Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Four Cities I'd Love to Re-Visit

UK travel blogs

My love for travel developed at the age of 24 when I had a solo adventure to Australia and Hong Kong, but that's not to say that I hadn't been abroad previously to that. Although I fully endorse exploring the world at any age, it's only now that I personally feel that I can appreciate the places I've been to. As a result, I've started re-visiting places I went to at a younger age so that I can really take in a destination and truly make the most of it. Last year I went back to Barcelona and Berlin and saw totally new sides to the cities I'd previously visited as an excitable (and rather drunk) student,

Here's the cities are top of my list to head back to:


I first went to Amsterdam in the Easter holidays of my first year of uni. Four of us indulged in organised pub crawls and hungover bike rides, but that's not to say that we didn't see some of the city's more cultural sights. I remember being horrified and emotionally exhausted after visiting the Anne Frank Museum, and at the other end of the scale, wandering the famous Red Light District with utter fascination.  We stayed in the grottiest hostel you could imagine, where we watched Monty Python on VHS at 4am before retiring to our room with the plastic mattresses.

Hostels in Amsterdam

Cycling in Amsterdam

Now? I'd love to go hunting for vintage treasures in boutiques and relaxing in a beautiful hotel away from the mad streets below. I can see myself playing the cosmopolitan European with my shopping bags and free poured cocktail.

Stay: The Hoxton Amsterdam, to bring a bit of London hipster familiarity to my stay!
Eat: Street side stroopwafels and big cheesy broodje pom sandwiches!
Shop: The big flea market at NDSM wharf


I've been to Canada twice as a child: once as a baby and once at 11 for a family reunion. I remember having such a fun time meeting all of my relatives and my dad allowed me to eat at a different takeaway every day for three weeks. We went up the CN Tower and watched a Blue Jays match, yet I don't know Toronto at all. My best friend is currently there and her photos of Lake Ontario and the vibrant LGBT area are making me obscenely jealous. Having family there means I'd have locals to show me around, and maybe I'd bump into Justin Trudeau and he'd fall madly in love with me...

UK travel blogs

Stay: There is a room with a ROUND BED at Le Germain which is gloriously ostentatious.
Eat: I saw the Vatican City Burger from The Burger's Priest on Instagram ages ago and I need it. It's a double cheese burger stuck between two grilled cheese sandwiches!
Shop: Apparently Queen Street West is the 2nd coolest shopping street in the world, which is intriguing enough for me!

Image source


I visited Chamonix in the summer of my first year of university as my boyfriend at the time was spending the holidays climbing ridiculously big mountains. It was the first time I'd seen a mountain and we got the cable car up Mont Blanc which was beautiful. But we were poor students at the time, crashing in the lounge of a friend, eating homemade curries or getting McDonald's every night. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful. But there was a Chanel on the corner and I can't help but wonder what else was out there, especially as our accommodation offered a shower that was essentially a glorified bucket.

Mont Blanc Chamonix

Stay: Hotel Les Aigons has a heated outdoor pool and free Go Pros to rent - how cool is that?
Eat: Apparently La Bergerie de Planpraz provide gourmet picnics, which sounds ideal for a drive through the Alps, or their terrace looks divine.
Shop: I want to finally go into that Chanel!

Image source


It is an absolute travesty that I've only been to Vienna once, considering I have fabulous friends who have lived there for as long as I've known them. The last time I was there I was recovering from a week of heavy drinking in Berlin, so I just wanted to take full advantage of being in trusted surroundings with a fully functioning washing machine and relative quiet at night. I know I went to a really big cemetery, but honestly, that's pretty much it. This time I'd love to see an opera and really explore Vienna's culture and arts history.

UK lifestyle bloggers

Stay: Chez Cliche apartments have a hilarious name and like a totally pimped Air BnB.
Eat: Schnitzel. Duh.
Shop: The vast Naschmarkt looks like the sort of place I could get lost in for hours and I think I would be a-ok with that.

Naschmarkt Vienna
Image source

Where would you like to re-visit on your next trip?


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Added Extras #44

Best lifestyle bloggers UK round-up

In the immortal words of the poet that is Ronan Keating, 'Life is a rollercoaster.' Except, the one I'm on is making me so damn exhausted. There's been a lot of changes going on and they're definitely all for the best, but please can I just skip forward to 27th December when I'm on a plane to South Africa, hurtling towards sunshine and AWAY from real life for a bit.

I was totally supposed to publish this on Tuesday but then I met up with Katy for ONE drink and then we had all the drinks and then went to Wahaca and then I got home and had some quality time with a pint of water before very quickly going to bed. And then yesterday was Bake Off, and #prioirities. So here's the best bits of the last couple of weeks. Even later than it was going to be to begin with:

1) Spending the afternoon at the Bloggers Blog Awards in Leeds was fun and inspiring in equal measure. It was so heartwarming to see wonderful Katy win two awards, heckle Mike as he accepted his award for Best Food Blogger, and cheer Emma for getting highly commended in her category. We drank prosecco and mingled and giggled and then ate a massive Indian meal and were in our pjs watching Pitch Perfect at Michelle's house by 9pm. IDEAL.

Lifestyle bloggers holding selfie balloons

2) The day after the awards we decided to do a quick trip to my old uni town of York. I still love that city so dearly and not only is it packed with happy memories, it's also so beautiful. We met up with one of my best friends and his boyfriend for a wander, and I even bumped into a girl I used to work with at Lush when I was a student which was SUCH a lovely surprise (especially as she doesn't even live in York anymore!).

