All content and photos property of Charlie Elliott (unless otherwise stated). Powered by Blogger.

How it Feels to Visit Disneyland For The First Time - by Charlie Elliott, Age 28 and 3/4

Fashion blogger in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland Paris

I've seen the Terracotta Warriors and Sydney Opera House. I once met Benedict Cumberbatch. My favourite book has been made into a TV series and is to be screened on Channel 4 THIS WEEK. But I have never, ever been as excited as I was to go to Disneyland, Paris.

Asian Fusion Sharing Plates at Yuu Kitchen, Spitalfields

Pork belly bao at Yuu Kitchen

'Sharing' plates is a concept that worries and excites me all at once. I don't really like sharing food; what if I'm left hungry or another person takes liberties with the most delicious dish on the table? But also, at least I don't actually have to decide between all the awesome things on a menu and risk serious food envy. If Yuu Kitchen* had been a big plates only deal, I would probably still be there agonising over what to order.

Staying at Yotel: Gatwick's First Capsule Hotel

Travel blogger reading travel guide on hotel bed

My quest for cheap travel is often at odds with my North London address. I don't live anywhere near an airport and a bargain flight normally means a pre-9am departure and/or a post-10pm return, often resulting in me being utterly shattered on any city break I go on. For my recent 6am flight to Sofia, this horror was averted by a stay the night before at Yotel, Gatwick*.

How to Spend 24 Hours in Luxembourg City

What to do in Luxembourg City

My weekend in Luxembourg started like most of my European jaunts: with a Ryanair flight sale. £20 return tickets seemed too good to pass up, and so, knowing very little about the country, I decided to take in Luxembourg City by simply walking as much of it as possible, the same way I love to see any new city. I decided to pick up a Luxembourg Card for €20 which got me free entry into pretty much every attraction AND covered all of my travel, including out of the City and into other towns which was a total bargain, and then set out.

A Tour of the Meantime Beer Brewery, Greenwich

Two pints of meantime beer

There's very little pressure like getting into a new relationship and having to celebrate your new bloke's birthday a few weeks in. You can plump for a generic meal out to celebrate or take a wild stab in the dark at planning something a bit more interesting. And that's how I ended up booking a tour around Meantime's brewery in Greenwich. Referencing early Bumble conversations about craft beer and a first date that saw us supping pints of, well, everything, I was pretty sure I was on to a winner.

My Long Haul Flight Routine

Aerial view over South Africa

In just over two years I have done a lot of long haul flights. From going to the other side of world to explore New Zealand and Australia, to visiting China (twice), and visited Africa for the first time during my trip to Cape Town over Christmas. 95% of these flights have been done solo, so I've only had myself to rely on to make sure I have as seamless a flight as possible. As a result, I have my long haul flight routine down to a fine art.

The Things I Don't Write About

Gingham top with floral applique

I recently had a conversation with a friend about whether you can be a blogger and maintain your privacy. She asked me if there's anything I wouldn't write about and I answered an unequivocal 'yes' because as much as I publish here and lord knows I love me a good old gossip, I'm actually a pretty private person. What you see on these pages is a curated insight into my life, but personally, I choose to have a distinction between what I share and I what is kept offline.

Why I Felt at Home in Wellington, New Zealand

View over Wellington, New Zealand

I absolutely adore New Zealand. The month I spent there flew by and I feel like I hardly even scratched the surface of what there is to explore. However, despite recommending it to anyone who will listen to me, I struggled to imagine myself living there. That is until I arrived in Wellington.

Codebreaking and Cocktails at The Bletchley, London

Secret entrance to The Bletchley

Throughout my childhood, I went on approximately 18 million school trips to Bletchley Park. It's the only place of real historic importance within my hometown of Milton Keynes, a city that celebrated its 50th birthday this year, and as it so happens I used to go to school 10 minutes down the road from the famous WWII site. So obviously I was intrigued and slightly baffled when I heard about The Bletchley, a pop-up centred around codebreaking, devised by the team who ran the recent Breaking Bad 'meth lab' bar.

What to Pack For Going on Safari

Rain coat / Sunscreen / Leggings / Cotton shirt
Sunglasses / Power bank / Water bottle
Mosquito repellent / Scarf / Binoculars / Trainers

On Not Going Away For The Bank Holiday Weekend

Bedford embankment river ouse

For the first time in a long time, I didn't go away for the bank holiday weekend. My original plan was to go to Lisbon, which is very much still on my to-visit list, but when my friend found out she had some clashes with work, I decided to do what the majority of people do on a long weekend: nothing.

Five Places That Prove Hobart, Tasmania is a Food Lover's Paradise

Lamb sausage roll and pumpkin salad

I'd heard on the grapevine before arriving in Tasmania that Hobart is a bit of a unknown foodie gem, but nothing could have prepared me for the unbelievable food I had for almost every meal during my visit. I indulged in brunch, lunch, dinners and desserts that have seared themselves into my memory as some of my favourite meals ever, and if there's one thing that would make me travel back to Tasmania - it's the food. A full post on the incredible Salamanca Market is to come, but for now, here's the other places my stomach fell in love with:

Why Sheung Wan is My Favourite Area of Hong Kong

Skyscrapers in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

The first time I visited the Hong Kong, I stayed in Sheung Wan, but on my most recent trip I still gravitated back there. It's a vibrant mix of traditional Chinese culture and modern urban living, with some of Hong Kong's best restaurants and bars propped up there. Here's what you might find a day wandering around Sheung Wan:

Dinner at The Diner, Islington

Meatloaf hoagie

My favourite sorts of people to go out to eat with are those who also want to try everything on the menu, and think it's a good idea to dump everything in the middle of the table so nobody gets food envy. Me and my friends have this down to a tee, and I think our monumental order during our most recent visit to the newly relaunched outpost of The Diner* in Islington may have taken our waitress slightly aback.

Five Things to Know Before Flying With A Budget Airline

Looking through guide books

If it wasn't for the array of cut-price airlines we all have access to these days, there is no way I would've seen as much of the world as I have so far. I've flown to Europe for as little as £20, with most of my flights coming in cheaper than a return train ticket from London to York, but there are compromises to be made.

This is not luxury travel. The airlines themselves identify as 'no frills' which essentially means you get the pleasure of being safely transported from A to B, but not necessarily in a great deal of comfort. I've only ever flown short haul with these sorts of airlines, although many of them are starting to offer trips further afield. So before you book, here's what you need to know:

How to Find the Best Views in Cape Town

Cape Town from the air

I was totally unprepared for how beautiful Cape Town is. It's a city after all, and although I love an urban aesthetic, that is not what Cape Town provides. The city is mountainous; huge hills poking out from every corner an of course, the impressive and dominating Table Mountain which I never tired of seeing. The architecture is bright and colourful, but it's the natural environment that made me fall head over heels for the place. Here's how to find the best views in Cape Town:

I'm Going to Disneyland and I Need Themed Outfits

Mickey Mouse Jumper / Sequin Mouse Ears / International Mickey Tee
Aristocats Backpack / Minnie Mouse T-Shirt / Snow White Clutch
Minnie Mouse Graphic Tee / Ursula Crossbody Bag / Pizza Disney Naps T-Shirt

A Beautiful Breakfast at Bloom, Luxembourg City

Granola, yoghurt and fresh fruit in a bowl

Luxembourg is small. It's easily forgotten, sandwiched in between its shiny neighbours of France, Belgium and Germany, so I didn't expect all that much. I've never heard of specific cuisine from the country, but after some surprisingly delicious finds recently in Romania, I knew I'd find something. A short search on Instagram showed up Bloom; a small cafe a short walk from my hotel and on the outskirts of the main city.

The Nevis Swing, Queenstown (or, The Most Bloody Terrifying Thing I've Ever Done)

The world's biggest swing

By the time I reached Queenstown in New Zealand, I'd already spent three weeks in the country exploring various tiny towns as well as large cities. The country pulls in adventure tourists, promising adrenalin-rushing activities for wannabe thrillseekers, but to be honest, I was visiting for the stunning scenery more than anything else. Over my time there I had been caving, hiked on a glacier and been on many a boat trip, but the more I saw my fellow travellers indulge in increasingly crazy shit, the more I found myself wanting to try something too.

Finding Inspiration in the Little Things

Fashion blogger in camo jacket, pink tshirt, jeans, khaki boots

I've got that feeling again where I need things to be shaken up. I fancy change, but not of the big life-changing, quit-my-job-to-travel sort like I did last year (although that is always tempting); more of the small tweaks and updates to my life to inject some newness into everyday mundanity.

Exploring the Forbidden Forest at Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Acramantula in the Forbidden Forest

Being a Harry Potter fan is the gift that keeps on giving. The magic of the books kept going through film, and even though it's been six years since the final movie there has been so much to keep us Potterheads obsessed. It doesn't have to be a brand new West End play (although I could talk about Cursed Child alllllllllll day every day), because the Warner Brothers Studio Tour evolves throughout the year. I've now visited four times and there is always something new to explore, and this time? It's the out-of-bounds Forbidden Forest.

The Best Places to Eat in Bucharest, Romania

Navy coffee machine in The Urbanist, Bucharest

Romania isn't really known as a culinary destination, an although I loved my recent trip to Bucharest, the food on offer wasn't necessarily the main highlight. That being said, we find some great little places in the city's Old Town which were delicious AND a total bargain.

The Amazing Street Art of Melbourne, Australia

The Amazing Street Art of Melbourne

Melbourne is my spirit animal. It is a city that I fell in love with immediately when I first visited in 2014 for it's London-on-Sea vibes. The people have soul, the food has feeling and the streets are truly alive. No matter which suburb you're in, Melbourne's street art adorns every surface from walls to lamp posts.

What to Pack For a Hand Luggage Only City Break

What to pack for a hand luggage only city break
Eye mask - Liberty / Sunglasses - Topshop / Neck pillow - Muji
Backpack - Radley / Setting spray - Urban Decay / Transparent pouch - Wolf & Badger / Jewellery storage - Oliver Bonas
Korres gift set - Feel Unique / Travel wallet - Aspinal of London
Travel bags - Kate Spade @ Amara* / Fan - Accessorize / Luggage tag - John Lewis

Brunch at Jar Kitchen, Covent Garden

Toast, mushroom, baked beans, bacon, fried egg

A stone's throw away from unbearably busy Covent Garden piazza is Drury Lane. Saint-like calm in comparison to its neighbour, it's home to the beautiful greenhouse style facade of the Royal Opera House, around the corner from the cool coffee shops of Holborn, and the location for my most recent brunch: Jar Kitchen.

Four Unconventional Towns to Visit on South Africa's Garden Route

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

When researching the route I wanted to take whilst driving the Garden Route in South Africa, my itinerary started to be joined by smaller, quirkier towns alongside the obvious bigger tourist destinations. The great thing about a road trip is you can plan to go from A to B via XYZ and find all sorts of gems along the way.

Going 'Out' Out

Gingham bardot top, blue jeans
I'm wearing: Top - Matalan / Jeans - River Island / Rings - ASOS / Trainers - Superga

Readers, I'm struggling. My skin has broken out, I can't seem to grab enough sleep and my insides feel like they haven't seen a piece of fruit in a month (potentially because they probably haven't). You see, I'm a very sociable person, despite me being a miserable cow on the surface. This blog is all about how I love to go out and discover and explore, but it is rare that I go 'out' out. Yet the last two weekends have seen exactly that.

How I Manage to Take So Many City Breaks

Bucharest river view

When I was in Bucharest recently I received a WhatsApp message from a friend of mine who lives in America saying, 'Of COURSE you're in Romania.' This is a woman who I met in New Zealand and loves to travel as much as I do, but being from a bloody huge country that's pretty damn far from everywhere else, a short jump overseas isn't always feasible.

Three Awesome and Affordable Places to Eat in Hong Kong

Chilli scrambled eggs, bacon and rocket

Hong Kong has strong elements of London's vibe, with food trends and brunch culture being alive and well. Each time I've been to Hong Kong I've been overwhelmed by where to eat, because generally, you can't really go wrong. However, you can end up overspending. It's not the cheapest place to visit, but it is exciting.

