My best restaurants in Kefalonia

So I’ve just spent the last 2 weeks on the gloriously beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia (or Kefallinia or Kefallonia OR Cephalonia- who knows!!! Either way it’s gorgeous!). This is the third year in a row that this Ioanian paradise has drawn me back and having eaten my way around most of the island now, I thought it would be a good idea to share what I think are The Best Restaurants in Kefalonia.  

The Mermaid

Set at the far end of Sami harbour-front, The Mermaid serves up fantastic, traditional homemade fare from the kitchen of matriarch Mama Toula. It is a family-run restaurant and you can’t go wrong ordering anything from the sections that say that Mama Toula has created it. From melt-in-the-mouth mousaka to slow-cooked kleftiko, our entire family of 8 were happy with everything we ordered here! Also, there is great people watching on the yachts moored in front of you and the staff couldn’t be more lovely! A firm family-favourite in Kefalonia!

Find it: The Mermaid, Sami, Kefalonia, Greece, +30 2674 022202

The Old Village

The Old Village is a traditional taverna on the main street of Skala where I had, hands-down, the best Kefalonian meat pie on the island. Served in a clay pot with light and crispy filo pastry, this meat pie makes me so happy that I make a special lunchtime trip to Skala every time I’m on the island. There are also many other traditional dishes on offer from their extensive menu which can be enjoyed in the pretty bougainvillaea bordered garden. The staff are friendly and the food is good value. Your meal is also rounded off with a shot of local digestif served in a mini jam jar- what more could you ask for?!!

Sea Rock WS

Sea Rock WS serves up a creative culinary twist on traditional Kefalonian recipes as well as their own creations.


All of their food is freshly cooked and made from the best local ingredients and the restaurant setting is beautiful. It is a short walk out of the centre of Agia Efimia and you can choose to eat in the vine covered restaurant or in the open air garden. Both choices give you a spectacular view over the sea and then the serious business of deciding exactly what you are going to eat can begin!


As the restaurant is busy and all of the food is cooked to order there can sometimes be a slight wait for food, but when it arrives, you are not disappointed! I highly recommend the arugula salad in a Parmesan basket, the feta cheese and the Greek yellow split-pea fava with caramelised onions to start. For mains, the sea bass with almond crust was hugely popular with our group and if they have a special that involves slow-cooked meat- get it!


And it you love your food so much, you can even book in for a cooking lesson with the Head Chef adn Owner, Nikos.


Lithero is tucked up in the far north end of Lourdas beach and serves some of the best fish and seafood on the island. I tried octopus here for the first time as it cost far less than anywhere else I had seen and it was so good! Grilled to perfection and with a smoky taste, I was so glad that I’d chosen it! Don’t expect anything fancy- this is certainly a no-frills kind of place. But, when you can sit and watch the sea, have 4 beers, 3 starters and 4 delicious fish/seafood main meals and it cost you less than €50, you know you will be coming back!

Find it: Lithero, Lourdas, Kefalonia, Greece, +30 2671 031023

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Also, if you have any other suggestions to add, please leave me a comment below!

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How to eat like a local in Shanghai

I’ve just spent a week in Shanghai and it was my first visit back to China after studying there 7 years ago...  

A lot has changed and the city feels even more cosmopolitan - the coffee on offer has drastically improved and you can track down whichever cuisine your stomach desires in any number of the fancy new restaurants that have sprung up around the city!  HOWEVER, my main mission for my week in Shanghai was not to eat Italian or American diner food (because, you know, I was in China!); it was to eat all of my favourite traditional Chinese dishes and hope that it wasn’t going to cost me a fortune!

I am very lucky in that I speak passable Mandarin Chinese and so it is easier for me to search out and eat tasty, cheap, authentic Chinese food.  I am aware though, that this is not the case for most foreigners visiting China, and so I thought I should share my hard earned knowledge by writing a guide on ‘How to eat like a local in Shanghai’!

Where To Eat

Firstly, I must say that this is not a definitive guide to the Shanghai food scene, but it does include all of the details of where I ate and my recommendations of what to order and how to order it in Mandarin!

My boyfriend and I stayed in Xintiandi which is famed for its giant air-conditioned shopping malls filled with Gucci and Cartier shops. You can easily eat a meal here that would cost you over £100 for 2 people!  Luckily though, when we went on a midnight wander on our first night we came across the junction at Jianguo Dong Lu and Shun Chang Lu.  Here we found a street full of busy little restaurants serving everything from noodles to hot pot to barbecue and everything in between!  Also good to know is that all of the restaurants are still open at 4am!

