Last week before heading to Rome I decided that I didn’t want a big handbag that I had to lug around with me all day whilst sight seeing and eating ice cream. I had a online for handbags which I could wear cross body and which were also light-weight and pretty. I spotted this Dorothy Perkins one on the House of Fraser website and fell in love with it as it can also be worn as a clutch.
My boyfriend was a bit of a star in Rome and offered to carry my DSLR camera in his rucksack so I just had to pack a few more of my essentials.
In terms of beauty I kept it minimal, a Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder to obviously powder my face but which also has a great size mirror, to go with that I packed my Real Techniques Setting Brush- it’s my favourite! Just incase my eyeliner did decide to melt off (it was warmmm!) I packed my Sisley So Intense Liner and my Burberry Full Kisses lipstick in Rose Apricot for post pizza application.
With that there are a few essentials; a phone charger and european adapter, my vlogging camera for quick videos and my favourite La Moda Sunglasses. When trying to keep my bag light I also swap out my big chunky purse for a smaller coin purse, this one actually lives inside my larger purse so is really convenient. In my purse I kept the basics; ID, money and my bank card.
I’m so glad I kept it light for Rome as we walked so much! I can’t wait to share more Rome posts over the coming month so keep an eye out!
I’ve been back from Berlin for about 6 weeks now, I was only there three days and I am definitely not an expert but I thought I would share my own experiences, which will hopefully help a few of you.
If you’re considering Berlin then I would recommend it for a really inexpensive holiday (if your UK based), it isn’t my favourite place ever but I would go back, especially as the whole trip was so affordable. Flights from London are fairly cheap (mine were around £40 return), we stayed at an inexpensive Holiday Inn and once there most things were quite affordable too.
I’m going to be writing a blog post about how to book/plan a city trip so I am going to keep this very Berlin based.
The metro is super easy to use, download an app or even use Google Maps to find out which train you need to get on. There is an honour system when it comes to the metro so there are no barriers but be sure to buy a ticket and stamp it before getting on the train or you will get a fine.
Although the first day we used the train a fair amount we soon learnt that walking was the best way to see the city, Berlin isn’t a huge city and as long as you have comfy shoes you can walk almost everywhere.
In my opinion three days was the perfect amount of time, we done everything we wanted to and even had some time to relax and chill.
In the winter Berlin is freezing, I wore a hat, thermals and everything else that I could find. Flights are cheaper in winter but bare in mind you’ll need to wrap up warm.
Holiday Inn City Centre
When it came to finding a hotel we went with my trusty inexpensive favourite, Holiday Inn. We stayed in the City Centre one, the location was perfect, not too busy but still within walking distance of almost everything. We had breakfast there which was really convenient and set up our days perfectly. The rooms aren’t huge but they were all we needed and most importantly were clean and comfortable. Of course it isn’t an overly luxe boutique hotel but if you need somewhere to lay your head that won’t break the bank I would highly recommend it!
After arriving just before lunch time and dropping our suitcases at the hotel we headed to Burger Meister, a old public toilet which has now been transformed into a cool burger place. It’s got great reviews on Tripadvisor and I must admit it didn’t disappoint. We each got a burger, shared some fried and it was both ridiculously cheap and delicious.
We then took a stroll to the East Side Gallery which is a 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall, it’s a huge piece of German history and there are some really iconic images on it.
Whilst looking for the Berlin Cathedral we also passed Unter den Linden which is a well known boulevard there but sadly it was under construction so wasn’t as impressive as it probably usually is. We had issues getting to the Berlin Cathedral too as many roads were closed (due to a politician visiting Berlin), although we managed to find it and have a look around the outside the inside was closed and we decided to save this for another visit.
We then walked towards the Neptune Fountain, the base of the Berlin TV Tower and AlexanderPlatz. We didn’t go into Berlin TV Tower and I wouldn’t really say these are a must-see but nice for a quick look around. We did then make a cheeky stop at Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt, which is a fun chocolate shop (think the German M&M world) and naturally we bought some chocolates for family members (& ourselves.)
After warming up in the hotel we went to dinner at Vapianos Potsdam Platz, although it’s a chain and we try not to eat at chains when abroad neither of us had ever been to Vapianos and since it originally started in Germany we thought it was okay. It was a fairly short walk from our hotel and gave us the opportunity to see Potsdam Platz at night, plus the pasta was delicious!
We started day two quite early, having had breakfast at the hotel and realising that most museums didn’t open until 10am we headed to Check Point Charlie. It was originally a point crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin during the cold war, it’s now just a photo opportunity and overly touristy. It’s worth walking past but I do wish that the men dressed in army uniforms weren’t there as it almost seems a little disrespectful.
Just round the corner from Check Point Charlie we accidentally stumbled upon Trabi World which is house to lots of Trabi Cars, which were the most common vehicles in East Berlin. We didn’t rent one this time but I think I probably would the next time I go back, for us it was just a fun places to walk past and take a few photos. If you do visit, make the most of their photobooth, it’s only a few euros and a nice token of Berlin.
We then started our museum visits at Topography of Terror, an outdoor and indoor history museum. I’ll admit that I was a little overwhelmed by this museum, there was a lot of writing and a lot of photos to get through but it is very informative. Our next stop was the Holocaust Memorial which is worth a visit and doesn’t take too long to explore, we didn’t realise that there is a free museum underground so that’s worth noting as it’s suppose to very engaging and touching.
It was then a short walk to Brandeburg Gate, it’s a touristy sight but also a great piece of history so worth a look. We were planning to also visit the Reichstag Building day two but discovered you had to pre-book tickets so instead spent an hour queuing to book a ticket for the following day.
Lunch was at Treffpunkt Berlin which is apparently a German classic, I would probably skip this, it was very average tasting and a little greasy for my taste.
Our next stop was the Palace of Tears which was once the train station border crossing, it was probably one of the most interesting places we visited and I’d recommend the audio tour if you have the time. We followed this with a train to the Berlin Wall Memorial which is worth a look but we didn’t spend too much time here but partly because it was so cold and started to snow.
Also up there with the most interesting places was the Jewish Museum, it’s different to the other ones we visited and more like a traditional museum you would see in London. It was a really educational, thought-provoking museum with lots of rooms and things to see and do.
For dinner we faced the Mustafa Kebab queue which I’ve heard can be hours long! We were lucky it was a really cold night so the queue was a little shorter and we only waited an hour or so. Rumour has it that these are the best kebabs ever and I’ll admit they were pretty good although I am not a kebab connoisseur. As you can imagine it’s super cheap and there also isn’t anywhere to sit as it’s a street stand not a restaurant but still worth queuing for!
Our final day in Berlin was a pretty relaxed one, we had booked tickets for the Reichstag building the day before but I would really recommend doing this online as you’re unable to book tickets for the same day and the queue to book for the following day was long (and cold!). It’s free to get in so I would definitely recommend visiting it and even listening to the audio tour. The audio tour gives you a great overview of Berlin’s history and architecture plus the view is beautiful!
We ended our trip by buying a few fridge magnets as a souvenir and chilling in a cute little coffee shop.
I’m off to Rome tomorrow so I would love any tips and recommendations in the comments. Also follow me on Snapchat for live updates from Italy, username: alittleobsessed
I always joke that I am the least travelled person ever (it’s not really a joke), I am 24 years of age and I have never left Europe. It’s never really bothered me, we use to go to Portugal for the month of August every year (and still do), visit family in France regularly and I’d been to Spain as were a 30min drive from the border in Portugal (plus it’s one of our nearest beaches). In the last two years I’ve also managed to add Beligum to the list as I’ve been there twice for work but that’s it. I’ve been to four countries in my 24 years, five if we include England.
I’ve decided it’s probably time I start traveling a little bit more, I feel if I want to travel I should probably do it now before I attempt to buy a house (who know when that will- have you seen London house prices?!) or even start thinking about having kids (this won’t be too soon either). This doesn’t mean I will be booking a 5 week backpacking trip across Asia and I can’t even promise I’ll make it out of Europe this year but I feel that with Europe City breaks being so cheap I really have no excuse! (well Mike’s a teacher and half term prices are cray!)
I have so far booked Berlin and Amsterdam for this month plus Rome at the start of April. There will be no change in my regular month in Portugal although I have seen that we can get from our house (in Portugal) to Madrid in a four hour drive so I am considering squeezing that in too.
I’ll be taking you all with me on my holidays through my blog, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat (alittleobsessed) and Twitter so make sure you follow me. I have lots of post ideas from city guides to how to book an inexpensive holiday and any luxury hotels I may stay at, which I really hope you will all enjoy. I’m also working on a few London guides for any of you looking to come to London.
