TOP 3 BERLIN BREAKFASTS :: INSTA’ WORTHY

TOP 3 BERLIN BREAKFASTS :: INSTA’ WORTHY

Top 3 Berlin Breakfasts

Top 3 Berlin Breakfasts

It’s almost a month since I returned from Berlin, but it feels like so much longer. For me, Berlin is a city that feels homely. I love roaming its familiar streets, in each of its iconic areas, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of my favourite place to write about! John and I have visited so many times. but despite this, every visit uncovers somewhere new for us to enjoy. 

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BERLIN SUMMER

BERLIN SUMMER

Berlin summer

Berlin summer

Packing for a city break in Berlin never gets any easier, especially when you’re packing for a Berlin summer. First of all, there’s the climate to consider: temperamental, humid and prone to sudden downpours.  Secondly, when the citizens of the city of cool take to wearing h2t black as their armour, what’s a colour loving girl to wear? And, that’s not forgetting the predominant issue here, can a capsule wardrobe for Berlin truly fit into 10kg of carry on luggage? 

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THRIFTING IN KRAKOW, POLAND

THRIFTING IN KRAKOW, POLAND

Last summer, I discovered a second hand shop of dreams in Budapest. It sold British brands at low prices. Naively, I thought this was a one off but all over Poland, you’ll notice second hand shops bearing the sign, ‘Tania Odziez’. Literally meaning cheap clothes, these shops are big business in Poland. As a believer in buying things second hand, you can see why I was curious to find out what Krakow’s shops had to offer. 

Stepping through the door of one of the many shops on Jozefa in Kazimierz, John headed off to look for retro football shirts, and I expected his return within minutes. Struck by the rails and rails of clothing, it was clear John wouldn’t be returning any time soon! I headed for the dress rail first (naturally) and what did I find? Many, many dresses, all in varying conditions. A beautiful monochrome vintage dress with a gorgeous white collar sat nestled next to a Primark knitted jumper dress. The rail was cluttered with many budget British brands like Dorothy Perkins, George and F&F. Still, that didn’t deter me. I’ll always look for the diamond among the tatters. 



With prices written informally on pieces of neon paper, and of course, in Polish, it’s hard to work out exactly what an item costs. It’s not just the language barrier that can make it difficult. Prices can significantly vary depending on what day of the week you shop. Monday is notoriously more expensive as it’s the day the stock comes in, whilst Saturday is apparently the cheapest day of the week. We visited on a Monday and, using Google Translate, we discovered dresses were priced at 24 Zloty which is around £4. 

You might think that isn’t expensive, I certainly don’t for second hand clothing that is in nearly new condition…but the clothing I saw, was clearly pre-loved. Bobbles, tears and faded dresses all mingled together. It was because of this that I decided against the silver glittery Zara boots I’d made a beeline for and also returned the vintage dress to the rail when I spotted a huge tear. Whilst shopping, a thought struck me. Is this where our cast-offs go when we sell them to private companies? 

So, on our return, I decided to look into it. According to the United Nations Comrade Database, Poland sells the most clothing imported from the UK each year. $74 million worth to be precise. And it’s not just the clothes we choose to sell on. Brace yourself. Reportedly, our charity shop donations can also end up sold to wholesalers who then sell our goods to retailers. 

 
The burning question I left asking is, why is cheap clothing big business in Poland? Reading forums, as well as articles, seem to suggest that the lack of limited discount retailers forces shoppers turn to used clothing. In the UK, we have a plethora of discount clothing shops and even on a strict budget, shops like Primark can help us afford the basics.

Whilst, I didn’t buy anything this time. If we return to Poland, I’d happily spend a day rummaging in their second hand stores. However, there’s one question I’m still wrangling with in my head…
When you take out the element of charity, does this make thrifting less appealing?
A WEEKEND IN LIVERPOOL

A WEEKEND IN LIVERPOOL

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a city break. I feel fortunate to have travelled to a lot of European cities during my twenties and hope to continue doing so! There’s nothing quite like a few days away to make you feel refreshed. When Travelodge got in touch offering a city break in Liverpool: I didn’t hesitate to say yes, despite it being on my doorstep. If you’re looking to visit Liverpool on a budget, grab a cuppa and see how we spent our weekend there!

At the beginning of October, it was John’s birthday so we were fortunate to be able to visit Liverpool to celebrate and spend some quality time together. Armed with a rucksack each, we hopped on the train from St Helens to take the short journey into Liverpool city centre. Although I live very close to Liverpool, it seems I spend most of my time slightly further afield in Manchester. As a teenager, I would love to visit Liverpool and roam the docks and the original Quiggins (similar to Manchester’s Affleck’s Palace but a rabbit-warren of vintage gems and curiosities)…

Arriving at Travelodge The Strand, we were given a friendly welcome and to our surprise, a room with a spectacular view! Located across the road from the Albert Docks and a short stroll from shopping Mecca, Liverpool One, it’s the perfect base for sight-seeing when visiting the city. I mean, just check out the view from our room…


During our two night stay, we found lots to explore and our two nights was a perfect amount of time for a budget friendly trip. 
Albert Dock: As one of Liverpool’s top tourist attractions, this was our first stop. If you too are an 80’s child, you’ll have no trouble remembering when ‘This Morning’ was filmed there and Fred the Weather Man’s fall from the map of the Great British Isles into the murky waters (who would have predicted his later fall from grace?) Our first stop was Costa Coffee for a warming cup to keep us company during our walk, sadly they only had large cups so we enjoyed a huge coffee for the price of small! Win! With our brews, we simply enjoyed strolling around the docks for an hour or so (Jelly Bean shop anyone?) before deciding to check out The Tate before closing. 
 