老北京 Lăo bĕijīng

- Shun Chang Lu 531

This place very quickly became our local. A steamy, slightly smoky, hot pot (火锅 huŏ guō) and barbecue(烧烤 shāo kăo) restaurant inside, they happily put up a table outside for us every night and our first bottles of beer (啤酒 pí jiŭ) would appear without us asking for them! It is a family run joint with a fabulous matriarch who rules the roost. We ate here 3 nights in a row and mostly had a few barbecue sticks as a snack, but one night we had the hotpot.

To order the barbecue, you need to fill in a form and tick how many of each type of stick you want.  It is very much a match-up game as it’s all in Chinese, but here are my suggestions for what you should get and I’ve highlighted them on the picture below:


Aubergine/ egg plant 茄子 qié zi

Cauliflower  花菜 huā cài

Mushrooms 香菇 xiāng gū

Spring onions 蒜苗 suàn miáo/ 韭菜 jiŭ cài

Green beans 豇豆 jiāng dòu

Bun 馒头 mán tou


Lamb/ mutton 羊肉 yáng ròu

Beef 牛肉 niú ròu

Chicken mini fillets (the Chinese translates as ‘loin’ but I promise that bits of chicken were served to us!) 里脊肉 lĭji ròu or 里脊鸡肉 lĭji jīròu

红西...Hóng xī...

- Shun Chang Lu 500 and something!

Our next favourite place on the street was opposite 老北京 Lăo bĕijīng. Alas, as we only ever took pictures at night, the neon sign characters aren’t very clear so all I know is that the name starts with 红西 hóng xī and the whole of the signage is red (see picture below for reference).

This place was fantastic for getting authentic Chinese home-cooked meals.  You can get varying choices of fried noodles  炒面 chăo miàn and could then basically pick and choose from all of the ingredients that are laid out on the tables.  They had everything from king prawns to eggs to tofu (just point!).  However, I was craving proper Chinese Kung Pao Chicken 宫保鸡丁gōngbăo jīdīng on my final night and I couldn’t see it on the menu, so I just asked and they made it for me!  I highly recommend asking for this as it is so tasty and I have not found it made authentically outside of China.  It is diced chicken cubes with dry red chilli, peanuts and garlic - heaven!  Order it with a bowl of rice 一碗米饭 yīwăn mĭfàn.

Award-winning pot sticker dumplings in the French Concession

- corner of Nanchang Lu and Xiangyang Lu

These pot sticker dumplings are filled with pork and scallions and were only 7元 portion- bargain!  They are probably one of the cheapest snacks you can get in the French Concession area and their crispy goodness has been recognised by the Chinese government who have awarded them a certificate for making ‘Chinese Famous Snack’ 中华有名小吃 。 What other reason do you need to go try them?!

Flatbreads to go from Jin Yun Shao Bing 缙云烧饼

- outside 934 Nanjing Xi Lu on the corner

These flatbreads make the perfect on-the-go snack and it’s really cool to watch them being made!  They start life looking like dumplings before being smushed flat and stuck to the inside wall of a clay over.  3 minutes later they are taken out and have turned into crispy flatbreads stuffed with whichever filling you have chosen to enjoy!  Choose from meat and veggie options.  Be warned though, the scallion pancake has meat in it too!  Best bet for the veggie options are the Prune Cake and the Sesame Sweet Pancake.

Have you been to Shanghai?  Are you going?  Let me know what you think of my suggestions by leaving me a message below!  Happy travels!

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Why you shouldn’t use Airbnb in China

First things first, I’ve got to say that normally I am an avid user of Airbnb and that it is my go-to platform when searching for accommodation abroad...

I love being able to stay in authentic local areas and previously my experiences in South America and Europe have been nothing but positive.


However, unfortunately I cannot say the same about my recent trip to Shanghai. So, I’ve written this blog post to illustrate my experience and explain why I wouldn't recommend using Airbnb in China at the moment.


The reason why you shouldn’t use Airbnb in China at the moment is because the Chinese government have recently changed the rules regarding foreigner registration with the police.  Previously, the government accepted Airbnb sending them a list of all Airbnb users’ passports and the host location address as registration.  