In the comments I would really love recommendations on countries I should visit and what I should do in Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome. I’d also love to hear about your favourite holiday and also what you have coming up. Let me know what sort of posts you would like too, I’m really looking forward to sharing a different part of my life on here.
PS. I went through my holiday photos from last year to find the images for this post and I miss my tan and the sun so much I could cry.
Last week I attended the Gillette Venus event where I tried Yoga for the first time, dined at Circus and got to stay at the most beautiful hotel. The whole event was for the launch of their new razor, the Gillette Venus Swirl Contour and we simply only went to the hotel to lay our heads as there was little time for much more but it was so beautiful I couldn’t help but share it.
The hotel is Coworth park in Ascot, part of the Dorchester hotels, it is a five star country house hotel and spa- fancy huh? It’s only a 45 minute drive from London but once you’re there is really does feel like you’re in the middle of the countryside. We arrived after 10PM so were shown to our hotel rooms to unwind and get some sleep. The rooms are beautiful; four poster beds, desk area and the most Instagramable bathrooms. It’s modern, classic and luxurious all at the same time, exactly what I would expect from the Dorchester group.
I had looked into the hotel a little before arriving and I had spotted the copper bathtubs on Instagram so I squealed when I saw that my room had one. Naturally I couldn’t resist; I grabbed a magazine from the room and ran myself a bubble bath where I also tried out my new Venus Swirl Contour.
After a relaxing bath I made my way to bed and had a small falling out with the TV which kept spinning round instead of going on- turns out I was using the wrong remote. I spent so long in the bath that I didn’t quite get enough sleep but was thankful for just how wide and comfortable the bed was!
I had my favourite, Eggs Royale for breakfast and I can honestly say it was the best I have ever had, I ate every last bit and it was worth getting up 20 minutes early for them.
We then drove to the Gillette Research & Development lab to learn all about razors which turned out to be far more interesting than I ever expected. They watch people shave their legs, underarms and face on a daily basis and they start working on razors up to 15 years before they even come out! I have a vlog coming soon about the day so keep an eye out for that.
If you’re looking for a little treat (it isn’t cheap) or are celebrating an anniversary I would highly recommend Coworth Park, it has to be one of the nicest hotels I have stayed at!
Last week I touched on my trip to Spain in a blog post (here) but since my vlog is up too I thought it was a great time to talk a little more in depth. I went with SantaVerde an Aloe Vera based, natural skincare brand which recently celebrated 25 years and is based in the south of Spain (although the business/brain side is based in Germany).
The truth is that I don’t know a lot about organic or natural skincare and, if anything, it has always scared me a little so it was a great opportunity to learn. We arrived on the plane in Malaga and headed to Estepona where the Santaverde finca is based and run by Kurt and his wife Sabine.
They welcomed us into their beautiful house and shared both food and their stories with us. They originally bought the Estepona fina as a holiday home but later learnt about the power of aloe from a Texan neighbour who gave Sabine some to try on her own skin. After falling in love with the effect the aloe had and with their entrepreneur background the couple thought it would be a great business opportunity.
They spent a long time researching, experimenting, planting and harvesting the raw aloe vera and although their initial plan was to sell it on to cosmetic giants they realised that the big worldwide brands were misleading and using barely any aloe in their aloe products, often opting for aloe powder, knowing that it wasn’t as affective.
Instead of helping the leading companies mislead their customers they decided they we going to both grow the aloe and manufacture the products on their finca as a 100% natural, organic and honest brand.
The finca is now filled with aloe vera plants and a glass building used to harvest and process the aloe. Whilst we were there we got to witness the harvest and I even got to pick my own leaf. We then got to help the lovely girls with the washing and peeling, which looked far easier than it actual was. It gets prepared to be sent to Germany where the products are made and the companys business side is run from.
Unlike most aloe products the final results are pure, it doesn’t have bulking agents or powdered aloe and is designed to really work rather than to mislead people. All the products are unisex and don’t catered to a certain skin type. Santaverde is certified organic, cruelty free and vegan!
The finca is compleltey opened to the public and to it’s competitors (so if you’re ever in Estepona- it’s a great place to go) really showing that they don’t have anything to hide or a fancy recipe, I learnt so much on the short trip and has really made me think about were my cosmetics and skincare items come from, what in them and how good they are for the enviroment,