Updated on January 18, 2020
Last year I decided to make a post showing you all of the fashion I was loving in each month. I thought why not make this a yearly thing, I know it is 19 days late and my first blog post since September but better late than never! It really doesn’t feel like 2 minutes since I last wrote a post like this, but equally a lot has been going on this year so hopefully this post (a long with a few more that I have planned) will give you a much needed update! Stick around until the end to check out a widget with all of the products or similar ideas. * Affiliate Links
My year started off with a rejection letter from Oxford, which was devastating to say the least. Just a day later I was on my way to Berlin with my classmates.This of course meant wrapping up warm! Northern Germany in January is very very cold. I was still obsessed with my Sainsbury’s TU coat that you will have seen making an appearance all of last year and all over instagram, with my trusty red hat, scarf and gloves and combo. Berlin was definitely one of the highlights of my year!
February was the first time I ever visited Durham University which is where I am currently living and will be living for the next 3/4 years! My typical outfit was pretty much the same, consisting of my red scarf and my trusty winter jacket. In February I also went to an exhibition about the moon in Preston which was pretty cool and I wore this comfy t-shirt and black jeans. I was definitely prioritising comfort over fashion in this instance with mock exams looming, but I quite liked the outfit nonetheless. I had also just bought these new Puma shoes which have rose gold toe caps which were so comfy. As they are slightly platformed they are also great for those of you like me who are vertically challenged.
March was a big month for me on my blog as I landed my biggest collaboration to date with UNiDAYS which you can read about if you fancy!! V proud of it, in case you didn’t know haha! As part of the collab I took my Mum out for a mother’s day afternoon tea and my pink phase was still in full force. I was loving this flowery top and pink cardigan. The cardy was actually a charity shop steal that my mum picked up years ago and it has remained in my wardrobe since. Pink is really in fashion you know!
April meant the beginning of A-Levels starting with speaking exams for French and German. Unfortunately, they ended up in the same week but what can you do?!? I was prioritising comfort over fashion in this period of exam preparation but thanks to global warming it was actually quite warm so I cracked out my new Birkenstocks. Yes, they are pricey but definitely the best purchase I have ever made! In April I also got a new pair of mom jeans which were SO comfortable. They were from the kids section in New Look, we love cheaper clothes, and they were the perfect height for once! I just paired this outfit with a burgundy cardigan and a white t-shirt so it is easily recreated
In May exam season was fully upon us and my new found love for mom jeans was still around. In order to jazz up an ordinarily simple outfit I paired the jeans with a stripy shirt. I love this shirt but my goodness is it such a pain to iron. The blue tones are also so much fun, and I definitely felt like Beverly Goldberg in this outfit. It is honestly so 80s yet so chic if I do say so myself. Again this is a mega cheap outfit and is easily reinterpreted. I also left sixth form and began my monstrous 3 month holiday, which was so bitter sweet.
June marked my very first ‘parentless’ trip. My best friend and I headed to Copenhagen and Malmo for a 5 day getaway. Of course I had to crack out the cute lil summer dresses, but by far my favourite was this pink number. It is made from a really light crepe material which meant it was super light during the dreaded European summer heatwave. It also had a cute little waist tie and made for the perfect addition to an already pretty perfect dress. I wore my Birkenstocks the whole trip and managed to get Birkenstock shaped tan lines on my feet which was obviously so much fun! June was also the month that I cut my hair much shorter which I’m still loving 6 months on.
July was of course the inaugural interrail trip across Europe! This meant again a lot of comfort over fashion and a lot of summer dresses. I spent a lot of the holiday in my classic oversized Harvard hoodie, available at a Boston Logan Airport near you and of course my fat backpack in true interrail style. I lived in leggings almost the entire 12 days as who wants bare legs on itchy train seats. The trip was so much fun and of course there is lots of content up on my blog from everywhere that we visited! Shock horror but I wore exclusively Birkenstocks for the entire trip which were unbeatable.
In August, it was finally my turn to celebrate my 18th Birthday. In true fashion blogger style, I bought several new outfits and milked by birthday for all it was worth. My first outfit that I wore out for lunch in Liverpool on my actually birthday. I bought this cute little tie up top from Glamorous in the Trafford Centre for only £8 which I think is such a steal for the quality and the use I have had out of this top since. I just paired the top with my trusty light wash F&F jeans and some espadrilles. My pink suede biker jacket also added a nice little layer. As for the weekend celebrations and my first proper night out, I wore a cute little navy jumpsuit!
In September I was enjoying my last month at home before university and if you follow me on instagram you will have seen my 10p train ticket voyages across the North West. I was loving my green pleated skirt which I paired with my trusted black fluted sleeve t-shirt and puma trainers. I even wore this combo on my little excursion with Erin (aka the biggest blog crossover you have all been waiting for). Of course as we got further into September, it got colder and colder, so that meant that I had to adapt the outfit with a pair of tights to keep me warm.
October was the start of a new era for me as I began my degree at Durham University. This October outfit is my matriculation outfit. It is by far my cheapest outfit and I’m v proud of how good it looked. The dotted shirt costed only £1 in the H&M sale and the skirt was originally from Boden but I got it for £2.50 in TK Maxx bringing the thus far total to a whole £3.50, yes you heard that right. That’s cheaper than most alcoholic beverages in our countries capital and only 50p more expensive than a Tesco meal deal. The gown is courtesy of Durham University (not spons) but unfortunately is only available to those enrolled, sad reacts only. Tres in fashion.
