Staycation in Killarney, Co Kerry

Admitting you’ve been on a foreign holiday this year will make you a social pariah faster than you can say “cancelled.”

Like many others, I’m staying at home this year as I don’t think travelling abroad is worth the risk at the moment. I try not to judge anyone who is going abroad as I really enjoy my holliers and would probably be heading away were it not for Covid-19 crashing the party.

This summer seems particularly long with no weddings, concerts or other events to break it up. Even going to the pub is an ordeal and so after five months working at home, I was climbing the walls and desperate for a change of scenery. (I know, first world problems or what?)

Luckily, I managed to cajole my boyfriend into a staycation (also known as a holiday at home) in the wonderful surroundings of Killarney, Co Kerry.

We chose Killarney as there was lots of affordable mid-week accommodation and I’d never been to Kerry and my boyfriend had only been once.

Also, it was far enough away from Dublin to make it feel more like a proper trip away.

We were staying right in the heart of town in the Killarney Avenue hotel. It was quite reasonably priced for mid-week (€318 for two nights) which was pretty good for a four-star hotel.

There are tons of BnBs and hotels in Killarney but it’s definitely worth paying a little more to be closer to town. It was a beautiful hotel with lots of hygiene measures in place and we felt very safe and relaxed.

The residents’ bar was closed but you could order drinks to your room at no extra cost which was fantastic! The staff were also lovely, very obliging and couldn’t do enough for you.

The only small drawbacks were breakfast wasn’t included (you could pay extra but we decided to dine out instead) and the car park is quite narrow and small although I think there is some undergound parking also.

One of the first things you’ll notice in Killarney are the famous jaunting cars, a horse and cart with a “jarvey” driving them.

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Killarney’s famous jaunting cars

Killarney was absolutely buzzing with staycationers and locals alike when we arrived on a warm Wednesday afternoon. We checked in and went for a stroll around the town to try find a spot for dinner.

We also got some delicious Murphy’s ice-cream which was the perfect antidote for the hot day.

A lot of the restaurants were booked out or very busy. We were torn between an Italian restaurant Salvadors and Robertinos and a fish place but went for Salvadors as it served alcohol (priorities haha).

I had carbonara which was absolutely delicious but took some time to consume! My other half had a seafood dish and we split a bottle of white wine.

We had to queue for about 10 minutes but the weather was lovely and warm so we didn’t mind.

After dinner we went for a stroll around town and found a cafe called Curious Cat where we ate breakfast the next day. I also spied a tiny vintage shop which I vowed to visit.

The weather was perfect the first day however, rain threatened the next day. But we’d planned to drive out along the Ring of Kerry with a picnic lunch so we weren’t too worried.

One of my favourite travel bloggers Melanie May was in Kerry at the same time so I was avidly watching her stories to see her recommendations. She advised skipping Muckross House and going straight to Ladies View to admire the stunning scenery of Killarney National Park.

An interesting fact we later learned in Killarney House was that Ladies View gets its name from Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who visited the spot in 1861.

Nowadays, there’s a nice cafe with an open air deck which wasn’t too busy and we enjoyed a coffee and cake here.

On the way up to Ladies View, we stopped and took some photos of a deserted old church.

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Deserted old church

We had no real plan for our drive and we continued motoring the twisty windy N70 road, keeping an eye out for errant sheep along the way.

The road has a few steep inclines but the sharp bends are the most dangerous part so drive with caution.

We ended up in the picturesque town of Sneem which has lots of statues (including one of Charles de Gaulle), colourful buildings, retro signs and murals.

But the most amazing thing we saw was definitely a bearded man with a giant billy goat on a lead! I didn’t believe my boyfriend at first until he showed me.

I loved the colourful buildings and retro signs
Sneem Tavern
Sneem is a very cute town
Bee mural in Sneem

Sneem was quiet enough while we were there and we tried to picnic on a bench but rain sent us back to the car!

There is a caravan park in the town, ideal for staycationers on a road trip.

On the way back down, it became quite misty and we even had to turn on our fog lights to make sure other cars could see us.

The scenery was breathtaking
Killarney’s famous lakes
Sneem

That night we ate at the hotel’s restaurant and went for a late-night stroll hoping to find a speak-easy.

Needless to say, we didn’t and settled for room service drinks and late night TV from the comfort of the enormous bed.

We could use the pool at the Killarney Avenue’s neighbouring hotel, the Killarney Towers just across the road but it was booked up on the second evening.

However, the staff kindly allowed me to use it at 12pm on our last day even though we’d checked out by then,

I went for a relaxing swim while my boyfriend took a stroll through the town after breakfast in Noelle’s Cafe. I wouldn’t recommend this place, the staff seemed rushed off their feet which is fair enough but they messed up my order, the table wasn’t clean and neither was the floor.

As I recall, the food was fine but nothing outstanding. The decor was cute but Curious Cat is a much better bet.

In Curious Cat, I had French toast with bacon and coffee while my boyfriend had a full Irish with Sneem black pudding.

We also stopped at The Tan Yard for a coffee which we had sitting outside, enjoying the mild weather.

Before leaving I was dying to check out the vintage shop I’d seen, Hazel’s Nuts About Vintage on Glebe Street.

It looked small so I told my boyfriend I wouldn’t be long but inside, I got sucked into a vintage paradise.

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The most adorable earrings

The stock was fantastic and really reasonably priced. I tried on Versace jeans that were amazing but didn’t fit and I spent ages rifling through the jewellery, trying to decide what to pick.

