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Lovely Lisbon: Portugal’s purse-friendly capital

This time last year, I’d never even been to Portugal but since I’ve enjoyed two visits to very different parts and fallen in love.

I went on a press trip to The Algarve last year and when it came time to book a holiday this year, a friend recommended Lisbon.

When it comes to holidays, I’m pretty easy to please but I do like a new destination every time.

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What’s great about Lisbon:

In terms of value for money, Lisbon is extremely good compared to Dublin/Ireland in general.

We weren’t on a tight budget but the majority of our meals plus drinks came in at under €35.

Public transport is excellent, it only costs €1.50 for a journey on the Metro, regardless if you’re going 10 stops or only 1. They also have the famous trams and modern trams and buses.

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The no 28 tram

We bought reloadable Viva Viagem travel cards which we could also use on the tram and the overground train to Sintra. They are just 50 cent.

Be careful if you’re topping up the travel card as I accidentally deactivated mine by removing it from the machine too soon and had to buy another.

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Beatles t-shirt and vintage shorts

DINING OUT AND LOCAL DELICACIES

Our lunch in Brick Cafe just around from our Airbnb in Intendente came in at €17 for two large dishes, a coffee, and a juice.

Even the most expensive meal we had at the beautiful Pharmacia Restaurant in Lisbon’s Apothecary Museum, overlooking the ocean, only came in at about €65 for two meals and drinks.

The quirky restaurant lets you choose a “prescription” cocktail, including a ‘Placebo’ non-alcoholic one.

However, the service was not as good as some of the cheaper restaurants, i.e. they forgot to bring us water and an ashtray.

It was hotter than normal for September so it was nice to be able to sit outdoors at Pharmacia and also in Alfama where I sampled the tasty bacalhau (codfish) dish for the first time.

Not only was the food affordable, but it was also delicious. Seafood is abundant in Lisbon, whether you want to try octopus, squid or sardines.

Strolling around the cobbled streets of Alfama, we saw some older ladies selling shots of ginjinha liqueur in a chocolate shot glass. Of course, we had to try it and afterward, I tried the ginjinha with tonic, equally delicious.

My tastebuds were also tickled by the sweet tawny port wine, served over ice. I barely touched a gin and tonic because of all the delicious local drinks.

Taqueria Patron in Bairro Alto is a great Mexican spot, we ate here twice.

The nachos and tacos were delicious and we even got a free shot the second time!

One dish I was dying to try was the feijoada, a black bean and pork stew which my Brazilian friends introduced to me to many years ago in the Epicurean Foodhall (RIP).

We found a lovely Brazilian restaurant called Terras Gerais Bistro where we tucked into feijoada served with collard greens and orange slices with a brigadeiro (traditional Brazilian sweet) for dessert.

My boyfriend had never had feijoada before and was so impressed, he recreated it at home.

The restaurant owner was lovely and very welcoming and it felt like dining in someone’s home.

Memmo Alfama
Memmo Alfama

Another lovely place we enjoyed a drink was the Memmo Alfama hotel where we could sit out on the balcony overlooking the sea.

Memmo Alfama Hotel
Memmo Alfama Hotel

My other favourite bar was the quirky Pavailhao Chines, which felt more like a museum as it was full of war memorabilia, antiques and collector’s items.

We initially thought it was closed because the door was locked but you just have to ring the bell to be admitted.

Luckily, another couple arrived and rang the bell just as we were about to leave.

THINGS TO DO

The 33C heat was a major deterrent to sight-seeing but we did venture out in the mornings and late afternoons.

Among the highlights for us were the Jardim Botanico, the Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Feira da Ladra flea market and a day trip to Sintra.

The Jardim Botanico proved to be the perfect place to escape the heat, with the giant trees blocking out the sun.

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Flowers at the Jardim Botanico
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Jardim Botanico
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Jardim Botanico
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The shade was badly needed!
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Jardim Botanico

We also enjoyed numerous drinks in Cais do Sodre and strolling around the Praca do Comercio.

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Praca do Comercio

On Sunday, we took a train to Sintra but almost missed it after a misunderstanding with the travel card and then by me leaving my bank card in the machine!

The train fare was about €5 and it was just 40 minutes outside of Lisbon.

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The town of Sintra
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Street sign in Sintra

There’s lots to see in Sintra and we chose the Quinta da Regaleira and the Palacio Nacional.