November marked our first college ball in Durham. It was Ladies’ Night, where you guessed it, the ladies asked the men. My date was a fashion diva and said I had to wear a dress that matched his bowtie. That meant dress shopping for me! I bought this lovely burgundy coloured dress with a tight pleated skirt. The dress was beautiful. I just wore it with some simple gold jewellery and a some nude heels, my feet still haven’t recovered! The day before I also bagged this pearl bag for only £1 in Primark.
Finally, December! I had 4 weeks off over Christmas which was a well needed break after 10 weeks of hard work. I was also still dying of freshers flu at this point. My outfit for December is this long skirt from Next, it was only £4 from the Next outlet. It has cute little hearts. I paired it with a simple black top which was gifted from Femme Luxe Finery. I wore this on Christmas Day, you know, when you dress up to sit on the sofa and watch TV.
Updated on September 26, 2019
Austria, Austria, Austria!!! What can I say, it really was the hidden gem of our interrail trip and has left me wanting more. Having lived literally on the Austrian Border I can’t believe that I barely appreciated the beauty of this country. Our first taste of Austria was just a day trip. En route from Munich to Vienna, we decided to stop off in Salzburg and gosh were we pleased!
The train from Munich to Salzburg is not long, which makes it an ideal day trip from Bavaria. Watching out of the window as the German/Austrian countryside whizzes past made this journey one of the more relaxing ones. The journey goes by so quickly that when we arrived in Salzburg, it took Sarah at least 15 minutes to realise that we were no longer in Germany!
Surprise surprise, we turned up without a plan. We soon found out that one of the best things to see in Salzburg is the Mirabell Gardens. I’m sure that you will have noticed a theme in the sorts of places we visited which mainly revolved around gardens (e.g Amsterdam & Munich). Unfortunately our day in Salzburg wasn’t blessed with typical Austrian sunshine, instead we were met with showers. Despite this, the gardens really didn’t disappoint. There is a huge expanse of greenery to enjoy and some interesting fountains. This is however a tourist hot spot so if you are looking for the perfect instagram shot, avoid this area! The gardens also boast a cool looking house and an indoor arboretum which is on the smaller side but offers much needed shelter. We probably spent at least 45 minutes here before heading out further into the city.
As the classical music junkie that I am, we couldn’t not go to Mozarts House. During certain times of the year it is in fact possible to go inside, but we didn’t have chance. It was interesting to look at the outside and read about his life on the plaque attached to his house. The fact that we were standing outside of the building where some of the world’s best music was created was also very surreal. I’m sure many of you know that Salzburg is a very musical city and it in fact where the Sound of Music was filmed, so visiting at least one musical attraction is a must. The city also offers Sound of Music film tours where you can see exactly where everything was filmed.
From there we popped into a little cafe to grab something to eat and decide what we wanted to do next! After extensive googling I have found the place we went which was called Bäckerei Cafe Fuchshofer . The range of Austrian pastries and good coffee made it felt authentically Salzburg. We did however enjoy a little bit of family drama as a mum was telling off her son for not studying hard enough right there in the cafe. Who doesn’t love cake and drama?!?
Scenery & Top Places to See
After a quick little sit down we headed for a walk around the city. I think that Salzburg might be the best place I have been to ever? maybe just! It was so quaint and all of the locals were so friendly. If we had had more time I would have spent much longer here! Places worth visiting are the castle, the Lindor chocolate shop (why not!) and the Eisgrotte. Walking over the lock bridge is also good fun, and reading all of the messages on the locks is interesting too. Salzburg is situated on the Danube river and is just inside of the Alps which means the views are just insane.
I’m going on the record now to say that I really want to do my year abroad in Austria for definite if no Salzburg exactly. Bold comment I know, but I hope that shows how much of an impact the place had on me!
Updated on September 26, 2019
On an interrailing trip heading east, a stop in south Germany is a must and what better place than Munich. Munich is the capital of Bavaria and known for its traditional German feel and of course Oktoberfest. As 2 German students travelling Europe it only made sense that we stopped in Munich on our path across Europe.
Planning & Accomodation
Munich was the longest we stayed in one place. We did this because we knew we wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle which is a bit further out of Munich. We arrived in Munich late after a relaxing journey from Hannover. This was our first introduction to the Deutsche Bahn which we unfortunately became very well acquainted with during our stay in south Germany. If you need to be anywhere on time, don’t travel with Deutsche Bahn! Our train left Hannover 45 minutes late. They did have a bar on board so of course, being 17 at the time and enjoying Germany’s slack drinking laws, I had to get a beer! We stayed at the A&O Hostel next to Munich Hauptbahnhof which was pretty well located and the room was amazing. It was more like an apartment and we even had a balcony!
Transport & U-Bahn
The next morning we headed into the centre of Munich for a day of sightseeing. We used the U-Bahn in Munich which was relatively easy as all of the main lines go through the same stations? Makes no sense to me but I’m not complaining. A ticket for the day is around €8. My phone didn’t recognise Munich transport, so I just used the map to navigate us which worked out pretty well. Munich main train station is absolutely huge too, we got breakfast here every day and ate at different places every time. The Schokocroissants from the stands by the platforms are the best though!
Marienplatz & Rathaus
We headed for Marienplatz which is the main city centre stop in Munich. Of course I had to buy a huge punnet of south German strawberries to snack on all morning. Our first stop was the New Town Hall, mainly because of the viewing platform! It costs a few euros to go up, it’s worth it for the nice view of Munich and the breeze . After that we spent a some time just looking around the town hall which was so cute and typically German. There is also a restaurant near by which serves traditional Bavarian dishes, but we held out until dinner time for some proper German culture.
Englisch Garten & Cycle Hire
From there we went to the Englisch Garten, which is easy to remember as an English person! We hired some bikes and rode around the park. Although I’m sure that in an hour we barely saw any of it. The gardens are huge and have little cafes dotted around them, including the one where you can rent bikes from. Inside the garden there is a river which hosts some cool looking surfing, who knew you could surf in Bavaria? Not me!! There is also a lake in the middle which was nice to sit by and watch the ducks. The gardens go on for miles and have so many different entrances and exits. You could honestly box off a whole day to spend here!
Olympic Park & Shopping
After we returned the bikes, we decided to exploit our underground tickets even more and headed for the Olympic Park. We got there quite late at around 5/6pm and we were virtually the only ones there. You pay an entrance fee of a couple of euros and get to spend as much time as you like walking around the park and seeing where the Olympics took place in 1972. There are also lots of gardens around the park that you can explore if you want. Fair warning that it is quite a walk from the closest underground station, which we ended up doing in the rain in Birkenstocks and summer dresses. There is also a big shopping centre right by the olympic park, so I bought a new outfit for our “night out” in Munich.
Hofbräuhaus & Nightlife
We headed back to the hostel to freshen up before heading back out to enjoy some Munich nightlife. As we both enjoyed our trip to the Hofbräuhaus in Berlin in January, it only felt right to go back but this time to the original one in Munich. On a Thursday night it was absolutely packed, but it is a tourist hotspot, so bare this in mind. The Hofbräuhaus is just a traditional German beer hall with live music, Bavarian food and of course good beer. After that we had wanted to try some German night clubs, but unfortunately none were open at 11pm on a Thursday, but we did stumble across a cool bar with a DJ. After some extensive googling the name of the bar is Heart Restaurant and Bar in Munich. I can highly recommend the Aperol Spritz but at €8.90 it’s certainly not budget friendly.
Neuschwanstein & Füssen
The next morning we got up nice and early and got the Flixbus to Neuschwanstein Castle to have a look around. We turned up again, in our summer dresses, kagouls and birkenstocks (to be fair that’s all we packed!) to be greeted with wind and rain as we trekked up to the top of the hill where the castle was. Although we did look quite out of place next to everyone who brought walking poles and salopettes. Anyway we made it to the castle and had a quick look inside. There isn’t much to do in Neuschwanstein in Schwangau itself so we ended up going down to Füssen where we were actually getting the train back from. We had a look around the shops but the weather was just so bad we ended up sheltering in doors as much as possible.
Our plan was to head west to Bodensee to meet my Aunt and Uncle for dinner as I hadn’t seen them in 4 years. We jumped on a train through the Ällgau which is single track trainlines??? And ended up being late for our connection across to Lindau. We were told that the train was waiting and when we turned up there was a train on the platform that we believed went to Lindau so we hopped on and an hour or so later ended up in completely the wrong place. So a couple of meltdowns later and a few phone calls home we managed to get back on the write train, we were just 1hr30 late for dinner oops! Thankfully we had a lovely dinner with lovely company and headed back on the Flixbus to Munich. Just writing that is bringing all the stress back ahhhhh!!
Well that was it for Munich, we checked out of the hotel and carried on towards Austria!
Updated on September 23, 2019
From Amsterdam we had planned to head straight to Munich. But as that is basically the full distance of Germany we decided it would be best to split the journey and have a day stop in another German city. Having both visited Berlin in January we chose a more western based city and finally decided on Hannover.
Planning & The Red Thread
It will come as a surprise to nobody that we did very little planning before we turned up in Hannover. On the train I did a quick search and found that Hannover Tourism office offers a self-guided tour around Hannover. Some of you may have seen my instagram post about Hannover and how I instantly felt at home in Germany even though I have lived in the UK for over 15 years. Anyway I headed straight to the tourism office to pick up a booklet so that we could get started on our tour.
Hannover Tourism & Language
The tour is called the Red Thread and is essentially a red painted line around the city with numbers on that tells you what sight you are at. The booklet costs €3 and give you information about all of the sights on the Red Thread. It was honestly such good value for money as you get to visit the city at your own pace. The lady in the tourism office was so lovely. I was also quite pleased with myself because she gave me the German booklet first and I had to ask for an English one! Subconscious huge compliment to my german skills! For any other German geeks like me out there Hannover speaks Hochdeutsch which means that you shouldn’t have any problems using the German you have learnt in school. But fear not, the booklet is available in a variety of languages.
We were stupid and decided to do the Red Thread backwards, I would NOT recommend this! We were a little bit confused by the map because of this and eventually gave up. The main tour takes a couple of hours, but there is a secondary tour that you can add on. If you are to do this then maybe spend a little bit longer in Hannover or split it over two days. Hannover is completely accessible by foot but we did notice great bus links across the city.
New Town Hall
Here are some of my top picks from the Red Thread if you don’t have enough time to complete it. Top of the list is the New Town Hall. If you are asking directions you need to ask for Das Neue Rathaus. This structure is probably what Hannover is most famous for and when you google pictures this is what is likely to appear. The Rathaus is relatively close to the train station so worth a look. I believe at certain times of the year you can also go inside which would be amazing. Something for me to definitely go back for. There are also some cute little fountains outside, which attract many picnickers. Perhaps this would be a good spot for lunch!
Another place worth visiting is the Leibniz House. Unfortunately no Leibniz biscuits were to be seen! His house is a good representation of a traditional German house and there is lots of interesting historical information about Leibniz and his role in the Hannovarian courts. We were lucky enough to listen in on a tour guide giving a speech about this building. Anyway it’s another good spot for a photograph.