However, it seems that in early June 2018 the rules changed.  Now, all foreigners staying in Airbnbs must go to the police station with their landlord to get registered and this should happen within 24 hours of arrival. Lucky for us, we were our landlord’s first guests since this rule came in to force and so we were the guinea pigs - yay!

Trip to the Police Station #1

Firstly, about 3 days before arriving in China, my boyfriend and I received a message from our host saying that we would need to go with them to register within 24 hours of arriving.  They said it would only take 5-10 minutes and sent a map to show that it was only 200 metres away, so we thought, “no problem!”. 


Then, we had problems agreeing a suitable time to go the station due to the landlord’s work hours. As I speak pretty good Mandarin Chinese, I asked whether we could do it ourselves. The landlord said, “yes” and so we headed out on the Tuesday morning to get registered - or so we thought!


Problem Number 1:  The address the landlord had given us for the police station was not correct- there was nothing there.


Problem Number 2:  I asked some local people whether they knew where the local police station was and they told us that it was really quite far away. They also couldn’t give me a specific address.  This problem was solved by me stopping a police car and being so pathetic about not being able to find the station that he actually gave us a lift to the station in his car!  Thank the world for small miracles!


Problem Number 3:  When we got to the station we found the correct counter and handed over our passports. However, we were told that we also needed to have our landlord’s ID and a copy of his ownership or tenancy contract - so we did need the landlord after all!  I was really concerned that we were not going to be registered within 24 hours, but the nice police woman told me that it wouldn’t be a problem because she knew we had tried today and that we could come back with our landlord tomorrow.

Total time wasted: 1 hour

Trip to the Police Station #2

Having got in contact with our landlord, he came to meet us at our apartment on Wednesday morning at 12:00.  He brought a friend to help him translate as he didn’t speak much English.


This trip didn’t prove any more useful as it turns out they also didn’t know where we needed to get registered.  We went to the address that they had given us the day before. It was tucked down a tiny alley and was actually just the local Communist Party HQ, so they didn’t register foreigners there.  We then walked to two other different police stations before finally ending up at the one we had been taken to yesterday, but the landlord hadn't brought a copy of the contract with him!


He talked to a different police woman who gave him a list of the exact documents that he needed to bring with him the next day.  Again, we were told not to worry about not being registered, but we were starting to get pretty concerned as we have brand new 2 year visas and didn’t want to risk getting in to trouble and potentially having them revoked.  The landlord said not to worry and was very apologetic. He said that he would go home and get all of the documents ready for tomorrow.

Total time wasted: 1 hour

Trip to the Police Station #3

We met our landlord by himself on Thursday morning at the police station at 12:00.  He had brought us some fruit to apologise which was really sweet and we could see that this situation was stressing him out as much as it was stressing us out!


He had brought all of the documents with him that he had been told to bring. However, he was then told that because the contract of ownership was in his Dad’s name and his Dad had sadly passed away, he needed another piece of paper to prove that he had inherited the property! Ahhhhhh!!!!!


Things got pretty heated between our landlord and the police woman as he was getting really frustrated with the bureaucracy too, and we felt really sorry for him.  However, we also had the problem that we had been in China for 3 days and hadn’t been registered anywhere!  I asked the policewoman what to do and she said that if we checked in to a hotel, then they would automatically register us and we wouldn’t have any problems.

Total time wasted: 40 minutes

Our landlord had told us that it wasn’t necessary to check in to a hotel and that he could get the new documents.  At this point we contacted Airbnb support, not to complain, but just to find out whether we could get any nights that we didn’t stay in our apartment refunded in case we did have to move in to a hotel.


On Friday morning our landlord told us it would take him another couple of days to get the documents ready and we were leaving on Monday! At this point we decided to cut our losses and move in to a hotel as we could then relax and enjoy our last couple of days in Shanghai. At the very least we wouldn't have to wake up and visit the police station everyday!  Our last 3 nights were refunded and Airbnb even offered to pay the difference for the hotel up to $200 which was great, although we had found a really nice hotel not far from our Airbnb for exactly the same price, so we could finally relax!


To conclude, our experience of using Airbnb in China included getting up every morning for 3 days, not registering successfully and wasting a total of 2 hours 40 minutes doing it.  We then spent another 1 hour finding and moving to a hotel.


To be clear though, none of this is a complaint about our landlord or Airbnb as a company.  It is just a warning to fellow travellers about the bureaucracy of the Chinese government and how they change the law on a whim, and that currently it is more hassle than it is worth using Airbnb in China.  Hopefully, in a few weeks or months the landlords will know the new requirements better, but until then I would stay clear of Airbnb and stick to hotels.