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One of the outfits on display

Eventually, I went for a Ireland map pendant necklace (I’d wanted one of these for ages), some gorgeous dragon earrings and a sparkly lurex jumper with a pink/purple leaf design, perfect for autumn and Christmas. The total came to €45. (There are pics on my IG stories highlights).

I think the jumper was €29/€30 and the jewellery about €7-8 approximately. I could’ve spent a lot more in this shop, it really is a gem and worth checking out if you’re in Killarney.

Also the owner told me they sell at a market on Sundays so definitely worth checking out the market if you’re visiting at the weekend.

Our final stop before hitting the road was Killarney House and Gardens, We initially thought the house was closed and enjoyed a stroll around the gardens which are very well-maintained but also have spots growing wild to encourage bio-diversity.

My boyfriend is responsible for the macro photo skills

We saw lots of bees (did you know there are 21 bumblebee species in Ireland? I learned this from a display in the grounds and it was really fantastic to see the efforts being made to protect pollinators.

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The beautiful grounds of Killarney House
Misty views of Killarney House and Gardens
A very enjoyable stroll
A feast for the eyes

We also got to go inside and visit the house for free. I’d forgotten my facemask but they had ones for visitors which was great.

I love history and the house was full of beautiful and interesting exhibits, telling its story and that of the local area.

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Killarney House
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Killarney memorabilia
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A stag’s skull on display in Killarney House

Sadly, it was then time to hit the road and we headed back to get the car. We had such a wonderful and enjoyable stay in Killarney and I hope to be back in the future

I hope you all have enjoyed this post. I’m very aware that travelling in Ireland is not cheap and not an option for a lot of us at this time so I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Please note, we paid for everything ourselves, this was not a gifted stay. Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve been to Killarney or if you’d like to go in the future. Don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

Steps of Schloss Nymphenburg

Visiting Munich: A most convenient city

The best word to describe Munich city is convenient.  It’s easy to navigate, well-serviced and very accessible.

English is widely spoken (obviously attempts to speak German are appreciated), there’s loads of affordable public transport and the city isn’t overly expensive. Even the main shopping street Kaufingerstrasse never feels overly crowded.

One of the best things about Munich was being able to use the underground stations to cross the road which was super handy. Germans, after all, don’t tolerate jaywalkers!

And the stations had one escalator which ran both ways – how efficient!

Marienplatz Munich
Marienplatz Munich

I shouldn’t have expected any less but this was my first time in Germany.

I hadn’t much interest in travelling to Germany previously because I always thought it seemed dull and unromantic compared to France, Spain and Italy.

I also had the displeasure of living with a German housemate in the past who ran the gaff like Mountjoy!

However, I put my misgivings and grudges aside – and had a wonderful time in Munich.

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Marienplatz – the main square in Munich

Before Christmas, I spontaneously booked a trip to Munich in Ryanair’s Black Friday sale, €16.99 each way.

Flying mid-week was great as the flight wasn’t full and we even got emergency exit seats – all the leg room!

Tip: If you’re flying Ryanair, wait as long as possible to select a seat, this is one way to get an emergency exit seat as they have to put people sitting there.

We landed in Munich eager to sample some Bavarian delicacies and drench our thirst with a beer.

Marienplatz Munich
Marienplatz Munich

We took a train into the city centre from the airport which took approximately 30 minutes.

On disembarking, we wandered down the magnificent archway to Kaufingerstrasse. (Pronounced “Cow-finngir-strassa”, rather than “Cow-Finger-Strassa”!

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This archway to Kaufingerstrasse is beautiful but I couldn’t get a photo in the day time

We found a little restaurant called Augustiner Klosterwirt down a side street where we ordered beers and food.

The weather was quite mild and we could even sit outside. Most of the restaurants leave blankets out for patrons on cold days.

The beer was called Edelstoff so it got my approval right away. It was delicious and light and the perfect accompaniment to our meal.

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I had two sausages with a pretzel, black bread and a delicious cheese and butter dip called obatzda.

After our meal, we checked into our hotel, Le Meridien Munich. The hotel was centrally situated, right across from the train station on Bayerstrasse and was gorgeous.

After a brief rest, we headed out to the famous Hoffbrauhaus to grab our second beer of the day.

Although the Hoffbrauhaus was busy, we found a quiet corner, where we ordered two steins and a giant pretzel.

It was a lively place, thronged with tourists and had a live band in traditional dress playing in the background.

After drinking a stein, I didn’t think I’d be able for food anytime soon, so we wandered around the streets.

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Huge pretzel and huge beer!

My appetite soon returned and we nipped into a movie-themed restaurant called 35 milimeter. Here we enjoyed a dinner of burgers and chips, however, I failed to finish a pint.

The next morning I saw the nasty effects of dehydration from flying and drinking. My face was incredibly puffy and it remained like that all day!

Breakfast consisted of a coffee and a schmalznudel, a delicious traditional pastry,  from Cafe Frischhut.

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Delicious schmalznudel

After this, we took a train to go to the Schloss Nymphenburg, or Palace of the Nymph, a beautiful Baroque palace outside Munich.

Schloss Nymphenburg

We had to walk for about 15 minutes through an industrial-looking neighbourhood but gradually, our surroundings changed as we got closer.

The palace was stunning, like a smaller Versailles.

One thing we immediately noticed was that there weren’t loads of visitors, one huge perk of travelling mid-week.

