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

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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

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Adventures in Amsterdam – Kilo stores, vintage markets and more!

Amsterdam is of those places that I’ve always wanted to go to but the opportunity never arose.

I’d heard loads about it from friends so I was incredibly excited to be invited on a hen party there

It was one of the most fun-filled weekends I’ve ever had – and the vintage shopping was also amazing!

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Beautiful Amsterdam

We flew in on a Friday afternoon and had quite a busy itinerary with a drag show and dinner planned for that evening at ‘t Sluisje Traf Cafe.

As our hostel Via Amsterdam was outside the city, we purchased a three-day train and tram ticket which was incredibly good value for €28.

When we got to the station near our hostel, however, we couldn’t get through the barrier with our tickets as they apparently wasn’t valid for the airport train – BUT it worked on the way back.

I hadn’t stayed in a hostel in years and I’d forgotten what it was like, basically, hostels are like Ryanair, cheap initially but you’ll pay for every little extra!

We necked a drink in the room while frantically applying makeup as we were in a hurry to make our dinner reservation.

I wore a shimmery green River Island dress that I bought in my local charity shop with ankle boots as I figured we’d be walking quite a bit!

Getting into the city was easy as the train was just a few minutes’ walk away.

The weather was really mild and loads of tourists, including other raucous hen and stag parties, were on the streets.

Sitting down to a delicious appetizer of beef carpaccio while the drag queens serenaded us was the perfect tonic after a day of travelling.

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The drag queens were awesome

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Drag queen

The three-course meal was gorgeous and unlimited wine kept flowing making us merry in no time.

The show was gas and the songs were really entertaining, in terms of a fun hen activity, I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Drinking on the streets of Amsterdam is illegal and could land you with a hefty fee but we didn’t know this when we took an unfinished bottle of wine out…

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Canal cruises

Thankfully, we weren’t stopped for public drinking but the next day I noticed warning signs everywhere. Public urination is frowned upon also FYI.

Our night continued in the Bulldog Cafe where you can buy a drink or something stronger to smoke if you prefer.

Word to the wise, smoking tobacco is not allowed in most of the coffee shops and bars that sell weed.

I had a very sore head the next day but with brunch booked for 12pm, we had to be up early.

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Boats on the canals

We made our way back into the city, watching out for the dozens of bikes that came speeding past as we crossed roads and cycle paths.

It was lovely to see the city’s canals and buildings in the peace of the daylight.

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Street corner

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Walking the streets of Amsterdam

A boozy brunch at Box Sociaal was our next port of call but I needed coffee and a pint of water before I could tackle the mimosa!

With dishes such as “Chai’ll be Pear for you” and “The Sandwich of Liberty”, this one hipster cafe that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The food was gorgeous and I felt more alive after scoffing a “Mortgage on Toast” with chorizo, no prizes for guessing the key ingredient!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Box Sociaal Restaurant

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Amsterdam city centre (no idea what building this is)

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I loved these buildings

More drinks were on the menu after brunch and I swapped my usual G&T for Aperol Spritz and Radler.

Radler is basically a shandy which I’d drank before in Munich and loved it – great if you can’t sink heavy pints of beer or lager.

Fun fact: Radler is German for cyclist.

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I was dying to go into the Primark but never had a chance

Afterwards, we hit up the Sex Museum to check out the weird and wonderful exhibits.

The museum was only €5 and isn’t that big but you do have to traipse up and down windy stairs to get around.

The pin-up exhibition was interesting and pretty innocent in comparison to the other exhibits.

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Raunchy playing cards

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Old calendars

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A recreation of Marilyn Monroe’s infamous nude shoot

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Marilyn’s photographer

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Marilyn again (looks kinda like a drag queen )

Most of the stuff was pretty amusing, especially a moving figure of a trenchcoat flasher with a sinister laugh!

A more sobering exhibit displayed the names of men who were executed for having sex with other men, it reminded me of the book The Minaturist.

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Names of executed men

The chastity belts were pretty terrifying…but there was also some pretty old-fashioned lingerie on display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mata Hari

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Red Light District sign

Walking around the city, I saw resemblances to Munich and Brussels, especially the Dam Square area but the network of canals, humpback bridges and narrow houses are uniquely Dutch.

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Dam Square

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Don’t know what this building is

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Beautiful architecture

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Skinny buildings, bikes and canals

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Canal bridges

We then headed back to the hostel for an outfit change and a few hen party games (Hostel quality toilet paper is NOT the best for creating tissue wedding dresses!)

Back in the city, we stopped for dinner at The Chicken Bar which specialises in rotisserie chicken dishes.

The food was great but the bottles of water left out on the table were €6 a pop so we quickly switched to tap water!