From there you can head to the Innenstadt area. The streets of Hannover are incredibly cute and apparently this is the best place to try a German beer in Hannover. There is a huge variety of pubs, bars and cafes for you to browse at your own leisure but if you have a little longer in Hannover why not try some traditional Lower Saxony food? I have heard that seafood is especially popular in this area of Germany.
The Market Church
The Market church is also a good stop in the city of Hannover, even if you aren’t religious. The architecture is really something to be admired. Inside there is a huge organ, probably one of the biggest I have ever seen. Thankfully the church allows anyone in almost irregardless of dress. I was wearing an above the knee skirt and was worried that because of this I wouldn’t be allowed inside. It is definitely not as strict as it was in Paris!
Those are my top picks from the Red Thread. Although I would recommend sticking to the map if you are on a strict time limit, it is also lots of fun to divert from the path slightly and just have fun exploring this North German city. The people of Hannover were on the whole also really helpful and tolerant of foreigners.
Updated on September 23, 2019
Amsterdam has become a popular post a-level holiday destination. As we were in fact both on holiday and of the post a-Level variety we decided it was only right to add the Netherlands to our route around Europe.
Unfortunately as you may have read in my Brussels post, there were no seats left on the Thalys service from Paris to Amsterdam. This meant that we were effectively slumming it on the regular national train across the Dutch, Belgian border. When I say slumming it I mean it was not on the same level as Thalys but equally it is no northern rail, she types in the waiting area of Hebden Bridge train station waiting for, you guessed it, a cancelled northern rail service! Anyway it took us around 4 hours, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
We arrived in Amsterdam at around 21.00 after a quick change in Rotterdam and headed for our hostel. We were a bit concerned by our hostel to begin with as it looked little more than a glamourised Chinese take away. But once we headed upstairs it was more than suitable. This was the first time that we were staying in shared accommodation on our trip. At first we worried because our roommates seemed shy and unfriendly but by the second night we were chatting to some nice girls from Austria. We stayed at Hostel the Globe in Amsterdam Central and it was perfectly located and provided pretty much everything we needed.
Having already eaten, we had a wander along the street we were staying on and headed to bed. The next morning, we woke up early and headed out to find something to eat. Our meals generally consisted of supermarket croissants and a piece of fruit. That’s what it’s like on a budget ladies and gentlemen! Amsterdam was one of the first places where we were genuinely at a loss as to what to do. We weren’t interested in then ‘local’ activities if you know what I mean and equally the museums were out of budget.
Eventually after wandering around a little, (word of warning Amsterdam doesn’t wake up until late, which is not great when you’re a morning person like me), we decided to go on a river cruise. Much like Copenhagen, Amsterdam is a harbour city and has a network of rivers and canals. We concluded that this would be the best way to orientate ourselves and pinpoint some of the things we would like to see! The boat tour really didn’t disappoint. The tour was in German so we got some practice in before we headed to Germany and Austria next.
Cycling & Vondel Park
From there we decided to rent bicycles because when in Holland. That became our mode of transport for the day. We paid €16 each which is dearer than the tram, but for the flexibility and enjoyment it was worth it. Cycling in the Netherlands is also incredibly easy because of all of the bike lanes. Our first port of call was Vondel Park where we spent the the morning chilling. We also grabbed a bite to eat in the cafe in the park which does THE best pizza! A well needed rest after a busy couple of days exploring Paris and Brussels. After that we cycled over to the flower market, which unfortunately had no real tulips but did have some fake ones. I also managed to buy a book in an English language book shop, as I had forgotten mine!
The bikes came in handy over the course of the day as we cycled here, there and everywhere. Our next stop was Anne Frank’s house. We didn’t go in mainly because you have to book well in advance. But also because of my crippling claustrophobia. At least we can say we have seen it and maybe that’s one for next time. After a long day of cycling, we decided to head to Wagamama’s as a nice treat. Amsterdam is full of cute little places but we were really craving some veggies. It was also quite entertaining watching Sarah attempt to use chopsticks!
Ferry & Noord Amsterdam
After dinner we stocked up on some little snacks for the hostel and took the ferry across to Noord Amsterdam. This was honestly one of the highlights of Amsterdam for me. The ferry is completely free and takes less than 5 minutes. From the other side there is a viewing platform with swings that hang over the edge that you can try! Not for the faint hearted, or those on a budget because the tickets were on the pricier side. Other than that there are cute bars and cafes to enjoy and even just sitting on the harbour is nice. I dropped my earring sitting on the bridge so if I have any Dutch followers and a cute little star earring washes up please let me know! We watched the sunset from there and waited until it was dark before heading back to the hostel to freshen up.
Red Light District
We quickly got changed and headed out to experience the red light district. Every site tells you that this is not a tourist attraction, but if we are honest you can’t go to Amsterdam and not even have a look. If anything it was cultural experience gathering. We grabbed some Dutch chips and sat by the canal. Our hostel was actually at the end of the street where all of the red light district activities take place so our walk back was relatively easy.
Our stop in Amsterdam was definitely the most chilled stop on our interrail trip. If I am totally honest it was slightly underwhelming just because of how much people hype up the city. Amsterdam is a nice city break and excludes the hustle and bustle of mega cities like Paris, London and NYC, which meant it was a welcomed break.
Updated on September 8, 2019
Jumpsuits are really tricky to get right. They have to cling to the right places and be baggy in the right places. Often it’s difficult to find a jumpsuit that will be flattering, but when you do, it feels amazing. Jumpsuits have a lot of leg work to do, considering they are just one piece of fabric. So here’s how I wore this navy jumpsuit I picked up at TK Maxx.
