‘The tans will fade but the memories will last forever’ read the framed art thoughtfully placed in my room in the gorgeous villa I stayed in on my trip to Ibiza with Sunglass Hut this weekend. I don’t know much about tanning, but I do know that drinking champagne on a literal yacht, my first time in Pacha, and the yoga class I tried to do the following morning are experiences I will truly never forget.
I bought this full outfit on a panicked, last minute holiday shopping trip for the fairly reasonable sum of £45 (who needs shoes for Balearic island life anyway). I own almost every item that H&M have brought out in this rich chocolate brown shade (this bikini is next on the list, helloooo) and I bought this sweet little boxy shirt in both beige and yellow, with ‘yer da goes on holiday, but make it fashion’ as my inspiration.
photos by Millie
Snow, wind, rain and the general misery that comes with the first months of the year seem a far cry from festival season, but with line-ups being announced and added to left right and centre it is time to start planning. Most of the travel I have done in my adult life has revolved around live music in one way or another, and over the last two summers I have been fortunate enough to experience a number of different European festivals and with them some of the greatest weekends of my life. Festivals are expensive no matter what country you do them in, so if you’re going to blow 200 quid on a ticket anyway I am all in favour of saving up a little more, if you’re able, and making a holiday and a new experience out of it too.
For all of the festivals featured here, you need to take into account flights, accommodation and tickets. For camping festivals, make sure you have a tent and sleeping bag that will fit into a suitcase (and take into account the additional cost of hold luggage if you’re flying budget) or consider buying one on arrival, or booking boutique camping instead. For non-camping festivals, book an Airbnb here to get £15 off if it is your first trip!
During my Australian adventure my friends and I took a two day ‘road trip’ down the Great Ocean Road. We stayed overnight in sleepy Apollo Bay, visited the Twelve Apostles (underwhelming to be honest) and stopped off at some beaches along the way. I am not much of a video person, as you may know, but I hope that one day when I am old and boring (and missing my pals who will have no doubt stay in Australia forever because it is warm and lovely) I will be able to fondly look back on this montage and remember how lovely it was.
In all my 24 years I had never really had my sights set on a trip to Australia. It’s really far, full of dangerous creepy crawlies and, I thought, just England but warm. I figured that I would rather spend my money on flying to the states or Japan, but fate had other plans. My boyfriend Tom spent a month there last year at the beginning of our flirtation (cute, I know), visiting his best friend who is still there now, and in September my housemate Lowri ABANDONED ME to move to the other side of the world (the second of my friends to do so). So, with the promise of pals and some winter sun, we decided to book a 2 week trip to Melbourne.
I don’t think I will ever nail Parisian ‘chic’ or dressing like the fabled French Girl, but I guess I don’t really mind. I cannot resist overcomplicating an outfit, I love wearing loads of make-up, and I definitely enjoy fast fashion a little too much; for me less is definitely not always more.
I still stand by my long held opinion that everybody needs a leopard print faux fur coat, and I recently upgraded mine to this fluffy ASOS number. For an evening out in Paris – stopping at Café Chilango for some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten, The Little Red Door for weird cocktails (mine came with edible deep fried flowers) and the lovely cosy bar at The Hoxton – I wore my leopard coat over a bodysuit in the prettiest shade of pale blue, super wide leg velvet trousers and a pair of ‘sock boots’ with a comfortable little heel.
photos by Georgia Meramo
If you were to ask me to list five telltale signs of ‘growing up’, I think that an appreciation for a nice hotel would be at the very top. Gone is my tolerance for a cheap mattress and ugly carpets, replaced with a desire for eight pillows, unnecessarily large bathrooms and plush dressing gowns. I am old now, and I find as much joy in a nice hotel as I do in the city I am visiting.
