Category Archives: Travel

October 1, 2016

Weekend by the Sea

At the beginning of September, my fiancé Dan and I went to Brighton for the weekend, ostensibly to celebrate dating for 4 years, but with our eyes on a whole lot of great places to visit and eat delicious food at, regardless of the special occasion.

First stop was the mecca of Magazine Brighton. I picked up the latest issues of Peppermint, Frankie, Flow and Makeshift (reviews coming soon!) but it was hard to resist buying whole shelves of beautiful independent magazines. Once I had prised myself away we spent some time at Resident Records, Bella Union and Cult Hero to stock up on vinyl records for our little flat.

magazine-brighton

magazines

Starting the weekend off we had delicious thalis and mango lassis at The Chilli Pickle for lunch. As dinner was a special occasion, we chose to go to Silo, the first zero waste restaurant in the UK, where we dipped into the omnivore and vegetarian 4 course menu and ate some of the most inventive and tastiest British food I’ve ever had. For lunch the following day we popped into The Creperie for crepes filled with gooey French reblochon cheese and bacon, just the thing to pretend you’re actually on holiday in France!

chili-pickle

 

silo

 

It was lovely to spend some time in Brighton together and see how the city has changed since I was at university there a few years ago. I only wish I was still a student in the city sometimes, as there’s so many new independent shops, cafes and restaurants to explore. See you again soon, Brighton!

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July 31, 2016

Exploring Amsterdam

At the beginning of the month we spent a weekend exploring Amsterdam, something I’d planned as a surprise birthday present for Dan. Neither of us had been to Amsterdam before and the city far surpassed our expectations. We cycled leisurely around the beautiful canals and neighbourhoods on hired Dutch bicycles feeling very like locals, but probably looking very like tourists!  We found some great little shops selling hipster cycling gear and independent magazines (more to come on that!) and bistro restaurants like Seasons where we ate sublime food from fairly cheap set menus!

I’ve wanted to go to Amsterdam since reading The Goldfinch and The Miniaturist, both set in the city. I’ve always imagined Amsterdam as a gloomy, damp, brooding city but it couldn’t be more different, in July at least. I’ve never seen so many urban flowers growing in city streets or such laid-back leafy city parks – Vondelpark was a big hit!

My main tips would be to hire bikes as soon as you get to the city and use them instead of walking; they’re relatively inexpensive; safe and allow you to see so much more of the city. Also, book ahead for the Anne Frank house museum as it is extremely popular and has queues of up to several hours to get in without pre-booked tickets. We were lucky to buy some tickets online while waiting in the 2 hour queue but you can book tickets well in advance online.

Lastly, Amsterdam seemed to cater for a wide range of different diets and many places we ate at were very clued up on intolerances, meaning that finding gluten-free food was relatively easy. Beans and Bagels even made delicious gluten-free bagels and I’m hoping they expand their chain to the UK!

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May 23, 2016

What’s the story in Tobermory

Tobermory bay

A WEE TRIP TO THE ISLE OF MULL

Earlier this month we headed up to Scotland to take in some beautiful scenery and catch up with some friends on the Isle of Mull. The unbelievable views started on the train journey from Glasgow to Oban on the West Highland line, known as one of Britain’s most scenic train journeys, past Loch Lomond and through The Trossachs National Park.

I didn’t know much about Mull, except that the kids TV show ‘Balamory’ is based on Tobermory, the main town on the island. We headed there as soon as we arrived to see the famous coloured houses along the seafront. continue reading

April 10, 2016

March Favourites

Papworth family in Flaine, March 2016March seemed so long when we were in it, so I can’t believe we’re already 10 days into April! I spent wonderful weekends in Bath and Oxford with friends and a week skiing in the French Alps with my family. My London-based recommendations are a little thin on the ground this month, but I still have plenty to share…

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February 28, 2016

Indie Mags: In Clover

In Clover magazine cover in hand

In Clover is a beautiful and inspiring adventure magazine with a focus on slow living and offline escapes. I picked up a copy of volume two at ‘Magazines For Good‘, a STACK magazines event to raise money for refugees, at the end of last year, and over the dark winter months it’s been the perfect magazine to inspire some wanderlust to plan 2016 adventures.

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August 27, 2015

Dreaming of Morocco

Majestic Disorder, A Handful of Honey, Travels with a TangerineHurrah! We’ve booked a late-summer trip to Marrakesh – not somewhere I would have naturally chosen to go, but now I can’t wait to explore. When we first thought about going on holiday I had my heart set on a Mediterranean island but was persuaded by my fairly beach-averse boyfriend and a browse of some travel literature that Marrakesh would be far more interesting.

Annie Hawes is best known for her brilliant Extra Virgin series set in her adopted Italy. In Handful of Honey she travels to Morocco and Algeria for several weeks and her shrewd observation of cultural barriers and similarities, along with a good dose of intriguing history and hilarious anecdotes has transformed me from a North African travel sceptic. If you’re off to Morocco or Algeria this is a must-read. I almost wish there was a sequel to take with me and read in situ!

I dipped into issue 4 of Majestic Disorder which is set in Marrakesh. It has a beautiful photo story of a trip over the Atlas Mountains into the Sahara Desert, something that I’m keen to try and recreate while we’re there if we can.

Before I begin browsing a proper guidebook, I’m attempting Travels with a Tangerine, Tim Mackintosh Smith’s book about the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta. So far it’s a much denser than A Handful of Honey – turns out that an Moroccan explorer from the Middle Ages is much less relatable than an English woman from the 21st century. Who would have thought? I’m going to keep going with it as every now and then there are snippets of incredible facts such as Ibn Battuta travelled three times the distance of Marco Polo. Pretty incredible that I’d never heard of this guy before I read the book.

If you’ve been to Morocco I’d love to hear what you did or anything set there that you’ve enjoyed!

February 1, 2015

A quick trip to Glasgow

Snow covered Glasgow
I find January one of the hardest winter months as it’s cold, dark and there’s no Christmas to look forward to any more! So this year we planned a quick weekend winter getaway to Glasgow; two weeks after starting back at work we jumped on an overnight sleeper train to Scotland!
The Caledonian Sleeper was such an exciting way to start our trip and made it feel like we’d begun our holiday before we arrived. No faffing around at airport security, we just jumped on board and were greeted by friendly staff, a cozy bunk bed compartment and the offer of haggis, neeps and tatties for dinner.
Sleeper train to Scotland
After being rocked gently to sleep by the train we were woken next morning by a cup of tea delivered to our room. It was barely 8am and felt so surreal to be arriving refreshed in another country when most people were having a Saturday lie in. We headed across the city to have breakfast at the Hyndland Cafe, which served us an amazing Scottish breakfast with tattie scones, lorne sausage and haggis, as well as everything you’d get in an English fry up. Thankfully the icy walk had worked up our appetites!
What we hadn’t prepared for was the amount of snow that fell on Saturday morning! Snowball fights, slithering around on icy pavements and changing sodden socks added to the magical holiday atmosphere of our weekend as we walked around in a wintery Narnia landscape.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
KELVINGROVE
Having been to Glasgow many times before, and briefly living here, the trip was focused on introducing Dan to the city. But the one place I was determined to visit again was Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. A beautiful purpose-built building that sits at the edge of Kelvingrove Park, it’s my favourite museum to visit; it’s not too dauntingly huge, yet it houses some amazing collections of Scottish history and has Salvador Dali’s famous painting Christ of St John of the Cross. We spent a couple of hours learning about Charles Rennie Macintosh and listening to the amazing organ being played. Best of all, I got to show off where our breakfast came from – a small pig-like hairy ‘haggis’ was stuffed and displayed along with the real animals waiting to trick unsuspecting tourists!
Hanoi Bike Shop Glasgow Byres Road
BYRES ROAD
As we couldn’t check in to our hotel for another couple of hours, we wandered along Byres Road, the ‘high street’ of the West End and stopped for lunch at Hanoi Bike Shop – a packed, colourful Vietnamese restaurant where we had Pho, a traditional noodle broth, along with some amazing pork spring rolls and very garlicky green vegetables, yum!
Kelvingrove Park Glasgow
MONO

In the afternoon we had a stroll around the university and Kelvingrove Park, quickly sampled the shopping in Buchanan Street – so much more relaxed than crammed crazy Oxford Street! – before going to Mono, an all vegan restaurant in the city centre with friends. This was another food highlight of our day with seitan burgers, burritos, tofu fish and chips, oreo cheesecake and bakewell cake on the menu. A quick Ceilidh in the bar round the corner was a fantastic end to the day.
GoMA Glasgow
GoMA

Before we hopped on the plane home we quickly visited the impressive Gallery of Modern Art on Sunday morning.This was one of the most special ‘city breaks’ I’ve had in ages – we found so many free/cheap things to do in Glasgow and really good restaurants and cafes … People’s Palace, House of an Art Lover, Riverside Museum (Transport Museum) and The Kibble Palace are on our ‘for next time’ list already; we’ll be back soon!