At first the tiny wee straps really scared me as it meant a lot of skin would be on show. So I decided to build myself up to that. I first wore this at a meal out with my German class and it seemed like it was a hit. I wore it with a short white t-shirt, gold hoops and Birkenstocks. Because who doesn’t love a good pair of Birkenstocks? I had planned to stay out after the meal and go out with a few friends, so I reckon that I would have been fine getting into bars with this outfit. As fate should have it, I wasn’t feeling well and decided that heading home would be the best idea. But I still felt hella cute at the meal.
I bought this jumpsuit from TK Maxx and it was more on the pricey side for what I usually spend on clothes. I paid £20 for it, but for cost per wear it is so worth it. The jumpsuit is made out of a linen kind of material which means it has a tendency to get quite wrinkly but that just adds to the effect. Best thing is that it is so easy to iron! I know I’m getting old when I buy clothes based on how easy they are to wash and iron. It has a cute little tie around the waist which means it is simple to get the desire shape from the jumpsuit.
The jumpsuit also came with me on our trip to Copenhagen. I have to say that it packed really well, even though I forgot the tie around the middle! This was when I finally plucked up enough courage to wear it without a top underneath. It was also way too hot to wear with a t-shirt. The jumpsuit is so light and because the trouser legs are wide and flowy it doesn’t get too hot. You can style this with a cute little necklace because the neckline is so bold. You can also style this up or down with heels or flats for a day or night time look.
Updated on September 4, 2019
During our Interrailing trip, our stop in Brussels became a happy accident. Due to leaving train reservations way too late, we were unable to reserve a fast train directly from Paris to Amsterdam. In order to avoid an 8 hour train journey with multiple stops we decided to book a Thalys train to Brussels and carry on to Amsterdam later in the day. This at first seemed incredibly tedious, but it ended up being so worth it.
Train Travel with Thalys/ Baggage in Brussels Station
We arrived in Brussels refreshed after having spent the past hour or so aboard the Thalys service. I wish I had taken more pictures of the train, and not an embarrassing video I sent to my parents. It was so luxurious, we had huge red velvet like seats with spacious leg room and a generous tray table. I have honestly flown long haul in more uncomfortable seats. Leaving the train was sort of bittersweet. Knowing we would be slumming it later on a train, but at least we had a few hours in Brussels before we had to worry about that.
Our first port of call was to find somewhere for our big backpacks, thankfully Brussels station offers rental lockers which housed our bags for a few hours whilst we explored. Shockingly, we did do a little bit of research before we arrived in our second country. We knew we wanted to visit Mini Europe and the Atomium. Visiting these monuments has been a childhood dream after seeing both on a documentary. We grabbed some metro tickets, (fair warning that the Brussels metro system is relatively simple but finding ticket machines proves difficult), and headed across the city.
The Atomium & Mini Europe
Thankfully you can purchase a ticket for both attractions at once which saves standing in queues. And again thankfully for me, French is spoken in Brussels which simplified everything greatly. Once we had bought our tickets, we headed straight for the Atomium, where we were greeted by Tin Tin before heading up on a lift straight to the top. The views over Brussels and Mini Europe are just insane and there is even a restaurant at the top. From there we headed back down in the lift and explored more of the ‘atoms’ by escalator. Inside each ‘atom’ there are a variety of exhibitions and in one there was even a cool music concert. This was honestly such a surreal experience for me, having dreamt about visiting this monument.
From there we headed for a walk around Mini Europe. If you are unaware of the concept, you essentially walk around a park of some of Europe’s most famous monuments, except they’re in miniature version. We enjoyed a small taste of culture from almost every country in Europe, minus the expensive air fares. It was interesting to see monuments from places we had already visited and places we were yet to see. This only served to excite us for the rest of our journey around Europe. It really was a dream come true, as geeky as that sounds. When I realised that our quick pit stop in Brussels would allow us enough time, I was incredibly excited.
Grand-Place de Bruxelles
After finishing our small trip around Europe, we metroed (have I just coined a verb?) back into the city, of course not before buying a Belgian waffle, to soak up as much as we could before we had to jump on a train to the Netherlands. We got off the metro to take a look around the main square, which was just incredible. The architecture is insane. It was at this point for the second time this trip, that I swore to do my year-abroad in Brussels. Coincidentally there was a Japanese dancing performance starting as we arrived that we managed to catch before heading off.
I really could have spent days more in Brussels absorbing as much Belgian culture as possible. It was so lovely to have the opportunity to spend some time in Brussels, if only for a few hours. I have in fact been to Belgium before, I visited Ypres on a school trip, but I had never had the pleasure of visiting Belgium’s capital city until now.
Updated on September 3, 2019
Paris was the first official stop on our interrailing journey across Europe, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Despite both my friend and I having already been to Paris, it felt only right to make the city of lights the first place on our trip. Having also just finished A-Level French it felt right to be able to put my language skills to good use.
First Night in Paris/ Where to Eat and Sleep
We arrived at the Gare du Nord late on Saturday night, and made what felt like the monstrous trip to the 14th Arrondisement. We stayed at FIAP Jean Monnet. Transport in Paris is easy with decent metro links and bus links. From the Gard du Nord we bought a Carnet of 10 metro tickets which cost 14,95 each. In hindsight it probably would have been easier to one between us. These tickets allow you on all of the transport in Paris. We spent our first night in Paris at an Italian restaurant, eating giant pizzas and relaxing. One thing to keep in mind is that the French eat incredibly late. Normal dinner time for me is 7/8pm but in France add at least another 2 if not 3 hours . That meant that when we headed out for something to eat at 11pm, so did all of Paris.
