Thursday, 19 October 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Roskilde, Denmark, June 2017


With our flight leaving Copenhagen in the evening we had to get from Aarhus to Zealand, whilst also managing to visit a ton of places en route. Of course we managed it, whilst also having a couple of great meals in the process.

DAY SEVENTEEN

Monday, 16 October 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Aarhus, Denmark, June 2017


I absolutely adored Aarhus but the day and a half we spent there was not enough time, especially as it rained a lot. The city is basically a mini Copenhagen, there's lots to do, loads of great food options, and an absolutely charming vibe. It's the perfect long weekend destination and somewhere I hope to visit again soon.

DAY FIFTEEN

Friday, 13 October 2017

Out of Office: Netherlands Edition


Tonight Steve and I embark on a 9 day tour of the Netherlands. We're getting there via the Dutch Flyer which means a train from London Liverpool Street to Harwich, followed by an overnight boat to the Hook of Holland, and then a train to the Amsterdam. Steve has always wanted to do this route so it'll be a little adventure and perhaps more exciting than a direct one hour flight...

I visited Amsterdam back in my sixth form days and have been dying to make it back ever since. Steve has never been but the country has been at the top of his travel wish list for a long time. I think Dennis Bergkamp has something to do with it. This will be a very different trip from the one I took in 2005 (has it really been 12 years), as we'll be spending more time taking in the sights and less time feeling light headed in a coffee shop. But it's Amsterdam, who knows what will happen.

We're spending three nights in Amsterdam where we have a jam packed schedule with sightseeing, restaurant visiting, and beer tasting. We're staying in the Generator Hostel which looks lovely. I was originally hoping for The Hoxton but at £900 for three nights it was a little out of our budget.

Our next city will be Rotterdam, were we will be spending three nights at Stroom. I have a thing for second cities so I'm really looking forward to seeing what Rotterdam has to offer. There's meant to be great architecture which is just my thing so I can't wait to take some photos. One day we're going to visit The Hague and Delft which I'm really looking forward to. Delft is meant to be absolutely charming plus The Hague has some impressive sights.

We'll be spending one night in Utrecht, staying at Mother Goose. I don't know a lot about this city but an old colleague is from Utrecht and she speaks so fondly of the place that I can't wait to see everything she's told me about. Especially the Miffy Museum.

Our final stop will be a night in Maastricht, where we'll be staying at Townhouse Design Hotel. Again, I don't know a lot about Maastricht about it looks quite quaint. From here we'll be catching a train to Brussels where we'll be getting the Eurostar back to London. I'm really looking forward to a holiday not involving a single airport.

If you have any tips about things to do and see in any of these cities please do let me know.

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

My European Travel Wish List


A little while ago I wrote a blog post about my ultimate travel wish list. I included big, once-in-a-lifetime destinations, that I hope to visit but realise they probably won't all happen for a while. But it got me thinking about how much I love Europe. As much as I love travelling to Asia I don't feel the need to sit on a plane for 10+ hours to have a 'big holiday'. Heck, my recent two week road trip around Denmark was a huge holiday and that was less than two hours away.

Ever since I went inter railing around Europe in 2009 I've been love with this part of the world. Despite being European myself, I still find the thought of travelling around my own continent exciting, and full of adventure. I've been to 33 different European countries (34 by the end of the year once I visit Liechtenstein) and each place has been a unique and rewarding opportunity to experience a new culture.

Next year I was planning a two week trip around the Balkans, an area of Europe I'm not very familiar with, but now we're heading to Indonesia to visit my little sister, so the Balkans will have to wait. I'd like to visit every country in Europe but I'm not into visiting places just to tick them off a list, so it's going to take a while. Especially as I like to revisit countries I've already been to.

Russia
Whilst technically part of Europe and Asia, Russia is high on my list. I am desperate to visit Moscow and St Petersburg but I keep putting them off until Steve and I manage to do the Trans-Mongolian Express. Moscow is full of history and St Petersburg looks so incredibly beautiful. I want to watch the Russian ballet, visit the beautiful palaces, and partake in some traditional vodka celebrations.

Sicily
Italy is a country I spent a lot of time in when I was inter railing and I managed to visit most major cities. But I'd like to go back and visit some of the more unconventional destinations. Sicily looks beautiful and whilst it would be nice to experience some warm weather on holiday I'd really love to visit Mount Etna, the Valley of the Temples, and spend a few days in Palmero. There's a lot of great last minute holidays to Sicily so hopefully I can find a good deal.

Greece


I visited the Greek island Kos back when I was little so it's really time for another visit to Greece. I'd love to visit Athens for all the Greek history, the Acropolis and Parthenon look incredible, but I'd also like to head back to the islands for a little r and r, the white washed buildings of Santorini sure look pretty.

Faroe Islands


Of course I had to choose something Scandinavian for the list and of course I knew it would be the Faroe Islands. I've travelled pretty extensively around the Nordic countries but the Faroe Islands still elude me. Maybe it's because there are currently no direct flights from London, or because I've been keen to revisit some of my favourite cities with Steve in tow, but this is a destination I absolutely want to visit soon. The scenery looks stunning, with it's dramatic cliffs, waterfalls and cute villages.

Ireland
Despite being from Northern Ireland, I've seen very little of the Republic of Ireland. A weekend in Dublin when I was 18, family trips to Donegal, and a few other random locations thrown in, there is still so much left of the country for me to discover. Steve and I have a little road trip of the south planned but I'm not sure when we'll get around to doing it. We want to start in Dublin, driving south along the coast to Waterford, Cork, Kerry, and back up to Limerick and Galway. I know we'll get around to doing it one day.

This is a collaborative post

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Monday, 9 October 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Skagen, Denmark, June 2017


The two days we spent in Skagen, the most northerly town in Denmark, were some of my fondest moments of the entire holiday. Skagen doesn't have much going on, but what it lacks in things to do, it sure makes up for in stunning nature. Beautiful beaches, moon-like sand dunes, and sand swept buildings, it was finally time to enjoy the summer element of our summer holiday.

DAY THIRTEEN

Thursday, 5 October 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Aalborg, Denmark, June 2017


We spent less than 24 hours in Aalborg, and it rained most of the time, but the drive there was one of the loveliest on our road trip. I wasn't expecting much from the city, but even with the rain, it surpassed my expectations.

DAY TWELEVE

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

24 hours in Odense, Denmark


Odense is charming, it's the third largest city in Denmark, the main city on the island of Funen, and the birth place of Hans Christian Andersen. It's a 2-hour drive from Copenhagen and the perfect place to spend a couple of days thanks to a plethora of things to do.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Copenhagen on a budget


When you think about a cheap city break, Copenhagen probably doesn’t spring to mind. In fact, Denmark has a reputation for being one of the most expensive countries in the world. And you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that. With a 25% sales tax (VAT for my British friends) added to everything, shit gets expensive. But don’t let that fool you into thinking you have to splash the cash to have a good time. Copenhagen is definitely doable on a (reasonable) budget.

Now, my recent trip to Denmark was not a budget holiday and it would be disingenuous to pretend that it was. However, despite spending a small fortune on food come dinner time, we pulled back costs on others things and were pretty budget friendly most of the time.


Monday, 25 September 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Silkeborg, Denmark, June 2017


Having headed inland after driving along the western coast of southern Jutland, it was time to explore the Danish lake district part of central Jutland.

DAY TEN


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Ribe, Denmark, June 2017


Having left Funen, it was time to explore Jutland, the bit of Denmark that's connected to the rest of Europe. We'd be spending the next couple of days exploring Southern Jutland, whilst being based in Ribe, Denmark's oldest town.

DAY EIGHT


Friday, 8 September 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Odense, Denmark, June 2017


The next stop on our Danish road trip was Odense. It's the third largest city in Denmark, the main city on the island of Funen, and the birth place of Hans Christian Andersen. It's a 2-hour drive from Copenhagen but there's plenty of things to stop at en route.

DAY SIX


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Where to have lunch in Farringdon Part 5

I feel like it's been a while since I did one of these, the struggle to find new places is getting harder, fewer new spots are opening and I can't help returning to my old favourites but Farringdon is a big place and I've still got a list of places I need to visit.

Apres Food Co.


Aprés Food Co. is a new lunch location in Farringdon that specialises in healthy and wholesome lunches. The menu is packed full of comfort food classics with an emphasis on low fat cooking. My plate of meatballs and pasta was absolutely delicious, however I did think it was a little on the expensive side considering the portion size. That being said, this is a lovely little lunch spot with a great selection of hot and cold treats that I'm sure to visit again.

Breddos Tacos


Breddos Tacos is one of my favourite lunch spots in Farringdon. It's a little bit of a walk from my office but the best tacos I've ever had makes it worth while. The deep fried chicken and fish tacos are fantastic, but in all honesty, everything on the menu is delicious. Even the free salsa and chips you get to nibble on while pouring over the menu are great. I love the vibe of this place but it can get busy so make sure you get down early.

Foxlow, Clerkenwell


I visited Foxlow one Saturday quite a while ago and have yet to make it back. Not because I didn't enjoy my meal, I loved it, but because there's quite a few in London now so the appeal has diminished a little. From the founders of Hawksmoor, this neighborhood bistro serves well cooked British classics, from steak, to fried chicken, as well as tasty salads and mouth watering brunch options.

Maya Cafe


Sometimes it's nice to have breakfast for lunch, and the best greasy spoon around is Maya Cafe. With a ton of different options this is a cheap and cheerful place to grab a fry up. I always get the same thing because I'm boring like that, #noregrets.

Risotto stall on Exmouth Market


I can't remember the name but the stall on Exmouth Market that sells risotto is fantastic for a takeaway lunch. With two options, mushrooms (no thank you), and chorizo (yes please) it's good for veggies and meat eaters alike. The portions are huge and really worth the £5 price tag. On a cold, drizzly day when I really want comfort food I love this stall.

J+A Cafe


J+ A Cafe is lovely lunch time spot, specialising in Irish food. The menu, whilst not the cheapest place around, is packed full with hearty sandwiches, and big plates of hot food. Think Irish stew, wheaten bread, and lots of potatoes. There's a great sweet selection as well. Despite my family being from Ireland I don't get to eat much traditional Irish food these days so J+A is a nice please to relive a little of my heritage.

Check out my where to eat lunch in Farringdon part 1 guide.
Check out my where to eat lunch in Farringdon part 2 guide.
Check out my where to eat lunch in Farringdon part 3 guide.
Check out my where to eat lunch in Farringdon part 4 guide.

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2017


Oh Copenhagen, how I love you dearly!

There's a lot of cities I've visited that I've fallen in love with, heck most place I travel to I fall in love with. But there's very few cities where I get that "I want to live here for the rest of my life" feeling. And Copenhagen is one of them. I knew in advance of our trip that I'd fall hard for the capital of Denmark. And fall hard, head over heels, crying at the thought of leaving, I did. There's just something special about Scandinavia, something that pulls me back to this part of the world year after year, that makes it feel like home. And Copenhagen is that Scandinavian mecca that expresses everything I love about this part of the world. The design, the laid back attitude, the beautiful food, the beautiful people, and that feeling that everything fits together 'just right'.

We spent a whirlwind five days in the city, seeing and eating everything we could. We even hopped over to Sweden, and drove around the Øresund coast north of Copenhagen. This post is a lengthy one but I enjoy recording what I get up to each day on holiday. So grab yourself a cuppa and settle down for an insight into my 120 hours in Copenhagen.

DAY ONE



Sunday, 13 August 2017

OUTFIT: Oversized smock


Dress: ASOS
Top: Topshop
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban *
Trainers: Vans

Another outfit post in the space of two weeks, what are the chances?

I love this smock style dress, it's been somewhat of a wardrobe over the last few months. It's something about the oversized fit, that makes this dress so easy to wear. I love the simple nature of it, and teamed with a pair of trainers I find it to be the perfect easy day outfit, without looking too casual. I have a thing for stripy tops (don't we all) so you'll usually find me wearing this dress with one of my favourite breton numbers underneath.

I've also got a new pair of sunglasses which I'm pretty excited about. Smart Buy Glasses sell designer frames at reduced prices, and very kindly gifted me with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. I'd been after a new pair of Wayfarers ever since my last pair broke so I'm delighted to have my hands on the signature black style. I love the iconic cat eye shape of these, they're so easy to wear and are quite affordable for such a well know brand.

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Monday, 31 July 2017

OUTFIT: Spotty jumpsuit

Playsuit: ASOS (sold out I'm afraid)
Denim jacket: Gap
Sunglasses: Celine
Trainers: Vans

It's been a long time since I did an outfit post, over a year in fact. I spend a lot less money on clothes these days for a couple of reasons, I'm spending more on travel and I'm just not feeling that inspired by fashion recently. However, when I spied this jumpsuit on ASOS a few months ago I had to pick it up immediately. I've always found jumpsuits problematic, they never fit right, or feel comfortable, or look good on me. But this stars aligned on this occasion and I was left with a jumpsuit so perfect that I end up wearing it at least once a week.

My denim jacket was an extreme case of impulse shopping. I was struggling to find a non-oversized, non-cropped denim jacket to take on holiday. ASOS failed me so the night before Steve and I left for Denmark I raced around Oxford Street looking for something appropriate. I found this and whilst I don't love it, it suits my needs just fine. I've been jazzing it up with my pin collection and it's now feeling more me.

In other news, I've had a good chunk of my hair chopped off. Thanks to the lovely folk at Rush I was invited down to their brand new salon in Shepherd's Bush for a cut and blow dry. I like my hair on the shorter side as it's quite thick and unruly but for some reason I'd been keeping it around shoulder length for the last year or so. Even with my undercut and a huge chunk of shaved hair at the back of my head, my curls have a way of getting the better of me. Cue a visit to the lovely new Rush salon, my stylist understood exactly what I was after. My undercut was shaved back into a number 2, and after a relaxing hair wash and head massage I was whisked back to my chair where the real work began. Snip snip went the scissors and after what felt like no time at all, my hair was being dried and I was presented with a cut, and a much breezier neck, that I absolutely loved. 

When it comes to matters of the hair I am lazy. I wash it, I brush it, I put in a little oil, and then I leave it to air dry. My stylist understood my needs, or lack thereof, and whipped up a style that is easy for me to manage. No fuss, not tantrums, just my hair doing what it does, and for this I am extremely grateful. Rush Shepherd's Bush are currently offering 50% off so if you're in need of a trim, restyle, or just a blow dry then I recommend checking it out. Thanks so much for giving me a great do!

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Thursday, 27 July 2017

How to have a Scandi day in London

It's no secret that I love Scandinavia, I've declared it many times on this blog. Whether it's the design, the people, or the lifestyle, the Nordic countries feel like home to me. Despite visiting this part of the world at least once a year and travelling extensively around the individual countries I always want to discover more. Fortunately, London is full of Scandinavian shops, cafes, and restaurants that help keep my lust of all things Nordic in check until it's time for my next visit.

There are Scandinavian delights scattered all over London but because quite a few central locations are in close proximity to each other, it's quite fun to make a day of it. Make sure you're hungry because there are a lot of foodie stops to be found.



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Memories of Denmark




I'm not long back from a two week and a half road trip around Denmark and my goodness I cannot wait to tell you how amazing this country is. Having visited Copenhagen back in 2009 I was expecting the rest of the country to be wonderful, but I was blown away by just how charming, pretty, and full of joy Denmark is. Denmark isn't like Copenhagen, well maybe Aarhus is a little. Cities are small, villages are full to the brim of cutesy, colourful houses, and day-to-day life is peaceful. Not to mention that the people are some of the friendliest you'll find.

A couple of years ago Steve and I did a road trip around Iceland which was indescribably out-of-this-world. Whilst Denmark doesn't have the same dramatic landscapes, it does have it's own unique style of beauty. Denmark is flat, when you come across a hill it's a big deal, which is why there are so many cyclists. The luscious, green landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see. The coast is an eclectic source of glorious white beaches and dramatic cliffs. The architecture is stunning, from rainbow coloured bungalows, end-of-the-world light house and sand swept churches, stunning design museums that will make you want to move in immediately, and ancient Viking fortress ruins that are so incomprehensibly old it's hard to believe they're real. Denmark has it all and when you take into account how small and easy to travel the country is, it's the perfect place for a stress free and beautiful road trip.

Whilst I'm hardly a pro on Denmark I feel like we covered so much ground that I can give you an excellent overview of the country. Some of the places we visited I would return to in a heartbeat, whilst others I could happily never visit again, not because they weren't nice but because I left feeling satisfied. Plus there's still a few parts of the country I need to save for another trip.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Where to eat in Copenhagen, Denmark


A big reason for wanting to visit Denmark was to indulge in New Nordic cuisine. I love the concept of using only the most local of ingredients in your cooking. Not only does it promote local business and environmentally friendly practices, but it also leads to innovation, exciting and unique flavour combinations, and dishes that you can't find else where.

Had we not been spending over two weeks in Denmark, I would have liked to have visited a Michelin starred restaurant such as Geranium, Kadeau, or Relæ. But with Noma closed during our visit, I had this all or nothing mentality - if I couldn't visit the restaurant that invented the New Nordic movement then I'm not going to bother with the others. Anyway, my wallet breathed a sigh of relief when it realised it wouldn't be forking out for these types of meals.

That being said, Denmark, as I'm sure you've heard many people say, is not a cheap place to eat. With a 25% sales tax, the cost of eating out can rocket. Most of our dinners hit the £70 to £90 mark which is of course expensive, but also comparable to some of the restaurants Steve and I frequent in London. While this is extremely far from a budget dinner, the thing I will say is that the food in Denmark is some of the best I have ever experienced. The quality of the ingredients, the inventiveness of the flavour combinations and the exceptional service meant that I never once felt a meal wasn't worth the price.

What I did come to realise is that there's isn't a huge difference in price between your casual all-day cafe type places and somewhere a little higher end. If you can afford to spend a little extra per person when it comes to dinner then it's worth seeking out those higher quality restaurants, you will not be disappointed.

If you want to eat well without going bust then my best advice is to avoid alcohol, or at least wine. Steve and I don't tend to hit the booze too hard on holiday, a few bottles of local beer will do us just fine which is great because this is a much more affordable option.

So onto the food. I did a lot of research for where we were going to eat and it absolutely paid off because everywhere was wonderful and I cannot wait to share my recommendations with you.

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH



Friday, 26 May 2017

Out of Office: Danish Edition


Today Steve and I are off on a two and a bit week road trip around the gorgeous country of Denmark. The last time I was in Denmark was way back in 2009 when I spent a couple of days in Copenhagen during my inter rail trip. I remember loving the city but I don't really remember doing that much in terms of sightseeing (I was broke). This time around I am armed with a long list of sights, shops and restaurants I want to visit so it will be all stations go.

We will be spending out first five days in Copenhagen, three days in the actual city, one day driving around the island of Zealand visiting castles and galleries, and another day across The Bridge in Malmo, Sweden. My obsession with Scandinavia really kicked off back in 2009 so I am really excited to revisit the country, especially as I've developed a love of Danish design, Nordic Noir TV, New Nordic cuisine and the great outdoors since I was last here.

After Copenhagen we will be driving over to Funen to stay in Odense for a couple of days. There's a few Viking related sights I want to stop off at en route and once we're there we'll be spending a day on the lovely island of Ærø. Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen so I'd like to visit his home and indulge in a bit of Danish literature.

Our third stop will take us over Jutland as we'll be staying in Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark. I'm excited to wander around the cobbled streets as well as visiting some of the small nearby islands like Fanø and Rømø. It's from here we will be driving down to the German border one day which should make for an interesting diversion.

After Ribe, it's on to the Danish Lake District. We'll be spending a couple of days in Silkeborg as well as visiting Legoland which I am beyond excited about. There's not a ton of stuff to do in this part of the country so it'll be nice to spend a little time relaxing after a busy week of sightseeing.

We'll then be travelling up north to Aalborg for one night. There's quite a bit to do in the city but we'll be shortly heading up to Skagen for beaches and down time. I can't wait to hit the sand dunes and relax in our beach house for a couple of days. 

Are final stop is Aarhus which happens to be one of the European Cities of Culture this year and there's a ton of stuff I'm excited to visit. Nearby Djursland is meant to be a lovely part of the country and I'm sure we will visit some of the beaches around there as well. There's a few museums I want to make time for in Aarhus as well as a plentiful food and shopping scene.

After a couple of days in Aarhus we'll be catching the ferry back to Zealand, visiting Rosklide, a couple of sights in Copenhagen suburbs, and a final Danish dinner before our flight back to London.

As with all of our big holidays I have a rather detailed itinerary but I'm prepared for plans to change. You never know what could happen when you're on the road for two weeks. If you've been to Denmark and have a burning recommendation to tell me about then please do leave them it in the comments as I am always eager to hear tried and tested holiday places.

Follow my #HyggeHobs hashtag on Instagram for lots of holiday snaps.

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

My Travel Wish List


I am always day dreaming about travel, whether it's my next holiday, a future plan, or a wish list destination, travel is firmly on my mind. As I discover more about the world I am constantly adding new destinations to my ever growing wish list. Some of these are small city breaks, while others are big, grand road trips. However, my top five wish has been the same for quite a few years now. Fortunately I managed to tick one of those places off last year, Japan. But unfortunately for me I think it's going to be a while until I visit the remaining locations.


Antarctica

Antarctica has been the top of my wish list for as long as I can remember. The vivid landscapes, the magnificent wildlife, and the midnight sun appeal to me like no other destination in the world. Seeing penguins, whales, and seals in their natural habitat and visiting part of the world that not many people get the chance to explore is a dream I hope to achieve one day. A Planet cruise, is how I'd want to visit this corner of the globe, as it's pretty inaccessible otherwise. I don't think this is a trip I'll be able to do for a while but it's something I will continue to think about for years to come.


Peru

I've wanted to do the Inca Trail for many years but somehow I'm yet to visit South America, let alone make it to Peru. The trek is a challenge, mentally and physically, but I'm sure it's worth it for the views over Machu Picchu. Plus, I absolutely love Peruvian food and I can't even begin to image how good ceviche tastes in some of the incredible restaurants in Lima. Here's hoping I can plan a trip in the next few years.


India

India is a country that appeals to me more with every passing year. Whilst it may not be the most easy of places to travel around, it's bursting with a rich heritage, full of history and tradition. And that's before we even mention the food. The country is so big I'm not even sure where I'd start but of course I'd want to see the Taj Mahal

Trans-Mongolian Express

I know it's not everyone's dream to spend a week on a train but the journey from Beijing, through Mongolia, and finishing in Moscow is something I am desperate to do. Of course I'd want to stop off en route instead of spending a solid week on the train but the chance to ride through the Gobi Desert and Siberia in a little carriage for two feels beyond romantic to me. I am desperate to visit Russia but I'm saving myself for this once in a life time trip.


Indonesia

Since bumping off Japan, Indonesia has made the final five. I'm planning to visit my little sister in Bali next year but that's only a tiny part of this huge, varied country. There are so many islands I want to visit (hello Komodo) as well as spending a few days in Jakarta. Indonesia is definitely a place that will require multiple visits. I can't wait to visit the rice fields in Ubud next year, and see my little sister of course.

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