Have you experienced anything similar? Let me know in the comments below!

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Explore Bristol like a local

Welcome to 'A local's guide to Bristol' blog post!  This video was originally part of my boyfriend, Jon, and I's application to be WOW Air travel guides.  Alas, like thousands of others, we were unsuccessful, but we did make a pretty cool video and travel guide to one of the most vibrant cities in the UK.


We had a great weekend filming around our beautiful city and it was our first attempt at video blogging and we both learned a lot!  It's packed full of top transport, tourist and foodie tips to help you get the most out of your visit to Bristol and live like a local!


Local phrase: Gurt lush! = “Very good” in the Bristolian dialect


Local drink: Cider


Local food: Fish and chips


Local person: Banksy


Local music: Trip hop


- Download the First Bus app and buy a day pass for £4 giving you unlimited access to buses around Bristol


- Download the Yo Bike app and hire one of the cities’ communal bikes for just £1 a journey


- Download the Bristol Map and Walks app and get pay-as-you-go access to 12 different walks around the city

- Go to the Visit Bristol website to find a variety of tip-based and paid for walking tour options


- Download the UBER app from iTunes or Google Play and use it around the city


- M shed is a museum all about Bristol. Explore the city through time: its places, its people and their stories.

Free entry.


- Arnolfini is one of Europe's leading centres for the contemporary arts.

Free entry.


- Bristol Museum is a treasure house of Egyptian mummies, art, dinosaurs and nature in a beautiful building. It also regularly hosts art exhibitions from some of the world’s most famous contemporary artists including Banksy and Grayson Perry.

Free entry.

- Watershed is a cultural cinema and digital creativity centre at the Bristol Harbourside.


- We The Curious has hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore, live shows and a Planetarium, making it one of the UK's biggest and most exciting interactive science museums and it’s perfect for kids (and big kids!).


- The Harbourside is home to many of the museums and cultural centres mentioned above and is a great place to walk around and enjoy the sun.


- Boat trips are available to suit every budget and itinerary. From full-day excursions to one-way ferry tickets costing as little as £1.30, you have to get out on the water when in Bristol!


- Cabot Tower,  built in 1897, offers 360° views over Bristol. Beware though, this 105ft climb is not for the claustrophobic!

- The Downs are a huge, public green space easily accessible from the city centre. It’s the perfect place to relax on a sunny day and you can get involved with many of the sports on offer. With jogging, football and even Quidditch being played (!!!) there is something for everyone to enjoy!


- Clifton Suspension Bridge is the world’s first ever suspension bridge and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is a Bristol icon and is free to visit. If you’re there at the weekend you can also catch one of their free tours to find out more about its fascinating history.


St. Nicholas’ Market has been voted as one of the 10 best markets in the UK and is a great option for a mouth watering lunch on a budget!


- Primrose Cafe in Clifton Village is a cute cafe offering some of the best late breakfast and brunch options in the city. Even better, there is a roof terrace for when it’s sunny!

Anna Cake Couture has beautiful Instagram-worthy cakes! Not so budget-friendly but really rather unique.


- Clifton Village Fish Bar serves up award-winning and sustainably sourced fish and chips- enough said! Grab yours and eat it overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge!


- Mud Dock is a great bar and cafe with a roof terrace overlooking the harbour where you can watch all of the boats go by!


- White Lion in Clifton is not so budget -friendly, but is worth splashing out for as it’s the only bar in the city with a terrace that overlooks the suspension bridge.


- The Apple Cider Boat does exactly what it says on the tin: Cider. On a boat. It has one of the best ranges of local cider in Bristol and is a great place for a drink in the sun.


- The Old Duke is a pub which has become world famous for its live traditional, New Orleans inspired Jazz music. Definitely one to put your dancing shoes on for!

- The Llandowger Trow on cobbled King’s Street is one of the oldest timber-framed buildings in Bristol and the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was written here!


- The Gallimaufry is a staple of a night out on Gloucester Road. Boasting seasonal British food, local beers and live music most nights, you have to drop in for at least one drink!


- The Bootlegger is the place to dance the night away at the weekend on Gloucester Road. With a speakeasy vibe, 2 for 1 cocktail offers and the most energetic DJ we’ve ever seen, this is a firm favourite for us!

Enjoyed these tips? We'd love to know what you think in the comments below!

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