The next morning we woke up relatively early to 37 degree heat! We put on our best Parisian dresses and headed down to a breakfast of french pastries and hot drinks. We then headed for the Notre Dame with was just two tube stops away. It was heartbreaking to see the condition it is in. But at the end of the day it is a building and thankfully these things can be mended. As it was a Sunday morning, Paris was pretty quiet as most people were enjoying a lie in or at church. We did try to see one church but unfortunately they said they we weren’t dressed appropriately.
From there we headed for a walk along the Seine, at this time of the morning you honestly wouldn’t believe that it is a capital city as it was so quiet. The perks of visiting on a Sunday I guess. We wanted to walk to the Eiffel Tour which was an hour away but it was honestly just too hot. Along our way we genuinely stumbled across the Louvre. So of course we had to check it out. Thankfully with our UK ID access into the museum is free. This is the same for anyone living in an EU Country.
So we perused the art for a little while and of course made a bee line for the Mona Lisa or as the French call it, La Jaconde. The Mona Lisa is apparently one of the most underwhelming tourist attraction. I was in all honesty quite impressed. It is very British of me to complain of the lack of queuing to get a photo, but the system (if you can call it that) is not particularly useful. Be prepared to wait ages to get to the front of the crowd. You will also impatiently wait for tourists taking hundreds of selfies, to snap that coveted shot. We enjoyed views from the roof top cafe, where we split a biscuit because the prices certainly weren’t budget friendly.
After that we checked out a fun fair that had popped up in Paris and boasted some cool rides. As we had no time for EuroDisney, this was a great alternative! We went on the chairs and enjoyed fantastic views over Paris, including a shot of the Eiffel Tower. The rides are just situated in front of the Tuileries Garden. After we had nearly thrown up our lunch in the amusement park, we took the opportunity to relax in the gardens. At this point in the day, the heat was stifling. We indulged in a little bit of “influencer watching”, where we watched everyone try and get that perfect instagram shot (I am guilty of this). The Gardens also have a brilliant view of the Eiffel Tower. If you are after some tourist free shots then head here. I managed to get a cheeky selfie with the quintessentially Parisian monument.
We then decided to head for a walk along the Champs-Elysees, and much to our surprise we were met with a huge South American/Latin American festival. This made the mile walk along Paris’ most famous shopping street much easier. After our long walk along the street, we were greeted by the Arc de Triomphe. You really have to be there to understand the complexity and beauty of this monument. The city was bustling at this point in the day which was a huge contrast to when we first left. Watching the Bastille Day celebrations being organised was fun, even though we knew we wouldn’t be there to see it.
The Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre
From there we used the metro, as our legs were tired and we headed towards Sacre-Coeur. Although this was my 3rd or 4th time in Paris, this was one thing I was yet to see. The stairs all the way up are intense and particularly so during a European heatwave. Sweaty and out of breath, we made it to the top and enjoyed the views over Paris and Montmartre. After an exhausting walk up to the top, we decided to get the cable car back down. Thankfully the car uses the same tickets as the metro, so we were able to hop on using one ticket from our carnet. After that we wandered through the streets of Montmartre and enjoyed how cute every house looked before settling down for a well deserved crepe. There is also plenty of street artists in this area to watch and buy from.
Moulin Rouge/ The Eiffel Tower
On our way back to the hostel we checked out the Moulin Rouge, which was certainly interesting. We ultimately decided to head back and freshen up and grab a bite to eat before attempting to see the Eiffel Tower by night. At around 9pm we headed back out to visit the tower and due to metro and bus delays it took us until almost 10pm to reach the tower. By this time we were both incredibly tired and were less bothered about going up and instead decided to admire the view and get to bed.
Our full day in Paris was jam packed but a fabulous start to our trip nonetheless. As for logistics, Paris was definitely one of the most expensive stops on our route. Due to french hostel laws, unaccompanied minors are not permitted to stay in dorm rooms whatsoever, which meant we had to book a double room. I had stayed at this hostel before and knew that it was of a good standard, so happily booked again. Food prices in Paris are high, as is to be expected for the French capital city but I would say that on the whole portion sizes were decent and the food was incredible.
Updated on September 3, 2019
Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city, and since 2000 it is arguably the most accessible place in Sweden for visitors from mainland Europe. Thanks to the Oresund Bridge, connecting Denmark and Sweden, Malmö has certainly become quite the tourist destination. Whether passing by on your way further North in Sweden, or simply as a day trip from Copenhagen, here is everything you need to know about the city of Malmö.
Accessibility and Transport Links
As I have already touched on, Malmö is easily accessible from Copenhagen via the Oresund Bridge which boasts car and rail links. By far the cheapest and most interesting way to cross the border is by bus. Remember to bring your passport, as we learnt the hard way! We booked a Flixbus leaving early morning and were safely back in Denmark by tea time. The inspiration for our trip was most definitely my eagerness to cross the bridge after watching a discovery channel documentary detailing its construction. What awaited us in Sweden was merely an added bonus. The journey takes roughly an hour and is relatively comfortable so is a good opportunity for a nap!
Perhaps foolishly, I was overwhelmed with the excitement of crossing the bridge (I’m a geek, I know!) and didn’t do an extensive amount of research on the town and so we turned up in Sweden with few ideas as to how we could pass the day. Our first instinct was to get our bearings. We strolled up to the Castle for a look around the museum and aquarium which was exciting. This is quite a lengthy walk, which we did twice (keep reading to find out why), but it was definitely worth it. Upon our arrival we saw that citizens of the EU under the age of 19 got into the exhibition for free. Much like Denmark, Sweden uses its own currency, which meant we had to get to grips with yet another krone of some description. Thankfully Sweden isn’t as pricey as Denmark, but it is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. The exhibition at the time was about sustainability in day to day life which suited us really well. It was so lovely and we even managed to speak to some Swedish school pupils!
Malmö City Walking Tour
From there we headed back into the inner city for a bite to eat before starting a three hour walking tour of the city. Our guide was so informative and we learnt lots about the history of Sweden and modern day traditions. One thing I am definitely on board with is Swedish concept of “Fika”. During the day the Swedes take a bit of time out to indulge in a pastry and a coffee. It is so serious that some Swedish people even switch off all forms of technology. Does anyone else also really want Fika to catch on in the UK? Fika literally translates as “to have coffee” but it has grown to become more of a way of life. This may also explain the abundance of coffee shops on every corner in Malmö!
On the walking tour we had explored the botanical gardens, the streets of Malmö and the Turning Torso. Our tour guide also took us back to the castle for a fab view of the Turning Torso. Unfortunately it is just offices and residential flats with no viewing tower but it is a sight worth seeing. I really couldn’t recommend the walking tour enough. We used Malmö Walking Tours, which was entirely free, but tips were welcomed. This took up the bulk of our day and so it was a cheap day out in Sweden. Due to the range of nationalities on our tour, including two fellow brits and two Germans I enjoyed chatting to some of the others and of course practising my German (Sorry Tasha!).
After we parted ways, we had only an hour before it was time to catch the bus back to Denmark. So we took the opportunity to have a look around the shops. We also needed a little sit down after over 3 hours walking in 30 degree heat! My inner fashion blogger was keen to check out H&M as after all it is a Swedish brand. Swedish H&M certainly exceeded my expectations. So we perused the shops for a while before grabbing an ice cream and a drink. Of course I had to eat Swedish Glace ice cream in Sweden, it would have been wrong not to!
Our day trip to Sweden was so much fun. I’m not sure I would spend longer than a day in Malmö but it was a good taste of Sweden. Sweden made my 3rd Scandinavian country and really just ignited my love of nordic countries. I will definitely be back in Sweden and hopefully sooner rather than later!
Updated on September 3, 2019
Copenhagen is a must- see travel destination for everyone from art history geeks, fashion fanatics to adrenaline junkies. Located a stone’s throw from the sea, Copenhagen feels less like a capital city and more like a seaside resort. In June my friend and I embarked on a 4 day trip to my second (…and maybe favourite?!?!) Scandinavian country, and here’s my best picks of things to see and do in Denmark’s capital city.
Before we get into the rest of the post, I would highly recommend getting a Copenhagen Card. The card can be purchased in advance which means it is perfect for budgeting. You have the choice of getting this digitally or in card form. The card entitles you to free transport as well as free entry into all of the attractions in the city. There is a calculator on the website which select attractions and tell you how much money you could save . For us the total figure was in the region of €200 each.
Day 1 Canal Tour/ Church of Our Saviour/ Christiania/ Botanical Gardens/ Tivoli Gardens
We started our first official day in Copenhagen with a canal tour. Copenhagen is located above an extensive canal/river network that provides the bases of transport systems around the city. We decided that a canal tour would be the best way to start the trip. It highlighted some places that we would be keen to visit. Thankfully, the tour was in English and our tour guide imparted onto us so much useful information regarding Copenhagen’s history. Not to mention, the canal tour was extremely relaxing and a great way to start a busy day.
From the canal tour, we continued our sightseeing around Copenhagen mainly on foot. We headed for the Church of Our Saviour which has a viewing platform and a staircase wrapped around the spire. This provided us with panoramic views of the city and even across into neighbouring Sweden. It is safe to say that after in the region of 500 steps our legs were definitely burning but for such a wonderful view of the city, the extreme exercise was worth it.
After that we carried on in the direction of Christiania, a free town in Copenhagen. The town is a former military base. Today the “town” has no rules and so cannabis smoking dominates the settlement. It is an eye opening experience and an opportunity to buy some interesting souvenirs. We didn’t stay for long, but the town goes on for miles. I would block off a few hours in your day to explore if this is something that appeals to you.
We decided to take advantage of our Copenhagen Cards and we took the bus to the Danish Botanical Gardens. These gardens are immense. My inner plant geek was well and truly satisfied with the array of plants in the gardens surrounding. After a busy morning we took this opportunity to indulge in some down time and we sat by the ponds and relaxed under the warm Scandinavian sun. The Copenhagen Card grants access inside the main area of the Botanical Gardens but due to commitments later in the day, we unfortunately didn’t have time to go inside.
After enjoying some lunch at Tivoli Garden’s food hall we decided to head back to the gardens to try out some of the rides and catch the live music. The Copenhagen Card allows you into the gardens but in order to go on any of the rides, you have to buy tickets, which are fairly expensive. Because you can’t go to Tivoli and not go on any rides we bought a couple of tickets each. We ultimately spent them on the Alpenhof ride (I would highly recommend!). Frequently throughout the week, Tivoli Gardens which is said to be the inspiration for Disneyland, hosts live music events. We sat in deck chairs soaking in some Danish music, drinking Danish beer, and eating some not-so-Danish supermarket snacks. It truly was the perfect ending to our first full day in Denmark.
Day 2 Day Trip to Sweden
Day 2 of our Scandinavian Holiday was actually not spent in Copenhagen, or in Denmark at all, but rather next door in Sweden. The reason behind this seemingly random excursion was mainly due to my enthusiasm to cross the Oresund Bridge after having watched a documentary about its construction. So we booked a Flixbus and off we went. I think I will do a separate post about what to do in Malmo for a day. Much to our surprise there was in fact plenty to see.
Day 3 The Little Mermaid/ Ofelia Plads/ Amalienborg Palace/ Round Tower/ Rosenborg Castle
We started our penultimate day in Copenhagen with a long walk north towards the Little Mermaid. During the Canal Tour we saw the statue, but we wanted to get the iconic Little Mermaid picture. This icon is absolutely flooded with tourists so I would recommend getting there early. I imagine it would look beautiful in front of a sunrise. I know this is a very British thing to complain about, but there is a distinct lack of a queuing system for getting a picture with the statue, so prepare to have to use your elbows! There are also little food trucks alongside that sell coffee, cake and even Prosecco so if you don’t mind the crowds this a really picturesque spot of Copenhagen to relax in.
From there we headed towards the Ofelia Plads to relax before our tour of the Amalienborg Palace. This is one of the more local spots in Copenhagen, so if you fancy chatting to some Danes this is the place to do so. The Plads are effectively landing jetties that stick out into the harbour. You’ll find a great variety of restaurants and cafes to choose. We grabbed an ice cream and, just like the locals chilled out and caught some sun rays. Throughout the year the Plads are also home to live music events and art installations. One of the most famous is a collection of large lit up triangles, it looks better than it sounds!
After chilling out for a bit we went on a tour of the Amalienborg, the royal palace in Denmark. It felt right to book onto one of the tours of the Palace and see it in all its glory. The tour was relatively inexpensive in terms of Copenhagen prices and we learnt so much about the monarchy and the history Denmark. The day we visited was also the day that Denmark was getting a new Prime Minister so there were several camera crews. So perhaps we made it into the back of one of the shots, who knows! Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos inside the palace. But that just means that there is all the more reason so visit and see it for yourself.
Although we were pretty full from our sorbet on the Plads, our next stop was to grab something for lunch. We decided to see what’s on offer in the food hall of Magasin, which is effectively a Selfridges on steroids. After working up an appetite we went to the Bagel Company, which I describe as a subway for bagels. I had struggled to find Danish vegetarian food so I was over the moon to get some veggies inside me. The bagel was so yummy that when I got home I attempted to recreate what I had eaten. It was good but not nearly on the same standard as the Bagel Company in Copenhagen.
After lunch we decided to check out another view over the city at the Round Tower. As the name would suggest, this tower is round is shape and boasts no stairs. The view from the top was amazing. Unfortunately for our instagram feeds there is a huge fence that surrounds the viewing platform so it makes getting photos difficult but not impossible. If you only have time for one tower I would recommend the Church, as it’s taller and because the view is unobstructed.
From the top of the Round Tower we identified our next attraction, Rosenborg Castle. It has gardens that go on for miles and of course a big castle in the middle. After a busy morning we grabbed a few snacks from the local supermarket and chatted on the grass for a while. Naturally we had a little photo shoot.
In the evening we headed back to the hostel for some dinner and a few drinks at the bar.
Day 4 Christianborg/Town Hall/ Glypotet/ And home 🙁
Due to our flight time, we actually had lots of time in Copenhagen on our last day. So we left our baggage at the hostel, and headed out for the day. First stop was the Christianborg, which is the old palace in Denmark. There are kitchens, ruins and receptions to peruse. Again, we got in for free with our Copenhagen Cards and spent an hour or so looking around. Obviously, as a cooking enthusiast and a blogger the rose gold kitchens pleased me very much and we spent quite a bit of time here just looking at all of the pots and pans and trying on the uniform.
Our next stop was lunch. I had never been to The Hard Rock Cafe before, so we treated ourselves to a nice meal before heading back out in to the city to do some final bits of sightseeing. After we were well nourished once again we wandered across to the Town Hall, for you guessed it, another viewing platform. The views across the main square were amazing. We were lucky as they only allow guests up at certain times of the year, so check before you go!
Perhaps the only attraction we were yet to tick off was the Glyptotek. We wandered there and enjoyed the exhibitions and the roof top garden which had some great views over Tivoli Gardens. So we sat and chilled in the sun before heading back to collect our bags before our flight.
As for some of the logistics and travel information. We flew from Liverpool to Copenhagen with Ryanair. The base ticket is £14.99 each way and because of the length of time we were travelling for we also added a bag each. I went for the standard 10kg bag which added an extra £10 each leg. So all in the flights were approx £50. I was impressed with the service at both Liverpool airport and Copenhagen airport as the whole experience was incredibly stress free. We basically walked through security in both countries and had plenty of time to enjoy the airport before our flight. The flight time is roughly 1hr30 so not too long for those of you who don’t enjoy flying.
We stayed at Urban House Meininger, and I couldn’t recommend this hotel/hostel enough. We had to book a private room because I am under 18. The staff were incredibly helpful at check in and with anything we needed during our stay. It is also equipped with a lovely little bar and restaurant area, a beer garden, a TV room, board games area, a kitchen and dining room. The bar also hosts a happy hour every night which is two for one cocktails.
Copenhagen is very expensive. Just a word of warning. The flights are cheap but accommodation and food was on the pricier side. Denmark uses the Danish Krone which is tricky to get your head around as you end up dividing everything by 8.
In conclusion Copenhagen was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I would highly recommend a visit.