Bath Christmas Market

Christmas is just about over for this year, it's flown by and I can't believe 2019 is just a couple of sleeps away. Before we wave a heartfelt goodbye to the festive season, I wanted to share this post all about our weekend away to Bath and the Christmas markets at the end of November...

Where We Stayed...

We had struggled to find accommodation that fitted our dates and budget in Bath itself, with the first weekend of the Christmas markets being just as popular as you would imagine, if not more so. After expanding the search to nearby Bradford-on-Avon, we found ourselves booking a cosy Airbnb called Kemble Cottage.  It was the perfect location, with the train station just a few minutes walk down the hill. The cottage was idyllic; so beautifully decorated with the sweetest of touches. It was little, but just right for the 3 of us. I would wholeheartedly recommend staying there, especially if you are hoping to visit Bath for the Christmas markets next year.  The cottage sleeps 5 (1 sofa bed) but would be perfect for a couple or young family looking for a peaceful weekend away.

What We Did...

Our first day in Bath was intended to be all about the sights, but after a lazy morning we decided to just visit what Pinterest had recommended as the city's main attractions. Our first stop of the day was the Roman Baths, as we had heard it gets a lot busier in the afternoon (which is true if the queue when we left was anything to go by!)

Roman Baths, Bath

I don't think a year goes by that I don't gift someone a pair of novelty socks or some form of lip balm for Christmas.  Whether you need some last minute stocking fillers, a secret Santa surprise or a little gift for yourself (who doesn't?), I hope this quick post will give you some ideas for your Christmas shopping...  

Stocking Fillers Christmas Gift Guide
Food & Lifestyle Christmas Gift Guide

For my family, Christmas is about relaxing at home in your cosy slippers with all the food and drink; mince pies, mulled wine, all the cheese. Whether you know a person well or are not so sure of their tastes, I think you can't go wrong with gifting them something to dig in to over the festive period.  I wanted to put together a food and lifestyle gift guide this year and with less than two weeks to go, I've selected a few bits and pieces that would look fab under any Christmas tree...

Beauty Lover Christmas Gift Guide
When I started thinking about festive content, I knew I wanted to put together a beauty themed gift guide this year.  Not just because I love makeup and skincare, but also because I can't remember a time in the last 10 years that I didn't have a beauty item on my Christmas wishlist.  I've called this a Christmas gift guide, but it's more half a review and half a things-I-got-given-for-my-birthday-that-I-am-really-excited-about; gift guide just sounds a little better! I did think about just sharing my wishlist with you, but instead I want to recommend you some items that I know are good, not just ones that look great...

Travel Blogging Photography Tips
Travel Blogging Photography Tips

Before I start this post, let me say that I am in no way a professional photographer, but I love to take photos and I think one thing that held me (and others) back from starting a blog was that I didn't think my photography was strong enough. I came to realise that I didn't need to be a seasoned pro to take and edit photos and put them on my little space of the internet.  One of my favourite times to use my camera is when I am travelling, and I thought I would share my top tips for capturing those travel memories...

Whether you are using your old iPhone 6S, the new Huawei Mate 20, your Mum's Canon DSLR or Panasonic's Lumix DC-GH5S mirrorless camera, I hope these tips will help you to improve, and enjoy, your photography for your travel blog.

Rule of Thirds & Leading Lines 

You might have seen these two phrases a few times. I won't lie, I'm not one for sticking to these "rules" of composition, but I am the first to admit that if you do think about these and incorporate them in to your photography, your pictures tend to be better.
The rule of thirds is a guideline to essentially line up your image to achieve the photograph that is most pleasing to the eye.  Using the grid on your camera, the image will be split in to 9 equal parts; the idea of this method is that the background is split on a 2:1 ratio, and that the subject of the image sits on the intersection (I've popped a couple of examples below, with gridlines). I break this rule more often than not, as I love a little symmetry.

Travel Blogging Photography Tips  Travel Blogging Photography Tips

The leading line is a way to draw your viewer through the photo to the subject; this can be a road leading to the destination, or a bridge with a monument at the end.  The idea is that the lines lead your viewers attention to the focal point (example below).

