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:
In January, I resolved to post more tales of my travels on the blog. I intended to share my experience of October’s visit to Warsaw, Poland’s capital, but vowed to tell you about Gdańsk. So, here’s the start of hopefully many to come.
Once known by the German name of Danzig, like most Polish cities, Gdańsk was rebuilt after the Second World War to reflect its original style. The result? Pretty, very pretty. Well, let’s see what you think…
Have you ever visited Gdańsk?
Which city breaks do you have lined up?
As always, much love,
Come find me, I’m here:
Life has a habit of surprising you when you least expect it. One minute, you’re weeping into your Assam tea then, in the blink of an eye, you’re crying with joy. On Friday, my life changed forever when John got down on bended knee, presented me with a beautiful ring and asked that all important question, ‘Will you marry me?’ It was so, so unexpected but the most wonderful surprise. So, of course, I said YES!
I haven’t stopped smiling since (it’s doing my fine lines no good) and already I have ideas for how I’d like our big day to look. Before I start getting carried away, there was one important job on Sunday that needed completing. Finding an engagement ring that fit. John had fit the bill perfectly, one gold ring with a solitaire. Unique, classy and timeless. It was what I’d always wanted, it was just a wee bit too small.
We woke early to make the journey to Saltaire Village, a Victorian model village within the city of Bradford, where John had purchased my ring. Named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001, the village oozed quirk. We happened to arrive on the final day of Saltaire Festival and so the heritage village was awash with colour and alive with the sound of music.
As it’s term time, sadly this visit was to be fleeting. We headed directly to Salts Mill as John had chosen my ring from a range by designer, Mirri Damer. Stocked at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, we were merely there to have it re-sized… or so I thought. Once inside, I was given a different ring to try on for size. It was the perfect fit. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. When I discovered that this was the ring that John’s family had preferred too, I was swayed. This was to be my engagement ring. White gold and set with five diamonds, it sparkled as it caught the light. I was smitten.
It’s not easy choosing a ring that you’re going to wear for the rest of your life, so it has to be the right choice. To make sure I wasn’t acting on impulse, we decided to head to Salts Diner for a spot to eat and to mull over the choices. You see, my heart was tied to the ring John chose but my head was telling me white gold was more practical. I was torn.
I adore that my other half researched engagement rings and chose a designer he knows I will love for years to come. I adore that he chose a ring based on my tastes and preferences. But, life’s a funny old thing and sometimes the perfect ring is totally different to what you first thought. I believe the same is true about wedding dresses!
The weekend has passed in a blur of visiting family and speaking to so many people about my news. I’m so thankful for all of your kinds words and well wishes over on Instagram, I feel truly blessed. The Internet can be a funny old world, but a world I’m glad to belong to.
“Your hand in my hand is where it belongs.
Your hand in my hand as we walk along.”
Mark Sperring and Britta Teckentrup
A short while ago, I asked you to tell me your holiday traditions and you didn’t disappoint! From sending postcards filled with memories, to buying pic-a-mix on long journeys, it seems we all have our quirks when it comes to taking a vacation. Over the years, I’ve also accumulated a few traditions of my own (not surprising for a creature of habit) from collecting fridge magnets to eating an ice cream every day. However, there’s one tradition that follows me home from the flight, snuggling in bed looking at thousands of holiday pictures. It seems a trip away isn’t truly finished until we’ve looked at every one.
Essential is a mug of freshly brewed coffee, pyjamas and freshly washed sheets, there’s just nothing like your own bed after time away. I take a bath, remove all my make up and snuggle down ready to relive my holiday. With Instagram captures, DSLR photographs, mobile phone snaps and Sony digitals, there’s a wealth of electronic shots copied onto my laptop. So, it’s a bit of a crime to admit that that’s where they stay. A library of electronic memories gathering computer dust.
Whilst we were travelling, I decided to post snapshots from our trip on Instagram. It was a photographic diary, a way of keeping track of the place we’d visited and sharing them with family and friends. Whilst we were in Lake Bled, Claire from Printrbook got in touch to offer me a simple way to print Instagram photos, on the house!
For £10, and 3 minutes of your time, you can create a photo book of your Instagram snaps and have it posted too. By linking your account, it’s easy to upload your photos and you can also add the date and Instagram caption (provided it’s short). At 10cm x 11cm, it’s a great size to pop in your handbag ready to show off your memories. Sounds too good to be true?
Well, I guess it is a little. Although my book arrived in perfect condition, it wasn’t packaged well and arrived in a small paper envelope. Inside the book, the colours of the images were slightly duller and appeared slightly pixelated. I guess this is always the gamble when creating photographs from different digital sources. With pictures printed on matt paper, it all seemed a little basic. With more expensive rivals on the market, I guess you get what you pay for.
However, with that said, at £10 all in, it’s a nifty price and a no-fuss way to print your Instagram photos. And, for all Polkadot Pink readers you can grab 10% off with the code ‘polka10’. The most difficult part of the process? Choosing just 50 photographs to print!
It’s not hard to see why Vienna is sometimes described as the world’s cultural capital. It’s a city steeped in classical history, from music; Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Johann Strauss each made it their home, to art; Vienna has produced centuries of famous artists thanks to a history of art-loving rulers and monarchs. Nowadays, Vienna also wears its art on its sleeve, with many prolific street artists adding another dimension to Vienna’s well-preserved streets.
Whether you choose to spend your time wandering across imperial squares or pounding urban streets, in this city of two sides there’s plenty to do and see. During our travels this summer, John and I decided to return to Vienna… just for the day.
No visit to Vienna is complete without a stroll to Café Central, Herrengasse 14, to experience the delights of this famed Viennese coffee house. Enter a world of 19th century charm, complete with marble ceilings and a grand piano, and its not hard to imagine ex-patrons Freud and Trotsky deep in conversation over a Wiener Melange or two (Hitler was also rumoured to have enjoyed Café Central, yet you won’t see that mentioned.) Not just famed for its customers, Café Central is known for its Austrian specialties but it’s Central’s cakes that are the real crowd pleaser and are not to be missed. You may have to wait for a seat, but trust me, its worth it. We stopped by for a coffee and a cake before hitting Vienna’s streets.
Vienna is host to over 100 art museums and exhibitions, but you won’t find us observing art indoors, nor paying an entry fee. We prefer our art a little more subversive so it’s on Vienna’s streets where we spent most of our time. With two new beautiful murals to find, our efforts were rewarded.
It’s not just art that you’ll find on the streets of Wien, but books. When I find saw these book stands dotted around the city, I wondered what the catch was. I soon realised that it was simply a book swap. A place to discard your old books and pick up new reads. What an ingenious, sustainable idea!
Learning classical pieces on the piano from an early age means that I was keen to see where the musical greats were laid to rest. Zentralfriedhof, German for Central Cemetery, is one of the largest cemeteries in the world and Vienna’s grandest. Located in Simmering, Zentralfriedhof is just a short tram journey out of the city centre. To find notable internments, you’ll need to Google a map but in return, you’ll be rewarded with composers such as Beethoven, Schubert, Czerny and many more.
It always a good feeling to return to a city, to over-romanticize, it’s like seeing an old friend again and finding out new things and rediscovering the quirks you’d forgotten. Vienna feels like a friend, albeit an extremely posh one.
Have you ever visited Austria?
As always, much love,
Hi Polkadot Pink readers! when Donna asked me to share some of the things I love about my “hometown” of London (I’m actually an ex pat Australian, but am on indefinite loan here in the Big Smoke), I really, really was at a loss as to where to start and what to share. London Love is not a new thing by any means, and although I am someone with more than enough respect for my new city, and try to not take the things around me for granted, it just seemed like a bit of a…. well, a pretty daunting task! how was I supposed to narrow down all of the incredible things about this city and condense them into one measly post?
well, it got me thinking (ouch); what is it that I love about London? do I love the tourists and the busy streets and the hot garbage? no. do I love the noise, the pollution and the rude cabbies? no. so what? well, for me, it’s all the little things. the unexpected things. the secret things, that people don’t really know are there until they find them. that I didn’t know where there until I found them. things that, now I know are there, I will continue to go back because they are a little slice of heaven in an incredibly overwhelming and all-consuming city.
let me share some of my secrets with you…
The Skip Garden in King’s Cross is a little slice of paradise nestled in amongst the city’s noisy industrial estate. build out of disused skips and containers from abandoned building sites, this allotment garden is thriving. there’s even a café on site that sells 100% organic and home-grown foods from the many vegetable patches and herb gardens scattered around the allotment site. a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon; exploring the treasure trove of flower beds, skipping through the poly tunnel, and sipping an organic juice from the café.
The Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park are just something a little bit obscure, but an easy way to spend a few hours if the weather is nice. grab a picnic blanket and a little hamper of goodies, and head on down for a wander amongst the prehistoric predators of the South East. a short stroll from the train station too, which always makes getting there that little bit easier if – like most Londoners, you don’t drive. also hidden in the bushes is a wee naturally-grown maze – if you fancy getting lost in nature, then this is right up your alley…
Street Feast in Dalston Yard is only around for the summer, but there are a number of them popping up all across the city so if you can’t make the one in East London there is another Street Feast in Lewisham, and there are also Kerb Street Feast locations in King’s Cross and on the Southbank. plenty of ways to feast on the street this summer! the ones in central London are open nightly and free to enter, the regional ones have a small entry fee after 8pm, but lots of delicious tasters to make that worth your while. the traders turning up at these street locations are some of the most up-and-coming restaurateurs in the game, looking to try recipes out on the public before they launch – so there’s a lot of promise at these events! om nom nom!
The Basement Tea Rooms in Camden are another little slice of tranquillity; nestled in amongst a second hand book trader and a second hand record seller and a second hand clothes shop underneath Camden’s infamous Stable Markets, is the basement tea rooms. at first you’ll only know you’re there when you realise the shop you thought you were in is actually a perfectly curated and recreated retro lounge room – often complete with your very own pianist playing hits of a bygone era on the full-functional piano hiding behind the vintage wardrobe full of sleeping jackets and hunting hats. you can pick up a full cream tea for about £15 (for two), and a bloody mahoosive jug of Pimms for no more than eight of your Great British Pounds. that’d barely cover the amount of fruit inside, trust me. if you’re ever lost for somewhere twee to eat in Camden, or just want to avoid the tourists for an hour or so, head there. once you’re by the downstairs loos, you’re just about there. ask around if you get lost. trust me, you will.
Musical Bingo is a night out in London that you won’t ever forget. set up like regular bingo, this is an interactive club night that you won’t ever come across again. instead of dodgy number and bingo wings, players are asked to listen to clips of music and identify them to win their rounds. with themes like “Disco Divas”, “Pop Princesses” and “Golden Oldies”, you’re definitely in for a sing-along. then there’s the Wheel of Death that dictates suitably embarrassing and appropriate dares and games for players who share the same answers. this thing is a monster, and will make or break your night. but, with main prizes including toasty machines, microwave cookbooks from the 70s, and a host of stale biscuits, what’s not to play hard or go home for? check their website for a night near you – you won’t regret it (and no, I don’t work for them!).
so, hopefully I’ve inspired you to see or do something a bit different next time you’re in the capital. if you do check out any of these things, I’d love to hear about what you thought of it! you’re all more than welcome over at www.imbeingerica.com, or give me a shout on Twitter @imbeingerica – I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks Erica, I never need much persuading to visit London and I’m sure a visit to the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park is definitely on the cards. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all the reasons to love Berlin on my return. Remember folks to swing by Erica’s blog, with daily posts packed with personality and cuteness…the search for your new favourite blog is over!