 

The Tate:  A home for modern and contemporary art, most of the gallery is free to enter in return for a requested donation. Whilst we were there, the paid exhibit was Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots but at £10 each, we decided to give it a miss because we’re not art buffs. Instead, we mused at the modern art especially a piece called ‘Venus of the Rags’. It made me laugh out loud in the quiet stillness of the gallery because I swear that it could be me, searching through my mountains of clothes, pondering, ‘Now what shall I wear today?’ 
 
As dusk started to descend, we returned to our room to recharge our batteries and  Even though our stay was a mere five minutes walk away, there’s always something to see.
Whenever we travel in the UK, we seem to stay at Travelodge. Our Bristol stay: Travelodge. Manchester: Travelodge. Why? Because it’s the cheapest around and we know what we’re getting for our bucks. Since most of their hotels have undergone a huge renovation, they’ve invested in larger beds and boy, once I was settled I didn’t want to move. I spent a couple of hours enthralled in a book, snuggled under the covers before we decided to head out for food.
 

Open Eye Gallery: Up bright and early the next day, we enjoyed a leisurely (I had three courses!) all you can eat breakfast before walking across the road to the Open Eye Gallery. Because this is a gallery that specializes in photography, I was really intrigued to visit. Whilst we were there, we visited the Zanele Muholi exhibition. This South African photographer is a visual activitist whose work explores gender, race and sexuality in her country. It was an interesting exhibit with images that challenged my thinking. 


Museum of Liverpool: A stone’s throw away from the Open Eye Gallery is the Museum of Liverpool, a museum dedicated to showcasing Liverpool’s fascinating and diverse history. The museum has plenty to offer: an exhibition supporting a local hospice; artifacts from Liverpool in the Tudor times; a huge life size overhead railway carriage; but my favourite part was dedicated to Liverpool’s music scene, past and present. No, I’m not only referring to The Beatles but icons such as our Cilla, Cast, The Farm, The La’s…you name it! As the museum is located on the waterfront, we were able to watch Peter Blake’s bright and colourful ‘Everybody Razzle Dazzle’ ferry across the Mersey!


The Cow&Co Cafe: Sightseeing is such thirsty work! Thankfully John remembered an independent coffee shop not far from the docks where we spent a relaxing hour sipping coffee, indulgently eating doorstop toast with lashings of Nutella before thinking, heck! Let’s have some cake too! With Scandinavian style decor, it was the perfect place to just be and of course, to take a flat lay! Ahhh, please take me back!
Have you ever visited Liverpool?
*You should know, our two night Travelodge stay was complimentary. 
This does not affect my opinion in any way.*
WELCOME TO DISMALAND

WELCOME TO DISMALAND

 

This post has taken days to escape my drafts, huge chunks of text have been deleted, rewritten, then reworded. Please note, these thoughts are just my opinions. I’m not intending to be an authority on Dismaland, I’m just writing from a lifestyle blogger’s point of view. Be warned, you’re in for a truly dismal post. 

(Warning: This posts contains spoilers related to Dismaland. If you intend to visit the bemusement park, please bookmark this page (of course), return to it at a later date and tell me what you thought!)  

 

“Welcome to Dismaland, have a terrible time
You have to admit, these aren’t the words you expect to be greeted with on entry to a theme park, but then you’d be forgetting that this is a bemusement park, an ironic, subversive spin on your expectations from street art darling, Banksy. 

After my internship finished at the end of August, I was filled with the sudden realisation that because I wasn’t going to be teaching in early September, I was free to take a break. Honestly, the sense of freedom I felt was overwhelmingly joyous. John and I had always wanted to visit Bristol, but somehow, we’d never visited due to the distance to drive and the costs of train fare. Feeling that it was now or never, I offered to drive to us to Bristol if we could get tickets to see Dismaland. Both at work, with 50 miles between us, we secured three pairs of tickets. It was official, we were going!

Arriving in Bristol late afternoon, we hopped on a train to take the short journey to Weston-super-Mare. Yes, we’d read the articles, saw the tweets, but with tickets in hand, we honestly didn’t expect to have to wait in line for an hour. I guess you could say, this is where the dismal experience started. As dusk descended, we reached the end of the queue to security, where our rucksacks were casually checked without the least sense of care if we were smuggling spray paint or Disney lawsuits. 


 
“Your bag is too yellow. Burn it.”

On entry to the bemusement park, you’re lured into a false sense of security; the brightly coloured deck chairs, the contrast striped top attractions, the carousel where each horse has a sparkly name painted on it, the Disney-esque castle at the heart of the site. But take a closer look and you will find that there shall be no signs of cheerfulness here, no smiling customer service (the customer is never right), the burnt out castle, balloons depicting ‘I am an imbecile’. I mean, do you think you’re here to have a good time? 

Once inside, we couldn’t escape the parallels between Dismaland and its alter-ego opposite, Disney: queues. Queues for the galley, queues for the castle, queues for the attractions. On our second visit, we headed straight for the castle and nothing, not even an Instagram sneak peek, could prepare me. Like a rotted apple, its contents disturbed me to my core. 



Instantly, you’re likely to draw parallels between Cinderella’s crashed pumpkin and Princess Diana’s death . I mean, how can you not? However, dig a little deeper and it’s the swarm of paparazzi that’s truly the uncomfortable sight here. Only their flash illuminates the tragic scene, without them, we’d be standing in a darkened room blind to the event that appears to have taken place: the press enlighten how we see the world. 

Whilst the topical issue of migrants and refugees has been placed under the media spotlight, it certainly wasn’t left out from Dismaland. I couldn’t ignore the obvious symbolism screaming at me: those with money in their pockets control the lives of others. Whilst others played merrily, I could barely look at the boats crammed with figurines.

Then there’s the carousel of colour adorned horses, cheerfully greeting its next rider but look closely as it turns, blink and you’ll miss the unexpected butcher. What’s he doing? Packaging horse meat into lasagne, of course.

So, the big question. Would I recommend you visit? Yes. Both John and I were glad to have made the journey to experience Bansky’s subversive collaboration as an exhibit of art. Despite it making uncomfortable viewing in parts, it does make an interesting sight to behold. We decided to give our third pair of tickets away to a local couple who were strolling on the promenade? Why? Well art is for the masses, surely? Although now, I can’t help but wonder what they thought of it…

What’s your opinion? 
 
HOW TO TRAVEL LIGHT :: JEWELLERY IN POLAND

HOW TO TRAVEL LIGHT :: JEWELLERY IN POLAND

With the first days of spring on the horizon, and Christmas a distant memory, it’s the time of year when we start to think about travel. Whether it be a city break or a weekend away, when it comes to short breaks there’s something everyone has to consider at some point: travelling light. As you know, I love to travel and I’m always on the look out for cheap flights, however adding hold luggage can sometimes make the price shoot up. So, I simply refuse to pay it and always take hand luggage. If I can manage three weeks in Europe with only 9 kilograms of hand luggage, then I can certainly last a couple of days, even in cooler climates. Travelling in summer taught me a few tricks and if there’s only one tip I can impart on you, take a little of what you love. It’s as simple as that. 
 
When it comes to packing jewellery though, I have to admit: this is the most difficult of packing issues for me. Packing for package holidays of summers passed, I would carefully select a set of jewellery for each outfit packed. It always increased the weight of my suitcase and half of the time, it would be too hot to wear it! Green neck, anyone? A few years ago, I decided never to pack jewellery- that way: I’d never get it tangled, lose it or risk not wearing it. The only problem was, I didn’t half miss wearing jewellery. So, in an effort to compromise, I now take one set of jewellery and wear it to travel in . That’s it. As I said, take a little of what you love. When Joshua James got in touch and offered me a piece of jewellery of my choice, shortly before John and I’s city break to Gdansk, I decided to select a necklace that I could take on city breaks. I chose the Thomas Sabo Eternity of Love Necklace.
Along with my engagement ring, I wear a pair of cubic zirconia studded earrings: simple, understated and matches everything. Originally, my engagement ring was gold, as was most of my vintage jewellery collection. When we returned to Saltaire to have the ring re-sized, I chose a different ring, from the same designer, made of white gold simply for a change. After all, I’ll be wearing my engagement ring all my life (I hope!) So, it was a real treat to be able to choose a necklace to wear with it. With white zirconia, it promises to bring a sparkle to the wearer’s eyes. 
 
Maybe we’re unconventional, but on each city break we like to find street art from artists we like or perhaps have seen before in different countries. Poland was no different. On our final day, we decided to find a piece of hidden street art we’d seen on the Australian street artist, Mik Shida’s Instagram. A short trek out of the city, via the docklands, we chanced upon the colourful piece, albeit on the site of an abandoned slaughter house (I was thankful to discovered this after our visit).
On days like this, what I wear has to be functional – no pretty dresses here – and getting ready in morning has to be quick! Adding a little sparkle to my jewellery helps me stay true to my girly roots. You can read my Spring style tips and check out what other bloggers had to say, by clicking here
 
How do you pack jewellery when travelling light? I would love to hear your tips!
As always, much love,
Come find me, I’m here:
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*Eternity love necklace sent by Joshua James. All views my own*