It’s been awhile since I packed my bags and headed off for a (usually early morning) flight. My week in Cornwall was lovely but other than that the last time I gave in to the travel bug was back in June for a long weekend in Copenhagen. Although I’m counting down the days, literally not just mentally, until my trip to New York in November, I also can’t help but dream about all the places I’d like to head to right about now.

As a week long holiday is not always an option – I know I’ve been saving for NYC for what feels like forever – the next best thing is a long weekend city break. Here are my current top 5 short haul European cities:

Paris - Girlglobalising

Image sourced from Google

Paris – Because Paris is always a good idea, right? Yes. But also because Paris is only 2 hours away on the Eurostar and couldn’t be more accessible. Although on some leader boards Paris has slipped slightly, in favour of other European destinations that are slowing coming out of the woodwork, Paris still seems like a magical place to me. The Sacre-Cour and Montmartre are yet to be ticked off my list, as is the Picasso museum and the Louvre.

Read more about my day trip here and my winter-y trip here.

Brandenburg Gate - Berlin - Girlglobalising

Berlin – Ah Berlin. Berlin holds a place in my heart but I’m sometimes not entirely sure why. It’s a fantastic city, especially for it’s street art and nightlife, but they are not always  the things I look for in a city break. Berlin is in my top five as it’s one of the few big cities that is still so affordable (we actually stayed in a hotel, which never happens), the locals are friendly and there’s plenty to see and do. I recommend visiting in the summer when the city really comes alive – not that I’ve witnessed that. I visited in the dead of winter and was repeatedly told about how amazing the city is in the warmer months.

Find out more about Berlin here and here.

Nyhavn - Copenhagen - Girlglobalising

Copenhagen – The most recent destination that I’ve been to. Copenhagen is in my top 5 city breaks not just because it’s a lovely city to visit but also because any longer than a few days and the cost will really start to ramp up. It’s a city full of the friendliest people, the most stylish shops and beautiful architecture. A few days here and you’ll want to overhaul your life and start living like a Scandinavian.

Related posts: a mini city guide and all about Paper Island

Bruges - Girlglobalising

Image sourced from google

Bruges – Bruges is the ultimate winter destination. I’m sure it’s equally lovely in the spring and summer, but having visited just before Christmas I can’t imagine any other place that would get you more in the spirit of things. Full of canals, small lanes and alleyways and bitterly cold but there’s plenty of liquid hot chocolate to warm you up again.

Rome - Italy - Girlglobalising

Rome – Rome has struggled it’s way into my top 5, not because it’s not a great city to visit, but because I can’t think about it without remembering just how hot it was. It’s a city with ancient history, amazing food and fabulous locals, and really we barely scratched the surface of what’s on offer there. But it’s also a city that you can just sit back in and soak up the atmosphere. I recommend visiting in the spring or autumn though, and not in the middle of a heatwave.

Read more about Rome here.

There are far more places in Europe that I would absolutely love to visit – Amsterdam, Vienna, Croatia, Greece, more of Germany, the south of France… What is more enjoyable that exploring new places and cultures and experiencing what the wide world has to offer. Let me know what your favourite cities to visit are, obviously I always need more travel inspiration!

Ps. I was determined not to bring up Brexit in this post because any mention of it makes me want to cry.

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One afternoon in London

While on our hectic week of two weddings and a week in Cornwall, which you can read about here and here, it also happened to be Dom’s birthday. When I asked what he might like for a his birthday he replied ‘something tech-y and cool’. I’m afraid my friends, I am neither tech-y nor cool and was a little stumped at what to go for.

I went for an expeirence instead. We had both been meaning to visit The Shard since it had opended so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. The weather was perfect and it sparked this little idea: an afternoon in South London.

Being a south London girl myself, and with the tube not yet reaching us out in the sticks (this is a joke, we’re not out in the sticks, but for some reason we’ve not yet been privaliged with the tube) the South Bank of the Thames is so much more accessible than the North/West/Centre of the city.

Within 15 minutes on the train you are at London Bridge station, the perfect destination for a short and sweet afternoon in London. The Shard is immediatly outside the station and a really great expeirence. So long as you’re not scared of heights! With views accross the whole of London it would also be a great experience at night time.

Find out more and get your tickets here.

London - The Shard - Girlglobalising 8

London - Borough Market - Girlglobalising

From The Shard we made our way across the street to Borough Market just in time for lunch. Having attempted to visit the market once before, only to find to completely closed, it was lovely to see it in full swing. Visited by local office workers and tourists alike, you can get every kind of cusine, all cooked fresh and for very reasonable prices. Grab whatever takes your fancy and take a seat in the gardens of Southwark Cathedral next door.

Sadly this is where our day had to end due to prior engagments, BUT it doesn’t have to be the end of your day. Follow the South Bank further along until you come to the Tate Modern. It’s free to enter, although some exhibitions are ticketed. They’ve just completed an extension, so there’s so much more to see now.

If you still have time and want a few extra things to do, you can keep walking until you get to the London Eye (just in case you didin’t get a good enough view of the skyline earlier!) and slightly further on from there is the Aquarium. I haven’t been to the Aquarium for years but Bristol’s version is a bit of a let down, where as London’s is pretty snazzy.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed your guided afternoon along the South Bank. Feel free to leave your tour guide a tip (JOKE). I love visiting London whenever I can, espeically for special occasions and on sunny days. There’s no city quite like it.

You can follow me on Instagram for more snaps of my day in the big city and on Bloglovin for all the new content coming up soon!

xx

Cardiff Arcades

Cardiff Vintage Shops

Succulents

Typography

I’ve just arrived back from one of the most relaxing and enjoyable weekends I’ve had in a while. It’s not that I’ve had a string of terrible weekends or anything, quite the opposite really. But the main difference with the past few days was that I got to spend some time with one of my best girls.

As a lot of people experience, daily life is very different to seeing your pals every morning in form group, or debriefing on the sofa the morning after a night out. When your miles away from the people who once lived in the same house you often have to make do with a few hours of catching up, after a few weeks of arranging the time. This post from Hannah Gale definitely resonated with me recently. Also as I’m sure Dom won’t mind me saying, but after about 7 months of living together, I wanted some girl time!

I’ve put together a few of my top tips for enjoying a girls weekend away at a spa (or where ever you fancy!), but without breaking the bank.

Decleor

Nude heels

Do your research:

For a while we were considering going abroad, somewhere hot and sunny where we could soak up the sun, lay by the pool and get a little tan while we caught up. Unfortunately this wasn’t really a viable option in the end. As good as the cheap hotel deals often are, when you’re trying to keep things on budget and arrange around work it can get a little tricky. So we turned to Spa Breaks and managed to get a great deal for a spa weekend in Cardiff. Not quite the same as Spain, I know, but it’s the company that matters!

Pamper and relaaax:

Lucky for us we had a few treatments included in our hotel stay, so not only did we get to float around in the pool, sweat it out in the suana and steam room and bubble in the jacuzzi, but we also had a massage and a facial too. I don’t really head to spa’s very often, partly because of the cost but also because whenever I travel I normally go on city breaks, staying in Airbnb’s. Spa’s aren’t always that accessible so it’s such a treat when I do go. You don’t have to visit a spa to have a pamper though. Why not buy some facemasks, give yourself a manicure, even get the fake tan out. Whatever will help you feel refreshed and relaxed.

Night out/ Night in:

This is completely optional, but given that compared to my uni days I really don’t go on nights out that much anymore we wanted to have a few cocktails. I can’t even tell you the meltdown I had when I realised I have hardly any party dresses anymore! We felt we should take the opportunity to see what Cardiff’s nightlife is like and get a bit dressed up for a change. If that’s not your kind of thing then have a night in. Maybe head out for dinner then make your way back to the hotel to watch a film, or read, or catch up some more (with wine of course!).

Explore:

Of course we couldn’t visit a new city and not see what it had to offer. As nice as it was to swim and relax in the spa I just couldn’t spend all my time in the hotel. Cardiff is a great little city, especially where shopping is concerned. There are lots of arcades with one of a kind shops and places to stop for coffee, plus all the usual high street stores to head for. We also made our way down to Cardiff Bay, which is a great place to head for at dinner time. There’s literally every restaurant you could wish for! Make sure you see a little bit of where you head to, it’ll really make your girls weekend great.

Berry Cocktails

Pornstar Martinis

What tips do you have for a fun girls weekend? Let me know becuse I know I can’t wait for the next one! You can follow me on Instagram to see what else we got up to while in Cardiff and Bloglovin to keep up with all the new posts around here. Bye for now.

 

Paper Island, Copenhagen

Paper Island, Copenhagen

Doughnut, Copenhagen

Doughnut, Copenhagen

Sadly this post is the last I have to share from Copenhagen. I put together my mini visual diary and then my travel guide of my favourite places in the city, but I promised I would be back with more on Papirøen, or Paper Island for those who can’t pronounce things in Danish, and the amazing food market you will find there.

I mentioned that the prices in Copenhagen, although were definitely expensive, they weren’t quite as high as we had anticipated. There was however one area that we did fall down on, and that was evening meals. As a word of warning the restaurants in Copenhagen tend to stop serving by 10pm. Now for some that may seem too late to be eating, but here was our dilemma – you’ve been out exploring the city all day, so you head back to your room to chill out and refresh, before heading out for dinner again. By this point it’s about 8pm already, but it’s summer and it’s nice and bright, so no worries, right? Wrong. When you don’t know a place it always takes you slightly longer to get from A to B anyway, but when you get there and discover that dinner is going to cost you £30+ per person, plus drinks, you head straight for the next place and hope it will be cheaper.

And so the circle goes on and on, until you’ve been standing outside four different restaurants and each is more expensive than the next. It’s now 10pm, and even if you could afford something to eat, they’re not serving food now anyway. And that’s your night over. You hit the 7Eleven for a pizza slice and eat it back in your room.

This is where Paper Island comes in. Found in an old warehouse, this amazing food market is an very popular place to eat and hang out in Copenhagen. You can find pretty much any type of food you fancy, from burgers to grilled cheese, to a traditional Danish smorgasbord to Asian food. It’s all incredibly fresh and incredibly well priced. I had a falafel pitta and Dom had a pork filled egg wrap that was also very tasty. This was followed by a caramelised doughnut with ice cream. It was definitely one of the best things we ate and the most cost effective.

For anyone on a budget, or even if you’re not on a budget, Paper Island is somewhere you should add to your ‘must see’ list.

And so that’s it for my Copenhagen posts. It was one of my favourite trips to date and I’ll definitely be back for more in the future. Be sure to check out my Instagram for more photos of the beautiful city and follow me on Bloglovin for all new posts coming up soon!

 

Cocktails, Copenhagen

Falafel pitta

Dog in Copenhagen

Paper Island, Copenhagen

Berlin

Today’s post comes from someone other than myself. Guest posts are not something I have feautured on here before but when Nicole got in touch, explaing how she had so many photos and things to say about her recent trip to Berlin I was all for it. As I mentioned in a post recently, sharing other peoples work should be a regular thing, but especially when it’s about a city I love, about travel and love for experiencing new places – there was no way I could say no!

Berlin for people who like coffee, design, books, magazines and relax

After the recent news of the referendum, the obvious thing to do was to end up in Berlin the following week to enjoy my love affair with Europe while I can.

Berlin Street Art

Berlin

In Berlin, the streets and bike paths and pavements are vast, giving space for the sunlight to fill most spaces in the city, despite the domineering, brutalist architecture. The infrastructure, the layout of the whole city makes sense, and there are far less people than, for example, London so it feels less chaotic and fast paced. It seems as though Berliners are able to live creatively; there is no pressure to fit into a certain box and everybody expresses themselves unapologetically. There is more trust and good will. I’m able to sit outside a coffee shop with my coffee having not paid yet, I can use the public transport freely, without getting stopped by ticket barriers, because you are given the trust that you will buy a ticket anyway. This trust that’s set in the city infrastructure leads to less suspicion and more wholesome residents. It’s friendlier. People smile more.

 Berlin Street Art

Berlin Wall

Berlin’s history is not confined to museum walls, but sits heavy in the architecture and in the concrete beneath your feet. Some of the most famous areas, such as Checkpoint Charlie, have unfortunately been accustomed to tourists, plastered in advertising, souvenir shops, KFCs and Starbucks. However, remnants or the Berlin Wall run from north to south throughout the city and enormous photographs of the build up and break down of it is plastered on the vast buildings, along with relevant information. It’s impossible not to notice the effect that World War Two had in shaping this city into what it is today.

 Berlin Airbnb

Berlin Airbnb

Berlin Airbnb

I stayed an apartment in a historic, beaten up building, with huge spaces and an abundance of natural light. It was close enough to the buzz that you felt like you were among it, but high up enough that I could observe and breathe deeply. It was in a peaceful district, Mitte, set away from the main tourist attractions. It’s a residential area, scattered with bars and wide open spaces. It’s easy to spend an evening sitting in the warm air with a German beer and the sun on your face as the buildings are not too tall.

 Coffee in Berlin

A list of places that are worth your while:

Mauerpark and surrounding area

Mauerpark is one of the bigger parks around Mitte. It’s a sun trap during the long summers, it’s a popular yet peaceful place to listen to live music from unknown or growing artists, or watch graffiti artists create at the top of the hill. You’re surrounded by people from different walks of life, some walking their dogs, some rollerblading, hula hooping, playing basketball, or just lying about listening to good music and getting high. On Sundays, this is amplified, as Mauerpark takes on a festival feeling, the famous flea market (Flohmarkt) pops up, and the food trucks provide an endless array of incredible food, including currywurst, bagels and crepes. You can also watch or even join in with the enormous public karaoke. It’s a must-see.

Just by the park on the south side is The Juicery, who serve the freshest and most attractive smoothies and juices in Berlin. And just round the corner is Bonanza Coffee Heroes, internationally renowned coffee roasters, with kind and talented baristas. The seating area outside is relaxing and sheltered from traffic noise and a perfect place to people watch.

Mauerpark Berlin

Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers

Set back from the (very good) main shopping stretch in Mitte, Father Carpenter is in a private yet sunny courtyard with gorgeous outdoor seating and an incredible light lunch and drinks menu for very reasonable prices (as is everything in Berlin). Nudie Jeans is also right behind it, so never suffer a crotch hole again.

 Father Carptenter Coffee Brewers, Berlin

Westberlin

White and minimal, with a mini library of gorgeous magazines where you can pitch up with your laptop and work, or lavish yourself in print design. The baristas are all English speaking, knowledgable and funny, and have been serving coffees from Drop and Five Elephant recently, as well as salads, sandwiches and cakes. There’s a garden out the back to put your feet up. Be wary of the hoards, three minutes up the road at Checkpoint Charlie.

Westberlin, Berlin

Voo Store

A beautiful store, set back from the high street in Kreuzberg, selling high end brands, gorgeous books, posters and other bits and pieces. It also houses Companion Coffee, which often serves sweet flavour notes and always provides gorgeous latte art. The concrete tables are the cherry on top.

Voo Store, Berlin

Pro Qm

Any fan of architecture/graphic design/fashion design/independent magazines/politics/art and theory will fall in love with this intimate book shop on the east side of Mitte. Very aesthetic and very easy to hunker down and get lost.

Pro Qm, Berlin

 Soda

Also in Mitte, Soda gives way to books on graphic design, an array of independent magazines and the owner has a completely fabulous and grumpy looking bulldog who stands on the door.

Do You Read Me?! Berlin

 Do you read me?!

This small and unnassuming book shop is crammed with magazines, new and old, a mixture of literature and design books, as well as boxes and stacks of archives. It’s quiet and elegant charm makes is an essential place to get lost in.

Blain Southern, Berlin

Blain Southern

An incredible, stripped back building, a little out of the way and not talked about enough. It’s enough of a reason to go and see it for the space and the architecture, but at the moment there’s a vibrant exhibition of satirical oversized book covers (better than I can describe) by a very talented Brit called Harland Miller.

Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin

Bauhaus Archiv

Pho Hoi

The best food I’ve had in Berlin (other than the Currywurst) is actually on the Vietnamese scene. Pho Hoi is in the east side of Kreuzberg, beyond Voo Store and The Record Loft (if you’re into vinyl, look up). It’s got a lovely outside tables to sit in the sun, and I will never forget the duck I ate there.

Berlin

Berlin

Extra stuff

Other coffee shops worth popping into are Nano coffee (near Voo Store etc), Five Elephant and The Barn. You can also pick up Berlin’s speciality coffee map for €3. Other galleries you might want to see are Sammlung Boros, Berlinische Galerie, St. Agnes Church and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art. There’s great shopping around Mitte for clothes and you have to visit Hay.

Let’s love Europe while we can.

 

Nicole in Berlin

 Nicole is a Graphic Designer based in Norwich – check out her work here and follow her on Instagram here.

As always you can follow me on Instagram and Bloglovin to catch the final Copenhagen post coming very soon!