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Inside the Great Hall

It was so quiet that some of the museum workers were even painstakingly brushing dust off a chandelier. Rather them than me!

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On the steps of the Schloss

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Walking up the steps of the Schloss

Given that we were only there for two and a half days, we didn’t plan an itinerary but Schloss Nymphenburg was top of our list as we both like history and I love art and architecture.

It was only €6 to visit the Schloss and the adjacent porcelain museum but we decided to give the museum a miss.

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Details from inside the place

I thought this was great value considering many similar places are far more expensive.

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Decoration inside the palace

The Great Hall is absolutely breathtaking and I could spend hours looking at the stunning rococo design.

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Chandeliers in Schloss Nymphenburg

King Ludwig’s I Gallery of Beauties was also fascinating, a collection of portraits of women deemed to be the most attractive of their time.

The Gallery of Beauties
The Gallery of Beauties

When we came outside, I climbed the steps of the wrap-around balustrade to take in the view from the balcony.

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Views from the steps of the Schloss

Our beer house tour continued in the evening as we set out for the Augustiner Keller. I opted for a radler, a mix of beer and lemonade – ideal if you don’t feel in the mood for more beer.

We headed to a second beer house Augustiner Braustuben for dinner.

My boyfriend had the wiener schnitzel but I wasn’t crazy about eating veal so I gave it a miss.

Afterwards, we went to the bar of our hotel and enjoyed some expensive but delicious drinks – I swapped the beers for tasty French mojitos!

Initially, we had hoped to visit more attractions including the Alte Pinakothek art museum and the Residenz palace in the city centre.

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However, time was limited and my ankle wasn’t up to walking far (although we did do 16,000 steps every day) so we decided to go to the English Gardens instead.

It was a cold day and although we enjoyed our stroll, it probably wasn’t the best time of year to enjoy the gardens.

English Gardens Munich
English Gardens Munich

We stopped off at the Chinesischern Turm or Chinese Tower, a wooden pagoda, five storeys tall.

Here, we finally got to try currywurst with chips at a restaurant and it was absolutely delicious!

Chinese tower, English Gardens
Chinese tower, English Gardens

The restaurant was almost deserted so we enjoyed a peaceful lunch before getting on a tram back into the city to go shopping.

Munich has all the chain stores, H&M, Zara but although there were still sales on,  I was tired and bloated from all the food and beers and trying on clothes was frustrating.

On a whim, I went to Pimkie where I spotted a gorgeous midnight blue puffer coat. It was marked €30 on sale from €60 but was just €24 when I took it to the till! Result!

Our final few hours were spent wandering around the Marienplatz, the main square, stopping off for a look into St Peter’s Church and of course, another beer in the Rathaus beer hall before going heading to the airport.

You can climb up the tower of St Peter’s Church and look out over the city but it was dark by then so we decided against it.

One random observation, there seems to be a lot of people on crutches in Munich. I tend to notice people on crutches more since my injury but there definitely seemed a disproportionate amount of them here!

We mainly walked and used the underground to get around and we bought multi-trip tickets which were very convenient.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this post. If you’ve been to Munich and leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for reading and check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

 

 

Visiting the Basque Country: Biarritz and San Sebastian

After a rather difficult year, I was badly in need of a break and my holiday in Biarritz and San Sebastian was just that.

We booked this holiday prior to my accident and it gave me something to look forward to.

We’d found reasonably-priced flights to Biarritz and after I read Indie and Lily’s blog post on San Sebastian, we decided to spend two nights there also.

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With the cost of two Airbnb’s and renting a car, it was definitely one of the more expensive holidays I’ve been on.

As we’d booked it a long time in advance, it gave me time to save up spending money, however, I did find myself buying clothes for holidays all summer…

I was worried about how my injury would affect my enjoyment of holidays but I actually walked for at least an hour most days.

The most amazing thing happened during our first evening there. I walked a few steps without my crutches! (I’d been trying to do this for some time but could only lurch rather than walk).

I couldn’t believe it as it had been FOUR MONTHS since I had last walked. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing when I showed my boyfriend and I almost cried with happiness!!

Biarritz is a hilly city so there were lots of inclines for me to navigate.

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Biarritz coast

Our Airbnb host informed us that there was a free shuttle bus (the navette) into the city centre every day and we made use of that on several occasions.

However, the city centre navette only ran till 7.30 pm, which meant we usually went for dinner in the local area.

This wasn’t an issue though because our apartment was only 10 minutes from the bustling Les Halles area, full of restaurants and bars.

Our Biarritz Airbnb was a charming retro apartment with a huge terrace.

We spent most of our time at the apartment on the terrace eating outside or chilling in the sun. It was about a 15-minute walk from the city centre but on crutches it took longer.

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The terrace complemented my dinner outfit.

One thing I immediately noticed was that there seemed to be few chain restaurants and stores.

I didn’t see one MacDonalds or Starbucks which was really refreshing. (That’s not to say they weren’t there but there certainly aren’t as many as at home…)

We stuffed our faces with delicious food, from ice-cream to seafood, burgers and frites, churros, croque madames et monsieurs and croissants.

Biarritz is full of gastronomic delights and my diet went right out the window!

Alcohol was also plentiful and I enjoyed several delicious mojitos!

We didn’t really go shopping in Biarritz apart from a brief trip to Galeries Lafayette but this was just for a browse.

We took two day trips, one to St Jean de Luz, a pretty little Basque town.