Travel Blogging Photography Tips
In the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris 

Research 

When you travel and know you are going to be blogging about it, chances are you want to find the best spots and viewpoints to take your photographs.  My best tip is to research beforehand.   If you are going on a city break, research the best high points to get that stunning shot of the city from above.  If you're hoping to catch that gorgeous sunset on a beach in Bali, know your east from your west. Ask other travellers on Twitter and Instagram for ideas, use (my current addiction) Pinterest for inspiration. Look at where and when the sun rises and sets so you can plan your itinerary around getting that "golden hour" shot.  Google also has a great feature where you can see how busy or quiet a place is at each hour of the day.  If you want a crowd-free shot, look in to when the location is least busy.  We got some gorgeous, mostly people-free, photos of Charles Bridge in Prague after racing down from our hotel at 5am.

Travel Blogging Photography Tips Travel Blogging Photography Tips

Without Instagram, I wouldn't have known that the Trocadero is a great place to get a view of the Eiffel Tower, or that the best spot to catch the sunset in Verona is across the Ponte Pietra at Piazzale Castel San Pietro.

Framing 

One of my favourite parts of travel photography is taking time to step back and find something in the foreground to frame the subject.  I think it makes the shot more interesting and feels more personal, it also allows you to be creative, whether its capturing a landscape through the trees... or getting an angle of a building through an archway...

Travel Blogging Photography Tips Travel Blogging Photography Tips

Lighting 

It is so important to have good lighting when taking your photos, if the lighting is not great, the photo will be pretty mediocre.  Of course we now have apps to help adjust a wide range of settings, but half the work is cut out if the light is good to start with.  Natural light is best, and in most situations, the perfect light is in the early morning just after sunrise, and in the early evening just before sunset.  We travel bloggers rave about the "golden hour" and I can highly recommend taking full advantage of it on your next trip.  

Travel Blogging Photography Tips
Golden Hour in New York City 

During the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky, the light will be more harsh and the photos will have too many strong shadows. (Sometimes this may work for the vibe you are going for, example below, but generally speaking, you'll want to avoid it) 

Travel Blogging Photography Tips
Wawel Castle, Krakow 

Perspective 


You don't want your photos to always look like that standard cliche Instagram shot that everybody gets so make time to find interesting angles and perspectives; some of my favourites have been when I've wandered through somewhere, turned around and realised there is a great shot behind me.  Take a look in the rearview mirror now and then, the view might be pretty special...

Travel Blogging Photography Tips

Make Use of the Weather 

If you are not blessed with a bright day and blue skies, don't fret.  You can still capture some amazing photographs. When you are in a city and it rains, you can get some really cool reflection shots....

Travel Blogging Photography Tips  Travel Blogging Photography Tips

On a recent trip to Bavaria, I was praying for blue skies when we visited Neuschwanstein Castle, but the misty mountains and low clouds gave it such a moody atmosphere, and the photos turned out great!

Travel Blogging Photography Tips


Learn How 


If you are using a DSLR, learn how to.  Watch YouTube tutorials, read guides and tips; there is no point spending a lot of money on photography equipment if you don't know how to take full advantage of its features.  It has become apparent in the blogging industry that being in your photographs helps to draw in more views, likes and followers.  Getting a tripod and learning how to use your camera can help so much with this; you can get the photograph you want, with you as the subject, without having to rely on someone being around to take it for you.

Details 

I think it is important to capture not just the architecture and the landscapes, but the detail and personality of the destination.  I love taking up-close shots of a flowerbed, the colourful vegetables of a market stall, the detail on a gothic cathedral... I'll look back at the below photograph and remember the gorgeous rows of pale pink flowers at Wawel Castle in June...

Travel Blogging Photography Tips

A detail that I know a lot of people try to avoid is... people.  I see so many people waiting around for everyone else to leave so they can get that crowd-free shot, but sometimes I like to have people in my photos, whether they are other tourists or locals.  It makes the place feel more real and alive. Looking at the below, I love the row of different coloured houses but I can also feel the hustle and bustle of the market square... 

Travel Blogging Photography Tips

My Favourite Editing Apps 

I dare say I will do a separate post on this one day, but something I like to do for each destination is create a preset and apply it to each photograph I want to share.  My favourite apps to do this are VSCO and A Color Story.  I may have to tweak each photograph slightly, adjusting exposure or saturation, but once I've created the preset, my editing time is very short.  I like to keep each destination to its own theme, as I just think it is more aesthetically pleasing and makes a blog post flow better.  I find editing photos on my phone very therapeutic and it's fun to play with new filters and techniques.

The most important thing to remember in all of this, is that you are capturing a memory and that your photos are not just for Instagram or your blog, they are also for you.  Remember to be present in the moment and not solely focused on the photographs you are getting.  I love to look back at old travel photos, and be transported, whether it's to summer '13 on top of a mountain in Colorado, or feeling ever-so-content in a bar with a ceiling of fairy lights in Paris, or finally arriving in Chicago after an 8 hour drive from Nashville just in time to see the sun set behind the city's skyline.  The memories a photograph holds is much more important than the likes it gets on Instagram, but I'm still going to take full advantage of those hashtags!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and do let me know your favourite tips for getting the perfect shot!

I can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Bloglovin x

Thanks for stopping by,

Disclaimer - this post was sponsored by Panasonic but all views are my own xN
Styling a gallery wall

After clearing my furniture out of the room, removing the patterned wallpaper and painting the walls a cool-toned off-white, my bedroom started to look a little like I was moving out.  I'd had some 80s film posters, quotes and postcards blu-tacked to the walls, an old US car number plate and a giant Route 66 tin sign, but the time had come to say goodbye to the "wall clutter" and start fresh.

Why the redecorating? After making the choice to stay put in my childhood home and save for a house deposit, I've decided to have a little overhaul of my space at home!  I want my room to be a sanctuary for me to escape to at the end of a long day; a place for me to enjoy my own company, a book and a cup of tea; a space for me to write and edit to my hearts content. 

Scrolling through Pinterest, I fell in love with the idea of having a gallery wall, full of gorgeous prints and photographs.  As we painted that cool white on to the walls, I had the idea in my head but when it actually came to ordering the prints, I struggled with what I wanted.  I'd seen the same combinations used across Pinterest and Instagram, and whilst I wanted the prints to compliment each other, I didn't want to feel like I was conforming to a trend.  So I started to think: Who am I? What do I love? 

Styling a gallery wall

It is no secret that I love pink, and despite my original attempts to have a neutral colour scheme, pink is very much a part of my aesthetic.  So of course, I had to incorporate it in to my gallery wall in some way.  Finding prints that complimented each other as well as the room was more difficult than I thought.  I looked at map prints but found them to be too busy; quotes in a cursive font that required too much concentration; landscapes with colours that were just a little too strong.  I very quickly realised I wanted only a little colour, a fair amount of negative space, and no more than 4 prints.

Minimalism seemed to be the way forward and after a couple of weeks, I'd settled on these 4.  I love the brush stroke print as the colours are not too strong, yet if I wanted to incorporate some dark grey tones or a deep red in to my other decor, they would tie in with this.  Peonies are my favourite flower, and I love enhancing a room with flowers, so of course it made sense to have a floral print.  My favourite of the 4 is the "Be Kind" print; I love the simple font and the simple block of colour.  Finally we have the phases of the moon print which I chose for it's perfect balance between detail and simplicity.  (All prints were purchased from Desenio and all frames are from House by John Lewis) 

Styling a gallery wall

As much as I loved the prints, the wall still didn't quite feel like me, I wanted to add even more of a personal touch... which brings me on to the photographs.  I take a lot of photos (there are currently 30,000 on my iPhone) and I am forever posting my travel pictures on Instagram.  By chance, I was contacted by a brand called Printiki who offer photo printing at fab prices, starting at £5.50 for 20 photos.  I chose to print a few of my photos with view to adding them to my gallery wall.  Most of the prints are from my travels, and having them on my wall is a little reminder of good memories and beautiful places. I also printed a few pictures of my friends and I, and my family.  Printiki offer a range of products, including photo books and magnets (the perfect stocking fillers for Christmas!) You can import the photos directly from your computer, or from Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox and more.  Printiki have kindly offered my readers free shipping using the code 9F4CPQ7D hereIf you need some photo inspiration, check out Printiki on Instagram 

My last two additions to the gallery wall were this adorable Winnie the Pooh postcard that I bought at the recent V&A exhibition, and this country music print which I purchased from one of the stalls at C2C last March.  I am a huge country music fan and this watercolour print was the perfect final piece to finish off my gallery wall.

Styling a gallery wall

This process has taught me a lot about myself; that I'm not as impulsive as I thought, that finding my style is an ongoing process, and that I'm not as scared of change as I believed myself to be.  My top tip when styling a gallery wall would be to spend time thinking about what you want the wall to say and not rush to buy the first print you see; whether you want it to be themed (girl power, nature, fashion, cities...), reflective of your life, emotive, making sure that the wall not only fits the aesthetic you are hoping for but that you also stay true to your passions and interests is so important.  We so often get caught up in what is on trend that we start to struggle with our own sense of style, but when it comes to building your sanctuary, really focus on what brings you contentment and make the Pinterest-worthy aesthetics a second priority. I like to think I did well to achieve a gallery wall that reflects me but also fits my decor of white, pink, gold and grey. 

I can also be found on Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin and Pinterest!

Thanks for stopping by,

Disclaimer: this post is in collaboration with Printiki but, as always, all views are my own xN
Coppa Club Henley Review

I'd be lying if I told you that the interior design of a restaurant doesn't impact my decision on whether to eat there or not.  If I'm going to be spending money on food or drink, I want a nice, relaxed vibe; a fairly reasonable request, no?

With this in (my ever-so millennial) mind, on a hot summers day in August, I persuaded my mother to join me for lunch at Coppa Club in Henley-on-Thames.  Previously Strada, the restaurant changed to Coppa Club in March of this year, and let me start off by saying it is lovely!

Coppa Club Henley Review 
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter Review

I've been yearning for a "glowing soul" vibe of late.  Drinking my daily ginger shot, doing regular cardio, eating my veggies and spending more time in the fresh air, I'm noticing a difference to not only my general outlook but also my complexion, getting that glow from within.  But some days, I need a little extra help to achieve that look, and guess which brand I'm reaching for? (The clue is in the post title!) It's no secret that I adore Charlotte Tilbury and I wanted to share my favourite products from her range; this is my full face of CT and how I get that glow...

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter Review

How to spend a weekend in Krakow

After our time in Warsaw, which you can read about here, we headed to Krakow for a couple of days.  Voted the cheapest city break in Europe for 2018, we were excited for a budget-friendly trip to a new city and were keen to explore what Krakow had on offer.  Have a read of what we got up to...

How We Got There...

We'd decided to get the train from Warsaw to Krakow as this seemed the most time and cost effective way.  Fortunately, the ticket machine had an English setting and we easily purchased our tickets to Krakow.  We chose to ride the EIP which is the pricier ticket at £35 each, but the train was lush and we were given free drinks, so we didn't mind paying the extra to travel in comfort.  Before boarding the train, we had time to kill so naturally I spent a good 20 minutes choosing a donut at Dunkin' Donuts.  I ended up going for two (plus an iced coffee) and I wonder why my dresses are too tight... The journey took about 2 and a half hours, and was surprisingly lovely for a cross-country train ride.  We talked about style and edited our Instagram pictures (millenials eh?) before arriving in to Krakow.

How to spend a weekend in Krakow
Just a pretty building...


Just a couple of weeks ago, my friend Hamilton and I popped over to Poland to explore Warsaw and Krakow.  Not knowing much about either city, we set out to find gorgeous architecture and great food, and we were not disappointed.  Keep reading to find out what we got up to in Warsaw...

How We Got There...

My travel buddy Hamilton currently resides in bonny Edinburgh, so I flew solo to Warsaw Chopin Airport from London Heathrow.  We thought we were super organised and had arranged to arrive at the airport within 15 minutes of each other, but upon arrival we realised we were in different airports; Hamilton was at Modlin, about 45 minutes out of the city, and I was at Chopin, a quick 15 minute drive from our hotel.  TIP: if you are flying separate, make sure you know where you are going! I ended up arriving at the hotel an hour ahead of Hamilton so of course cracked open a bottle of Pilsner, I was on holiday after all!
My flight was supposed to be about £90 but due to me spending all my money on the British Airways Avios eStore, I managed to save an excellent £30! This was the cheapest flight I could find, as it was half-term week here in the UK.  I would recommend checking out the BA Avios eStore as they have a lot of retailers featured and you earn a certain number of Avios per £1 spent, which you can then use toward your future trips!

Where We Stayed...

After our glorious time at the Radisson Blu in Stockholm, we booked to stay at the Radisson Blu Centrum.  For a 5 star hotel in a capital city, the hotel was very reasonably priced and the room was really spacious and comfortable.  However I would not have thought it was 5 star, it did not feel 5 star at all and after the shower head blew off and hit me in the face, I'd have to give the hotel a 3.5/5.

What We Did...

Once we had been reunited after our airport debacle, we set out to explore... One of Hamilton's best travel qualities is he is excellent at directions, I even likened him to the droid L3 from Solo, the new Star Wars film, as he has the best navigational mind.  For both days he mapped a route for us to make the most of our short time in Warsaw.

Old Town, Warsaw



If you know me at all, you'll know that I LOVE food. But you'll also know that I am a terrible cook and I hate spending time in the kitchen. So when the lovely team at Pasta Evangelists offered to send me a couple of meals from their range, I jumped at the chance.  I love pasta and any meal that only takes five minutes to prepare sounds like the dream for a busy 20-something like myself (the proof being it's taken me about 2 months to write this post!)

Pasta Evangelists are a London-based pasta delivery service. Yes, you read that correctly.  They deliver fresh, artisanal recipe boxes right to your front door.  Each week they have a different menu of the most mouth-watering fresh pasta dishes for you to choose from, and you can place an individual order or sign up to their subscription service.  The beauty of their service is in the simplicity - you are provided with everything you need to prepare a restaurant quality meal in minutes, perfect for anyone who finds themselves reaching for a takeaway app after a busy day in the office.



As I live outside of London, my two meals were delivered via DPD.  Due to the distance they were in insulated packaging but the ingredients themselves were contained inside a slim cardboard box, ideal for storing in the fridge and also quite aesthetically pleasing (yes I am giving points for good packaging, I am a blogger after all).  One thing I loved was that the meals are colour coordinated with little stickers so you know which sauce and extra goes with which of the fresh pastas, easy peasy!

My two meals were Pappardelle with Pork Ragu, Cavolo Nero & Parmesan and Artisan Fresh Fusilloni all'Arrabiatta with Pecorino.  With each meal, you receive a little A5 sheet with a little blurb on the inspiration behind the dish, how best to cook your meal and an ingredients list.



Due to my love for Tuscany, I decided to try the Pappardelle first.  The method was so easy and as fresh pasta cooks much quicker than dry pasta, my meal was ready in about 4 minutes. I'm a big fan of Ragu, so much so that on a trip to Bologna I had two portions within about 3 hours of each other, and this definitely lived up to my Ragu expectations.  The size of the meal was ideal, not so small that I was craving more and not too big that I couldn't finish it.  I sometimes find meat sauces quite overwhelming; too much onion or too much red wine, but this one was delicious.  You could almost tell that a lot of effort and love had gone in to getting the sauce just right! The pasta to sauce ratio was perfect and a little sprinkling of parmesan finished the meal off perfectly.

 

A couple of days later, I decided to try the Arrabiatta.  Again, my meal was ready in just under 4 minutes.  I'm a big fan of spicy food and I've always loved Arrabiatta sauce; it is one of our family go to's for a quick, easy meal, but I have never had it with fresh pasta before.  With this one, I did find that there was a little too much sauce but I'm a big fan of garlic bread so of course I mopped up the leftovers with a slice (or two!)  The chilli and garlic gave the sauce a great kick, but may possibly be a little too hot for someone who cannot handle the spice, but that's the beauty of Pasta Evangelists; you choose the meals you want to try, so if you can't handle anything too hot, you can opt for milder dishes!

 

I loved the simplicity and ease of Pasta Evangelists; the meals were of excellent quality and were both so delicious.  I am excited to try some of their other recipes in the future, their chestnut-infused pumpkin tortelloni is calling my name! Whether you are wanting to try a new meal subscription service or looking for a quick solution for a dinner date or even if you just love Italian food, I'd definitely recommend giving Pasta Evangelists a go!

You can find out more about Pasta Evangelists and check out their menus here

Thanks for stopping by,


Disclaimer: Pasta Evangelists kindly gifted me my pasta, but all views are my own.  This post contains affiliate links xx

In March, a few friends & myself popped over to Stockholm for a weekend of museums & architecture.  The city had never been high on my list of places to visit, but I fell in love with it pretty quickly.  Keep reading to find out what we got up to...

How We Got There...
We found a pretty cheap deal with Ryanair; flying from London Stansted to Skavsta, and then home to Stansted from Vasteras airport, for about £40 return.  Living in Europe, budget airlines like Ryanair are an absolute godsend! It gives us the opportunity to explore so many places without breaking the bank.  Yes, there may be delays and not as much legroom, but for £20 per flight, can we really complain?



Once we had arrived at Skavsta, we paid 159 Kr, about £14.00, to get in to the city by coach with Flygbussarna.  The journey took about an hour and a half and some of the landscape views were pretty great.

Where We Stayed...
We chose to stay at the Radisson Blu in the Norrmalm district, conveniently located right by Stockholm Centralstation.  The hotel was lush, decently priced and had a jacuzzi and sauna that we of course took advantage of after long days exploring. I would definitely recommend staying there if you plan on visiting Stockholm.  If you are looking to book a hotel, try Booking.com and click HERE to be rewarded with £15 off.

What We Did...
One thing I don't think any of us realised before we visited Stockholm (apart from the fact hardly anywhere takes cash!) is how the city is made up of islands.  I want to say there is 14, but don't quote me on that.  We tried to plan our days by island, pinpointing what we wanted to see and working out the best route.  I will try to talk about all the things we did in the same way...


On our first day there, we were pretty tired so after checking in to our hotel and grabbing a pizza, we found our bearings and headed to Moderna Museet.  Crossing the Skeppsholm Bridge, we got our first beautiful view of the city.



I love art museums, and I find modern art more interesting than a lot of other movements. The museum has such a good collection, and I'd definitely recommend visiting if you like modern and contemporary art, the pieces will definitely get you talking! After spending a good few hours wandering, we headed to Tak for a cocktail and a good sunset view before getting an early night.





Day two was very much a museum day! We left the hotel and walked to Djurgården via Östermalm.  Our first stop was Nordiska Museet, the Nordic Museum.  This place was SO cool, they had so much to see.  From fashion and jewellery, to Scandinavian home furniture, a fascinating exhibition about nordic light and the importance of design, a whole section dedicated to 1950s Sweden, and some amazing photography exhibitions, I doubt anyone would find this place boring.  It is the largest museum of cultural history in Sweden and gives an interesting insight in to Sweden's past and the lifestyle of it's people over the generations. 10/10 would recommend. 





We then headed to Skansen; an open-air museum where I did not expect to see brown bears and grey seals (they're just not on my radar when I'm planning a city break!). There is a lot at Skansen and it is impossible to see all of it in just a day, however you are given a handy map to help you explore as much as possible.  The museum is like a miniature Sweden, showcasing the different homes and farmsteads from across the country. It explores Swedish traditions, with staff in period costume.  And yes, there is also a zoo with native wildlife... Definitely worth a visit, it doesn't feel like you are in a capital city at all.





Our third and final stop was Vasamuseet, the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum that houses the only almost fully intact 17th century ship in the world. I can't say I've ever had much of an interest in maritime history, but I can see why this museum is Scandinavia's most popular.  Who knew looking at an old ship could be so interesting? The sheer size and scale of the Vasa is something you really have to see to comprehend, it is a true work of art.  Of course there is more than just the ship there; you can also wander the exhibitions, finding out what life would have been like on board.  If you are a history buff, or appreciate wooden carvings, or are a human, pop Vasamuseet on the top of your list for your Stockholm visit.



We started day three with the short walk to Stockholm's City Hall, a gorgeous piece of National Romantic architecture. I loved the red brickwork which looked stunning against the blue skies.  You can also get an amazing view of the city by walking through the inner courtyard and out via the arches.





There was no doubt that I was going to fall in love with Gamla Stan, the Old Town.  It is absolutely gorgeous and the many hidden architectural gems made it my favourite part of the whole weekend.  I love nothing more than wandering a city's old town, indulging in it's unique character and architecture. Gamla Stan had such an authentic feel and wasn't overwhelmed with tourists which made it the perfect place to explore.



I drive my friends mad with my love of cathedrals and churches so of course we stopped by Riddarholmskyrkan, one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, situated south of Birger Jarls torg (a beautiful square with an excellent pink building).  The church was gorgeous, unfortunately closed to visitors, but that didn't stop me admiring the exterior.





One of the Old Town's most popular spots for tourists is the Royal Palace, or Kungliga Slottet in Swedish. I love a palace and have a tendency to spend most of my time staring up at the beautiful ceilings.  I wouldn't say you must visit the Royal Palace, I've seen better, but it is impressive and if you are lost for something to do, it costs about 160 Kr.


Possibly the most recognisable part of Gamla Stan with it's narrow red and gold multi-story buildings is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm.  Surprisingly not too busy, considering it was a Sunday, we sat in the sunshine for a while eating waffles and taking in our surroundings.  I love having the opportunity on a city break to just sit and enjoy where you are, we don't have to always be doing something. I dare say the blue skies and the sunshine helped me to fall in love with Stortorget, but I bet it is still beautiful on a rainy day.



 
Before heading off to the Södermalm district, we visited Storkyrkan, informally referred to as Stockholm's cathedral.  An example of Brick Gothic architecture, this is the oldest church in Gamla Stan.  The cathedral was much smaller than a lot of the cathedrals I have visited, but was still beautiful.



We saw a few exhibitions at Fotografiska but my favourite was hands down Ellen von Unwerth's "Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women", I'd go as far as saying it was my favourite photography exhibition I have ever seen.  I loved the way it was presented; 7 galleries reflecting an emotional expression; love, play, power, gender, lust, passion and drama.  Ellen photographs the world's most beautiful women in a playful, sensual, and often candid way.  Her photographs are sexy without objectifying the subject, and as crazy as it may sound, looking at these photographs gave me a strange level of confidence, like I wanted to set my tripod up and take some self-portraits. I'm keen to get my hands on one of her books for future inspiration.  Sadly, this exhibition has now ended, but be sure to check out her work, it is truly beautiful.


Before heading home to our hotel, we walked up to the Fjällgatan viewpoint to get one last stunning view of a city we had all fallen in love with. 10/10 an excellent day.

What We Ate...
We of course made time to have some Swedish meatballs, but other than that I'm afraid we didn't really eat any Swedish food; most of our meals were a case of "where's the nearest place?" but I thought it would be fun to tell you about a couple of the places we did eat at, as they were pretty great.





Our first discovery was 1889 Fast Fine Pizza, a slightly different take on a fast food restaurant.  I'd go as far as saying this is the coolest pizza place in Europe; we all fell in love with the interior and the pizza was really good.  You order your food and drink at the counter, your pizza is then freshly made and brought over to you. They have a few choices available, including some vegetarian options, and they range in price from about £11 to £19, so not the cheapest of fast food places, but more than worth it for the warm yet edgy atmosphere and the great service.



Another restaurant close to our hotel was Gnarly Burger, serving American-style diner food.  Pretty much anywhere I can order nachos, a Philly cheese steak sandwich and a bottle of Corona is going to be a hit, so it's no surprise I liked this place.  I loved the laidback atmosphere and after a day of running around the city, it was the perfect place to relax and eat carbs.



Have you ever been somewhere and thought "hell, I do not belong here"? This was me at Tak, a rooftop bar not far from our hotel in Norrmalm.  I'm not one for fancy places where everyone is edging towards the more smart side of smart-casual, so Tak wasn't quite for me, but the views are stunning and the bourbon cocktail I chose was pretty good.  I'm definitely more comfortable at a place with a more casual vibe but if you want that shot for the 'gram or if stilettos and suits are your thing, why not check it out?

Admittedly, I think we all liked the Brickyard mostly for the ridiculously attractive barman that greeted us as we walked in.  I'm pretty certain we all went weak at the knees and some of us may have forgotten how to speak.  The bar is located in SoFo, not too far from Fotografiska, and has some gorgeous cocktails and a pretty decent menu if you are just after a few drinks and a light bite to eat.

 

With architecture out of a storybook, blue skies and plenty to see and do, we had a fab time in Stockholm and if you're thinking of spending the weekend there, I hope this post helps!

Where have you been recently? Feel free to pop links to your travel posts down below, I love reading about other's adventures!

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Thanks for stopping by,

Naomi xx