Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

Majorca - Girlglobalising

All photos taken on iPhone

I’m fresh from a week on the sunny island of Majorca. It was a long, long awaited week in the sunshine. A few weeks earlier while I was busy counting down the days until the weekend I realised the last time I had a week off was Christmas. So I was very much looking forward to putting the out-of-office on and signing off for a whole seven days straight.

After a rather bumpy start to the week, including delayed flights, a 40-man stag do joining us on Ryanair, more delays and then our hire car that had gone walk about (thanks for that rentalcar.com…) we finally got to the hotel in Port de Pollenca at roughly 2.30am. The next morning we stumbled down to breakfast and floundered over what to do with all our time.

That was the beauty of Majorca. It’s not the type of destination that I normally head for – it’s normally more of a rush around a busy city in a flat-out three days. So to head to a place where one of the biggest attractions is lying on the beach was a massive change of pace for us. But Majorca is more than just a beach destination, although we also took advantage of those, but there’s gorgeous little villages and mountain towns, plus being surround by beautiful clear water provides a whole lot of opportunities.

More late summer sunshine coming soon…

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Considering how much I love Barcelona, I’ve never actually made a city guide for the wonderful place. Back in 2014 I spent a few weeks there on a work placement and during that time I really got to grips with the city. There’s so much to fill your time with and coupled with an amazing laid back atmosphere it really is the perfect city break destination.

And I do 100% see Barcelona as a city destination rather than a beach destination. Yes, it’s right on the beach and that only adds more value to the place, but it’s definitely not somewhere I would go for a beach holiday.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Where to stay: 

I’ve stayed in a few places in Barcelona, first the H10 hotel just off Plaça Catalunya, which is a very nice hotel, but worth noting that while it has a very lovely roof terrace it doesn’t have a swimming pool.

On this most recent trip we stayed in the Sunotel in L’Eixample which was also a very good option. It has a nice little pool on the roof and is perfectly positioned for exploring the city.

I have also stayed in an apartment in the Gracia neighbourhood, which is well known for being one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Barcelona. Have a look on Airbnb and I’m sure you’ll find a gem. Maybe even try and time it with the Festa de Gracia in August and it’ll really add to your Catalonian experience.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

What to do:

There’s so much to do in Barcelona! We were only there for two days, so minus time for sleeping it was about 24 hours of exploring the city. I would recommend wandering around the Gothic Quarter and El Born areas. These are essentially the old town and are full of winding narrow streets with cobble stones and beautiful buildings to admire. You’ll also find the cathedral here and the Picasso museum which is a really great little museum and a haven from the heat. From here you could head over the La Boqueria, the infamous market on Las Ramblas. Yes it’s very touristy, but it’s also still frequented by locals and well worth a quick visit.

Barcelona is famous for it’s Guadi architecture and by all means visit one of the Guadi houses, they’re very interesting but my favourite bit of Guadi’s handiwork is Park Guell. In the north of the city looking out over the rooftops you’ll find the park of all parks. The curving tiled seat, the pillars and domed roof, the mosaic lizard are all features as well as the amazing view all the way down to the sea. It does cost to get in now, but I think it’s only about 6 euros, or you can go early in the morning (before 8am) for free and you also won’t have to battle all the other tourists.

The olympic swimming pool on Montjuic is my favourite pool ever. It’s about 6 euros to get in but that ticket will last you all day if you fancy it. It’s not chlorinated water and it’s frequented mainly by locals so not completely packed out, even on a Saturday afternoon. It looks a little run down, but don’t let that put you off. The water is clean and fresh, plus you get one of the best views across the city from there.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Where to eat and shop: 

In Barcelona I find it quite hard to find anything other than tapas on the menu. The advice I will give you is to head out of the city center, and definitely away from Las Ramblas, to find a smaller family run restaurant where you’re guaranteed to find a more authentic meal. A lovely place to visit is El Nacional, which is quite central and it’s description of a ‘food court’ doesn’t do it any favours, but trust me it’s well worth a visit. Previously it was a car park, but it’s been transformed into the most amazing building. You will have to queue but you can get a drink from the bar while you do so. For something a little different I have heard that Mosquito is good for Asian inspired tapas.

For brunch and lunch there are a few good recommendations in Brunch and Cake and Flax & Kale. For great coffee head to Satan’s Coffee Corner and Nomad Coffee Lab. And basically anywhere in El Ravel, which is the student area and basically over run with hipsters now.

I have heard really great things about the El Poble-Sec and Sant Antoni neighbourhoods. They are emerging as more affordable places for professionals, so currently they are a great mix of coffee shops, boutiques as well as family run places and old Barcelonians.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Lyme Regis - Girlglobalising

Here we are, back again with another very delayed post. My motivation to do anything other than come home from work and wait impatiently for Love Island has gone seriously amiss. It’s really no wonder that time is just flashing by when all I seem to do with my days is turn up for work, wander home, maybe pop to the gym and then sit in front of the now infamous reality program.

It’s made me really think how much time we spend watching other people live their lives. I know I’m guilty of letting one too many hours float by whilst watching stupid videos on youtube.

A few weeks ago, having had work on that really sunny Saturday while everyone else was out basking in it, I decided I had to make the most of Sunday if it was to be my only chance that week.

After attempting to get out of the house at a reasonably early time to beat the rush to the seaside (11am counts as reasonably early, right?) we headed down south to Lyme Regis. This beautiful small town on the Jurassic coast was absolutely heaving with people who all clearly had the same idea. And after the palaver of trying to find a parking space – a drama involving a near miss crash and a race to another town to get cash for the charity car park we eventually managed to find, we began the stroll back down to the beach.

Lyme Regis - Girlglobalising

As you can see, it was a pretty glorious day. We settled down with a Cornish pasty on the sand and Dom went for a quick dip in the sea. Although don’t be fooled by the sunshine like he was, it’s certainly still chilly in there!

Afterwards we wandered along to the breakwater and small harbour, admiring the boats in all their colours, shapes and sizes.

Lyme Regis - Girlglobalising

Of course no trip to the seaside is complete without an ice cream that then melts in the sun so you have to eat it really fast. If you happen to be in Lyme Regis then I highly recommend the gelato stand on Marine Parade – I wish I could remember what it’s called because it was damn good gelato.

Make sure you wander back up through the little town, there’s plenty of little shops, including sweet shops making Devonshire fudge. A delightful little place, perfect for a short day or afternoon trip. Afterwards Dom and I raced back to Bristol to get to the Lido before it closed but unfortunately didn’t make it in time. Sitting in a bath tub of cold water to cool yourself down is just not the same as an open air swimming pool.

Lyme Regis - Girlglobalising

I’m determined to have more days like this and really make the most of summer. Low-key day trips and afternoons enjoying the outside. I know I’m certainly too tied to my phone and computer for most of the week and it’s time to pack it all away. Savouring days like this one in Lyme Regis will only help in making sunny days in the office a bit more bearable anyway.

xx

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

I warn you now, this is a lengthy post. I didn’t think I had taken that many photos in Amsterdam, but then I started looking through them and realised I wanted to share every single one of them. Call it a testament to such a wonderful city. I’ve got lots of places to share with you, including where to stay, museums to see, places to shop – the list goes on.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

I mentioned in my previous post that Amsterdam, although known for it’s beautiful old town, canals and picturesque dutch buildings, it also has some very interesting architecture as well.

Nemo is a great example of this. The science centre located on the water front by the central station is a crazy building that looks a bit like a ship. We didn’t go in the centre itself, but you can walk up the steps to the terrace at the entrance of the building and it’s one of the only places to get a high up view to this ever-so flat city. Since we managed to catch such good weather, we sat and had an ice coffee on the terrace – a very pleasant way to start the day.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Right next to Nemo, just over the bridge is the central library. This is a pretty cool building and certainly not like any stuffy old libraries that you might have been too as a child. Have a wander around and make sure you stop by the restaurant on the top floor. This was probably one of the best lunches we had and they’ve got everything from a salad bar, to a freshly made pizza bar to smoothies.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

We stayed in the Hotel V Fredrichsplein, that’s just on the edge of the De Pijp neighbourhood. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the very centre and is the ideal location for being central, but staying slightly out of the hustle and bustle that comes with any capital city.

I can’t recommend the hotel enough. The staff were lovely and so helpful, the breakfast was just what you need before a day of exploring and the lobby and bar are great for an early evening relaxing drink. Plus they do 2-4-1 cocktails between 5 – 6pm. If there’s something I love more than cocktails then it’s buy one get one free cocktails!

I’ve also heard great things about the Hoxton Hotel and the No 377 House Hotel, both look as beautiful and Instagram worthy as the Hotel V.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam apart from endless wandering of the beautiful canals. The museum square has plenty to keep you occupied for more than a morning. We chose the Rijksmuseum as our choice, which has a whole mixture of collections including a bit of Van Gogh and the dreamiest of libraries.

Right next door is the Van Gogh museum which I will definitely pay a visit to another time, and the Stedelijk museum as well.

From there you can head to Vondlepark, which is lovely for a stroll around in the sunshine. Bloemenmarkt, the famous floating flower market, is well worth a little wander round, particularly in tulip season.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

You can’t visit Amsterdam without trying a piece of Danish Apple cake, which we enjoyed it as a little afternoon pick-me-up on the first day. It has an almost sponge-like pastry base that is amazing – I have to find a recipe and recreate it at home.

A canal boat trip is quite a touristy thing to do, but I have to say it was a highlight for me. Cruising along the water in the sunshine, hopping off when something caught our eye and we wanted to go exploring. There are only two companies that run the boat tours in the city, and they are both priced pretty much the same. So take your pick, catch a boat and enjoy the waters of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

There are some great places to shop in Amsterdam, and although the exchange rate is not that great at the moment there’s still a lot of window shopping that can be done. A few highlights were Things I Like, Things I Love, and the Concrete Mans Supply Store next door. Anna + Nina is a very popular jewellery store in the city, full of beautiful things. A wander around the Jordaan neighbourhood will take you past loads of interesting independent shops, including some great vintage choices.

For places to eat I always recommend getting out of the very centre and about ten minutes walk south of the centre will take you to Utrechtsestraat, a road full of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Bar Moustache is a great little Italian place that was a big hit from the whole trip. Pata Negra, just opposite is a tapas place that was busy every single night and Meat and Greek looked like a fab take away option. For more food options I highly recommend Carrie’s Amsterdam city guide – full of lots of amazing recommendations.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Visiting Amsterdam was an absolute delight and I can’t wait to visit again in the future. Although it’s a small city there’s plenty to fill your time. And of course there’s always the option of taking a day trip to the coast or to The Hague. There’s always more to see.

xx

Amsterdam - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam seems to be having a bit of a moment right now. It’s all over my Instagram feed, I’ve read multiple blog posts and city guides, plus it’s been at the top of my city break list for quite a while.

Amsterdam - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam - Girlglobalising

Although the most photographed part of the city is the old town and all the beautiful canals and dutch buildings – my favourite part of town to wander round with my camera, it was a very pleasant surprise to find some very interesting modern architecture there as well. A complete juxtaposition to the more traditional side of the city.
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
I’ve got a big city guide in the making that will include things to see, where to wander, places to eat and where to find the best shops, but for now I’ve put together a little visual diary that will hopefully spur you on in booking a little trip there yourself. Amsterdam has a very relaxed atmosphere, and we were unbelievably lucky with the weather – I can only imagine it’s even lovelier in the summer, sipping a glass of wine by the canal in the sunshine.
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
Amsterdam - Girlglobalising
Check back soon for my Amsterdam travel guide, but in the meantime I hope you like the first taster of the many photos I took whilst there.
xx