I wore a leather look Bershka dress and matching beret – if you can’t dress entirely in pleather in Amsterdam then where can you?!

I also wore lace-up Topshop flats- leave the heels at home if you’re going on the lash in Amsterdam, the dress code is pretty casual and there are lots of cobbled streets!

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Outfit of the night in Amsterdam

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My Bershka leather look dress

We took it easy on Saturday night, staying at one bar all night, sipping on Aperol Spritzes and cocktails.

It wasw easy to get home after a night out, with late trains and buses as well as Uber – although we did have a slightly unsettling encounter with an angry Turkish Uber driver!

We had to check out at 10am on Sunday so we were up early once again.

As our flight wasn’t till late that night, we availed of the handy storage lockers at the hostel. They were €5 per locker but we could fit two or three bags into them so it wasn’t too pricey.

Two of my favourite things ever are pancakes and rap so when we ended up having breakfast in Moak Pancakes, a pancake cafe with a rap music theme, I was in heaven.

With a flower wall, neon signs, rap lyrics on the steps of the stairs and tip jars named Tupac and Biggie, Moak appealed to every fibre of my being.

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Neon signs

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What’s not to love??

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Pancakes at Moak

I couldn’t quite afford The Golddigger (€100 pancakes with 22-carat gold leaf served on Versace plate with gold Versace cutlery and a glass of champagne) but the more affordable Blue Magic Deluxe for €11.50 was delicious.

The name Moak comes from “Mokum”, a local name for Amsterdam.

When we left Moak on Jodenbreestraat, I realised we were only around the corner from a kilo store so I had to check it out.

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Kilo Store Amsterdam

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Kilo store Amsterdam

The stock was amazing and I was grabbing items off the wall in a frenzy to try them on.

Vintage stores can be very hit and miss but the majority of the stock was in really good condition, including the shoes.

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Kilo store shoes

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Pretty vintage shoes

I spent at least 40 minutes here but eventually narrowed it down to a long denim dress, a pair of high-waisted denim shorts and a tapestry print skirt.

The entire haul came at about €50 which wasn’t bad, each item had a coloured tag and each tag represented a price per kilo.

I’d been in one of these shops in Paris before and gotten some really good pieces there and had to restrain myself from spending any more!

We then came across a market which was selling antiques and vintage clothes as well as the usual souvenirs.

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Records

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Cute knick-knacks at the market

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I love browsing at markets

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Old cameras, bookends and ornate scissors

I found a stall with loads of designer wares, Armani, Escada, Valentino, etc. and spied a burgundy Moschino skirt on one rail.

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Armani blazer

I hastily tried it on over my clothes, it was meant to be a size 14 but as they say designer runs small and it was more like a small size 12.

It was only €15 so I went away very happy with my bargain.

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I was tempted by this Valentino blazer but it was a tad small

I also picked up a few souvenirs and presents, including a packet of the delicious StroopWaffel biscuits.

After that, we were all shopped out so we took a stroll through part of the Red Light District.

Most of the girls looked pretty bored and I felt sorry for them having people gawping in at them.

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La Vie Stripclub

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Random boob cupping sculpture

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Condomerie shop

After our final hen activity, we went to Dam Square to sit out and enjoy cones of fresh chips from the nearby Chipsy King.

I then accidentally left my phone in a McDonald’s bathroom and realised it was gone about five minutes later.

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I raced back to McDonald’s and was frantically searching but there was no sign and the staff were really unhelpful.

Luckily, a girl had picked it up and when we called the phone, she could speak English and returned it to me.

I’m not sure if she was Dutch or not but I was incredibly grateful to her!

I was panicking as my boarding pass for the flight home was on it as well as all my photos.

I was hysterically hugging her and tried to press a €20 note into her hand but she wouldn’t take it.

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Hens on tour!

All of the Dutch people we came in contact with were very friendly and pretty much everyone spoke English.

Given that we were on a hen, we didn’t have time to visit all the tourist spots but it was a wonderful weekend and I hope to come back again to see more of the city.

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

Edel

 

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Visiting Galway: A weekend away in the city of The Tribesmen

I lived in Galway for almost six years so it’s surprising that it hasn’t yet featured on my blog!

Not only is it a stunningly beautiful city but the people are also very friendly and you’re guaranteed the best craic on a night out.

I find it mad that some Irish people have never been there when it’s top of the list for most tourists coming here.

I recently spent a fun-filled weekend in Galway with my boyfriend and I can’t wait to go back again.

A word of warning – we visited on a bank holiday weekend and a lot of hotels were booked up or wouldn’t take taking one-night bookings and Airbnbs are surprisingly scarce, so we were lucky to find an affordable bnb on College Road, five minutes walk from Eyre Square.

After we checked in to our accommodation, our first port of call was lunch. We headed to McCambridges, a lovely gourmet shop and restaurant on Shop Street.

McCambridges are renowned for their delicious bread and gourmet produce and our lunch didn’t disappoint. I would highly recommend the chicken and chorizo salad!

We then strolled around the city taking in the sights and in my case, window-shopping.

I nipped into Nine Crows Galway, which has to be one of my favourite shops in Galway, jampacked full of vintage goodies.

I was really taken with a pair of hexagonal sunglasses and returned the next day to buy them for €20.

Unfortunately, they seem to have gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of my recent house move 😥 I have a terrible habit of losing sunglasses, not gonna lie…

Among the other shopping delights Galway has to offer, include Public Romance, a great vintage shop and Kembali, great for jewellery and bandanas, both situated on Upper Abbeygate Street.

There are two shopping centres, the Eyre Square Centre and the Galway Shopping Centre, the Eyre Square one is the best one, with most of the usual chain shops, however, there’s no H&M or Zara in Galway.

The Spanish Arch is the place to sit and chill when the weather is nice and it’s also one of the oldest parts of the city, dating back to the 1500s.

It was a lovely sunny day and we enjoyed looking out over the water and watching a happy little dog go for a swim.

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Anyone who’s ever lived in or partied in Galway will know the delights of drinking by the Sparch in summer but as we had no alcohol, we did the next best thing and headed for the pub.

Galway’s nightlife is excellent at the best of times and as it was a bank holiday weekend, the pubs were hopping in the middle of the day.

We headed for O’Connell’s on Eyre Square which is one of my favourite pubs in Galway.

Like any good Irish pub, it’s stuffed to the rafters with all kinds of memorabilia and the beer garden is one of the best in the city.

There was a wedding party in the pub so there wasn’t much room to sit but we sat outside for a while, before returning inside to another cosy corner.

After a nap back at the BnB, we headed out for dinner in Cactus Jacks Mexican restaurant, (it was Cinco de Mayo and we both love Mexican!)

Most of the good restaurants and bars are in the Latin Quarter, a lively spot where Quay Street meets the Spanish Arch.

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The Latin Quarter Galway

The food was absolutely delicious and I also enjoyed a margarita for the day that was in it.

With full bellies, we took a walk down to the west end of Galway, which is probably the most “hipster” part of the city.

We popped into the Bierhaus for one but didn’t stay long due to the ‘music’ or shall I say noise the DJ was playing!

Looking for somewhere quieter, we wandered into Garavan’s on Shop Street where we remained for the rest of the night.

The next day, we headed out for breakfast, winding up at An Cupan Tae at the Spanish Arch.

This is a kitsch and cutesy cafe specialising in lots of different teas.

The tea names were a tad notions (Dreamy Creamy Breakfast Tea?!) but we had delicious breakfast sandwiches which went down a treat.

It was a hot sunny day so we headed down to Salthill after breakfast and took in the gorgeous views from the promenade (after we found parking that is).

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Salthill beach Galway

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Salthill, Galway

It was sunny enough for shorts but there’s always a bit of a breeze in Galway so I was glad to have a jacket also.

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Sitting on rocks at the promenade

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Yet another one

As we had a car, we decided to spin out west to see some of the countryside.

I’m ashamed to say that I lived in Galway for so long yet never went outside the city to explore Connemara.

First port of call was Spiddal, a stunning fishing village in the heart of the Gaeltacht.

The scenery in Spiddal is lovely with a thatched cottage, old church and the old harbour among my favourite sights.

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Thatched cottage in Spiddal, Co. Galway

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Old church, Spiddal, Co. Galway.

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The old quay, Spiddal

You can go out on trips on the fishing boats from Spiddal which sounds like a great activity for a sunny day.

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Moored boats

After a walk around the village, we had lunch in a cafe before hitting the road for Oughterard.

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Carraig an Teampaill, Spiddal

We went to St Brigit’s Garden in Rosscahill close to Oughterard, a traditional Celtic garden, complete with crannogs, standing stones, nature trails and beautiful flowers.

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Standing stones, St Brigit’s Garden

There are four small gardens with a theme for each season, Imbolc, (Spring), Bealtaine (Summer), Lughnasa (Autumn) and Samhain (Winter).

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Crannog hut complete with glass window – v authentic

It’s a lovely spot to chill out and we enjoyed being big kids, playing on some of the playground amusements!

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Trying to balance on a see-saw log!

I would recommend anyone who is visiting Galway city to take time out to go out to the countryside as it’s really worth it.