We lounged on the beach and enjoyed lunch there. I even managed to get into the sea and swim – yay!

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Basque or Euskara is a bit of linguistic mystery, it has no relation to any other European language.

As we drove out of Biarritz, we saw more signs in Basque and signs featuring the Basque cross.

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Sunday was rainy and we decided to drive up into the Pyrenees to a town named St Jean Pied de Port.

The town is famous for being part of the Camino de Santiago Compostela.

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Streets of St Jean Pied de Port

The hilly town wasn’t the easiest for me to negotiate but we walked right to the top of the town, stopping off for a coffee and a trip to a tiny local museum.

Walking up the steep hilly cobbled street in the rain was no mean feat!

I then took a rest while my boyfriend climbed up the Citadelle, a 17th century fortress sitting on the highest point in town. 

On our last day in Biarritz, we wanted to visit the two main tourist attractions, the Rocher de la Vierge, a statue of the Virgin Mary which resides on a rock formation in the middle of the ocean and Le Phare, the historic lighthouse overlooking Biarritz.

However, my injury presented challenges as the Rock of the Virgin entails a long walk out on a metal footpath and the lighthouse has 258 steps and no lift!

We decided to catch a little tourist train out to the Rock of the Virgin (we thought it would let us off but instead it just stopped on the promenade).

This meant we only saw the rock from the distance but given my limited mobility, it was for the best.

It was €6 for a round trip which dropped us back to the city centre.

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Le Phare lighthouse

We drove to the Le Phare and enjoyed taking some photos of the beautiful scenery outside.

I decided against the climb and enjoyed a coffee instead.

The weather was mid-20’s to low 30’s most days with our final day being the warmest and most humid.

We’d gone to the beach that morning to catch a few rays.

That evening there was a thunderstorm which we enjoyed watching out the terrace doors.

After the storm passed, we went to a hipster burger joint called Bonheur. I wasn’t too hungry so just had fries with parsley and garlic -delicious!

The next day we had to rush as we got a message from our host asking if we’d left – we had forgotten to check what time we had to check out at! Oops!

Luckily, we were pretty much packed and ready to go and we set off for San Sebastian or Donostia as it’s known in Basque.

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The streets of San Sebastian

We were only in San Sebastian for two days but it was a wonderful two days.

Buses were plentiful so we didn’t need to use our car.

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Plaza de la Constitucion San Sebastian.

Our first day was spent strolling through the city streets in search of pinxtos.

We soon found a pinxto bar on a side street called Bardulia.

We sampled a mix of cold pinxtos here but to be honest they were quite underwhelming.

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Pinxtos

I noticed that one street was called 31 Agosto and when I discovered that’s because the city was burned to the ground by invaders on the date, apart from that one street.

We arrived on the 29th and apparently, there’s a commemoration on the 31st every year but we were leaving early that day.

We meandered down as far as La Concha promenade and took in the beautiful spectacle of the shell-shaped beach.

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La Concha Beach San Sebastian

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Views from the promenade.

The promenade is lined with ornate white railings with old-fashioned street lamps at the entrance to the beach.

Beside the promenade was a stunningly beautiful carousel which stood out against the bright blue sky.

That evening we had burgers and one of the best mojitos I had all holidays at a restaurant called Muuk in the main square.

The burgers came with a tiny serving of potato shavings, kind of like mini chipsticks!

The following day we went to the beach where I finally got to wear my new bikini from PLT.

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It turned rainy in the afternoon so we went shopping.

I had my heart set on a Longchamps bag but I hadn’t time to go to the Longchamps store in Biarritz.

However, we tracked down the only store selling Longchamps in the area.

N.B shops in San Sebastian tend to close between 2-4, so be aware of this if you are shopping.

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Frizzy hair don’t care

The store in question, Styl, didn’t have a huge stock of Longchamps bags but I decided to get a navy rucksack.

While Stan Smiths were everywhere in Biarritz, in San Sebastian, everyone seemed to sport a Levis t-shirt. I picked one up in Noa and Judy for €25.

I also bought an Iron Maiden tee in Donostia Rock for €24.

After that I wandered through Stradivarius and Bershka, unfortunately, I didn’t get to Zara or Sephora. *sobs*

On our last evening, we stayed in with pizza and beer and watched some ridiculous Spanish TV.

There were some bizarre sketch shows that made us laugh but seeing bullfighting on one channel was horrible.

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Church San Sebastian

I highly recommend both cities and wish we could’ve had more time to explore San Sebastian. Have you ever been to either? Let me know.

PS I’ve been very busy lately so haven’t had any time to blog but will hopefully have an autumn trends post coming soon. Thanks for reading and check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

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Capsule Wardrobe – What to bring on a sun holiday

I’m not a very organised person and often pack for holidays the night before I go. (This could also be down to the fact that I like a spontaneous trip..)

But for once in my life, I’ve booked holidays A LONG time in advance and I’m already outfit planning for it. I haven’t been on a proper holiday in almost two years and I’m really happy to have the chance to go away.

Last summer, I was working Monday to Friday in an internship and working a part-time job at the weekends. It was zero craic…

But this year, I’m going away for an entire week to Biarritz and San Sebastian and there’s no way I’m paying for a check-in bag.

10kg is PLENTY for this outfit-repeating gal!

I’ve already put together a rail of items to bring and hopefully there will be some space left for new purchases 😉

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Looking through the clothes I already have, I realised I don’t really need many new items.

So far, I have one light summery jacket, a pair of white jeans, a playsuit, a dress, a skirt, five pairs of shorts, a bikini, two one-piece swimsuits, two t-shirts, one camisole top, one dressy off the shoulder top and two crop tops. All of these pieces mix and match pretty well together.

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I may bring another bikini or substitute one of the swimsuits for another one, we’ll see.

Holidays are a good time to experiment with colours you don’t normally wear, for instance I normally steer clear of yellow as I’m very fair-skinned and it doesn’t suit me. However, I love these fluorescent yellow shorts for a holiday and have tops with yellow detail to match.

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I don’t wear a lot of white or cream either, but white looks way better in sunshine so I’ve included some white and cream tops to wear with my blue denim shorts.

If you’re going on a sun holiday, casual clothes are more important than fancy clothes, so bring more casual dresses, shorts, skirts, t-shirts and swimwear. Hence, my five pairs of shorts!

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Leave your heels at home and bring a nice pair of neutral sandals for night-time.  For day time, bring another pair of sandals or flip-flops for the beach and a lightweight pair of runners for exploring.

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Heels take up too much room, they’re an awkward shape to pack and your feet may swell on holidays making them even more uncomfortable! (Haha jokes on me I broke my ankle a month after this and spent my holiday in a moonboot).

You can bring a couple of nice outfits for going out to dinner or a night out but try and bring items that double up as daytime wear also.

For instance, I’m bringing a stripy loose -fit playsuit and a floral dress. These will work just as well during the day, unlike a tight bodycon dress or sequin mini-skirt.

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The terrace complemented my dinner outfit.

I have included my lilac faux leather mini-skirt but the rest of my clothes are cotton or cotton-mix to stay cool.

When going to the airport, pick something to wear that you can utilise in your holiday wardrobe also.

For instance, I usually wear a light jacket, a t-shirt, jeans and light runners. Comfortable but easy to shed a layer once you get there. You should always aim to wear your heaviest or bulkiest items, i.e. jeans and runners to keep your suitcase light.

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The first time I ever went on a girl’s holiday to Turkey, I went mad and bought loads of new things, several pairs of heels, three bikinis and loads of going out clothes.

Apart from the shoes I barely wore any of the items again. I was only there for three or four days..mad or what?!

One pieces are great as they double up as a bodysuit with shorts.

You’ll need to leave room in your case for underwear, socks, PJ’s and a small handbag for going out.

I always bring a tote bag to throw all my essentials into, i.e. purse, passport, cosmetic bag, camera etc.

This may not be everyone’s idea of a “capsule” wardrobe as it already contains 19 items before I add shoes but I am going away for a full week,

If I decide to leave anything out, it will probably be some of the dressier items.

With three pairs of shoes, it takes me up to 22 items in total but I will be wearing one pair on the plane.

Let me know your thoughts on packing for holidays, do you stick to a capsule wardrobe or not? I’ll be putting up a swimwear post soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to follow me on social media,  check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

Shopping and sight-seeing in Edinburgh

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After a long stressful year in college, I couldn’t wait to go to Edinburgh and visit my friend Jacqui.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city, surrounded by hills with a medieval feel. It’s a bit like Belfast, minus the sectarian murals. It’s also quite small and the airport seems tiny in comparison to Dublin.

The first thing I did was wander into Princes’ St Gardens and up the hill beside the castle.

Just beside the castle, is the Parish church of St. Cuthbert which has an old kirkyard or graveyard beside it.

The graveyard has old graves and tombs, some with bizarre inscriptions. There was also a cute wedding complete with pink balloons and tutu bridesmaid skirts taking place but I didn’t want to go too close!

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Naturally, I hit Prince’s St which is the Scottish equivalent of Oxford St. It was a lovely sunny day and I’d arrived just in time for the H&M sale.

I also came on holidays without a pair of walking shoes so I bought these cute snakeskin plimsolls for £15 and a floral dress for £7. #bargain

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I got lots of wear out of this dress, wearing it on hols in Barcelona here

H&M is so cheap in the UK and I spent ages browsing. I have a €5 off voucher from recycling clothes through H&M so may spend that soon.

H&M has some great swimwear  and I’m loving this a-line baby blue skirt which also comes in a lovely burgundy red.

I later found the red one in a charity shop back in Dublin.

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Word to the wise, you now have to pay for plastic bags in shops in the UK.

I was lured into the giant stuffy Primark and spent ages trying stuff before buying fake septum rings, a Star Wars t-shirt and high-waisted shorts.

I ended up bringing the shorts back as they just didn’t fit right, however.

The fake septum ring was not a good idea either as it was very loose and I kept feeling like I would inhale it!

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Southbridge is where most of the charity shops are located, the British Heart Foundation shop is particularly good.

On my second day, I headed up Arthur’s Seat, an ancient extinct volcano overlooking the city.

Here’s the beauty of Edinburgh, everywhere you go there’s something you can climb to look out over the city.

Some places such as the Scots Monument and the observatory at Calton Hill charge a fee of £5 for “the best view of Edinburgh” but if you ask me the best view is from Arthur’s Seat and will cost nothing except perspiration!

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Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill are conveniently close to the city, so close, in fact, you can walk to both. Arthur’s Seat is quite a long climb but it doesn’t get tough till near the end.

I was distracted by a pheasant (or a grouse?!) and many other photo ops on the way up! If you’ve ever climbed Croagh Patrick, Arthur’s Seat is certainly easier.

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The views from the top are breathtaking, from the city to the sea.

