We’re so excited that we’ve just booked to attend our first bloggers conference in October – and it’s in Amsterdam of all places! Neither of us have been there before, so we can’t wait to explore the city and see what it has to offer, as well as attend this awesome event. We’ve made it into a long weekend trip, so we’re heading out on Friday, 2nd October and come back on Monday, 5th October, and we hope to learn so much from like-minded people whilst we’re there. The wonderful Elsie & Emma from A Beautiful Mess are keynote speakers, so we’re looking forward to hearing what pearls of wisdom they have for everybody and we also hope to meet as many fellow bloggers as we can. We’re really excited and will hopefully feed back to you on our first conference experience when the time comes.
If you want to find out more information about the event yourself, click here.
I like to vary taking photos on my DSLR and my smartphone to change up the kinds of images I capture. With advances in phone cameras, you can now get amazing quality images from both, but there’s something a little more crisp and satisfying about seeing holiday scenes taken on my digital camera. And don’t forget about instant cameras or photo booths you might come across too, all make for great photos that you’ll treasure in such different ways and will remind you of the amazing time you had. Hana even took a waterproof camera on holiday one year and they made for some great shots. And you can then use all these different images in different ways when it comes to displaying them, which is another fun project once you’ve come home from that dream location.
It’s all in the details
Some of my favourite holiday photos are those of food and drink, the books I was reading or the sunglasses I was wearing. All of these things remind you of that special time away and it’s easy to forget to capture them amongst the selfies or the landscape shots. My husband and I will often talk about the amazing meals we’ve had or the cocktails we loved and having images of those things helps keep those memories alive. I’m not saying you need to take photos of everything, you want to step back and enjoy the moment too, but I don’t mind seeing an Instagram shot of a Greek specialty or even those cute flip flops you wore to the beach that one day.
Mix people and places
Mix up the types of images you take, to make for a fun and interesting album of your trip. You may spend one day enjoying all the local sites and want to take a bunch of scenery shots, but don’t forget to add yourself to a few of your shots too, so they don’t look exactly like everyone else’s. You may not be entirely comfortable in front of the camera, but it’s so fun to look back at smiling vacation photos to remember just how happy you were on that time away and it adds more interest to the images if you vary the subject a little bit. And don’t forget to ask a kind stranger to take group photos too, so you can have couple or family photos together, and one person isn’t always missing behind the camera.
Various times of day
Take advantage of the different times of day to vary the types of photo you get. A beautiful sunset over the sea can make for a stunning image, but it’s also fun to get the sunny, midday beach shot when everything is bright, colourful and sparkling with sunshine. It also means you don’t have to have your camera out all the time, as you can spend one day capturing daytime shots and on other days bring your camera out at night. It’s funny how much a place’s personality and atmosphere can change in different lighting situations, so give all times of day a go – you never know what the result might be.
Capture the heart of the place
You want to be able to recognise your vacation location when you’re looking back at your photos, so make sure to capture as much of the essence of a place as you can. Locals chatting in a town square, flowers you’ve never seen growing naturally before, a traditional, freshly cooked dinner – all these things will help you to see the beauty of your chosen destination and why you ultimately chose to go there in the first place. Yes, it’s lovely to see photos of the hotel you stayed at or a selfie with some cocktails, but I also love images of the white hillside buildings of Santorini, which sums up its charm or the cafes of Paris, which everyone loves so much. Think about all the reasons you adore somewhere and chances are other people like it for all the same reasons.
Following on from my post last month on effective packing tips, today’s post comes just at the right time for prime travelling season. If you’ve got a two week holiday booked, or you’ve got some wedding weekends to attend, you’ll likely to be taking a bunch of jewellery with you – we all know how important accessorising is, especially when you’re trying to look your best. I am terrible for either just popping my jewellery into the top compartment of my suitcase or taking a bunch of unnecessary boxes with me for each piece. Both of these techniques are silly when you can make it so much easier for yourself. That’s where The Little Book of Earrings is a saviour to space-conscious, earring obsessives like myself.
These little life savers come in two different sizes – the little size, which holds 12 of your favourite pairs, or the regular size, which holds 48 pairs. I would be tempted to say that the little one is more suited for weekends away and the larger size would be perfect for a two week break, or even for every day storage. I like to have choice when it comes to accessories, depending on the nature of all my outfits, so I would definitely need to take these along to make sure I felt I was accessorised just right for any given occasion.
They are also very well made, with plenty of space for each pair and a nice, cushioned backing to protect everything inside. It’s got a secure popper fastening and a gorgeous padded cover, so you know it’s going to be durable whilst doing all that travelling.
They come in 9 different colours (including my favourite, gold), so they make ideal gifts for all of your favourite people as they can be suited to pretty much any taste and is something a little different for the lady who loves practical as well as pretty things! And you don’t need to worry about space, the little book is barely bigger than my iPhone 6 and the larger one is about the size of a good make up bag, so you can easily fit it in with all your other essentials.
I can’t wait to take mine to the couple of weekend weddings I have this month and next, as well as my honeymoon in October, where I’ll be looking to take all my favourite pairs of earrings to look at my best!
This post was written in collaboration with Gifts Central. All opinions are my own.
We loved Berlin. It was such a varied, interesting and exciting city and we will definitely make an effort to head back there in the next few years for a long weekend. We didn’t get to see nearly as much as we would’ve liked in the 3 or so days we were there, which is a shame, but we did manage to get to a few places. That’s why this is more of a mini travel guide than anything substantial – we just didn’t do enough to warrant an expert guide on the place. Maybe we can add to this post everytime we go, but for now, here are a few of the things we got up to and a few of the places we’d recommend.
We stayed at Hotel i31, which is located in Mitte, right at the centre of Berlin. It was a great base for our stay, with amazing connections to a ton of different areas, and easily within walking distance of restaurants, shops and some tourist attractions. It’s a boutique hotel, so probably more on the expensive side of the options available, but it was worth every penny and I’m so glad we stayed there. I’m sure there are other great districts to stay in around Berlin, I really would recommend Mitte as the perfect area for your city break.
Ruben & Carla (Linienstrasse 136, 10115 Berlin)- This was our first stop for dinner, as we loved the look of the menu online and it was also super easy for us to walk to from our hotel. We had a great meal here, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a reasonably priced, good quality meal. My husband had the steak and chips and I went for the quinoa burger, and we both enjoyed it immensely, alongside some of the local beer. I probably wouldn’t head back there on another visit, purely because there are so many choices, but it was the perfect start to the trip.
Kantine Deluxe (Spandauer Str. 2, 10178 Berlin)- We also loved this meal, on our second night. Decorated gorgeously and with the option to sit outside, this restaurant had a large menu and was super reasonably priced. The process of ordering food is novel, in that you use a tablet and go and collect it yourself, but that just means that you’re never interrupted whilst enjoying your time spent here. I had a gorgeous gorgonzola and pear pasta and my husband had a pizza, both of which we really liked. There were lots of things I would’ve liked to have tried on the menu, so I’d give this a second visit, and its super convenient location makes it a great choice.
Malatesta (Charlottenstr. 59, 10117 Berlin) – This was our most expensive meal during our trip, but it was also my favourite. A limited menu, so check before you head there if you’re a bit fussy, but lovely on every other level. It’s Italian food, but a little different from the traditional. Eating a mostly vegetarian diet means I’ve gotten used to the standard meal choices in most Italian restaurants, but the dish I had hear was a revelation. Red beet ravioli filled with goat’s cheese and honey and topped with fresh pesto, it was just delicious, and my husband enjoyed his lamb ragu with pappardelle immensely too. I had the tiramisu for dessert and although it wasn’t as good as the one I make, it was still lovely.
Simply… (Pasteurstr. 2, 10407 Berlin)- This was the only other eatery we sat in for a meal, and it was for brunch on our second day. My husband fancied a cook breakfast and I went for the grilled cheese and it really was a lovely little cafe. Very simple and not unlike traditional greasy spoons you find in the UK, it made a nice change and was a bit more out of the way than some of our other choices, so was nice to go exploring a bit. A good try if you fancy something a little simpler for a breakfast or lunch spot.
We also gave some of the local delis and bakeries a look when we wanted a croissant or pretzel for breakfast or lunch and none of them disappointed. There are so many of these to choose from on almost every street, so you won’t go far without finding something delicious, and you can also find gorgeous sandwiches in many of these places if you want something a little more substantial. We used Trip Advisor to find most of our eateries, as we wanted the places we tried to be at least a little well regarded and I wouldn’t hesitate to do that again. Although I’m all for trying places you see along the way, I just feel a little safer picking out the ones that other people seem to like too.
Newton Bar (Charlottenstrasse 57, 10117 Berlin) – This was just down the street from Malatesta and we had some lovely cocktails here after a meal one night. There are so many to choose from and, as a massive cocktails fan, I was in heaven! Quite trendy and not cheap, it won’t be everyone’s choice spot, but we loved it and spent a couple of hours enjoying the chilled out atmosphere and enjoying a lovely night of our mini-moon together.
To See & Do
Bradenburg Gate – This iconic piece of architecture is an impressive sight to see and should be a must-do on your list. As one of the best-known landmarks of Germany, it really is one of those things that you should get a picture of and really enjoy in all it’s glory.
Checkpoint Charlie – This was one of my favourite things we saw whilst in Berlin. It was the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War and is still represented today with a replica guard house and sign erected at this historic point. It is a good spot to visit for a bit of history, although it’s ruined a bit by the McDonald’s beside it and it’s interesting to visit some of the memorial sites close by to read up on some of the history.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – This was the most moving bit of history we saw during our trip. This memorial is to remember the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and consists of a 4.7-acre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. It is such a stark monument and can never really convey what happened, but it really is effective at making you think about all those who lost their lives too early and some useful information close by conveys some truly fascinating facts.
The Berlin Wall Memorial – There are many representations and monuments where the Berlin Wall used to stand and it’s fascinating to see. We only saw most of this when we were travelling around, but it was all so interesting. I’ve read a fair bit about the Wall since returning home and it’s really brought home its significance for the people whose lives it was a part of.
Reichstag Building – We didn’t go inside this amazing building, but seeing it from the outside is enough of an attraction, let me tell you. It is the meeting place of the German parliament and I believe you can go on guided tours inside, but we just used it as an opportunity to get some photos and enjoy the architecture, which is extremely impressive.
Gendarmenmarkt – This square, right by Newton Bar and Malatesta, features some amazing buildings to see and photograph whilst you’re in Berlin, including the French and German Cathedrals. There are plenty of places to eat and drink around here too, with a lovely place to sit outside on the square and let the hours fly by with a drink in hand.
Alexanderplatz – A great place to eat, drink and shop, this area houses a great many things to see and do. It is a central hub for travel around Berlin and also houses the iconic TV tower that you’ll see in so many photos of the city. The World Time Clock is an interesting thing to see whilst here too, but we mostly visited for the shopping (I found everything to be cheaper here than at home).
We were lucky enough to be able to turn our wedding into a relaxing, long weekend away from home – and we loved every minute of it! We had quality family time, ate and drank a ton and generally got to enjoy some holiday time before the big day. If I could do the whole thing over again, I’d do the very same thing and I encourage anyone who can to really allow yourself the time away to really chill out before the inevitable anxiety of the occasion sets in. I think this was a major factor in why I was so calm and relaxed going into the big day itself, I had been in holiday mode for a few days and was really enjoying myself, so stressing about little wedding-related things didn’t seem important.
We had such a great time exploring some more of the little towns around our venue and then welcoming various friends and family members as the days went on. It was, without doubt, the best time I’ve ever had and if I could do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. We had gorgeous weather on the first day, which we took full advantage of, with lunch and drinks outside, followed by some wandering, scone eating and enjoying all the sunshine. It was perfect. The hotel we stayed in for three nights was stunning and it felt like such an amazing treat to have booked somewhere so special for the occasion. No, we can’t do things like this regularly, but for such a rare treat, it was unbeatable.
My sisters and their partners arrived at lunchtime on the second day, which was followed by some pampering spa time – I loved this and vowed to make more of an effort to schedule some ‘treat myself’ time on arriving home. It was another opportunity to really relax and feel special at such an important time. It was pure indulgence and I adored it.
About half of our guests arrived on the third day, the boys choosing to partake in some clay pigeon shooting, while the ladies drank tea and cocktails – everyone loved that day (especially me) and it was such a great opportunity to spend time with our loved ones before the wedding itself. The day itself passes by so quickly, that we relished this extra time with all those people we adore, I wouldn’t give this time back for the world.
I’ll do a write-up on the day itself in the coming weeks, but I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos from our wedding weekend, and can feel what an amazing time we had.