Travel With Me: Cologne, Germany

At the end of June, me and my boyfriend went to explore the city of Cologne. It’s actually taken me this long to write this post because I am still in denial about being home and back to reality.

I’ve been to Berlin but Cologne was never really a place that jumped out at me but oh my god I am so glad we decided to go as I have fallen in love. As I said, I have been to Berlin and I loved it but Cologne was extra special, from the little cobbled streets surrounded by bars to the padlock bridge stretching across the river, everywhere you turned there was something more to love.

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We arrived and went straight to the hotel to dump our luggage so we were free to explore. Obviously the first spot on our agenda was the cathedral which was so breath taking; I actually forgot the amount of times Jack and I said ‘It’s so big’, but it really was. We then had a little stroll towards the river and luckily found ourselves at the Lindt chocolate museum which was like stepping into Willy Wonker’s chocolate factory.

Day 2 was zoo day! Cologne is quite famous for its zoo so we couldn’t miss giving it a visit. After getting a little confused with the trains and contemplating a 50 minute walk, we soon arrived and I was like a child at Christmas. The whole day was perfect including the weather and the top highlight was seeing a racoon as I think they are adorable and one of my favourites. We finished the day off perfectly with dinner and a few drinks before an early night to recoup for the next day which was visiting the city of Bonn.

Like with Cologne, I didn’t have much expectations when it came to Bonn, but again I was very surprised with how beautiful it is. A city that was once the capital and the birthplace of Beethoven now holds a place in my heart. Bonn is full of little cobbled twists and turns and quirky bars and bistros and a Sephora that I had been excited for ever since we booked the trip.

Our last day was bittersweet; our flight wasn’t until 10pm so we had a full day but I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread and sadness knowing we were heading back to reality and eventually back to work. We did however make our last day the best it could be so we headed back to some of our favourite spots and visited a house that belonged to the Gestapo in WWII which had been covered into a museum – that was such an eye opening experience and I’m so glad we did it.

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I already can’t wait to go back to Cologne and the whole trip is definitely up there with one of my favourites.

– Hannah Xx

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The Travel Tag

I’m going away to Germany on Tuesday and have been in holiday mode since we booked it back in April, so what better post to get up than a good old fashioned tag.

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1. What’s the best place you’ve ever been to?

I have a few but the one place that sticks out the most is definitely New York, I could happily move there. That place has my heart.

2. Do you prefer going abroad or a staycation?

Both! I love going abroad and visiting new countries but there are still so many places in the UK that I would like to visit.

3. What are your fashion holiday essentials?

Depends on the trip, if it’s a city break then shoes are my number one essential, you need to be comfortable. But if it’s a beach holiday then probably swimming costumes, I am always in the pool.

4. Who’s your favourite person to go travelling with?

This will be my first holiday with my boyfriend so I’m sure he will become my favourite travel partner or my friends, as it would be a trip full of so much laughter and great memories.

5. What’s your favourite holiday memory?

One of my favourite trip memories is sitting in Central Park in NY with the sun shining through on ‘Strawberry Fields’ listening to a man play songs from The Beatles on his guitar and all these strangers gathering around to sing along. Such a beautiful sight.

6. If you could only go on holiday to one place for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

Probably Florida as I could live in Disneyworld forever!

7. Is there anywhere you’d avoid going?

Definitely not, I want to travel everywhere and anywhere.

8. Where was your first holiday?

My first holiday (I think) was to Walt Disney World in Florida.

9. Do you prefer relaxing or doing things on holiday?

A good mixture, I love days by the pool or at the beach but I definitely think if you’re spending money to visit a country, then you need to go out and explore it.

10. What are your beach bag essentials?

Suncream, headphones, a book, sunglasses and a big bottle of water.

11. Where are you travelling to next?

Germany and then Tenerife in September, how exciting!

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Where’s your next trip to?

-Hanah X

Christmas Traditions

I love this time of year, every cliché aspect of it; from cosy nights in with blankets, films and hot chocolate to wandering around Winter Wonderland in the freezing cold drinking copious amounts of mulled wine.

I was talking to my friends about the little things we do every Christmas time and it got me thinking about all of the traditions that I have.

Decorating The Tree

I’m a bit sad about this one this year because it’s now 9th December and I still haven’t put mine up yet but…

Decorating the tree is one of my favourite things to do; nothing beats having it lit up in the corner of the lounge while you sit watching ‘Elf’ for the gazillionth time. Our tree is alway full of different decorations which including little hand made ones me and my sister made and 4 snowflakes that represent the 4 of us. We never really have a colour scheme but I wouldn’t change it. Usually, mum and I will put on a Christmas film and get to work. Well I say work; mum puts the tree together and adds the lights; I just stand there and wait to unleash the decorations.

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Winter Wonderland

You know it’s Christmas time when Winter Wonderland opens in Hyde Park. I try to go at least once every year as it really gets me in the festive mood and it’s so much fun. I love looking around the market stalls at peoples hand made crafts, eating an unreal amount of food, drinking all the mulled wine and hot chocolate and going on the rides. It never fails to disappoint and I’m so excited to go next weekend with all of my favourite people.

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Christmas Eve

We have so many things that we do on Christmas Eve, which we have been doing since I was little. One of them is brand new pyjamas! Mum and Dad would always treat me and my sister to a new pair of holiday pjs and still to this day, it’s one of the things that I look forward to the most.

Usually, once I have had a Lush bath and go into said new pyjamas, it’s then time to get into bed and watch all the Christmas movies. Well, I say all the movies, it’s more like 1 before I fall asleep.

 

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Have you got any Christmas traditions?

– Hannah X

 

Makeup Revolution Halloween Party

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 🎃👻

Being the ultimate wuss, Halloween is one of my least favourite holidays (after Valentine’s Day) but of course I couldn’t turn down an invite to the best Halloween party of the year, Makeup Revolution’s Halloween party.

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Every year MUR, hold, hands down the best party and this year was no exception. The party was held at One in Marylebone and from the minute I arrived I knew it was going to be amazing. Upon arrival, me and my sister; Holly, we’re greeted with a choice of drinks from wine to special ‘Bloodtini’s’ and other cocktails. The room was full with all kinds of spooky decorations like coffins which displayed Halloween makeup on, to a long table full of spiders and pumpkins.

 

Upstairs led to the ‘Creepy Convent’ which was full of actors walking around scaring everyone. Honestly, I spent the first 10 minutes standing with my back to the wall because I was so scared, but it was actually so much fun.23030912_10155912893379244_732086262_o

The whole night was spent dancing and catching up with my sister who I don’t get to see nearly as much as I’d like to as she’s away at uni doing her Masters. It was great to also catch up with Sophie who I met at MUR’s birthday party earlier in the year.

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Thank you so much Makeup Revolution for inviting me; I had the best time and I already can’t wait for next years!

How did you celebrate Halloween this year?

-Hannah X

Hand Luggage Must Haves

Summer means one thing, holiday and as you’re reading this, I am on the way to Lanzarote with my best friends! I am the biggest over packer ever, (seriously, if you saw my case, you’d think I was going away for a month not a week) so I thought I’d share my hand luggage must haves.

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  1. Phone and Headphone

I get bored pretty quickly on flights so a good playlist and a few games to keep me entertained is a must – literally a child

2. Books

Holiday is pretty much the only time that I read so I always carry a book in my hand luggage

3. Money and Passport

The most important things!

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What are your hand luggage must haves?

-Hannah X

Lessons I’ve Learned from Travelling

One of my News Years resolutions is to travel more (on a side note, I finally have a holiday booked with my best friends! yay!) so when the lovely people GoEuro got in touch and asked if I wanted to take part in their #travellessons competition I couldn’t get on board quick enough.

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I like to think I’ve done an okay job at travelling, although there are tonnes of places I am dying to go to, so here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt;

  1. Make An Itinerary

This might sound like a boring thing to do but it actually isn’t. If I know I am going somewhere, especially if it’s somewhere I know I’m not going to be going back to for a while; I like to plan what I am going to do. I feel like this way I can make sure that I see and do everything I want to and don’t come home feeling like I didn’t see everything.

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2.  Don’t Believe Reviews

I love nothing more that scrolling through trip advisor and other people’s blog posts to get reviews on hotel, restaurants and tourist spots but I’ve found that you have to take everything with a pinch of salt. I recently went to a hotel in Paris and read some pretty dire reviews but when I went there I couldn’t have loved it more. The atmosphere was great as was the location and staff. Always make your own reviews; remember not everyone has the same taste as you.

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3. Talk To Local People

While trip advisor and Lonely Planet pocket guides are great, there is nothing better than talking to local people to find out what’s on offer whether that be a day trip or a restaurant. I found this when I was in New York last year; while standing outside the New York Palace hotel pretending I was Serena van der Woodsen, a man came up to me and my mum and gave us so many recommendations that were not your normal touristy things to do.

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4. Never Say Never

Always get stuck in! Don’t turn your nose up at anything because you may live to regret it. Try the different food, go on the trips, talk to people, get the most out of your holiday!

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5. Take Photographs

Memories eventually fade so what better way to capture every moment than with a photograph. Photos are such a great keepsake to look back on and remember all the fun things you done while travelling

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What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt from travelling?

-Hannah X

Christmas in London

Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I Love nothing more than going into London to see all the decorations and pretty lights. My top places to go are Oxford Street and Winter Wonderland as they always make me feel the most festive through there decorations, music and complete ambiance.

During the week I went to Oxford Street while one of my best friends was over from Spain. We decided to have the ultimate Christmas day in the city so of course we started off with a trip to Costa to try some of their winter drinks; I opted for the Gingerbread latte as it is my favourite and Alex went for the Honeycomb latte. It was the perfect way to warm up on a brisk Wintery afternoon. We then continued the rest of the day wondering around Oxford street looking at all the lights and decorations that cover the streets.

 

Every year I try and make it to Winter Wonderland at least once. This year, I went with some of my cousins, mum and one of my aunts. It was such a lovely day browsing the market stalls, listening to Christmas music and drinking lots of mulled wine. I love going during the afternoon and staying till it gets dark so that you can see everything lit up; its so pretty. Working in the dreaded world of retail means that it can be difficult to get into the Christmas spirit but this definitely helped. It was so great to just sit and catch up with my family as we don’t often get to all see each other as much as we’d like. I loved it so much, I’m determined to make it an annual tradition.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

-Hannah X

Wanderlust Tag

It’s that time of year when a lot of people travel abroad for a week or two in the sun and that has got me thinking a lot about traveling and where I want to go to next. I’ve seen quite a few tag posts working their way around the blogosphere so of course I had to do one too.

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Your most treasured passport stamp?

I actually only have two stamps on my passport and they are both from New York and I love them. NYC is my favourite place in the world so I love looking at those two stamps.


Can you recite your passport number from memory if asked?
I don’t; my brain and numbers is the worst combination! 


Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or automobiles?
I know a lot of people don’t,  but I absolutely love flying; especially if it’s a long haul flight where you can just sit and get lost in the countless films and tv shows they have. Also, there is nothing better than looking out the window and being above the clouds.


Top three travel items?
Camera, Sunglasses, Friends 😉


Hostel or hotel?
Hotel. I wish I could say hostel, but a nice hotel would win every time!


Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?
A bit of both. If I’ve gone to a place I enjoyed then of course I’d go back, but theres nothing better than visiting new places and seeing other parts of the world.

Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?
Again, a bit of both. I always read up on hotels and stuff and whats around where I’m staying but its no fun if you know everything before you go; it’s nice to be surprised.


Favourite travel website?
I love a bit of trip advisor but apart from that I don’t really go on travel websites; I prefer going on Youtube and watching people’s blogs from trips.


Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city and why.
London. It’s covered in history and impressive architecture and it has so much to offer. I love it going and exploring areas I haven’t been to yet.


You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no option, where are you going?
America; probably the West coast to San Francisco and LA; with a trip to Disneyland too!


– Hannah X

 

New York City 2016

At the end of March, to celebrate my cousin’s birthday; me, my mum and 2 of my aunts and 2 of my cousins travelled across the Atlantic to my favourite place in the world, New York City! Since going with my school back in 2011, I have been ridiculously desperate to go back, so it is safe to say I was pretty excited. After a long day travelling, I was excited to see what the next 4 days had in store for us!

Day 1 – 31st March

We got to our hotel, The Roosevelt, at about 7pm the night before so technically this was our second day in the city but the first full day. We all woke up super early at about 6am (thanks jet lag) but to be honest, I didn’t mind because it meant we would be getting the most of our day. Now, seeing as I am a massive Gossip Girl fan, and planned on spending the whole trip waltzing down the upper east side pretending I was Serena van der Woodsen, I had to go to the New York Palace hotel, which my mum kindly walked with me too on the first morning. It was just as amazing as I thought it was going to be and I definitely felt like I was part of Manhattan’s Elite. We continued our day, with a downtown open bus tour, which would take us all the way down Broadway toward the 9/11 memorial and Battery Park. This was great because not only were we getting around the City, but the tour guide was pointing out and giving us information about some of the most famous landmarks. We made it to the 9/11 memorial which was more moving than I thought it was going to be; seeing where the towers stood made it all so real, it wasn’t a documentary on TV or a picture online, we were there, where it all happened. It was quite an emotional experience. We continued walking towards Battery Park where we got a Ferry to the Statue of Liberty. I forgot how magnificent and beautiful Lady Liberty is and it was so amazing to come out of the hustle and bustle and appreciate that incredible skyline. After walking back through Canal Street, Little Italy and China Town to get to Times Square, we had some dinner and then boarded another tour bus. This tour was a nighttime tour which went over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn and stopped off down by the Hudson River so we could see the whole city lit up. This was such a highlight for me because not only had I never been to Brooklyn before, but I have never seen such a beautiful view in my whole life and I think that is what made me completely fall in love with the big apple.

 

 

Day 2 – 1st April

Again, another early start but we had even more planned for our second full day. We got our final bus tour which took us all over uptown Manhattan, through Harlem, and back down the Upper East Side to Central Park. It was such a beautiful day so we took the opportunity to walk through the park to see Strawberry Fields. After a little while of people watching and soaking up the sun, we headed to the Rockefeller Centre to get tickets to go to the top. I’ve been up the Empire State but given the choice, I’d pick The Top of the Rock anyway. The views are just as breath taking at the top of both but you get to see the whole Empire State from the Rockefeller Centre, so that wins bonus points. We knew we all wanted to see a show, so we made our way back to Times Square to see what deals they had on tickets. Luckily, we were able to get 6 tickets to Matilda, which wasn’t originally on my list of ‘must see shows’ but, I am so happy we saw it. It was absolutely incredible and I’ve been obsessed with the soundtrack ever since. Definitely go see it if you ever get the chance where you are.

 

 

Day 3 – 2nd April

Today was shopping day! We decided to all split off into families so me and mum headed straight to Macy’s. I knew I wanted to get a Designer bag but wasn’t sure what one/brand; so after spotting a gorgeous Michael Kors one, mum actually suggested to go to Century 21 to see if they had any there and if not, we would go back to Macy’s to get that one. We decided to get the Subway which was super easy to navigate and in no time we are in Century 21! After a little hunting around, I found a stunning Grey, leather Michael Kors bag, which I knew I had to own, so of course I decided it was mine. I actually think I walked around with in in my hands because I was so scared someone was going to go in the basket and pick it out haha. We stayed in C21 was a few hours and picked up so many bargains before getting the Subway back to Times Square so we could walk to 5th Avenue and continue our shopping. From the minute I knew we were going to NY, I knew I wanted a Tiffany bracelet and after searing the website and finding the one I wanted, I bit the bullet and went in to get it, I mean if you’re going to get a Tiffany bracelet, it has to be from actual Tiffany’s New York, right? I’m so in love with it, sometimes I open the box just to have a peak. We all met back at the lobby and headed out for our last dinner together. We all got so many recommendations to go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner so we kept this for the last night so it would be extra special. I loved Ellen’s, the food was great and I loved singing along to all the musical songs the waiters were singing. It was unlike anything I had experience before but I loved it!

Day 4 – 3rd April

Sadly we were going home later today 😦 but we wanted to get the most out of our last few hours. With a cab coming to pick us up at 4, we did some last minute shopping on 5th Ave. and had a big lunch at an Irish pub. I was so sad to be going home so I made sure that in the cab to the airport I took in the last sights of the beautiful city.

I can’t begin to tell you how said I am to be back in England, still 2 weeks later. New York definitely has my heart and I am sure I will be back in no time!

-Hannah X

Top Places to Visit

I’m off to New York in about 9 days and it has got me thinking about all the other places I want to travel to throughout 2016. There are so many places that I’ve never been too but I’m dying to visit and like wise, there are so many countries I’m desperate to go back too

Paris, France – I love Paris, it’s one of my favourite cities. Everything is so beautiful, picturesque and full of culture, you can’t help but love it (and its so close to Disneyland)

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Santorini, Greece – This place speaks for itself really; it is stunning! I’d love to explore all the little cobbled streets and pretend I’m Part of the Mama Mia film

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Rome, Italy – For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go to Rome, purely so I can reenact the Lizzie McGuire movie. Well, and see the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.

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Vancouver, Canada – I’d love to go here during the Winter when there is lots of snow; I can’t just image Canada to be really pretty and great for taking landscape photogrpahs

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Where would you like to travel to? Rental car have a quiz on their website which allows you to guess the area simply by looking at a picture! Have a go, it’s super fun (and one of my photographs made the quiz, its the Windsor one ;))

http://www.rentalcars.com/en/worldwide-where/

-Hannah X