Getting Used to Not Travelling Alone

Fashion blogger wearing black dress, black cardigan, black boots
I'm wearing: Cardigan - vintage / Dress - Debenhams / Leggings - Uniqlo / Boots - Ugg at All Sole* (similar here)

When somebody travels alone it conjures certain thoughts and assumptions from other people: independent, brave, organised. It's always seen as a positive thing, and don't get me wrong, it absolutely is a great experience, every.single.time. But after going on my first group holiday since I was about 21 recently (and with more in the pipeline), I've realised that I definitely travel in a certain (i.e. selfish) way, totally based on my lone adventures.

I'm Just Going to Sleeve This Here...

Seven Things to Expect From a Trip to Bucharest, Romania

Tram running through Bucharest

For someone who travels a lot, my geography is pretty damn bad. It is a pretty frequent occurrence for me to get on a plane and not really know where in the world I'm going. Don't get me wrong, I'll know what I want to eat and what I want to see when I'm there, I just don't really know which part of the globe I'm jetting off to.

The Real Reasons I Went Travelling (and Why It's The Best Decision I Ever Made)

Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

Almost exactly a year ago I did the bravest thing I have ever done: I boarded a plane to Kuala Lumpur, alone, with a rough three month itinerary, a backpack and no bloody idea what I was doing.

I've kind of alluded as to why I made this decision, but I'll be honest, I was running away. I'd never made such an impulsive decision before. But on the night my seven-year relationship ended in a blaze of hellfire, I found myself sat in my best friend's lounge being smothered in hugs, stacking up mugs of tea that I kept leaving to go cold and wondering the fuck I was doing.

Brunch at Fika Swedish Kitchen, Sydney

Swedish brunch in Sydney

My first trip to Manly, a suburb north of central Sydney, came on a day when the weather wasn't quite right. Both times I've visited Australia it's just so happened to fall at the end of summer, so it's a little too blustery for sunbathing but still too hot for any layers, which is a shame as Manly is known for its beautiful beaches.

The Happiness Triangle

Fashion blogger in pink leather mini skirt and Cheap Monday jumper

OK, stick with me here because this sounds like some weird idea I've picked up from an old issue of Cosmo or after watching Eat Pray Love, but I have this theory, and I've had it for a while.

The Most Beautiful Views on Tasmania's Great Eastern Drive

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Tasmania is undoubtedly the place in the world that has taken me most by surprise. It comes under the radar of most tourists considering a holiday to Australia, and even a lot of natives haven't been there which is particularly strange when you realise how absolutely stunning the place is.

How to Make Friends When Travelling Alone

Group of travellers at Hobbiton, New Zealand

When I set off travelling for three months, my biggest fear was that I would spend the next 90+ days only having face-to-face communication with hostel receptionists and Starbucks employees. There is no rule book on how to make friends as an adult, and I had assumptions that everyone I'd meet would be of your bog-standard rucksack-with-flags-sewn-on, harem-pants-wearing, 'I'm spending six months in Thailand' variety that I basically have nothing at all in common with.

Shakshuka Brunch at Cafe Loren, Camden

Traditional shakshuka and white shakshuka

I do all I can to avoid Camden Town on a Saturday. Being one of London's most accessibly eclectic areas, it draws in huge crowds with its outrageous 3D store facades, bizarre street performers and cheap 'alternative' tat available the whole way along the main strip. As a teenager, I went to Camden for all of the above, but as a twenty-something living in North London I now go for three specific reasons: haircuts, gigs and food.

Little Acts of Kindness

Fashion blogger wearing blanket scarf, black skinny jeans and Nike trainers
I'm wearing:
Coat: Warehouse
Hat: Primark
Scarf: ASOS
Jumper: ASOS
Jeans: Topshop
Necklace: Etsy
Trainers: Nike

On the surface, this looks like an outfit post, but there is a background to these photos that tell lots of little individual stories.

I am a huge believer in little acts of kindness; the sorts of seemingly insignificant gestures from others that they do without thinking, but show a beautiful level of caring, empathy and love.

The Rainbow Coloured Houses of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

The centre of Cape Town is a vibrant and fascinating place to explore on foot. Separated from the famous waterfront by the imposing and stunning natural landmarks of Signal Hill and Lion's Head, it has the atmosphere I'm used to in London, including urban beauty in my favourite form: brightly coloured architecture.