I had been thinking about visiting Sintra ever since I read about it on fellow blogger Shona’s site.

Our Lonely Planet guidebook wrongly informed us that entry to the Palacio Nacional was free on Sundays – turns out that’s just for Sintra residents!

It was €10 each to enter the Palacio Nacional. It’s an incredible building with a blend of architectural styles.

Like much of Portugal, Sintra was once ruled by the Moors but later it fell to King Alfonso Henriques.

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Chandelier in the Palacio Nacional
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Ceiling decoration
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Fountain in the National Palace courtyard
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Tile mosiac
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Close up of a tile mosiac
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Tiles and plasterwork at the Palacio Nacional
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Views from the Palacio Nacional

Sintra is surrounded by hills and woods, with palaces and grand buildings around every corner.

The fairytale settings bring hordes of tourists so be prepared for the crowds, both attractions were quite busy.

We had to queue for a short time to get into the Quinta da Regaleira.

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Me at the Palacio Nacional
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Sintra

The Quinta da Regaleira was full of amazing twists and turns, winding stone staircases up to turrets and towers and tunnels behind waterfalls.

It consists of a chapel, palace and gardens and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I was captivated by the imposing-looking Castelo dos Mouros but it looked like it would be an arduous climb!

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Castelo dos Mouros

Food-wise, Sintra was not as good or as cheap as Lisbon but we fuelled up with coffee and a toasted sandwich.

There are lots of little gift shops where you can buy quirky items like a fish-shaped oven glove but I went for postcards and fridge magnets as usual!

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Quinta da Regaleira
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Sintra
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Sculptures
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Fountain

Much of the architecture of the Quinta da Regaleira is said to feature secret religious symbols and references.

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Quinta da Regaleira
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Views from Quinta da Regaleira
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The gardens of Quinta da Regaleira

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We also visited the Castelo Sao Jorge and the famous Feira da Ladra flea market.

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Castelo de Sao Jorge
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Views from the castle
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At the top of the castle
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Views of the Carmo Convent

At the castle, we learned the story of the legendary knight Martim Moniz who threw himself through the castle doors to stop the Moors from closing it, dying in the process.

We had seen depictions of this at the Martim Moniz metro stop but couldn’t figure out what it was about till then!

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It was a hot sunny day
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Me and my bud, Mr Stone Lion
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Old cannon at the Castelo
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Castelo de Sao Jorge
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Lisbon’s famous suspension bridge, Ponto 25 de Abril

Next stop was the market but we didn’t stay long as it was BOILING hot by late afternoon.

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Pottery at the Feira da Ladra
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Views of the cupola
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The market

Check out the beautiful skirt I bought for €15 (I probably could’ve haggled better!) here.

Feira da Ladra means ‘Market of the female thieves’ but thankfully we didn’t get robbed!

There was a lot of junk at the market but there were also some really cool antiques and if you were willing to hunt for them, some good bargains.

I also saw some old Tintin comics and cool maps.

The market is on every Saturday and it’s best to go early in the day.

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Old magazines and newspapers at the Feira da Ladra
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Maps and comic books
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Moorish-style water fountain

My other shopping recommendation for vintage-lovers is Retro City Lisboa which was only a few minutes’ walk from where we were staying.

It has a good selection of vintage shoes and clothing from eras ranging from the 50s to the 90s and I bought this gorgeous dress there for only €18.

Towards the end of our holiday, we visited the famous Se Cathedral which was truly beautiful and afterward we had a drink in Portas do Sol.

And I found the most delicious fresh pasteis de nata in a tiny backstreet kitchen while walking from the Portas do Sol down to the seafront.

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The Se
Inside the Se
Inside the Se

DOWNSIDES

The only major downside to Lisbon is its extremely steep hills, they are tough to navigate in the heat and not for travellers with mobility issues.

However, the trams are handy and you can use the same travelcard for the metro.

There are also elevators in some buildings that will take you up to the top of steep streets, very convenient!

Parts of Cais do Sodre are a little seedy and people approached us trying to sell us coke and weed (possibly just bay leaves) but at no time did I ever feel in danger.

Don’t fall for it 😛

Lisbon is also a lot cleaner than Dublin (they wash the main streets every night), there seemed to be a lot less homeless people (that’s not to say they don’t exist but there definitely seemed to be fewer) and public transport is much better.

English is widely spoken but if you have a few words of Portuguese, try and use them!

I feel there’s still so much of the city we haven’t seen and I hope to be back one day.

We flew to Lisbon with TAP Air, the national airline and it was a great experience. Bags and a small meal and drink are included in the fare, there’s more legroom than on Ryanair and we didn’t have anyone sitting beside us on either leg of the journey.

Our return flights for two were €354 (we got a €20 discount for registering online).

Hope you all enjoyed this post and if you’ve any thoughts, leave me a comment below by clicking the grey speech bubble on the bottom right.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to follow me on social media, check out my Instagram, Twitter 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.

Marienplatz
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”!

Archway to Kaufingerstrasse
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.

Beer and pretzel
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.

schmalznudel pastry
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.

Great Hall
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!

Schloss Nymphenburg
On the steps of the Schloss
Steps of Schloss Nymphenburg
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.

Schloss Nymphenburg
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.

residenz munich

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

 

 

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Buying a bikini: How to choose the right style

I have a love/hate affair with bikinis, there were times when I would barely get into one because I felt “fat”/unattractive. Prior to my first ever proper holiday abroad at 19, I went on a drastic diet to try and lose weight.

I definitely wasn’t overweight but my weight fluctuated a LOT when I was younger and I was really uncomfortable with my body for years.

I remember feeling awkward and not remotely confident on that particular holiday but I’ve managed to gain a sliver of confidence since when it comes to donning a bikini.

Cashflow issues and ankle problems aside, these are some bikini trends I am absolutely in love with at the moment and some tips on what style to choose.

Re-worked

I’m obsessed with reworked bikinis and I’m always looking for them on Etsy. These are from one of my favourite Etsy shops Croptopchannel.

At just under €48, they aren’t what you’d call thrifty but bikinis aren’t really something you can pick up in a charity shop..nor would you want to!

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Reworked Adidas bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel
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Reworked camo bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel

I love all things Moschino but you can’t have a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget.

So, a reworked Moschino bikini is about as glam as it gets for me… How cute are these gingham and marble sets?

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Moschino reworked bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel.

 

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Marble reworked bikini. Pic: Croptopchannel

Embellished

This cactus print bikini from Pretty Little Thing is adorable although it kinda looks more like underwear than swimwear.

The bottoms are plain but there’s a matching sarong if you’re a sarong kinda gal.. personally, once I’ve committed to wearing a bikini I’m not going to be half covered up and half not!

The top of this looks quite see-through so it’s probably more suitable for sunbathing than swimming.

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Cactus bikini. Pic: Prettylittlething.com

River Island has gorgeous swimwear and bikinis every year.

Their take on the denim-look trend is this chambray bikini with cactus embroidery and tribal details.

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Cactus print denim look bikini. Pic: RiverIsland.com.

Asos is a good pit stop for an unusual bikini and this 3D floral one is just fabulous. It’s so pretty!

If you’ve ever wanted to recreate this iconic Claudia Schiffer look, then say no more…

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This is quite expensive with the top alone coming in at just under €30 but I always buy in sterling on Asos as it’s significantly cheaper. Check out my online shopping hacks post for more.

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Asos floral bikini. Pic: Asos.com

As the flowers add volume this would suit someone with smaller boobs, rather than large ones.

The high-waisted bottoms are great also if you don’t want your stomach on show.

Sequins & Metallics

I love this super shiny metallic blue bikini from PLT, I never wear bandeau bikinis but I do find halterneck bikinis sometimes give me headaches and neck pain if I’m wearing them for ages so perhaps I should give the bandeau style a shot.

My issue with bandeau bikinis is that they tend to flatter a smaller chest (which is not me ) This would look great on a slight or slim build.

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Metallic blue bikini. Pic: PrettyLittlething.com

If you’re heading to a party spot this year such as Ibiza, this green sequin bikini is the perfect addition to your suitcase.

It would be good for girls who need a larger top half as it offers plenty of coverage and the wraparound style may give some extra support.

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Green sequin bikini. Pic: NewLook.com

Gingham

I’ve never had a high-waisted bikini but they look super-flattering and the blue and white gingham print is really summery. This is also from PLT and comes in pink also.

It also offers plenty of coverage and would suit curvy and slim figures.

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Blue gingham bikini. Pic: PrettyLittlething.com

Gingham is a massive trend this summer and for a cheap little gingham number check out this beauty on sale from New Look.

The top and bottom were €32.98 altogether but now you can get both for €17! #bargain

It has a bra-style fitting so definitely more supportive than a tiny triangle bikini.

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Gingham bikini. Pic: NewLook.com

Hope you all enjoyed this brief post and got some inspiration for your holidays.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you liked this post or the one-piece post better. Check out my Pinterest swimwear board for more inspiration.

I’ve been struggling to blog between my broken ankle, looking for a place to live and working but it’s good to be back!

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

Edel

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Baywatch and bad tan lines: 10 of 2017’s hottest swimsuits

Fun fact about me: I learned to swim at the age of 24 after being terrified of water for 16 years. Nowadays I’m still not the best swimmer but I’m hoping that I will have sufficiently recovered from my injury to allow a dip in the ocean on holidays.

Every year I write a swimwear post and it’s always one of my most popular annual posts, so this year I’m going to do two. This post will be dedicated to one-piece swimsuits and I’ll have another on bikinis coming soon.

I’m loving the denim/chambray trend that’s everywhere at the moment and I have a particular soft spot for this denim-effect swimsuit from Vavavoom.ie. I love the lace-up side details and scoop back also and at €26.99, it’s a pretty good price for a swimsuit. Vavavoom offer next day delivery to the UK and Ireland for €2.99 which is pretty awesome!

UPDATE: I ordered this and it was not flattering on me. It’s definitely not for anyone bigger than a B-cup, it squashed my boobs flat!

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Chambray swimsuit. Pic: Vavavoom.ie

Oh, I loved this River Island one-piece initially. It beckoned me in all it’s green iridescent glory..then I realised it had a thong back. Nothing wrong with that but not for me. If I were 18 and going to Magaluf then maybe 😛

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Green swimsuit. Pic: River Island.com

Despite this I still love RI swimwear, just look at this bandana print one-piece.

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Bandana print swimsuit. Pic: River Island.com

It’s safe to say, Zara swimwear is never anything short of glorious, can we please take a minute for this beautiful purple floral one-piece with cross-over straps?

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Purple floral swimsuit. Pic: Zara.com

Zara is embracing the Baywatch trend with these incredible Baywatch-themed swimsuits, I really want one!

 

Penneys had an amazing red Baywatch-style suit at the start of the year for only €6 but there must have been some issue with it as it disappeared from my local Penneys never to be seen again. *sobs quietly*

UPDATE: I tracked it down in Primark in Newry for £4 so that’s part of my summer swimwear sorted.

It will look great with my orthopaedic boot, I just know it…

Side-ties are one of the biggest swimwear trends this summer and although they’re bound to lead to weird tan lines/burn marks I love them.

This gorgeous pink swimsuit from Pretty Little Thing comes in at just under €25.

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Pink side-tie swimsuit. Pic: Prettylittlething.com

 

For a Versace look on a Primark budget, check out this black one-piece with gold chain straps. It’s only €27 from Pretty Little Thing, what are you waiting for?! It was out of stock for ages but I’ve managed to find one. Also available in white.

 

Metallics look amazing in summer and every time I’ve passed by &OtherStories‘ window on Grafton Street, I’m drawn to this gorgeous shiny silver swimsuit.

At €49 it’s quite expensive but a cheaper alternative is this iridescent purple swimsuit from Missguided for just under €34. Perfect for the all the mermaid wannabes out there!

 

I hope you all enjoyed this post and are looking forward to the next installation. I really love swimwear despite not going away that often.

I’m looking forward to bringing you the bikini post and until then check out my Pinterest swimwear board for more inspiration.

Hope you all enjoyed this post, leave me a comment below and let me know.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to follow me on social media,  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

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!

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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

When in Paris..Vendredi à Versailles

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The second day of my Paris trip was a lovely day. The weather was beautiful and we headed off to see the famous Chateau de Versailles or Palace of Versailles.

The palace once home to the French monarchy is now more synonymous with the wedding of self-proclaimed deity Kanye West and American “royalty” Kim Kardashian.

The palace is 20km outside Paris so it’s an opportunity for tourists to leave the city and see something different. And by “different” I mean the most opulent extravagant place imaginable. It’s a place that has to be experienced to be believed.

The palace is now open to the public and a merely a symbol of the power the French royalty once had. Versailles was an ornate display of the wealth, power and prestige of the monarchy. Nowadays the palace is a museum dedicated to the “all the glories of France.”

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The carriages of the train to Versailles were decorated with images from the palace.

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Views of the palace outside.

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The gilded palace gates – a ludicrous amount of gold leaf adorns the facade of Versailles! Up close the detail is stunning.

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The spectacular main gates. The original gate was torn down during the French Revolution but in 2008 the pain-staking replica was built from wrought iron and gold leaf.

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Exterior of the palace

Versailles has 700 rooms, more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 chimneys, and 67 staircases. To give you a sense of its enormity, it is capable of holding 20,000 people!

Needless to say I can’t display all of this but we visited the main building, Le Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette’s residence when she needed a break from court) and gardens.

The story of Versailles began when King Louis XIII purchased a small piece of land to build a modest country home so he could hunt in Versailles. His son King Louis XIV was the one who made Versailles into a colossal project spanning decades.  The entire layout is designed so anyone approaching would be in awe of King Louis XIV’s majesty.  He was known as the “Sun King” and Versailles is designed in a way that building and gardens are amplified by the sun. The sun emblem can be found everywhere in the palace as it represents Apollo the god of peace and life-giver.

Like most tourist attractions in and around Paris Versailles offers free admission to almost every gallery and museum for those aged under 26. (Being 26 I had to use my youthful looks to my advantage 😉 )

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The beautiful royal chapel where the monarchy once worshiped. The chapel is not open to visitors but you can view it from a balcony.

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The ceiling of the chapel

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The chapel was a central part of palace life as King Louis was seen as “God’s representative” and defender of the Catholic faith. However the ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses feature far more prominently in Versailles, from the gardens to rooms named after them.

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Details from the palace

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Views of the garden

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 I love how the statues look like they’re keeping watch in their hollows! Unfortunately the whole of Paris seems to be on a mad water-saving buzz so none of the fountains were switched on.

Below are an artist’s impression of the grounds, views of the hallways and details of the doors.

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The palace is well-equipped for its modern-day role as a museum. Visitors are given an audio guide with different language options.

On entering each splendid room, the audio guide gives a description of the history and function of the room.  The salons or rooms are each dedicated to a Roman God or Goddess where appropriate.

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King Louis XIV was a great patron of the arts and the salons are adorned with beautiful paintings and also portraits of the royal family.

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The red room below is the “Salon de Mars” dedicated to Mars the God of War.

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Salon de Mars is part of the grand apartment of the King and served as a ballroom. (The chandelier budget was limitless apparently 😉

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The most famous part of Versailles is of course Galerie des Glaces or “The Hall of Mirrors.”

The hall comprises of seventeen mirrored arches each with 21 mirrors which reflect the seventeen windows in the hall. In the 17th century mirrors were extremely expensive and such a display flaunted the King’s wealth.

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Visionary King Louis XIV thought of all the girlos who need to take profilers and selfies and provided with them with them Hall of Mirrors. 😛

My playsuit pictured is from Topshop, it was perfect for the sunny day.

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The combination of light and mirrors creates a dazzling effect. You can see the hall in 360 panorama here.

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Below is the King’s chamber which faced the rising sun in accordance with his overall theme.

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Paisley and baroque fabrics decorate the Kings chamber.

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Thosee favoured by the King were allowed visit his bedchamber, admittance was granted in order of rank or standing.

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The Queen’s bedchamber.

The Queens bedchamber is part of the Queens Grand Apartment. 19 royal babies were born in this room throughout the reign of the various monarch. It is in this room Marie Antoinette fled through a tiny door into a concealed passage during the revolution.

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Marie Antoinette’s escape route

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Let’s hope the Royal Highnesses were floral fans-they didn’t have much choice!

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The beds are shorter than modern lengths and the royals often slept sitting up! Lying flat was associated with death and wasn’t the preferred sleeping stance!

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Below is Versailles’ Hall of Battles. As the name suggests it is dedicated to the conquests of the royals with paintings of war and military throughout.

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The various paintings and busts represent war heroes such as Charlemagne and Napoleon most of whom died in action. In 1978 The Hall of Battles was bombed in 1978 by Breton revolutionaries who were incensed by the tributes to Napoleon in the hall.

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And finally you may know this lady ….

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MArie antoinette cake - I'M SO FANCY

Versailles is so huge that one post will not do it justice, you honestly need to see it for yourself! For more on my Paris trip just click here. Thank you for visiting my blog as always and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel