Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Last weekend we visited Frankfurt and its Christmas markets. We packed jumpers, coats, hats and scarves but the weather was just the same as the UK.

My aim was to have a Baileys hot chocolate, come back with a mug and have a pretzel the size of my face – which I did.

We arrived really late on Friday night and stayed at the Bristol Hotel next to the train station. After someone (Oliver’s dad) forgot the directions, we eventually made it to the hotel after 45 minutes but it should have taken 5 😂

We woke up, had breakfast and walked to where the Christmas markets are. We stopped in a store that reminded me of Flying Tiger before heading into the markets to grab hot chocolate with amaretto.

We stayed out for a few hours to take pictures, buy drinks and get some food. There were so many stalls, from food, drinks to hardware and Christmas ornaments. I’ve never seen a market so big. We also walked over a bridge the other side of the river where there were a few flea markets and we also went into a large church with a choir performing.

We went back to the room for a while and caught up on I’m a Celeb before going out again at 7pm to see the markets in the dark.

We ended up having a Maccy D’s. We always like to see the difference in food choices when we go away. You can make your own mcflurrys and get different types of burgers. In France you can even get seafood.

On Sunday we got up, had breakfast at the Bristol Hotel and headed off to the markets again. This is when I bought my pretzel (it only cost €3.50). I also managed to get myself a Baileys hot chocolate! First time I’ve ever tried Baileys and I definitely approve.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed attending my first European Christmas Market. It was so festive and I can’t wait to go to a new Christmas Market again.

A few tips for anyone thinking of going to a Christmas market:

  • If you buy a mulled wine or hot chocolate, you’ll pay more for the mug and get a token. If you take the mug back, you’ll get some money back. If you decide to keep it, just swap it for a clean mug.
  • Bring warm clothes such as a coat and hat but don’t worry about bringing gloves and scarves as it’s currently the same temperature as it is in the UK.
  • Check times of when markets open and close before you go and see if you can find any secret markets or indoor stalls.

7 Reasons To Travel

7 Reasons To Travel

Hi guys. In this week’s post I’m going to be talking about reasons why you should travel and what travel does to impact our lives.

I believe that travel is important for everyone because you receive so many unique experiences. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to gain these experiences. Even going on a mini break or road trip will open you up to new experiences.

Reasons To Travel

1. Culture. It’s amazing how countries have different etiquette and traditions and I believe we all need to travel and visit different cultures to learn and broaden our minds.

2. Confidence. Whether you are traveling in a group, with family, partner or solo, travelling gives you independence and confidence. Being around people you aren’t around often gives me a sense that I can do anything and no one will ever see me again.

3. Memories. Now this is an important one. Would you rather stay in one place all your life, not meeting other people or learning new things? Or would you rather travel the globe, have stories to tell the grandchildren and memories you won’t regret?

4. People. You never know who you’ll meet when you travel. You could meet your future partner, a new friend or penpal. We shouldn’t expect our best friends and partners to live around the corner.

5. Skills. When you travel you develop new skills, such as navigation or a new language. There’s plenty to learn when you are in a new country.

6. Perspective. Traveling puts a lot in perspective for me because it makes me feel alive. This is what life’s about. Not those bills, work or responsibilities. It’s about the moments we steal for ourselves, the glimpse of a sunset on a cruise or the chance to climb the Eiffel tower.

7. You become richer. Not in the sense of money rich, but you will gain new skills, have new outlooks and more stories to tell. Travel makes you rich in so many ways.

That’s a wrap! Why do you think people should travel? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, love, Vee x

A Trip to the Cat Cafe

A Trip to the Cat Cafe

So at the weekend Oliver and I went to the Cat Cafe in London as a Christmas present.

We had a lovely time meeting all the cats, although we were told that that morning someone had taped a box shut with a note saying they couldn’t keep a cat any more and left it outside. This was upsetting but the cat is being looked after in the observation room.

I got the cheapest deal so we had hot chocolates and spent most of our time finding all the cats. There’s 15 in total.

The cats were all lovely and cuddly (apart from the odd one who got annoyed!) and we ended up playing with one called Rodney for a while.

All the cats are rescue ones and are sometimes rehomed. You can even adopt the cats in the cafe to support the work Lady Dinah’s does.

This is the perfect place for any cat lover to spend time with their furry pals.

There’s a cute Alice in Wonderland theme with plenty of places for the cats to sleep, eat and play.

It’s such a peaceful and queit place to be. I would definitely go back!

Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Sasquatch, Love and Other Imaginary Things

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So I recently entered a giveaway for Sasquatch, Love and Other Imaginary Things and I won the book! It came all the way from the US so I would like to thank Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw for sending it to me.

Review

This book is different from anything I’ve recently read and involves a Wood Ape, some British snobs and a big guy with a camera. Sasquatch, Love and Other Imaginary Things is about the Berger family who go onto a reality TV show in search of Bigfoot to win money to save their house and pay for Sam’s college tuition. Sam, the middle child in the Berger family is obsessed with caring about everyone and wants to study pre-med at college. She knows her family are secretly struggling with money and does everything she can to win Myth Gnomers; even if tat means faking clues and taking snooping around.

The Netherfield team are a competitive group of seniors wanting to win money for their school and Dr. DeGraw who is also one of the judges. Devan, Kyle and Caroline are snotty, stuck up kids who are determined to win against the Berger family. Unfortunately, love gets in the way and the family are soon faced with complications, flu and planting fake clues in order to win against the Netherfield team. Even though Sam and Devan are mortal enemies in the competition, they can’t help being drawn to one another.

This book was actually a breath of fresh air to me and I found it hilarious. I hardly ever read any comedy, but YA mixed with corny jokes and sarcastic comments is my idea of a dream novel. Sam reminds me of myself and is the lovable joker of the family. She cares about everyone but worries constantly and is always sarcastic.

I also really liked Sophie, her awkward older sister and Lyssa, her slutty younger one. The whole family is embarrassing and wonderful at the same time. This book is full of family values, sacrifice and support. It’s a different take on romance, love and what it means to be family.

If you’re looking for a funny, awkwardly romantic YA novel, then this is for you! I hope you enjoyed this review and let me know in the comments if you’ve read it!

Until next time, love Vee x

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Holiday

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So this week’s post is a guest post from my wonderful partner, Oliver. He’s been on many holidays with his parents and plans all of our holidays together, including our two trips to New York. Here are his top 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Holiday.

1. Be Realistic

The first thing to do before booking any trip is to be realistic about the amount of money you can afford to spend and your preferred destination. While you cannot afford to go from Europe to America for a holiday from under £300 that could be more than enough to go somewhere remotely closer.

2. Package vs DIY Holidays

Package holidays are where you go to a company or a comparison site and you pick the flights and the hotel through them. Whereas DIY holidays are where you book everything yourself such as the flights, holidays and transfers.

Depending on where you are going either of them could be the best choice. If you are going to a holiday destination such as the Caribbean. Whereas a package holiday could end up costing you a lot more when it comes to visiting a major city such as NY, London or Paris so in that case the DIY option is better.

3. Price Comparison sites

Price comparison sites are a great way to save money as long as you set the right filters. All of the sites can offer better deals depending on where/when and your choice of holiday. My favorite is JetCost which most of the time comes up with the best deals for flights and Hotels.com for the hotel. However, different people have different preferences; my tip is to check out several different ones as well as going straight to the airline/hotel and seeing whether you are getting the best price.

4. Money vs Time

This one is quite important if you are travelling longer distances. If you are travelling ultra long such as London to Sydney then you are going to have no choice but to get connecting flights. However, if you are flying from London to New York there are several ways to go that can be varying prices as well as times. It might cost a lot more to go direct than it will be to stop. You have to weigh up whether it is better to go cheaper and spend less time in your destination or spend a little more and spend more time.

5. The Tuesday Rule

A known fact in the airline industry is that it is always cheaper to book holidays on a Tuesday than on any other day of the week. This is because the weekends are when everyone is able to sit round and talk about it with their families so the price is always the most expensive as well as a Monday because everyone has the weekend hangover and a case of the Monday blues. Therefore, if you do go to book a holiday the best time to do it is on a Tuesday as the airlines start their deals on Tuesdays.

6. Convenience vs Price

When booking a hotel how close it is to the tourist attraction or city it is the more expensive it is going to be. You are paying for the convenience of not having to travel to it. Sometimes it can be more expensive to travel into the city so make sure to do your research. If the hotel offers a free shuttle bus or there is public transportation then you may be better to stay slightly further out and then travel in.

7. Attractions

When you go on holiday everyone wants to see attractions, whether it be museums, art galleries or a theme park. The best thing to do is to do some research to see whether there might be a city pass or if you pay for them in advance or paying for two at the same time can sometimes save you some money.

8. Free Attractions

Before you go make sure you check out some blogs from people who have gone as well as looking at places such as TripAdvisor to check out whether there are any attractions that are completely free. These could be filming locations from one of your favorite TV shows to places that appeared in adverts or just a local park. My favorite free attractions are the owl cafe (Friends building) and the High Line which is an old train line in NYC.

9. Dining

One of my top tips is to check out the local supermarkets and shopping malls that are just outside of the city because you will pay an awful lot less for a fizzy drink than you would if you bought it in the city. You can also pick up some cheap souvenirs for your family and chocolate for yourself in the room.

10. Research

My top tip is do some research months before you want to book a holiday. I have a spreadsheet which has the places I want to go to and then check the prices month from month to see when the cheapest time to book is as well as the cheapest time to go. Then when you have the money to go on a trip you can look at your work and see what you can afford and the best time to go.

Before you set off make sure you have planned and know where everything is so that when you arrive at your destination you aren’t blind struck by the location and don’t go spending money on taxis you can’t afford. This will save you time, money and you will be able to get more out of the location and actually enjoy your holiday and relax.

I hope these tips are helpful to you! Let us know some of your money saving tips. Until next time, love Vee x

Autumn Date Night Ideas

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! Since it’s autumn, I wanted to publish as many autumn posts as possible because it’s my favourite season. If you’re struggling for date night ideas or just general activities to take part in, this is the post for you!

Autumn Date Ideas

  • Go pumpkin/apple picking
  • Carve pumpkins and make funny or spooky faces
  • Make a list of horror movies you want to watch and check them off as you go
  • Go trick or treating together
  • Have a spooky party
  • Make Halloween costumes together
  • Make sugar cookies
  • Create a new hot chocolate recipe 
  • Have a bonfire and make smores
  • Make a fort with blankets and eat popcorn
  • Learn a new recipe together that has pumpkin in
  • Make cinnamon roles together
  • Go for a walk in the woods and jump in the leaf piles
  • Buy a DIY candle making kit and make cinnamon/orange spiced candles
  • Go to a harvest festival together
  • Visit a haunted house/location
  • Bake a pumpkin pie together
  • Read spooky stories to each other
  • Watch that new crime show on Netflix
  • Collect acorns/conkers together and get crafty 
  • Make caramel apples
  • Go stargazing together and take a blanket and some snacks
  • Go on a haunted tour of your city
  • Go to a fairground
  • Go to your local pottery shop and do some DIY painting
  • Have a picnic in the woods
  • Go away for the weekend to a log cabin and get away from your phone
  • Take up a new hobby/class together
  • Make a fall wreath together
  • Have a look locally and see if there are any harvest/Halloween events going on in your area

I hope this list has given you some ideas! Let me know some of your autumn date night ideas in the comments. Until next time, love Vee x

Our Trip to Amsterdam

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! Last week, Oliver and I were on our way to Amsterdam! We had such an amazing time and I wanted to share where we went and what we did with you. I hope you enjoy this post and let me know in the comments if you have been or are planning to go to Amsterdam.

Day One

I booked our holiday for three days and we stayed at the Ramada Airport Schiphol hotel which was a ten minute drive from the hotel and we had a free shuttle service to and from. It was a little way out of the centre of Amsterdam but there was a supermarket close by which meant we could buy all our drinks and some food at cheaper prices. You can get the train from the airport directly to the city centre and it takes around 20 minutes.

Our flight landed at around 8am so we had a whole day and checked in to our hotel to drop off our bags. We then headed back to the airport and caught the train into the centre. On our first day, we went to the sex museum, which was funny and interesting and maybe a little embarrassing! It’s only five euros each. After that we took a wander around and had some lunch at McDonald’s before making our way to Jordaan and the flower markets. We did a lot of walking so I recommend catching the tram or Metro! We also purchased a three day travel card from the airport which was around twenty-eight euros each and covered us for all trains, trams, metro and ferries.

We had a look at The Cat Boat, a little boat full of stray cats and then we walked all the way back to Dam Square and went to Ripley’s Believe it or Not. I recommend looking at offers before going because we made the mistake of buying a full ticket when we could have had another tour for the same price. Ripley’s was quite fun and we were there for Pride week and they were allowing people to marry for one day only so it was lovely seeing all the couples getting married!

We then walked all the way back to the Anne Frank House and had dinner at Pancakes Amsterdam, which is just across from Anne Frank. We recommend using your card more than bringing cash as we ate there three times and they don’t accept cash but give you the option to pay in pounds so you don’t have to pay an exchange rate. The pancakes are delicious and you get a little key ring souvenir each time you go.

We booked the 6pm slot to visit the Anne Frank House and it was the most inspiring experience; you can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting. There was a screaming baby which ruined the experience slightly, but seeing the attic, where she lived, was insane. The experience made me quite emotional and we must have been there for over an hour. You get to use headsets which tell you more in detail about the way the Franks lived and what happened to them.

Day Two

On day two, all rested from the day before, we made our way out into the city early and visited Noord on the ferry. We saw online that there was a place called A’dam Lookout. It’s a tall building which has a swing that swings you over the edge, so of course Oliver wanted to try it. We booked our slot and for around forty euros we went upstairs and looked around as the sights from up there were incredible. We should have bought the ticket that included lunch though as we both had paninis.

The swing, Over the Edge, was scary but an experience I’m glad I didn’t miss. We made our way back downstairs and onto the ferry which departs around every six minutes and it’s also free.

We then made our way to the smallest pub in Amsterdam (from the TV advert), the smallest house and the smallest cafe, where we went to have a drink.

In the evening we headed over to the Red Light District and visited the Erotic Museum which was about seven euros each. It has some of John Lennon’s drawings, a weird cartoon program and lots of sex toys. We also visited the Prostitution Museum which is a few buildings down and that was around eleven euros each. You get a headset to listen to a prostitute’s story and you get to visit the brothel. The end was the best part because everyone writes their sex confessions and sticks them on the wall! 
We went to the Pancake place again to kill time so it would get dark so we could see the Red Light District at night. It was weird seeing prostitutes in the windows and seeing all the guilty men coming out at only 9pm. It was interesting to see and I definitely recommend going at night when it’s so busy.

Day Three

We had pretty much done everything we wanted to do and see so we headed off to the airport to drop off our luggage (only six euros each on card if you’re taking hand luggage). We wanted to visit Artis Zoo so we took the Metro. It was around fifty euros for both of us to get in and it was quite a large zoo. They have everything from elephants to insects, reptiles to penguins and wolves. I definitely recommend a visit if you have time and it only takes a few hours to go around, depending on what you want to see.

We then made our way to the pancake place again where I had american pancakes with bacon and maple syrup (oh my God it was so good). By the time we had finished, it was already time to go!

I think three days was enough for Oliver and I, but it depends on what you like to do. If you’re an art freak or museum nut, then you might need longer, but if you’re like us and want to do little museums and attractions, then you won’t need long at all.

Until next time, love Vee x

Book Review: Emergency Contact

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be reviewing Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it and what you thought!

Overview

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Review (may contain spoilers)

I saw the cover of this book on Instagram (as most of the books I buy are found on aesthetic Bookstagrammer’s pages) and I was intrigued. The cover is so pretty and once I read the synopsis I really wanted to buy it.

When I started reading it, I was so excited after all the hype around it that it sort of fell flat at first. The writing isn’t amazingly thought out; it’s very much “he said, she said” and nothing more. But as the book went on I started to forget the overused verbs and enjoyed the story line.

I really warmed to Penny’s weirdness and related a lot to her without even knowing it. She keeps an emergency stash of supplies in case of an apocalypse and her emotions are totally the opposite of what she wants them to be. I also thought Sam was lovable and even a gentleman. I don’t want to spoil anything for you but it’s so sweet and cringy when he thinks that a baby (not really a spoiler, it happens early on) can solve everyone’s problems.

I actually really related to the whole texting instead of talking in real life idea. It’s true, even with my partner of three years, I still have the urge to text him my feelings because I can better explain things via writing. It was a fresh idea and I think it worked well. The only thing that was slightly disappointing was Sam not getting his big break that you expect him to. 

For a debut novel, I think that Choi hit the ground running with this unique story of love, awkwardness and family drama. It has a bit of something for everyone and I even warmed to Mallory once I got to know her.

Overall, the characters were well set up, the plot was intriguing and even though the end is slightly predictable, the journey was the best part. I hope you pick it up and read it! It’s such a heartfelt book.

Happy reading! Love, Vee x

Pros and Cons of Reading New Releases

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hi guys! It’s Vee here ❤ In this week’s blog I want to talk about the pros and cons of reading new releases. Maybe some of you will feel the same as I do. I’d love to hear your pros and cons!

Pros:

Fangirling

It’s great when the next book in your favourite series is out or you’ve been waiting for years for the next John Green novel. Fangirling is great – especially on Instagram where so many people connect and get excited together. It’s a really wonderful thing to share the excitement of a new release with your book pals and maybe even go to signings.

Getting to Read the Book Before Anyone Else

When you buy a new release, it’s a rush to the finish line to see who can read the book first. Everyone wants to be the first to have read it, otherwise they’ll be spoilers! Once you’ve stayed up all night on the high of reading, you’ll be exhausted but proud. So really, it’s half a con and half a pro.

Reviews

As a book blogger, reading new releases is important as loads of people are debating whether or not to buy it and your review could help make their decision. And that’s a wonderful feeling to have someone say they bought a book because of your review.

Cons:

Slow Reader

As a full time apprentice and a slow reader, I can’t read new releases very quickly and there’s an awful lot of pressure to get the next review out. In reality, we are the ones putting pressure on ourselves to do well. But having to keep up with all these new releases is a lot of work and time and energy.

Funds

New books are expensive, guys. Let’s be real – you could go down the library and take out a book for a couple of weeks. It may not be the new release you wanted but at least you won’t have to spend £12 on that hardcover you wanted. You can wait until it comes out in the library.

Let me know your thoughts on this below ⇓

That’s it for now. Love, Vee ❤

Review: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Well hello there! It’s already February – one of my most expensive and busiest months (birthdays, anniversary etc)! Sorry I didn’t post last week but it was Oli’s birthday and I wanted to concentrate on him for the day. So this week I’ve decided to write a blog review about Rupi Kaur’s most recent poetry book, The Sun and Her Flowers. I will be sharing some of my favourite poems from the book and a bit about why I love them and why I think you should too!

The Sun and Her Flowers
The Sun and Her Flowers is more about Kaur’s family, moving and learning to love herself. I am so excited for what she has coming next but I will definitely be rereading these until her next book comes along. I wanted to buy the book as soon as possible and thankfully received a Waterstone’s voucher for Christmas so it was one of the books I just had to get. I must say I relate to Milk and Honey more, but I still absolutely love her books and she inspired me to just go for it and write poetry. So here we go. Enjoy!



Poem One 

I love this one because it proves that whatever us humans go through, we are always strong enough to bounce back from it; we will always recover.



Poem Two 

Kaur always has a way of writing so that I feel unique and special, even if I feel like I’m getting nowhere in life. That is poetry. You don’t even have to be religious to love this, you just need to believe in yourself.

Poem Three 

I think this is absolutely true- we all crave love and want to give it but as humans we manage to ruin it or turn it into something it’s not. Everyone has the capacity for love but not everyone is willing to learn how to.

Poem Four 

Such a powerful break-up poem here. I think it’s beautiful because Kaur keeps repeating that it’s not the end of the world. You will get through anything.

Poem Five 

Such a simple yet powerful poem for anyone feeling low or invalid.

Poem Six 

This is honestly my favourite. So beautiful that it gives me butterflies. I do believe in soul mates so this poem is perfect.


Well that’s it for this week but I’ll be back next week! Love, Vee.