The Best Street Food in Seoul, South Korea

Hotteok stand, Seoul

When I travel, I always research the restaurants I want to try, but when I'm in Asia it's more what I'm going to eat rather than where. Street food is the staple of local life but to tourists it could be deemed a bit risky to eat from a tiny stall perched up on the side of the road. Most of Asia's most famous delicacies can be found in this way, from hamburgers in Xi'an to satay in Singapore, so during my visit to Seoul I sniffed out everything I could to find the best of what South Korea had to offer.

A Beginner's Guide to China - Everything You Need to Know For Your First Visit

Forbidden City, Beijing

When I tell people that China is my favourite country to explore, nobody seems to understand why. Even when I've met people when travelling, the general consensus always seems to be, 'It's just never been on my list.' To which my response is, 'WHY?!' It's one of the biggest countries in the world, with an unbelievable and fascinating history, incredible food, and a unique and varied culture.

Three Awesome Brunch Spots in Cape Town

Toast, bacon, mushrooms, rocket, halloumi, poached egg

I had high expectations of Cape Town before visiting. A couple of my most well-travelled friends told me that it's their favourite place in the world, but aside from the obvious tourist traps, I wasn't entirely sure what to do. So I did what I do best: hunted down somewhere for breakfast to plan out my adventures for the day.

Creating Something

Denim tshirt and leather look jeans
I'm wearing:
Baseball jacket - ASOS
Denim tee - New Look
Necklace - vintage
Leather look jeans - New Look
Trainers - Superga

I mentioned a few weeks ago that one of the things I learnt last year was that this blog actually means something to me. Whether it's scribbling away post ideas in my battered notebook whilst waiting for a plane or editing photos whilst sat on my sofa and watching Parks and Rec on repeat, my brain is always buzzing about what I can do next and how I can improve what I put out here.

24 Hours on the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Otehei Bay, New Zealand

The day I landed in New Zealand, I wasn't in a great mood. I was alone in a country I'd never visited before, 11 hours ahead of everyone I know, tired and massively homesick. I had booked a quick trip to the Bay of Islands so I could experience a little bit more of the north of the country before heading south from Auckland, but I was in the shittiest of shit moods.

Proper Pizza at The Marquis of Wellington, Bermondsey

Pizza at Marquis of Wellington, Bermondsey

Whenever I'm away on a big holiday, I always plan something to look forward to when I'm back. You know, to soften the blow a bit. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular, but something like a pizza date with my favourite American gal pal seemed perfect.

Three Reasons You Should Add Hobart, Tasmania to Your Australian Adventure

Hobart harbourside, Tasmania

When I arrived in Hobart, the capital of the Australian island of Tasmania, I literally had no idea what to do. We had a rough plan for a road trip along the eastern coast after a few days, but as we had time to kill in Hobart, we picked up every leaflet we could find the tiny airport arrivals lounge.

The Markets of Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Flower Market, Mong Kok

Once I've finished stifling giggles at the name of this area (yes, that's my level of humour), a day in Mong Kok is one of my favourite things to do in Hong Kong. The area is known for its shopping, and as I certainly don't have the cash to splash in HK's row-upon-row of designer stores, this is much more my sort of place. But it's not just fashion on offer, Mong Kok attracts tourists because it has a variety of markets to explore; some much more for browsing purposes than others!

Wine Tasting in the Cape Winelands, South Africa

Pouring red wine

My relationship with wine is long but probably not overly complicated. In my student days I indulged a bit too enthusiastically in the boxed variety; glugging vinegar-y whites with the sole purpose of improving my dance moves. In the last few years I've discovered an appreciation of red wine, but my knowledge of what I like exactly is pretty limited. Essentially I know what I like when I try it, but it's kind of hit and miss.

Three Places to Embrace Your Sweet Tooth in Sydney

Tella ball freakshakes from Foodcraft Espresso, Sydney

One of my overwhelming impressions of Sydney is how health conscious it is. Maybe it's because both times I've been I've stayed in Bondi which, although beautiful, has more places to eat avocado on rye than you can shake a stick at.
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review