With that in mind, Georgia and I booked ourselves on the Eurostar and popped across the channel for a night in Paris at the beautiful new Hoxton Hotel. Needless to say I loved our ‘biggy’ room (we got upgraded!) very much and would move in tomorrow if I could, so before we cracked open the wine and chucked our stuff everywhere I popped on this lovely new frock to take some photos. I was lusting over a similar Topshop Boutique dress a few months ago but didn’t want to shell out £160 on it, and this £28 version from Nasty Gal has filled the hole nicely. I paired it with some new lace up ankle boots and a bunch of necklaces for the perfect dressy-but-not-too-dressy dinner-and-drinks outfit. Check out what we got up to in Paris in Georgia’s vlog, if you like!
photos by Georgia
The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, [let’s hear it for] New York. I’ve been to New York twice now; the first time I posted some nice pictures I took, but this time I decided to do some real life proper travel blogging. In the interest of not making this piece a slightly inferior version of every other blogger’s guide to New York, I want to talk about Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, separated from Manhattan by some water and a subway ride, and is home to Gossip Girl’s Humphrey family because they aren’t as rich as the Upper East Siders. It is also where I have chosen to stay on both my visits to the city.
The majority of New York’s tourist spots and sights – from Times Square to the Seinfeld cafe and Carrie Bradshaw’s gaff – are in Manhattan, as well excellent restaurants and world class galleries, but Brooklyn has a bit more heart about it. It is, to use the most basic analogy, New York’s East London (cute cafes and bars and really unsettling levels of gentrification and all) but much less crap.
Places To Stay
– the author modelling a ‘well comfy’ bed at Marriott Brooklyn
I split my time (10 days – a long visit as far as city breaks go) between a cosy Airbnb in Bushwick and a beautiful hotel room at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn Heights. I found this to be the perfect way to resolve my conflict between being a) a young person living in London and therefore incurring all the financial burden which comes with that and b) an aspiring Bougie Bitch. Airbnb provided a really affordable, comfortable but not quite luxurious place to crash after visiting one or five bars, whereas the Marriott allowed me to end my holiday in a good bed with a massive TV and stunning views over the city.
– the author conducting important research, on airbnb sofa
I like Airbnb for the good value and the plethora of choice. I’ve stayed in spare rooms before, which I think is fine for a night or two, but personally prefer to rent an entire apartment if I’m going to be staying longer. Brooklyn Airbnbs are some of the best value because there are so many of them: Emma and I rented a one bedroom apartment in Bushwick, less than 10 minutes walk from subway stops and walking distance from a number of bars, for £70 per night between us once all fees were taken into account. Well cheap. If you’ve never Airbnb-ed before, you can get £15 off your first trip by signing up here!
Because I am quite the seasoned Airbnb-er these days, staying in a hotel when I travel is now even more of a treat. I mean, fresh sheets and towels every day? ROOM SERVICE? The Marriott Brooklyn Bridge varies in cost depending on when you book and your room type, but on average is reasonable when compared to other centrally located hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Brooklyn Heights is a more pleasantly suburban feeling area of the borough, but is nonetheless home to a few cool bars (try Floyd on Atlantic, 10 minutes walk from the Marriott) as well as restaurants and a Sephora (important). Due to its location, the Marriott boasts near panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, like this one from our room pictured above. Very good.
Things To Do
Much of my holiday planning, regardless of location, revolves around eating. *As a vegan* New York is the greatest place on this godforsaken earth, and Brooklyn alone is home to such legendary vegan trash spots as Champs Diner, Vinnie’s and Screamer’s pizzerias, Toad Style, and Dun-Well Donuts (pictured).
For when (or rather if) you finish eating, Brooklyn has countless bars and music venues: use Songkick or Oh My Rockness to find out about gigs on during your stay, try Three Diamond Door, Alphaville, Bossa Nova, Baby’s All Right or The Johnson’s for a drink or a dance, and please for the love of all things British go to Banter Bar and tell me what it’s like.
– a view from the East River Ferry
– a #view from Brooklyn Heights Promenade
– a #view from Williamsburg
Although most of New York’s sightseeing ops are located in Manhattan, you can’t see Manhattan from Manhattan, so head to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (less than 15 minutes walk from the Marriott), the edge of Williamsburg, walk across Brooklyn Bridge or take the East River Ferry for #views.
– the author engaging in ‘art banter’ at the Brooklyn Museum
Similarly, the majority of bigger galleries and museums are housed over the bridge in Manhattan (MoMA, the Met, the Whitney, the New Museum), but Brooklyn has a number of smaller art spaces and the extremely impressive (and massive) Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn Museum has various permanent exhibitions which are open most of the time (although sadly on my visit The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago was closed), and a rotation of temporary exhibitions. I was fortunate enough to see Marilyn Minter’s Pretty/Dirty (which runs til April 2nd 2017), and the museum is now showing an exhibition by Georgia O’Keefe until July 23rd.
– photos taken in Brooklyn Botanic Garden in summer 2015, which is not the trip I’m writing about here, but definitely still counts
As much as I enjoy a plant or two, I do feel that once you have seen one botanic garden you’ve seen them all. That said, Brooklyn’s are particularly lovely. If you are visiting in the summer take a minute to go down to the rose gardens and explore the conservatories, you’ll at least get a good Instagram out of it.
Whether you have been to New York 10 times or never, Brooklyn has loads going on, is a little more bank balance friendly, and above all gives you access to a slightly more authentic experience of the city. Visit Brooklyn!
I really dislike a ‘how to spend 24 hours in ____’ guide, when the person writing the guide has themselves only spent 24 hours in the city in question. I am not quite so self-confident to assume that I, even with a little research, managed to convulsively discover the undisputed best ways to spend time in Berlin; instead I’d like to offer an insight into what I did manage to do in my 24 hours in Berlin, and what I thought of it. All of the photos here were taken on my brand new shiny Google Pixel XL phone (which Google kindly gifted to me), impressive huh?
Where I Stayed
The reason for my visit was the opening of the new Moxy hotel in Berlin’s Ostbahnhof area. With rooms starting at €68 per night, Moxy is technically speaking a budget hotel, which is the sort of hotel I almost always go for if booking my own city break, but doesn’t feel like any budget hotel I’ve ever stayed in before. The beds are super comfortable, the smart TV is big has loads of channels, the showers are nice, and the Berlin club-culture inspire lobby area feels more like a boutique hotel, with food and drink available 24 hours. It’s also really centrally located, 20 minutes’ walk from Alexanderplatz, 10 from the East Side Gallery, and 15 from Berghain if that’s your sort of thing.
What I Ate
As it often is, my first priority upon arrival was food. ~As a vegan~ I had done some research into and had a whole bunch of recommendations for Berlin’s extensive range of vegan spots, and settled on Lily Burger. Unlike most UK vegan restaurants, Lily Burger also does veggie and meat options, which is great when travelling in a group of people with different dietary requirements, or those who refuse to go anywhere that doesn’t serve meat *cough* mum, dad.
A picture speaks a thousand words so I almost don’t need to tell you how ridiculously good and indulgent this burger was. I ate around 3pm and wasn’t hungry til about 4am which was time-efficient for my short trip, although I did struggle to move for my first hour after eating which slowed me down. 10/10 would recommend, would walk to Berlin from London to eat again.
What I Saw
My next stop post-food was to rejoin the rest of my group at the Holocaust memorial. Sadly we didn’t have time to also visit the museum so I can’t comment on that, but the memorial is visually very affecting and really worth seeing in my opinion. It’s also very close to the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, if you like landmarks.
Following this, I managed to successfully navigate Berlin’s semi-confusing subway system (buy yourself a €7 day pass and download City Mapper, or get an Uber if you’re really stuck) over to the Eastside Gallery part of the Berlin wall. Sadly a lot of it is fenced off due to vandalism, but you still get the idea and can get some great photos. If I had more time in the city I would definitely have wanted to visit some other galleries and museums, in particular the Bauhaus Archive.
Where I Partied
The rest of my evening was dedicated to the launch party at the Moxy, which was of course a one-off event, but they sure do know how to throw a party. With everything from waiters in PVC shorts to tattoos and a bondage room (yep) upstairs, I feel like the Moxy really showed off its club culture influences and liberal attitude.
I dipped out of the party for a little while to see a pal and watch punk band Diät play a rowdy hometown show at a space called Urban Spree. Whenever I travel I always try to make it to a gig; do some research via Facebook events and Songkick to find out what might be happening while you’re in Berlin.
My night ended in Schwuz, one of the city’s many massive gay clubs. I definitely had a drink and a dance and was very glad of the 24/7 food on returning to Moxy in the early hours. I’m dying to go back to Berlin, and for a little longer this time ~ bis später, Berlin!