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The good old ‘Chippy’, about the most lovable nickname one could ever dream up for a ‘fish and chip shop’ has come to epitomize the true essence of British cuisine for over a century. NO! Not because it’s calorie laden and greasy, no! We mean because it’s such a simple dish of wholesome, comfort food which (when cooked to absolute perfection) can truly feed the soul!

The humble Chippy has a long and illustrious history in London, so much so that most locals feel they are as indicative of the city as their double-decker buses and unique black cabs. A survey done just three years ago revealed that most Londoners believe a plate of fish and chips to be more iconic than either the Queen or the Beatles. Who would argue?

That’s why we believe absolutely no London visit is ever complete without a super delicious feasting from one of the city’s superlative Chippies.

Starting to salivate at the thought of a beer battered fillet of your own? Well here’s our pick of the very best Chippies in London. In making our selection we’ve prioritized freshness (both fish AND chips must be fried on demand), quality of batter (thick but not so thick that it overpowers the taste of the cod or haddock) and lack of excess grease (oily fingertips = good, grease fountain down your chin = bad).

London: our top 3 very fave fish & chips shops

Aug 3rd 2014, 12:09 by Laura Pattara

It’s really not very difficult to find 1001 ways to gorge when on a Roman vacation. If the smell of freshly baked pizzette and focaccias emanating from small artisanal bakeries on every other corner isn’t enough to tempt your taste-buds, just wait until you pop into any little supermarket. You’re bound to be greeted by a deli counter the likes of which you could only dream about in most other countries. It’s no joke! I’ve enjoyed a better meal standing at the freshly prepared food-counter of a CONAD in Viale di Trastevere in Rome than I’ve had in many restaurants the world over. Mamma mia, it’s no wonder most of us swoon at the mere thought of a vacation in Italy. Stuff the history and culture...it’s really the glorious food we all come to experience!

Just because feasting in the Eternal City is a given, however, it does not mean one should take culinary delights for granted. Italian cuisine may be delectable, but it is also extremely traditional and very, very regional. There are mouth-watering dishes served in Rome that you’ll never find anywhere else.

Following are just some of our favourite Roman delights. Buon appetito!

When in Rome...feast like a true Roman!

Jul 20th 2014, 09:00 by Laura Pattara

The yearly Edinburgh Fringe Fest is not for the faint of heart. No matter how much people try to ‘pace themselves’ on day one, inevitably most will reach the end of the line wiped out beyond belief. But in a good way, of course! The largest art celebration on the planet may be a colossal handful even if tackled with military style precision, yet the rewards of attending this absolutely mind-blowing, excessively fun festival is not to be dismissed. The only bummer about going home with the mother-of-all-hangovers is the fact that most only remember some of it.

Top Tips on Surviving the Edinburgh Festival

Oh we know that every city worth its weight in fresh produce is home to a market which is just the bees’ knees. But if that’s really the case, then La Boqueria in Barcelona would have to rate as the most queen bee market of all. This place just makes you swoon and drool at first sight. The smells, colours and at times chaotic crowds beautifully epitomizes all that is so wonderfully Spanish. Loud, proud and utterly delectable.

If you, like us, think that the only real way to get to know a country and its culture is through your stomach, then there’s only one thing to do on your next visit to Barcelona: get up close and personal with La Boqueria Market.

Up close and personal with Barcelona’s La Boqueria Market

Jun 28th 2014, 12:29 by Laura Pattara

Forgive us for stating the blatantly obvious, but we really think the last thing the world needs is yet another guide listing the 101 top things to do in Venice. Do you really need to be told that a romantic ride long the Grand Canal may be a good activity to plan? Or that watching the sun set in St Mark’s Square is not to be missed? No? Good! To be honest, if you don’t have a vision of days spent getting hopelessly lost exploring the most hidden alleyways and canals of what is arguably the most enchanting city in the world, you don’t even deserve to go!

Instead, we thought we’d share our most tried and tested insider tips on how to get the most out of your visit.

Moreover, we’ll also tell you why we think some of our tips are truly priceless. We promise there is no madness to our thinking!

Buon Viaggio!

Our top 3 tips to getting the most out of your trip to Venice

Jun 15th 2014, 08:06 by Laura Pattara

It’s fair to say that most foreigners know a thing or two about Paris, the most visited and arguably the most revered city in the world. They know that it’s nicknamed the City of Love (for good reason), that Marie-Antoinette wanted to feed cake to the poor to appease them (taste an éclair here and you may have agreed with her) and that many Parisians think the Eiffel Tower is the ugliest monstrosity mankind ever made. They got a bit too fussy there. Yet there are actually many more fun facts about the stunning French capital that you probably have never even heard about. To be honest, we’re not even sure about the veracity of some of them but hey, mondieu, life is too short to doubt! Here are seven totally fun facts and fables about Paris we think you ought to know:

7 Fun facts about Paris you really should know!

May 31st 2014, 13:17 by Laura Pattara

Amsterdam has never been renowned as a boring, run-of-the-mill European capital, granted, but sometimes...just sometimes...we do wonder how wacky it can really get. Ever wanted to take a trip down the human body? We don’t mean figuratively speaking; we mean it in the most literal sense possible. Wanna jump up and down on a ginormous tongue, slide down an oesophagus and take a stroll alongside a femoral artery? Yes?! Well you are in luck intrepid explorer!

If you never want to think of your body in the same way again, do yourself a favour: on your next week-end away to Amsterdam, don’t forget to pay a visit to what is often touted as possibly the absolute wackiest ‘museum’ in the whole country.

And that’s saying a lot.

Just when you thought Amsterdam couldn’t get any wackier!

May 24th 2014, 22:26 by Laura Pattara

Who has never dreamt of partying the night away in an underground nuclear bunker? C’mon, don’t be shy; we know we couldn’t possibly be the only ones! Ok, so we’ll admit we didn’t really even know we wanted to party in a former nuclear bunker until we visited Prague. But when we discovered Bunkr Parukarka was the place to be, we just could not resist! What exactly is Bunkr Parukarka you ask? That would be a former nuclear bunker which dates back to the Cold War, and has now been transformed into an extremely unique bar.

Postcard from Prague: clubbing in a nuclear bunker!

May 13th 2014, 10:14 by Laura Pattara

Pick any major European city as your next holiday destination and one thing’s for sure: you won’t be short of things to do and places to see. However, if the thought of spending yet another week-end away museum and market hopping sounds like a bit of a boring, overdone drag, take heart! Surely there’s a crazy festival somewhere you can attend!

Head off to one of our favourite cities at just the right time of year and you could take part in (or at the very least witness in bewilderment of) one of Europe’s weirdest festivals.

Trust us, there’s plenty of wacky stuff out there for you to experience!

Europe’s top 3 weirdest festivals!

May 11th 2014, 08:36 by Laura Pattara

When visiting a foreign city for the week-end, there’s always an overwhelming desire to see and do it all. I don’t know about you, but whenever I plan a long-list of activities or sites to visit on a short break, I’m lucky if I even manage a third of what I initially envisaged. Nowadays, after having learnt my lesson about a dozen or so times, I’m a lot more realistic of how much I can accomplish in just three days in a city.

I now know that I need to account for time getting to and from places and I also keep my energy and interest levels in check. No matter how much I may want to museum-hop aaaalllll day, I know I get bored after about three hours. So I keep it real. My enjoyment of getting jostled in big crowds is also time limited to about four hours, so I also no longer plan a full day outing to a major shopping street or busy commercial area.

Here are some tips on how to maximise your time, and minimize your stress!

How not to make the most of your week-end away