York Minster

3) On Friday, AJ and I headed to Crouch End for a very special David Bowie tribute night. Run by Immersive Music, the night included fancy dress, crazy decorations and a beautiful beer garden where we put the world to rights before dancing away to Bowie classics.

David Bowie tribute night in London

4) I had a late birthday surprise from one of my best friends at the weekend. I was treated to a Midsummer Nights Dream themed afternoon tea next to The Globe and we indulged in scotch eggs, croque monsieurs and Love Potion cocktails. It was so good that I couldn't get a proper photo because Jen kept sniffing it. Exhibit A:

Midsummer Nights Dream afternoon tea at The Globe theatre, London

5) After a really tiring, long and damn right confusing week, I spent Sunday just looking after myself. I had a big fat lie-in, then went to the gym, bought myself a load of goodies at the supermarket, whipped up a cracking stew for dinner and then watched Pitch Perfect 2 in my pyjamas with my housemate. I needed Sunday so much.

6) I finally bought myself a new set of pillows and holy baby Jesus did I sleep well last night!

7) One of the main things that cheers me up when I'm down is planning holidays. I've been catching up with my friend in Cape Town and throwing ideas around of what we're going to do when I'm there (which now includes a trip to Cape Agulhas which is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and you can actually SEE the line where they collide!). I also might end up going to Oman around Easter because I'm desperate to see my best friend and that seems to be a good mid-point between the UK and her home of Hong Kong. Watch this space...

Cape Agulhas tour, South Africa
Image source

8) God bless my lovely friends for being around exactly when I need them. Both Claire and AJ made emergency pit stops near to my office this week to provide coffee and cuddles when I just need a 'moment'.

9) I bought myself a spur of the moment present as the clock turned midnight on my birthday this year and three weeks later, it's finally here! Embroidered, baby blue faux leather jacket. So unnecessary and so wonderful.

Embroidered leather jacket

10) And finally, you know what's nice? People being nice. I've had some awesome blog comments recently (especially about my jumpsuit outfit, you fabulous humans), as well as friends taking the time to just drop me a message to let me know they're always here for me. My mum, as ever, has let me rant down the phone to her. My housemates, who have known me for two months, have been plentiful with hugs and prosecco and laughs. People are nice. Especially my people.

I've got a hen party this weekend which I've organised so feeling preeeeeeeeeeetty nervous about how that's going to go down. But aside from that, not much is going on. Which is good. Because I'm skint. And lazy.

Have a good week, you lovely bunch!


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Four Great Places to Have Brunch in Dublin

On my recent trip to Dublin, I had three things in mind: quality time with my favourite cousin, a trip to the Guinness Storehouse and a lot of brunch. In four short days, I clocked up four amazing brunches, spread out around the city. Each one offered something completely different from your standard eggs benedict and prosecco situations (not that those two things are bad in any way whatsoever). First up:

San Lorenzo's Brunch of Champions

Review of San Lorenzo's Brunch of Champions, Dublin

Pork belly potato hash at San Lorenzo's Brunch of Champions, Dublin

Our visit to San Lorenzo's Brunch of Champions was the epitome of over-excited over-ordering. In sheer fear of not being able to order what we had come for, we went all out and had a main each and one of the sweet options to share. My pork belly potato hash was a whole heap of carbs with crunchy spring onions and mixed up with runny fried eggs and smoky baked beans.

Coco pops french toast at San Lorenzo's brunch of champions, Dublin

But we had come for the coco pops french toast and we were not leaving until we'd at least attempted a few bites. As it was, with mascarpone whipped cream, peanut butter and salt caramelised bananas, we were persuaded pretty easily to demolish the entire thing and did not regret a bite.

The Tramyard Cafe, Dalkey

Tramyard Cafe, Dalkey, Dublin

Rarebit, porridge and granola at Tramyard Cafe, Dalkey, Dublin

The little village of Dalkey is actually about 30mins outside of central Dublin, but it is such a cute, quaint place and it's foodie credentials are actually pretty good. Locally, they catch a lot of lobster and shellfish, but as we were there for brunch, we stayed clear of the seafood. We started off a bit boring at The Tramyard Cafe with some granola and porridge, served with milk, honey and fresh berries - but it was just what I wanted to warm me up on a chilly Irish morning.

Orange juice and coffee

Welsh rarebit

Then we clocked the rarebit on somebody else's table and figured we'd just share one, for the purposes of food adventuring. Served up on doorstep bread with crispy bacon, vine cherry tomatoes and sharp, strong Irish cheddar - it was the perfect savoury accompaniment to our sensible cereals.

The Pepper Pot Cafe

Bacon bagel

On both of my trips to Ireland I have consulted the wonderful Gastro Gays on where I should be eating. They were SO right with their recommendations when I was in Cork that I had to try at least one of their favourites in Dublin, and thank goodness I did.

Bacon bagel

The homemade bagel at The Pepper Pot Cafe were super soft inside, where they were smothered with chive cream cheese, and crispy on the outside where I dunked them in an unbelievable apple chutney. The salty bacon and a strong coffee soaked up my hangover like a dream and made me strong enough to wander around the gorgeous home decor stores within the Powerscourt Centre we were sat in.

The Cake Cafe

Homemade baked beans and sausages on toast

We were very confused trying to find this place. You have to walk through a craft store and out the back is the adorable Cake Cafe, perfect for sunny morning brunching. Although we didn't indulge in any of the signature cakes, I went for the homemade baked beans which were amazingly rich and served up with chunks of sausage. It was exactly what I'd call a 'hearty' breakfast, and was a brilliantly chilled out atmosphere.

Where else would you recommend I go for brunch in Dublin on my next visit?

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