The weather was great (although I suspect not as good as in Ireland, I managed to go away during the heatwave).

The hot weather at home meant I foolishly brought almost all summery clothing with me and I was not prepared for the chilly evenings in the north!

Also climbing + dresses is not advised. The wind and gravity were conspiring against my wardrobe choices on Arthur’s Seat.

At Calton Hill, it was even harder to climb up the monument without compromising myself!

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The monument is dedicated to the Scottish military and navy who died in the Napoleonic wars.IMG_20160603_144146530

I returned to the city past Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament and the Royal Mile.

The Royal Mile is full of touristy shops, with slogans such as “Thistle do” and souvenirs ranging from sporrans to whiskey flavour condoms!

I sampled an Irn-Bru on my journey.

This was not the only Scottish delicacy I tasted. I also had chip shop sauce which is sort of a brown sauce but with vinegar, delicious with fish and chips.

I mistook this for maple syrup at my friend’s house… Oh and I had some “porage” also.

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“Porage” It will make you a shotput champion with short forearms!!

But no haggis or deep-fried Mars Bar. 😦 Jacqui told me “Haggis is like black pudding..but more sheepy.”…yum

My third day was spent exploring the Scottish National Gallery which has an amazing collection.

It is free to the public although they encourage making a donation. It also has seats and wifi if you get tired.

I particularly liked the Scottish painters and the Painting as Spectacle exhibition. The gallery is in the city centre and opens every day.

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After two low key nights, we went to the Three Sisters for a night out. Cue too much pre-drinking, some vague memories of dancing and arguments with a taxi driver. I had fun is all I know 😉

After resting my head on fluffy pillows for hours and cooking a pizza in the microwave (don’t ask) I was ready to face the outside world again!

I had intended to do the castle and visit Stockbridge on my last day but I was really tired and just stayed in the city centre..window shopping of course. 🙂

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I loved Edinburgh and can’t wait to go there again. If you’re visiting bring a rucksack as it’s much easier to have when climbing and some sensible shoes.

Also, bring a jacket for the evenings and some climbing-appropriate clothing!

It’s a very affordable city, the buses are the easiest way to get around and a day ticket for the bus is only £4.

Big thank you to my hostess Jacqui, I don’t think I laughed so much in months, it was the perfect tonic for a frazzled Master’s student.

If you’re Insta-obsessed, then check out Sarah’s Five Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh – she’s a photographer so she knows what she’s talking about!

I’m delighted to have been nominated for the Irish Blog Awards again and will have a festival fashion post up soon.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

Palma de Mallorca 2015

This is a long overdue post on my trip to Palma de Mallorca. I meant to put it up much sooner but then I began my Master’s and got swept away by a tsunami of assignments. 😛 I should be studying right now also to be honest….

Prior to my sun holiday I’d been to London where I picked up some great bargains for my holiday wardrobe. I also had the cute clothes I got from the swap shop I attended which were perfect for holidays. The first night of my holidays I wore a simple outfit, a beaded top, shorts, white espadrilles and a gorgeous vintage belt I got for €1 in my local charity shop.

The worst part of going on holiday at the end of the summer was trying to find a bikini! It was near impossible to find a matching bikini top and bottom in the right size. However I found one in the most unexpected of places, Tesco! Yep £7 for a really cute tropical bikini!

print bikini

I wore it to Playa Es Trenc, a beach on the far side of the island. This beach is near a salt mine and the sea is really salty! It is known as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island but beware part of it is a nudist beach so don’t be shocked if you visit.

I also bought some cute shorts for the trip, the yellow high-waist ones were £2 in Primark and the denim ones were £5 at a market.

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Another place I visited was Los Cuevas del Drach, a sort of tropical Ailwee Caves. These caves are considered to be one of the best tourist attractions, extending almost 1200 metres underground and contain a subterranean lake. The cave tour concludes at an underground amphitheatre where a group of musicians pulled up in a boat and serenaded us! It was very surreal.

Outside the caves, you can see Mallorca’s east coast.

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The caves are located quite far away from the city of Palma de Mallorca so you would need to hire a car if you wanted to go there. Luckily for me, my friends had a car so I got to see a lot of the island.

I was there for 5 days and my agenda included exploring the city centre, visiting the famous cathedral and taking a trip out to Port de Soller.

My trip to Port de Soller was a nice break from the city. I went on an old-fashioned steam train which was the noisiest thing I’ve ever been on and my fellow passengers were passive aggressive German pensioners! The rustbucket, sorry train took us on a scenic route through the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. The train then proceeded to break down in a tunnel which was quite scary as it was really claustrophobic, there was no light and it was really hot! After about 15 minutes they finally got it up and running again!

The views from the train were worth all the discomfort, from the window we could see tiny white houses below us, mountains all around and lemons growing by the tracks.

The previous day I’d bought a white off the shoulder top in Stradivarius so I wore that for my day out.

Soller is a seaside town with some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. The pictures really don’t do it justice. The port is a perfect horseshoe shape, surrounded by mountains and tropical vegetation with azure blue water and white sand. It’s quite a wealthy place, judging by all the yachts around! I felt like I was in paradise!

Palma is quite small so there’s not as much to see in the city but I enjoyed wandering around window shopping and having a traditional ensaimada pastry and coffee.

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Palma’s most famous building is a Roman Catholic Gothic Cathedral known locally as “La Seu.” Unfortunately I didn’t get to see it in daylight but was still impressed with the night-time view.

