Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Interrailing Days 1-3: Amsterdam

As any of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter will know, I recently went on my first big holiday with friends, Interrailing across Europe. This trip has certainly changed a lot of things for me, from my perspectives and life decisions to my new found love of red grapes. So I thought I would give you a quick run down of my two week excursion country by country, and share with you lovely readers some of my holiday snaps.

We travelled to Amsterdam on the 9th of July and I was surprised by how short the flight was, being a girl who's first ever flight was 24 hours long! Amsterdam is a beautiful city, with canals and quaint winding streets at every turn. We stayed in a place called Inner Hotel a hostel conveniently located near the Van Gogh Museum and the 'I Amsterdam' sign you see in the pictures above.

When in Amsterdam I would highly recommend renting pedallows (they cost roughly £8 each for one hour) and seeing the city via canal. The Anne Frank Museum is also a must, especially if you are a history buff like me. However, booking in advance is vital, as we went to the front of the queue, where as our friends who had not pre-booked were left queueing outside for over an hour. Vondel Park is a beautiful place to sit down and relax in the sunshine and you can also rent out bikes or roller skates and cylce/skate round the park. Finally, I highly recommend Pancakes! a cute and cosy little pancake house selling traditional dutch pancakes as well as these delicious American style pancakes, which I am still dreaming about!

I would love to go back to Amsterdam, as there is so much I felt I didn't see, especially on the museum front! Friendly, helpful and ever chic, the dutch people of Amsterdam really made you feel welcome, and if any of you have any reccomendations, let me know in the comments below, as I am saving up my pennies to hopefully go back soon!!

P.S. For any of you out there on a budget, McDonalds cheeseburgers in Amsterdam cost just 1 Euro each!!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

What I am Listening to this Week #27

Creating weekly playlists is becoming something of a challenge, and more often than not I find myself creating 'themed' playlist just to help me think of five songs to feature. I know at some point you are all going to get tired of my Interrailing ramblings, but for this weeks playlist I wanted to feature five songs that I associate with my recent excursions across Europe. Music can create such powerful emotions in us, and often certain songs will trigger within us certain memories and emotions and for me these five songs each hold within them a personal memory.
1. Passenger- Coins In a Fountain Filmed in Amsterdam, played by the girls in Amsterdam, coincidence? I think not! Passenger's soft, yet rich voice makes its way into my weekly playlist yet again.
2. Milky Chance- Flashed Junk Mind Picture the scene, warm summers day (33 degrees to be precise), huge expanses of water on every side, the gentle rocking of a boat in the lazy sun, and this song blasting out. Can you picture it? Milky Chance was the 'artist/song' of my recent Interrailing trip, and I most associate his work with the day we rented a small boat in Keszethely, Hungary, and relaxed on Lake Balaton for a few hours before an untimely storm and a Hungarian police boat drove us back to shore.
3. George Ezra- Cassy O' Another album that was played rather frequently and sung endlessly by some of my friends was George Ezra's new album, 'Wanted on Voyage' and Cassy O' is by far my favourite song on his debut album.
4. Bob Marley- Three Little Birds How you can go through a summer without playing 'The Best of Bob Marley' is beyond me. The perfect album for relaxing in the hot summer sun.
5. The Prodigy- Firestarter After a stressful train journey from Manchester to York, I popped in my head phones, blasted out some Prodigy and waited for the Newcastle Bridges to come into sight and welcome me home. However, my friend did give me some weird looks when she heard me blasting this out on the train at 9 o'clock at night.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

AW14 Trend Guide

This year the AW14 runway saw an array on different trends and styles. From Star Wars and Fairytales to Grey and 60's Miniskirts, AW14 has a trend to suit just about anyone. After reading a stack of fashion magazines and trawling fashion blogs on the internet I thought I would give you a run down on some of AW14 biggest trends.

1. Grey- One colour that stood out on the runway was grey, and this pleases me no end. I love more neautral, darker colours. Easy to pair with other items and a range of shades that should compliment a variety of skin tones, grey is one colour you will need in your wardrobe this season!! (1, 2, 3, 4)
2. Jewels- When looking at jewels think go big, or go home. Williamson, Dolce and Gabbana, Erdem and Kartrantzou all featured embellishments on their dresses, head pieces and earrings. I have even already seen some pretty snazzy grey, jewel embellished tops in Primark, enabling me to kill two trends in one go. (1, 2, 3, 4)
3. Knitwear- Knitwear is something that is always associated with Autumn and Winter, but this season knits were big and all encompassing, from Stella McCartney's huge knit dresses to Celine's knit skirt and jumper combo. Stylish with the ability to keep you warm in the winter chill. (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Mini Skirts- For all you gals who like to flash a bit of leg, the 60's are back, with thigh grazing dresses and skirts from the likes of Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Carven. (1, 2, 3, 4)
5. Quilting- Delicate waffle quilting skirts and coats, quilting provides the perfect texture and intrigue to an outfit. (1, 2, 3, 4)
6. Star (Wars)- In a galaxy far far away there was the Bergazzi and Rodarte show....who would have thought that Yoda, Darth Vader and C3PO could look so good on a dress, certainly not me. Star Wars has suddenly gone from geek to chic, and with Vans bringing out a new line of Star Wars themed trainers on the high street, this is one trend that is both accessible and affordable. (1, 2, 3, 4)
7. Totes- In terms of bags totes made a frequent appearence, folded over and carried under the arm. However, if totes aren't your thing, mini trunks and shopping baskets are another bag trend alternative. (1, 2, 3, 4)
8. Velvet- A fabric that can add a touch of luxury to any outfit. I once saw a maroon velvet suit at Hogmanay and let me tell you it looked both expensive and rather eccentric. This red dress from Emilio de la Morena is by far one of my favourite pieces of the entire AW14 shows. (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Vibrant and Zesty- Think bold graphics, colours and a lot of clashes. An explosion of colour, this trend adds the perfect touch of brightness to the usual dreary and drab winter days. (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Fairytale- Long flowing dresses and whimsical details, the fantasy and fairytale theme featured heavily in McQueen's, Dolce and Gabbana's and Valentino's AW14 shows. (1, 2, 3, 4)

I would love to know what you think of AW14's trends, and if you want to see more than I highly suggest Vogue's A-Z AW14 Guide and Marie Claire's August 2014 Magazine for more trends and in depth coverage.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Top Five Reads #3

1. Inferno- Dante Alighieri Not a book for the faint hearted, Dante's Inferno is a book full of beautiful metaphors and descriptions. Centred around one man's journey into hell, I found Dante's prose rather hard to understand, and therefore had to read each pages a few times in order to better understand the complexity of the story. That having been said it is well worth the attempt!!
2. The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern I love stories centered around magic and mystery. I love how they can transport you into another world so entirely different and other wordly to your own, and The Night Circus is no exception. What I love most about this story is not the story, characters and romances themselves, but the concept of The Night Circus. A entirely black and white circus that appears suddenly in the night, with circular paths set in a clockwork motion leading you to little pockets of wonder. I only wish that such a circus existed.
3. The Motorcycle Diaries- Che Guevara A recommendation from a friend, The Motorcycle Diaries is a journal written by Che Guevara when travelling around South America in his earlier day, pre revolutionary icon. This book is very potent to me at the moment, as I am setting off with friends interailling around Eastern Europe and hope to keep a similar journal off my own adventures. Journals and Diaries often allow us great and personal insight into what has made somone the person they are today, and in this case, what made Che, Che.
4. City of Heavenly Fire- Cassandra Clare The last installment in the Mortal Instrument Series, City of Heavenly Fire sees Shadowhunters (children of human and angels) battle against the forces of evil, namely Sebastian Morgenstar, one of their own who has been tainted with demon blood. Throw in werewolves, warlocks, vampires and fairies and you have an action packed novel fit for any fantasy lover.
5. The Maiden- Cynthia Harrod-Eagles The Morland Series follows one family from the War of the Roses right up to the end of the Second World War, and for all you history lovers out there, is very historically accurate. There's politics, murders, enstranged family members and enough affairs and illigitimate children to have continuous plot twists and hand holds into every major historical event. Rigth now I am in the Stuart-Hanoverian struggle with the Morlands being famously Sturat (with some of them even being daughters of Stuart princes!!). Therfore, Jemmy, the heir of Morland Place is forced to marry a Hanoverian against his wishes in order to save the family.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Fashion Favourite #6

Love her or hate her, Kristen Stewart knows how to make a statement. Be it her penchant for wearing trainers on the red carpet or hoodies and snapbacks off the carpet, Kristen has got rock chic glamour down to a tee.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

What I am Listening to this Week #26

1. Stealing Sheep- Shut Eye A little bit folky, a little bit alternative, Shut Eye by Stealing Sheep is a song that was made for dancing to.
2. Johnny Lang- Lie to Me Modern day Blues at it's best, Johnny Lang is a pretty talented guitarist and has such an amazingly husky and sexy voice, one that I could listen to all day long.
3. Said the Whale- Loveless If you are a fan of Two Door Cinema Club then you will love Said the Whale. My favourite part of the sing has to be one of the main lines of the chorus "How could I love you less, now that I know you more", which to me just seems so simple yet true. Plus the video is just so cute, depicting two kids playing out there lives together.
4. OK Go- End Love Another recommendation from  friend, an alternative rock band from Chicago who have the somewhat unusual ability to sound not only futuristic, but oh so very 80's at the same time. And what can I say, never have block coloured tracksuits looked so good!
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Heads Will Roll A classic, who doesnt't love a bit of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from time to time.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Holiday Packing

It's that time of year again, the sun is shining, ice cream is melting, and people are jetting off around the globe on holiday. By the time you read this I, myself will be trekking across Eastern Europe, visiting the cities of Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Keszthely with friends. I must confess I am pretty nervous, suffereing from anxiety and not liking clubs and crowded places don't make me the ideal travelling companion. Never the less I am making this holiday a challenge, proving to myself and my family that I can be away from home for a few weeks and deal with crowds and unfamiliar situations. However, the first thing I need to prove is that I can pack!!

Going Interailling and trying to make the holiday as cheap as possible, me and my friends are only taking hand luggage (in the form of a 33-35 litre rucksack), which means minimal packing. In order to adhere to this minimal amount (I am notorious for over packing) I broke my items into different sub categories. 

First came "The Essentails". Boring, not very fashionable or pretty, but extremely useful. Items such as a money belt can make all the difference when travelling around unkown places and staying in youth hostel at night. It is a practical and safe way to keep your money, passport and phone in when out travelling. Things such as travel towels and Macs help you keep space and weight down when adhering to that all important weight limit.

In terms of clothes, I went for simple pieces that would be interchangable with various items in order to maximise on outfit potential but still save space. A bold blue skirt or a simple black slip can be dressed down during the day with a plain t-shirt or dressed up at night with a statement necklace and a slick of eyeliner. 

"The Books". When spending hour after hour on trains and planes, or looking for cheap and easy ways to pass the time a book, a set of cards, or watercolours can prove the perfect answer. It can also provide you with that all important me time, which is vital when travelling with the same group of people 24/7.

Only having hand luggage means that sacrifices have to be made when it comes to "The Beauty Essentials". A pack of cleansing wipes, eyeliner, concealer and mascara is all you really need when travelling. Essentails such sunglasses and a tootbrush are much more important than an extra eyeshadow or an eyebrow pencil. 

And don't forget, once you have arrived to stock up on suncream, washing powder, shampoo and a much needed shaver, there's travelling light and then there is just plain dirty....