Public transport isn’t the best so it’s advisable to rent a car if you do plan on leaving the city.

Hope you all enjoyed this post and if you’d like to see more travel or lifestyle content on my blog, please leave me a comment and let me know.

PS – this is not a sponsored post – we paid for everything ourselves with pleasure!

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

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

Visiting Belfast: Shopping and sight-seeing over the border

If you don’t normally go up the North for shopping or sight-seeing, you’re missing out. Recently I went on a weekend break to Belfast with my boyfriend and we had a brilliant time.

I’ve posted about visiting Belfast before but I spent less than a day there. This time around I spent more time in the city centre and was there for a full weekend.

I have only been to Northern Ireland four times including the last trip which is quite embarrassing!

Where to go shopping:

Belfast has two shopping centres, Castlecourt and Victoria Square. Castlecourt is slightly old-fashioned but has some decent shops, including a nice Debenhams.

Victoria Square is a more modern building and has all the high-street shops such as Topshop, H & M and River Island.

The Topshop is massive and I could’ve spent all day there! But that would’ve been the end of my relationship.. 😛

On the street there’s a massive Stradivarius (one of only three in Ireland), Zara, Primark etc.

What to buy: 

I always buy cosmetics in the North as they are a good bit cheaper. I picked up a new bronzer in Superdrug and got my eyebrows threaded there for only £5!

I also bought Queen of Shaves shaving gel for £2.99 (This is very gentle on your skin but can’t find it in ROI anymore). It was about €8 down here.

Nivea night cream was only £1.99 which was also good value, it’s about €5 here.

Perhaps VAT is to blame but when you factor in exchange rates, we seem to pay a lot more for clothes in shops like Topshop and River Island in the ROI.

For instance, this purple frill jumper was £15 on sale from £30 in Topshop. It ws €42 full price in ROI stores.

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Primark is similar value to what you get at home, one pair of nude tights were £1, a nail varnish £1.50 etc.

The Primark was undergoing a bit of a makeover and was VERY busy when we were there.

Overall the stock in Primark was only OK but the store isn’t the biggest.

 I bought a pair of Onitsuka Tigers for my boyfriend in Office, they were £65 with student discount.

Name brand runners aren’t much cheaper than at home.

Surprisingly I didn’t buy myself any shoes! Nor did I find a dress for my graduation but there’s plenty of time yet.

Bargain shopping/Charity shops

I visited two charity shops and both were pretty disappointing. If anyone can recommend a good one, please let me know.

Vintage shops

There are a few quirky vintage shops around Belfast and my favourite one was Octopus’s Garden on Wellington Street.

It sells records as well as deadly vintage threads and is a good spot for nabbing a band t-shirt.

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Markets

On Sunday, we visited St. George’s Market which reminded me of a smaller version of Spitalfields market in London.

We treated ourselves to a hearty Ulster fry and perused all the goodies the market had to offer.

There were loads of food stalls including some very tasty cupcakes, homewares, bric-a-brac, vintage records and jewellery.

I’d highly recommend this market to everyone, it’s an absolute gem.

Cash or card?

I brought cash which I’d changed commission free in the post office. If you pay in card in the North, there is a small fee, about 14 cent per transaction.

Withdrawing sterling with an Irish card from an ATM will incur a fee of at least €3. Ulster Bank customers can withdraw free from NatWest, EasyCash and RBS however.

Bag charges

FYI, there’s now a plastic bag levy in the UK, retailers must a charge a minimum of £0.05 per bag. Something to bear in mind if you are buying lots.

Where to eat/stay/have fun

Besides shopping, we did enjoy the sights of Belfast, including the Titanic experience which was fantastic. Give yourself a minimum of two hours if you are going here.

It’s an interactive exhibition and I learned so much, not merely about the Titanic but also the history of Belfast.

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We stayed in Jury’s Inn in the heart of the city and our room was gorgeous.

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On Saturday night we had dinner in Deanes Love Fish restaurant and the food was DELICIOUS! Hands down, one of the nicest restaurants I’ve ever been in.

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We also went for a drink in The Crown Saloon, which is one of the most popular bars in Belfast.

The beautiful Victorian decor has been preserved from the intricately-carved wooden booths and ceiling designs, to stained glass windows and funky floor tiles.

Unfortunately it was too busy to sit down.

Another watering-hole we visited was White’s Tavern which is one of Belfast’s oldest pubs. This is a nice little pub to relax and rest the legs in between shopping and sight-seeing.

Finally, City Hall is a must if you like architecture.

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 FYI, this was not a sponsored post.

Hope you all enjoyed this post, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Thank you for visiting my blog and  don’t forget to 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!

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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

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.

Spitalfields Collage

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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