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Hope you all enjoyed this travel post! Thank you to my lovely friends Dani and Santi for giving me a great holiday and an escape from Ireland! Thanks for visiting my blog as always. If you want to follow me on social media, my Facebook page is here and Instagram here.

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Edel

Market Shopping and Sea Air

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I have some very exciting news, I’ve been shortlisted for Best Fashion Blog by the Blog Awards Ireland. I was already thrilled with my long list nominations and extremely happy that my blog has been long-listed three times since its inception. BUT when I found out I made the shortlist my reaction was…

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The shortlist will soon go to a public vote and I hope you will vote for me! I’m so passionate about this blog and I have put so much time into it.

But not to digress any further and back to my travels in the UK. The second part of my holiday was spent in Notting Hill,  East London and Southend-On-Sea which is about an hour outside London.

Sunday was spent visiting Notting Hill’s Portobello Market where I bought some presents for my friend’s little girl Stevie. I had no clue what to buy for a baby but I found an emoji bib and a cute Paddington Bear t-shirt.

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Then I struck gold when I found a stall selling cut-off shorts for £5 and picked up a pair. Unfortunately there was nowhere to try them on and they were smaller than I’d anticipated. They just about fit! Can’t trust waist sizes!

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I love the Portobello Market and have featured it on the blog previously. There were lots of weird and wonderful things there, see below…

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This t-shirt tho

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My next port of call was Spitalfields Market in East London. My friend Michele was keen to show me the market and knew I would love it. She was right!

Spitalfields Market consists of clothing, jewellery, food and drink stalls and is surrounded by shops which all retain the original facades of the old buildings.

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This looks nothing like a typical MAC store!

I didn’t have a lot of money however one item which caught my eye was this floral mini satchel. At £12 it was a no-brainer!

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Among the shops dotted around was a gorgeous retro shop,  Collectif Clothing which was filled with 40’s and 50’s style clothing and accessories.

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I wore a simple outfit to the market, all black except for my printed vintage shirt.

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As well as clothing we also saw some great artwork on display by artist Adrian Boswell at the Old Truman Brewery Market. I love these collages.

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We then walked around Brick Lane and admired street art and soaked up the hipster vibes. 😛

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There are lots of vintage stores in this area but the best one has to be Absolute Vintage. This shop is HUGE! It is stuffed with clothes, shoes and handbags, catering for both guys and girls. I can’t imagine trying to tidy this shop, it is literally bursting at the seams! Some items such as the shoes are a little battered but most items are wearable. The handbags are especially worth a look! Next time I am in London, I will be coming here again.

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That evening I travelled to Southend-on Sea to visit my friend Elaine. We spent a lovely day in Southend shopping and walking the pier.

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I threw together a casual outfit for the day, black jeans, lilac Penneys jumper and of course my new bag. 😉

While in Southend I made some purchases including a fab new bikini for £7, sandals, a tribal print cosmetic bag for £1 and Elaine bought me a lovely gift, these pink and white shoes!

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Hope you all enjoyed this post. My next post will be on my visit to Mallorca featuring all my holiday clothing I bought in London! Thank you for reading as always.

Edel

London Calling

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I’m just back from a great holiday in London. I love London and have documented my travels here before but every time I go there it’s a different  experience.  I arrived on Friday and was quite tired from travelling but managed to drag myself out to Oxford Street to shop. (I know what a hero…)

Ah, Oxford Street! I love Oxford Street, it’s like a pilgrimage to me but it is so crazy! Luckily I’m not daunted by this and set about shopping. The two main places to go to on Oxford Street are Primark/Penneys and Topshop. However they are both so packed and busy that its difficult to negotiate your way through either at peak times.

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I’d often attempted to go into the flagship Topshop store before but each time left because it was too busy. For once it wasn’t too busy and I was able to look around. This Topshop is more like a department store with loads of concessions from funky jewellery brands such as Ottoman Hands, phone accessories, vintage handbags, a piercing parlour, makeup, a hair braiding service, a bubble tea and a cupcake stand. Oh yeah and clothes and shoes also…three floors of them! Here’s some of the items which caught my eye and some of the new season stock.

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Turkish inspired jewellery from Ottoman Hands.

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Vintage jewellery

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Vintage handbags and scarves

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Slogan handbags

With regard to autumn/winter clothing, there’s lots of suede, earthy colours, furry waistcoats and 70’s style clothing. This blue suede mini skirt is really adorable.

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Topshop’s mannequin display is always creative. This vegetation background is really compliments the clothing and I love the long blonde dreads on the mannequin.

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The next stop was obviously Primark where I bought some great holiday clothing. I’ll be featuring all these in an upcoming post.

On Saturday I spent some time at the National History Museum and the V & A. Both museums were near my hostel and easily accessible by the Underground.

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National History museum.

The National History museum was full of kids on holiday so I left pronto but the V & A was a lot calmer. The Victoria and Albert museum describes itself as the world’s greatest museum of art and design.This musuem is a must for any fashion lover as they have amazing textile and fashion exhibitions. The last time I was here, I saw Grace Kelly’s wardrobe and their Alexander Mc Queen exhibition broke attendance records! Best of all most of the museum is free however special exhibitions charge a small fee.

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The V & A museum.

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Inside the V & A.

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Christian Dior clothing on display at the V & A.

Currently, their exhibition “Shoes, Pleasure and Pain” is on display. Being a shoe obsessive I had to see it! This exhibition explores the erotic connotations with shoes and feet and the role of the shoe in different cultures, movies, folk-lore and fairy tales. Every type of shoe imaginable from different eras was on display from the red slippers in the “Wizard of Oz”, the Cinderella glass slipper designed by Swarovski, shoes made for bound feet to Christian Louboutins. Even the famous blue Vivienne Westwood platforms which caused Naomi Campbell to fall on the runway were on display.

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Some of my favourite shoes in the exhibition: clockwise from top Prada “Tail Light sandals, Indian toe post wedding shoes and the iconic Vivienne Westwood platforms.

I also went to the Spitalfields Market in the east of London which is a real hipster neighbourhood, Notting Hill and spent a few days outside London by the sea. I’m going to devote another post to these adventures and look forward to writing about them soon! I’m also looking forward to doing another travel post on my holiday in Palma de Mallorca. Thank you for reading as always and to like my Facebook page just click here.

Edel

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Take Me Away- Swimwear and Sun Holidays

This has been the most depressing summer in Ireland’s meteorological history so I thought I’d cheer us all up with a sun holiday and swimwear post!  I’m about to go on my first sun holiday in about three years and I’m very excited. I’m going to Palma de Mallorca and am looking forward to seeing sunlight!

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SWIMWEAR

This Versace-esque scarf print bikini from River Island is the bomb! It is gorgeous and also on sale at the moment, the top is reduced to €12 and the bottoms to €3. I’m going to try get my hands on one before I go away. I hope I can find it as once bikinis go on sale, the chances of finding your size in a matching top and bottom are pretty slim!

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New Look also do some great swimwear at reasonable prices. It seems silly to spend a lot of money on a bikini considering our fabulous climate! They have covered all the trends from this mesh high neck style, a colour block Triangl lookalike, a simple pink and black trim bikini and a strapless wet look black bikini. All of these bikinis except for the black wet-look style are currently on sale.

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One pieces don’t have to be boring, take a look at these diverse styles from Asos and Motel.

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Asos South Beach metallic swimsuits

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Asos purple seventies swimsuit and Evil Twin Yin Yang swimsuit.

These iconic “Wave” swimsuits by Motel are the coolest one pieces I’ve ever seen!

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And if none of the above have tempted you Nine Crow Street currently are offering 30% off all online orders!

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Vintage geometric swimsuit Nine Crow St.

 SHORTS

River Island have cute baroque print shorts reduced to €12 from €24.

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Or for something a little more boho, I like these black crochet hem shorts from New Look currently reduced to €11.50 from €22.99.

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SHOES

Although I’m not a massive fan of wearing heels on holiday, I do like these white platform wedges currently €30 in the River Island sale. Other cute shoe options include these studded sliders also from River Island at €18.

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Hope you have enjoyed this post and I look forward to writing about Mallorca and also my upcoming trip to London! I’m also hoping to do a giveaway on the blog soon and it’s going to be a good one 😉 Keep an eye on my Facebook page here for more details!

Thanks for visiting my blog as always.

Edel

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Day trip to Ghent

On our second day in Belgium, we headed out of the city to visit Ghent and Bruges. Our hostel Sleepwell Brussels had cute hand-drawn maps made by locals so we took these with us.

A youth travel company USE-IT makes these maps in conjunction with locals and they’re an excellent resource. (Not that I can read maps but they’re nice to look at.)

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First stop was Ghent which is a beautiful Dutch city. Don’t be fooled by its medieval vibe, it’s also a place of genetic research and home to several Nobel prize winners!!

Ghent also has an eco-friendly vibe with wide cycle paths and promotes vegetarianism avidly even having a “meat-free” Thursday in many places. Also, no-one seems to lock their bike up in Ghent….wouldn’t happen in Dublin…

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For our day out I wore a nice casual outfit: a vintage tweed jacket which I bought in Paris, a floral jumper, black skinnies with a crochet hem and my trusty Topshop plimsolls.

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We strolled through the town taking in the sights with a guided tour from Michele’s lovely friend Christine who lives in Ghent.

We stopped for a lunch of “Ghent Bolognese” which is basically finely ground mince bolognese with carrots and mushrooms at a restaurant called Club Reserva Cafe. It was delicious!

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The beautiful Saint Nicholas church

Ghent was an industrial town, ruled by traders and Saint Nicholas’s church was owned by the traders. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of traders.

Incidentally, Ghent was one of the first places after the UK to participate in the industrial revolution. This church underwent several attacks and ransacking but is undergoing reconstruction today.

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Ghent Castle

Ghent Castle harks back to a time when Ghent was part of the Spanish Empire. The Spanish occupation was a difficult time and most traces of Spanish influence have been removed from the city.

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The picturesque canals are lined with old buildings and boats by the docks and I got some great photos here.

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The architecture and canals are quite similar to those of Amsterdam.

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The old fish market

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Detail from the fish market building

While in Ghent we also sampled traditional “cuberdons”. These are little red fruit sweets that look like a nose.

They have a crispy coating and are filled with a sweet liquid. They are quite strong so a few will suffice.

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From beneath this bridge is the only point in Ghent where you can see all of its three medieval towers together.

The most famous one, The Belfry of Ghent, is not a symbol of the clergy or the monarchy but in fact the people themselves.

The gilded dragon on top of the tower is a representation of this.

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Ghent Belfry

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and photos and thanks as always for visiting my blog.

I’ll also be attending the Irish Blogger Association conference soon, hope to meet some of you there! Don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel