Friday, 31 July 2015

Tips for visiting Santorini, Greece

As you may know, a few weeks ago I jetted off to the beautiful Greek island of Santorini for a one-week holiday. We had an amazing time and the views were just stunning. When we arrived it was in the middle of the night so everything was pitch black, I was so excited for the morning so that we could see everything. When we opened the door in the morning I was taken aback. The view looked like something from a postcard, but it was real.

Anyway, instead of doing a day-by-day of what we did on our holiday I thought I'd provide some tips and suggestions if you ever find yourself on the island. Oh and of course a couple of snaps below for you to enjoy.

1. Be prepared for walking and STAIRS - If you are on the caldera side you'll quickly find that you are going to have to walk up and downstairs quite a lot. To get the best view, you should pick a hotel that is further down as this will have the least obstructive views but to get this you have to walk down many stairs and ultimately, you'll have to come back up.

If you want to see other areas of the island there are lots of easy routes to walk. However, it's not the flattest island so you'll be going up and down across lots of uneven surfaces.

2. Make sure you bring sturdy shoes - Leading on from point one, make sure you bring some proper footwear. Although holidays are all about sandals and flip flops if you want to go walking you should really bring some trainers. It makes the walk so much easier and more enjoyable rather than trying to get around in flimsy shoes. I speak from experience after nearly being trampled by donkeys because I couldn't walk quick enough up the stairs in Oia because I had sandals on!

3. Eat away from the views - Again if you are on the caldera side I'd recommend trying some restaurants away from the beautiful views, off the beaten track. Although it is hard to walk away from the coastline (because it's so darn pretty!), the food that you'll find beyond this is most of the time better! Restaurants have to work harder to gain custom as they can't rely on the footfall, so the food is on the whole much more delicious. We definitely found this when we visited as a lot of the coastal spots weren't as nice as others such as the Chef's Garden in Fira which is way away from the views.

4. Use your hotel reception - This is probably something everyone does wherever they go, but particularly on our holiday we found this very beneficial. The staff at Agali Houses, where we stayed, were so knowledgeable about the area and the things we could do. We booked a sailing boat trip through reception which turned out to be an amazing day. As well as this they were more than happy to give us recommendations for restaurants in the area. So if you are in doubt, ask the people who live in the area.

5. Try the local cuisine and ales - Before I went away I was desperate to eat all the Tzatziki and Greek yoghurt to get the authentic Greek experience. Santorini didn't disappoint and by the end, I was sick of the stuff! In Santorini, two dishes you couldn't get away from were Gyros and Souvlaki. These are both meat dishes - one being meat on a kebab stick and the other meat in a pitta wrap. Both were accompanied by salad with Santorini tomatoes and lots of Tzatziki. Both were delicious and I'd recommend you try them but make sure you get them from a nice restaurant to ensure they are good quality. Also, I had Mousakka which was delicious.

Established in 2011, Santorini has its own brewing company with three products; Red Donkey, Yellow Donkey and Crazy Donkey (an IPA). Each has their own distinct flavour and are very good, or so I've been told by the other half. I didn't actually try these but the fact that Santorini has its own beer is amazing and also the branding is so cute! Most of the restaurants we visited sold this beer so I'd definitely recommend you try some whilst you are there!


I hope these tips prove helpful to you. Let me know if any of you are planning a trip to Santorini as I'd love to share my experience and help make your trip better.

Also if you have any Santorini posts I'd love to read them - please link below!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Spend some time in our spare room

Ever since we moved into our two-bedroom house last year, we've had plans for the second bedroom. No, not baby plans. We're too selfish for that right now. Our plans were to create a room for both of us to enjoy our separate hobbies - gaming and blogging. When we started discussing what we wanted to do with this room I think we both got a bit more creative than we did when planning our living room. As I've said in other posts, we love the industrial style. I'm talking exposed brick, reclaimed wood, lots of metal and even a little steampunk. You'll see that a lot of that comes across in the way we've put together the spare bedroom.

Industrial Chandelier - Hanging Edison Bulbs

Barker and Stonehouse Clock

Shipping Container Sideboard - Maison Du Monde

Sorting Desk - Maison Du Monde - Bookshelf

Sorting Desk - Shipping Container Sideboard - Maison Du Monde - Bookshelf

Tweed Sofa - White Exposed Brick Wallpaper Decor

Wooden Coffee Table - Candles

Reclaimed Wood TV unit

So as you can see a crazy selection of furniture, little nick-knacks and a whole bunch of fake plants. When shopping for this room we wanted the items to be different. Nothing you could really get from the high street and I think we achieved that. First, we had some dark flooring put down and contrasted this with white walls and white exposed brick wallpaper. We found the massive light fitting on Etsy and knew we had to have it. It is different, so quirky and goes with the space brilliantly.

We picked a tweed sofa, a reclaimed wooden TV unit, a shipping container shaped sideboard and a 'post sorting' desk. I adorned a lot of the surfaces with fake plants, all from Ikea, and lots of pretty candles. Yes, it's a little eccentric but it's exactly what we wanted. 

We now use this room for PS4 sessions with the lads, a quiet area to blog and a room to watch Netflix in before bed. We really love this room and the way it's come together. It will be a shame when we eventually have to move.

Friday, 24 July 2015

When did we become adults?

Since I turned 21 I've been slowly but surely becoming an adult. It happens to us all. It has to... We try to slow it down and most of us don't accept it but suddenly we are allowed to do things we weren't before, and also other things that we might have done are frowned upon.

Along the way we make changes to our lives that kick start us into the adult world, for instance, getting a house.

New Home Adults

Myself and Matt bought our first house last year when I was 22. Although it may seem quite young to get a house I was definitely ready. The process of finding and picking a house was very exciting but actually purchasing it was quite a long laborious bore. When we finally got in to the house the fun started - decorating! But of course there was also bills. 

Bills make you an adult, but so does decorating. You have your own space in which you can do whatever you want with it. If you like green, paint it green. You like wooden floors, do it. Fancy a four-post bed, go for it. The choice is yours and it is amazing. The freedom to decorate a space to your exact specifications. Make it all yours.

Decorating Photo Wall - Adults

As well as putting down roots, there is the opportunity to see the world. Think of the places you can go now that you've become an adult. Since turning 21 I've visited some great places from Copenhagen to Florence, Amsterdam and Edinburgh. Being an adult means you manage your own time. Decide where you fancy going and when! You, of course, have to earn the money to be able to go away but that makes it feel that bit more special. You paid for it! It's yours and you deserve it.

The world is at your feet. Places that your family may not have wanted to visit, you can now go. Skiing, sunbathing or hiking you can pick. It's amazing picking up travel brochures or browsing the net for far-out places that you would never have dreamed of.

Florence Travel Picture - Adults

Sometimes becoming an adult means your tastes change and develop. Food and drink you may have thought were disgusting as a young person you may love. For me, there was a lot of alcohol that I didn't touch when I was in my teens such as cider, wine and beer. I still don't drink beer or wine, but I do love fruit cider and a glass of prosecco.

Also, there was so much food I told myself I didn't like but that I hadn't actually tried. Food such as houmous, pesto and camembert are all things I'd now happily pick up in the shopping but earlier in life, I would have turned my nose up at. Age is a funny thing but it's best to embrace it as with it comes new exciting things to discover.

You still aren't going to catch me eating olives... 

What have you found has changed as you've become of adult age?

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

My Mega Moment - A trip to NYC

When I was planning what to do for my 21st birthday I knew it had to be special. Although my previous 'milestone' birthdays have been good, I'd never done anything out of the ordinary. One of my close friends also turned 21 in August so we thought what better than to celebrate together.

New York is somewhere almost everyone hopes to at some point in their life and we were no different. It was on both of our to-visit lists. With my Mum in tow we decided to book up for an adventure to the Big Apple.

Megabus Mega Moment - New York City

Megabus Mega Moment - New York City

Megabus Mega Moment - New York City

Megabus Mega Moment - New York City

Megabus Mega Moment - New York City

We spent four days in the city, staying in a hotel right on Times Square, using our time sightseeing, shopping and generally taking in New York. It is surreal to be in a place that is featured so heavily in films and TV series. It's almost like you've already been there, but you haven't so it is so new and exciting.

We visited the Empire State Building, the top of the Rockerfeller Center and went on a trip down the Hudson River seeing Lady Liberty on our travels. We did lots of shopping in Times Square, Soho and the famous department stores such as Macy's. We walked out little feet off around the city and in Central Park, as well as taking the sightseeing tour bus to places further afield such as the Natural History Museum, the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station.

It was such an amazing trip which definitely represented a Mega Moment for me. I'm really keen to get back so I can only hope that this was not my only visit to one of the most iconic cities in the World.

Megabus is hosting a competition asking people to enter their Mega Moment via social media. The Mega Moment you enter would ideally be somewhere you've visited (not necessarily on a Mega Bus) or something you've done that represented a Mega Moment. No moment is too big or too small to enter. It could be anything from a cinema trip to going on a spectacular mountain hike.

Over the Summer, Megabus will be giving away spectacular prizes. To enter you have to post your Mega Moment on social media using the hashtag #MegaMoments and tagging Megabus in your entry (@megabus_sid on Instagram and Twitter) or upload to the site direct.

For more information visit their Mega Moments site!

*This post is a collaboration with Megabus

Friday, 10 July 2015

Time to get stuck in to the ice! Amsterdam Ice Bar

In keeping with my last post about where I've been in Amsterdam, I wanted to write about my experience in the Ice Bar. I've previously been to an ice bar in London and it was very posh and proper whereas this one was a little different. 

We booked this before we went to Amsterdam as part of a deal with a canal tour as we wanted something to keep us occupied whilst we were in the city. Before you go you must book a time slot as there can't be too many people in the bar at once. We arrived a little early and when we 'checked in' we all received three (plastic) silver coins each. One was for a cocktail at the bar outside, and two for drinks inside the ice bar.

Me and my friend had the same cocktail, something sweet as I recall, and Mum and her friend had a Mojito each. Not personally my cup of tea! Although we arrived early, not long after we got there we were being called up to go into the bar, so we had to down our cocktails, not very sensible...

It was all very themed with a video beforehand telling you about a journey you were about to go on then we got cloaked up (the coats weren't as nice as London but oh well!) and went inside.

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Ice Bar Amsterdam Review - Xtra Cold

Everyone was given one ice glass in which you could get two drinks when you exchanged your coins of course. The only choice of drinks you had inside the ice bar was different types of vodka with orange juice. I went for normal at first and then had nuts and nougat one which was delicious. The bar was really novelty with a bear sculpted out of ice, skeletons frozen into the ice and lots of sound effects. It was a really fun experience and everyone who we went in with seemed to enjoy themselves. The only issue was the lack of tables for drinks. If you wanted to take a photo or your hands were cold, you were a bit stuck.

Overall I'd definitely recommend that if you are going to Amsterdam (and you want an alcoholic interlude) you should go to the ice bar. It's not too far from the centre, reasonably priced and easy enough to find.

Let me know if you've been!


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Blue Restaurant - 360 views of Amsterdam

When searching for a nice restaurant in Amsterdam, we were coming up short. In the main shopping streets, we couldn't find much that took our fancy so we kept walking. We walked until we came to a shopping centre so assumed there would be some food inside and after days of eating chips I wanted some pasta. In the shopping centre was a restaurant but it was up on the top floor so we trudged up in the lift to see what food they did. 

When we reached the top floor the views in the restaurant, Blue, were amazing. There was floor to ceiling windows giving you a sight of all of Amsterdam. We took a seat and picked something from the menu.

Blue 360 Amsterdam Restaurant Review

Blue 360 Amsterdam Restaurant Review

Blue 360 Amsterdam Restaurant Review

Blue 360 Amsterdam Restaurant Review

I finally got my pasta! It was just a plain tomato pasta with some basil and of course Parmesan cheese. It also came with bread but I was too carbed up to even see it, another member of our group happily scoffed that. I enjoyed my pasta, it was simple but filling. To accompany it I got homemade iced tea, my favourite. It was lovely and refreshing but it had a lot of fruit bits in when I got to the bottom. 

The food was a little pricey for what I got, but I suppose with the views you get you can't complain. We had to eat quickly as we didn't have long before our bus picked us up to get back on the ferry, but if we'd have had longer I'm sure we could have settled there for a while.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Body Shop - Seize the Summer!

During a social media browse at lunchtime, I saw that a few of my blogger friends were in town for The Body Shop event. I thought I'd pop down to see everyone and find out what was happening. The girls at The Body Shop had laid on a brilliant event providing snacks and fancy drinks. I did gatecrash the event as I was supposed to RSVP but everyone was very welcoming.

The Body Shop Middlesbrough Seize the Summer Virgin Mojito

The Body Shop Middlesbrough Seize the Summer Virgin Mojito

The Body Shop Middlesbrough Seize the Summer Virgin Mojito

The Body Shop Middlesbrough Seize the Summer Virgin Mojito

The Body Shop Middlesbrough Seize the Summer Virgin Mojito

The Body Shop Middlesbrough Seize the Summer Virgin Mojito

We were shown their Summer body care including the new scent - Virgin Mojito! It smells SO GOOD! The way I'd describe it is that it smells like them Solero Shots that used to be around when we were younger. It's so fresh with a big hint of lime, however when you apply it you can definitely smell the mint coming through. It's so refreshing and perfect for the Summer months. I picked up a body butter.

There was also a raffle and a lucky dip raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust in which people picked some amazing goodies. It was a wonderful event and I wished I had time to stay longer but I had to get back to work. I will definitely be stocking up on everything Virgin Mojito before it disappears!
© this Northerner.

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig