Twice upon a time in Copenhagen

Thursday, 20 March 2014

There are perils of being a blogger that nobody may quite understand unless they are one. There is the fear of missing out, the fear that you've started too early for anything you write to be remotely interesting, or the fear of beginning way too late to encompass anything that you have done before. So what happens when you change the name of your blog (check) and decide to reroute and 'become' a travel blogger, when you've already done a substantial amount of city-hopping and plane-shopping in your time? You start a photo-heavy Throwback Thursday feature of course! So in a bid to document my trips of the past, I thought I'd blast things off with one of my favourites - which I actually did for a second time a couple of years later and briefly mentioned here and I will finally document(!) - but as with most things, nothing can leave an impression like the first time.

Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: 29th/30th March 2010

When: 9-11th November 2012

Quickfire Round!

The Lowdown. Change your British pennies into Danish Krone (which is roughly £1 to 0.1Kr) and set your watches to UTC+1. Hej is 'hello' and Tak is 'thank you' although honestly, you'll be hard-pushed to find a Dane that doesn't have English more perfect than your own.

Get around by... S-Train, the city's public transport system. It operates on a zone system, similar to the London Underground, and if you buy a Copenhagen Card not only does it cover all your travel for a specified amount of time, it also grants you free admission to an abundance of landmarks, sights and museums. The Copenhagen Card costs around 230Kr for 24 hours (around £25).

Must see? Christiania, the freetown inside Copenhagen; breathtaking the Botanical Gardens; the Church Of Our Saviour with it's amazing spiral staircase spire; the beautiful royal palace Amalienborg - go at midday to see the changing of the guard!

Must do? Any canal cruise going - it's more than worth it for a chance to see Copenhagen from a different angle; take in the epic view from the Rundetårn; take a stroll down Strøget, the longest shopping street in the world; visit Tivoli, one of the oldest still functioning amusement parks in the world, and ride the Star Flyer for it's amazing views of the city.

For that classic Copenhagen photo, visit... Nyhavn! This is where you see all those pretty canal-side photos of colourful buildings set against the blue sky. Or, of course, The Little Mermaid statue in Østerbro.

If you have time... take a train across the Øresund Bridge to Malmo, Sweden. It's only a 25-minute journey on very frequent trains - all night long included - and is a nice take on a daytrip-from-a-daytrip.

Have you ever been to Copenhagen?
What was a must see/do for you?

#Blog4Trek: Weekend Packing

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Let's not beat around the bush. I'm a competitive girl and I love a challenge. So when I heard that Trek America - who are my absolute favourites - were launching a competition to find their Next Top Blogger, and that round one asks us the entrants just what we might pack for a weekend away, a little lightbulb sparked up over my head. You see, as somewhat of a budget airline enthusiast I've become a bit of an expert at packing as light as possible. Hand luggage all the way, baby! It's all about space-saving by multitasking items: here's how I fit everything I need for a weekend city break into a little backpack.

// Smartphone.
I think a lot of people would cite a tablet or an iPad as more useful but for ultimate space-saving, you can't go wrong with a Smartphone. You could access your Kindle library, download TripAdvisor guides, create a few playlists and ditch your mp3 player, use it as a camera, even upload photos and news of your trip as you go, free Wifi permitting. The possibilities are endless and can save you so much space - and backache! Don't forget your charger, though.

// A map.
Absolutely something that a smartphone cannot do properly and I'll tell you why. A map can buy you new local friends: give them a pen and everybody will want to show you where their favourite places are. I love the feeling of a new map with crisp lines that slowly gets scruffy, gaining pen marks, circles around landmarks and rough notes of places you have been to in the process. Much less bulkier and more personable than a guidebook. This cannot be replicated in any other formula and makes a wonderful travel memento.

// A big scarf & comfortable shoes.
Comfortable shoes do what they say on the tin, so pick a pair of worn-in sneakers that will go from day to evening with ease. A huge scarf will multitask in so many ways; it can be used as a cover-up, a blanket, a make-do pillow and, you know, an actual scarf. Spritz it with perfume to keep it - and you - smelling beautiful all weekend. What else could you possibly need? Oh, clean undies at least! Silly me.

// Simple toiletries.
You definitely don't want to lug around your whole bathroom cabinet so keep it short and sweet. You're only away for a weekend, so you can easily survive without all your hair products: just take a miniature Batiste Dry Shampoo and a mini hairbrush. Facewipes double up as make-up removers and morning cleansers; just bring a miniature of a moisturiser, like Simple, to keep your skin glowing. Deodorants in solid form don't have to be squeezed into those constricting plastic bags for liquids in your hand luggage; the ones by Sure are really good. This leaves more room for a few essential make-up bits - but don't go overboard. Mascara, concealer and a tinted lip balm should be enough to see you through. Besides, who wants to waste time worrying about make-up hair when there are such beautiful things to see!

What would you pack for a weekend away?
Competitive girl just like me? Check out Trek America's fab competition here! Good luck!

Marching onwards

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The first of March. A significant sigh of relief. The worst of winter is over, the days are beginning to get longer and there have been enough paydays since Christmas to believe that you are finally able to treat yourself once more. For these reasons and many more, I always feel like March is when things begin to pick up once more. And I like the symbolic meaning behind the first of a month; it's a true fresh start. Usually. Today was a different story altogether, an absolutely poxy excuse for a day. We had a mega busy day at work whilst mega understaffed, West Ham lost against Everton and to top it all off my hair had taken on quail-like tendancies and was therefore shoddy.

However, I'm not going to let that dampen my first-of-the-damn-month spirits. There's a lot to be looking forward to in March and indeed the more I sit here thinking about it whilst swirling my rosé spritzer, the more I find to smile about. Here's a snippet of what I'm going to be getting up to this month...

I'm going to Prague. Groupon, eat your heart out - Lidia and me have got you sussed! We have both wanted to hit Prague together for as long as we can remember and noticed a trend that whenever we were drinking together and checking out Groupon Getaways, a hot deal for Prague would always come up. We always said we would book it, we would book it, yadda yadda... then (of course) the one day we really wanted to just goddamn book it, there wasn't a goddamn deal! Hrrrgh! So literally, the very next time we browsed - armed with cider - we paid up on the spot and now we are off to Prague at the end of the month. We cannot wait!

I'm taking my Mum to see The Full Monty. At the theatre! It's one of our favourite films. I don't think people actually get how good this film is - perhaps the thought of 'eww male strippers' is offputting but this is no Magic Mike and that is just the charm of it. Think working-class Yorkshire lads, trying to make a pretty penny and getting into a whole heap of mischief along the way. It's both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time and comes with great feelgood factor, especially from the iconic final scene. This time, we will be the audience! This is my Mum's birthday present and I really hope she enjoys it.

I plan to blog a lot and run a lot. She says. I'm awful at making big promises and resolutions to myself and never seeing them through. I need to work on my staying power! Perhaps I need to start small. I definitely need to ease myself back into running; I just signed up for a half marathon towards the end of the year to give me something to work towards. I don't want to go all out in March but I definitely want to try and get through two runs a week in the next four weeks. It's nothing special but I'm not setting myself any other conditions. As long as I get out for two runs every week, even if it's just two miles, then it's better for nothing. As for blogging... I feel like I've got into a bit of a routine recently and am really really enjoying what I am managing to put out. I have plans. Not really big plans but plans none the less.

I'm treating myself to a new camera. I've been researching for a few months now, weighing up pros and cons and lots of different options. I mainly want something multi-functional, easily transportable, durable and perfect for travel, plus HD video recording. I've read a lot about it and have settled for this. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ35 seems like a really smart point-and-shoot with lots of functions and everything that I want in a little camera. It will make a great alternative to my SLR and as much as I love having my SLR on me while travelling, it isn't always practical. This will be much more so and I cannot wait to test it out in Prague!

I'm also going to see Swan Lake at the ballet and going to see Example amongst spending quality time with friends and people that matter. March is going to be hella positive and I can't wait to get it underway. Let me just have one more glass of sympathetic rosé and I'm ready to rock.

What have you got planned for March?