are ready to make the perfect afternoon snack, by Laura Amos in Heilbronn, Germany
Nature category: early morning dew graces a plant as the light of day shines through, by Viktoria Smid in Hungary
If you’re a creative woman like me, and an aspiring photographer, pop in your diary to keep an eye out for this year’s CEWE Photo Award opportunity. It will return for a fifth year in the UK’s springtime.
~~ Feature image at top- Hobby and leisure category: in Krakow, a young girl dances with a pony in this magical fairytale-esque shot by Laura Domagata
With greater numbers of Brits embracing a healthy lifestyle, it’s no surprise the tourism trends for 2020 and beyond are all about wellness tourism. Wellness retreats and fitness-based trips are an increasingly popular choice for holiday-goers looking to de-stress, rejuvenate, get inspired or achieve weight loss.
Experts from the diverse range of travel companies exhibiting and some of the expert speakers from Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, the UK’s leading and longest-running travel event, have shared their recommendations.
Here’s their pick of what’s happening across tourism trends now.
Talking tourism trends 2020
Lares and Inca Trail Trek
Michael Witt from Kusa Treks, tells us that as far as tourism trends go:
“We offer a variety of fitness-based itineraries that enable our clients to improve their physical strength while also giving back to the communities of Peru.
An example of this is our Lares and Inca Trail Trek, which combines two incredible hikes into one. The Lares Trek takes visitors to remote villages in the Andes where they will hike 15 miles over two days, reaching an altitude of 15,000 ft!
You’ll then have the opportunity to donate school supplies and toys to local villages where they will share meals and play games.
The third day is spent hiking 8 miles on the world-famous Inca Trail, during the hike, our guide leads everyone on a trail restoration project.
Finally, on Day 4, the group will reach Machu Picchu, where holidaymakers will have a professionally guided tour of one of the World Wonders.”
Sacred Valley Yoga Retreat
Michael Witt continues:
“This trip offers an escape to a beautiful lodge deep in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the lodge visitors are led by professional instructors through various yoga and fitness classes during their stay. In between classes clients can choose from various “volunteer” activities that benefit the surrounding area and communities, or they can choose to take short tours of the surrounding area.
These tours include horseback riding, paragliding, ATV tours, day hikes and more. Throughout the trip, fabulous meals are served with a range of healthy and nutritious snacks and supplements to help aid fitness.”
SwaSwara in Gokarana
Vimal Matthew, Head of Operations at Authentic India Tours, says:
“The SwaSwara in Gokarana wellness retreat is located on the pristine Om Beach.
Crafted in colours of the Earth, and in harmony with the land that nurtures her, SwaSwara is designed for holistic and transformational experiences; a space where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga embrace you to rejuvenate body and spirit.
The programmes here blend the healing powers of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and art to offer a rejuvenating holiday experience.
The goal is to offer a life plan for the ‘reconstruction’ of mind and body to bring about balance and harmony within.”
Vimal Matthew continues:
“Kalari Kovilakom is located near Kollangode in the Palghat District of Kerala by the majestic Western Ghat mountain ranges. The 200-year-old palace of Ayurveda is certified and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH) so that history meets natural tranquillity.
The treatments provided are strictly according to the tenets of ancient Ayurveda. CGH Earth took over the reins of this palace and converted it into a traditional Ayurvedic healing facility, while keeping its historic legacy intact.
Kalari Kovilakom is set within the palace grounds of the old Vengunad kingdom and offers 19 well-appointed suites with modern amenities and a clinic with 12 treatment rooms. The living spaces and gardens here complement the healing process, with their nurturing and warm environment.”
Linda Harris at Scott Dunn, says of upcoming tourism trends:
“An increasing demand for alternative and boundary pushing wellness practices sees Scott Dunn offering tailormade tours to lesser-known parts of Finnish and Swedish Lapland.
Arctic Cocooning sees guests become immersed in the Finnish Forests, wrapped in an insulated cocoon and soothed by the gentle swaying of the trees and pure Arctic air. A specialist guide takes guests through mindful breathing practices that leave them feeling de-stressed and motivated.”
Linda Harris adds:
“In Swedish Lapland, Scott Dunn will feature the highly anticipated Arctic Bath hotel.
Set within an extraordinary timber structure, which floats in the middle of the Lule River, guests will experience Arctic Wellness rituals with a giant ice-bath at its core. Guest activities will be tailored to explore the pristine natural surroundings under the Northern Lights.”
Exodus Walking and Cycling Holidays
Jenny Cox, Product Manager at Exodus, says:
“Exploring destinations under your own steam, on foot or by pedal power is not only low impact on the environment but it enables you to escape the crowds and reach places where vehicles can’t.
On a walking holiday you can venture where there are no roads and often limited signs of civilisation. Breathe in the fresh air, disconnect from the modern world, and take in the natural beauty of the landscapes around you. It may sound like an oxymoron but I always find active holidays more restful: think ‘active body, restful mind’.
After burning all those calories in the great outdoors you’ll be sure to have a contented night’s sleep.
At Exodus Travels, we offer walking and trekking holidays across the globe at a range of activity levels, so whatever your budget or fitness level, there’s a trip for you.
Enjoy home-made picnics on our week-long Walking in Mallorca Holiday, sleep under star-strewn skies in Jordan on our Petra & Wadi Rum Desert Trek, camp in Central Asia’s celestial mountains on our Challenging Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek, or take on a summit and lay your claim to the ‘roof of Africa’ on one of our Kilimanjaro climbing routes!”
Caribbean Island Walking – Dominica
Caroline Phillips, Product Manager for Walking & Trekking at Explore Travels, says:
“Discover the rainforests, mountains and hot springs of the Caribbean’s ‘Nature Island’ on this unique trip. Hike to the Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest hot springs, swim in Middleham Falls and walk the Syndicate nature trail.
Explore’s first walking tour in the Caribbean, this trip covers most of the island, taking in coastlines, volcanoes and colourful hillside houses.”
So many dazzling attractions, but its food and wine stand out as favourites of ours, so wine tasting in Italy is always an experience we pursue. Wine, like food (and we’ve touched on food tours in Italy here) tells the story of the land, people and culture. Italy is an exciting country, producing all types of famous drops.
Discovering your perfect wine tasting in Italy experience
With so many options for wine tasting in Italy, where should you start? The country is a big producer of reds, whites and sparkling. You could choose your adventure based on region that you want to visit. Or choose the region based on the wines you want to taste.
Tuscany is obviously very famous, and to stay among the vineyards here is a real treat. We had the chance to visit Tuscany and its wineries a couple of years ago and highly recommend the experience. There’s so much to do though, we need to go back with a bigger and brighter plan!
This year we travelled through the Lombardy and Veneto producing regions. Take a look at the map linked above for more. In Verona we tried some delicious reds from around the region.
In Venice we went to a Prosecco tasting. Some were local blends and others came from Bologna.
We feel there are three simple ways you can discover wines on your trip to Italy.
Wineries are all over Italy, and a great way to get stuck into wine tasting here. Tuscany is a prime example, but you’ll need to know how you want to do it. We needed to drive a lot there, which isn’t ideal if you’re doing a lot of wine tasting in Italy. You can contact wineries in the regions you’re going to, to find out when they’re open and how to take part in tastings. Alternatively, you could search for bus tours (day trip or longer) that take in a number of options.
Destinations tourism websites often offer helpful advice as a first step. But do some research on blogs or YouTube to see if you can uncover smaller local offerings that will give you an even more unique experience.
Wine tasting in Italy at vineyards and wineries is a wonderful opportunity to get underneath the skin of the business. Many of these places are family run with centuries of history behind the land and brand. You learn about production and grape types, and will walk away with a true appreciation for wine production.
If you’re short on time but want a snapshot of the industry in a particular town, look out for short tours or tastings.
In Verona and Venice, Airbnb suggested inexpensive options that were wonderful for a few reasons:
We made new local friends and supported their businesses
They showed us around their back streets and to places we’d never have found on our own on a short break away
We tasted local wines and learnt about the place through the stories of our hosts.
Many local experiences are showing up like this now, if you ask around on TripAdvisor, search Viator, and read tourism websites, Facebook groups, or blogs.
On our travels through Italy I also spotted that many little boutique bars or wine stores offered their own tastings. Admittedly, our Prosecco tasting experience in Venice, while good value and served lovely food and drinks, wasn’t exactly personal. We wanted to learn more about the bubbles we were trying.
That said, plenty of options were on offer through Airbnb, and all over the place (as referenced above), or you could search a hashtag on Instagram for inspiration. Our Prosecco experience was still enjoyable, and it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours.
These simple tastings are great because they’re in the location where you area already, they’re usually good value for money, and you may even find a favourite boutique store or bar in the process.
Do you have questions, tips or advice on this subject? Let us know in the comments
We’ve previously talked about great attributes coworking cafes have. As freelancers and digital nomads ourselves, we’re always on the lookout for coworking cafes that offer key ingredients we need for a productive day away from the home office.
The best coworking cafes we frequent all look great and offer a nice, comfortable space to work in, the sound is just right, as is the vibe. And of course a coworking cafe needs decent WiFi and power outlets.
Cooper and I have always mostly hung out in north / east London, and we’ve got a few of our favourite coworking cafes in this part of the city to share with you here. Of course, if you suggest others, please do let us know in the comments.
Our favourite coworking cafes in east / north London
Mare Street Market, E8 4RU (London Fields)
My cool friend Rosie introduced us to this lovely east London destination. I’ve never seen anything like it! Mare Street Market is nothing short of what you’d expect from the excellent area that is Broadway Market and London Fields. The space here is huge, with a stylish bar in the centre of it all, and smaller counters or stores around the edge of the space, including a podcast studio, florist, record store and café.
Mare Street Market offers long benches for working on, and an ambient outdoor area. The food and drink selection is great.
Downsides of this coworking cafe space is that it can get very busy later in the day on weekends or when the sun is shining, and there’s not easy access to power supply. For an hour or two full of good cheer and stylish environment though, we love this place.
Tip: time your trip here with breakfast on Saturday morning, and a wander around Broadway Market, our favourite London market.
The Last Crumb, N16 0AS (Stoke Newington)
This is a lovely little coffee shop – bright, airy, dog friendly, and conveniently positioned in the heart of Church Street, Stoke Newington. The Last Crumb is a reasonable size and has spacious tables to work out, with some access to power sockets. The coffee and snacks here are good too.
They offer the space up for events too, so keep an eye out for networking opportunities or local activities that may inspire further creativity.
Barber & Parlour, E2 7DP (Shoreditch)
This is typically cool Shoreditch, with a delicious menu and great energy always. We’ve spent hours working at Barber & Parlour, mostly on Sundays. The vibe is relaxed, there’s plenty of space and different options for seating. Cooper and I have always found a spot by a wall with a power socket, and there’s internet here.
As for most good places, it does get very busy as the day draws on, so we usually get here early, do a bit of work and head off around lunchtime.
Barber & Parlour is positioned in the middle of Shoreditch, not very far from Spitalfields Market, so there’s plenty to see and do in the area, including the graffiti walk if you want to fill your Instagram feed.
Dudleys Organic Bakehouse, E8 2LQ (Dalston);
We’re sorry this wasn’t around when we lived in Dalston – Dudleys is a new addition to the high street, not far to walk from Dalston Kingsland overground. It’s a fabulous space with excellent snacks, coffee, tea, Wifi and nice atmosphere.
We love the vibe here. Sometimes the music could be turned down just a smidge, but as far as coworking cafes go, this is one of our new favourites!
UPDATE: now also a lovely little cafe on Stoke Newington High Street, open Monday to Sunday 8am to 5pm, right near The White Hart pub.
Google Campus London, EC2A 4BX (Old Street)
We discovered Campus Londona good few years ago, prior to moving over here. This is a fabulous place for start-ups, freelancers, solopreneurs, tech and creative minds who want to learn, network and develop ideas together.
Campus London has a huge cafe dedicated to remote working. The whole place is pretty inspiring, and while I’ve not been there for a while, it’s always in my mind. You can sign up to access the facilities and their events. Find out more here. The slogan, ‘come start something’ says it all – so if you’re in the same frame of mind as us, let’s have a coffee here and make things happen.
Husk Coffee and Creative Space, E14 7LW (opposite Limehouse station)
This is a lovely, spacious spot, designed as a coworking cafe. Husk offers a variety of seating options including couches, small tables and benches. Food and beverages are aplenty; there’s an events calendar here too, and they host English practice get-togethers. A hive of creative energy!
Really keen to know what you think makes a great coworking cafe, and importantly where do you suggest, in London or the world? Let us know in the comments…
If you’re a freelancer, digital nomad or telecommuter, you’ll appreciate the value of a great coworking cafe. Not to be mistaken for a coworking space (which we’ll look at soon here on the blog), coworking cafes offer the best of a coffee shop but with work-friendly benefits.
The flexibility of working from home or remotely is, well, brilliant. But sometimes we need to get out into a place where there’s other people. This can be because ‘home’ (wherever you call it) is noisy, or lonely. I’ve done some of my best work immersed in ‘the zone’ in a fave coworking cafe discovered around London, Vancouver, even Cairns in North Queensland.
The line between a coworking space and a coworking cafe is blurring, as some coworking cafes around the world are really set up very well for working in. Fresh Cup magazine has written about these trends happening in the USA that we found interesting.
If you have a favourite coworking cafe I’d LOVE to know about it – please drop details in the comments below.
Attributes of a great coworking cafe
We seek work-friendly spaces everywhere we travel, from Ibiza to Lisbon, the Gold Coast to London. What distinguishes a normal café or space where it’s technically possible to work, from a fabulous coworking café space that’s free, motivating and easy to work in?
In our experience, a cool coworking cafe has:
Space and cool design elements
Our very favourite coworking cafes in London and around the world inevitably offer a sensory and design experience that we can’t get in the home office. In fact, it’s recognised that coworking cafes and coworking spaces of the future that are to attract the most clientele, will boast cool design. We want to be creatively inspired, and it starts with the architecture and interiors of the places we’re working.
Hotel cafes and bars often do this really well. The Hoxton in Holborn and W Hotel’s Perception Bar in Soho London, and Room Mate Aitana in Amsterdam are great examples.
Essentials in a coworking café also include comfortable seating and a nice amount of space. Various options for working such as bench space, tables, seating at different heights and maybe even some sofa areas are also preferable.
Our favourite coworking cafes are bright, inspiring, interesting but ultimately cosy. They’re convenient, with easy access to transport and other amenities in a city we’re visiting or working in.
Delicious coffee and food (fuel!)
There’s nothing quite like the tantalising smell of fresh food and coffee while you work. I especially like it when I’m not having to cook it. That’s just me though.
A coworking café should offer great coffee and a range of food, from treats to lunch. Preferably at reasonable prices.
Energy and ambience
There’s a fine line between ‘just right’ and ‘too much’ in cafes targeting freelancing or digital nomads. Cooper and I need to find a place that plays agreeable music. This obviously might differ person to person. The best type of work soundtrack for me is smooth House or world music like Buddha Bar. I don’t want music blaring, but I’d like to be able to hear it and enjoy it.
Similarly, if the crowd in the café is too noisy, or there’s kids running around, I can’t work effectively.
My best experiences in coworking cafes are when the energy is buzzing and there’s other people working in there. Sometimes you can catch the right level of background activity like food prep, conversation and background noise that makes it easy to focus on the task at hand.
Dog friendly is always a bonus!
Easy access to decent tech
We’re talking about ‘working’ after all, and there are some basics that all remote workers will agree on:
Stable, quick, reliable internet
Inexpensive internet access (if not free)
A secure connection is preferable. That said, we have recently purchased a VPN to keep our networks private when we’re working out and about. Reputable firewalls and virus protection should also be implemented on your machines. For more on safety for digital nomads take a look at this helpful piece from Traveling Lifestyle
Plenty of accessible power outlets – the scramble for the only corner in the room with an electrical socket is never fun.
Know a spot that fits the criteria? Also keen to hear about what other elements you consider are crucial in a work-friendly coffee shop. Do please share in the comments.
2019 is the year we truly start to take care of ourselves on our time off, which is why creative travel and wellness holidays are the thing of ‘now’ in the travel industry.
Once upon a time, a vacation meant drinks, lots of food, tours and shopping. But many of us are tiring a little, even on our trips.
Recently, there’s been a shift in the reasons many of us choose to get away – we want to switch off from the pressures of modern-day life.
Why creative travel and wellness holidays?
The new kind of break, the one that will continue to rise as one of the most sought-after in 2019, is the ‘wellness escape’. It’s an enriching life experience – a creative travel or wellness holiday – where we return home feeling great about ourselves.
Wellness has become a booming industry, evidenced by the fact Lonely Planet has just published a gorgeous hard-cover guide on the topic, Wellness Escapes.
Get creative booking your travel this year
The publication presents an inspiring breadth of offerings around the globe.
Yoga retreats (we’ve published a story about a retreat in Turkey if you’re interested)
Fitness and wellness festivals around the world
Creativity workshops and personal growth opportunities
Health spas and nutrition getaways
Akin to other collectable Lonely Planet guides like Culture Trails and Everyday Adventures (released in 2018, be inspired by those titles here), Wellness Escapes is an item any wanderluster will want on the coffee table.
Wellness Escapes features a worldwide guide on the best, coolest and most energising creative travel, wellness holidays, meditation centres, health spas, fitness events (including LoveFit in the UK) and much more.
It’s a whole lot of love in one delicious book. Be inspired, get creative and healthy now.
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper, and here we share our advice and stories about expat living plus pet and house sitting around the world; wellness travel and creative living, no matter where on the planet you are. We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for many years, and have spent over 10 years living and working around the world. We hope you find value in our content. Please do connect by leaving a comment or find us on social media.