Thursday, 29 June 2017

My Guide On What To Do & See In Berlin


Berlin was the first stop on my backpacking trip around Europe, so I was unbelievably excited to go even if half of me thought it was going to blow. I'd heard such a mixed bag of reviews before I went. I jumped off the plane, somewhat apprehensively, found my Air BnB, fell to the bed for ten minutes, then picked myself up and went out to explore. Turns out, I love it!

I went for three nights, and I planned so many activities beforehand I was almost always on the move. My feet were killing me by the end of each night, but that’s how I know I’m doing my holiday right! So this is my guide to Berlin, basically almost everything I did whilst there.


Things To Do & See


Brandenburg Gate


It was a beautiful and happy touristy atmosphere. I took out my camera and snapped a few pictures, felt a bit guilty that I didn’t know much of the history, recovered quickly and got the boyfriend to take pictures of me posing in front of it. Turns out the gate became widely known as the symbol of the divide in Germany, as the Berlin Wall shut off access from both East and West Germany (I knew little on this topic but by the end of the trip I could teach a class).

Reichstag's Dome 


This is just to the side of the Brandenburg Gate, so pretty easy to do both of them in quick succession. i didn’t actually go inside the Reichstag's Dome, I just observed its beauty from the outside. You can go in but I believe you have to book it in advance so they can do a background check as it’s on top of the government building.

Holocaust Memorial


This is just a few minutes walk away from the Brandenburg Gate.

Also known as Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. This was so humbling and saddening. The memorial itself is amazingly designed. All of the blocks start off knee high then within a few seconds of walking they’re rising high above your head, you’re lost in a maze of cold, grey blocks you can’t see anything else. I found it all very symbolic.

There’s also the museum lying underneath the memorial, which is free. Here you are shown the story of the Nazi regime through a time line. The part that hit me most was a room with the diary extracts from Jewish people covering the floor. I didn’t realise how aware everybody was of what was happening.

Check Point Charlie


Checkpoint Charlie was first set up in August 1961, when communist East Germany divided Berlin into two with the Berlin wall. I knew of the wall, but had limited knowledge of the politics and history. Helpfully there is a detailed account on a stretch of wall just in view of Checkpoint Charlie. 

I honestly learnt so much this holiday!

Mauer Park


If you go to Berlin then I must insist that you spend a Sunday night there. And that is simply so you can spend your Sunday at Mauer park. On Sunday two very exciting things happen.

First of all the flea markets appear. I have never seen anything like it. They’re huge and sell just about anything. Clothes, trinkets, jewellery, accessories, cupboards, tables, lamps, stools, movies, books, musical instruments, vinyls, CD players, speakers, cameras, games, chess boards, the list is endless. There are also so many delicious looking food stalls. I had the most delicious vegan kebab!

The second exciting thing is something called Bear Pit Karaoke. It’s exactly what it says on the tin. There is a bear pit style seating area around a pit where one man and his brother host a karaoke session every Sunday. The characters you watch singing are incredible, from the quirky woman doing a brilliant rendition of Kate Bush’s Withering Heights, to the hippie guy surprising everyone with Britney’s One More Time. 

Please go and spend a Sunday afternoon in this park, you will not be disappointed!



East Side Gallery


Another history lesson for Laura. The East Side gallery is a 1.3km section of the Berlin wall that has been turned into a freedom memorial. I love that people have taken something that was intended for segregation and turned it into a beautiful and creative piece of art symbolising freedom. 

Friedrichshain


This is a beautiful district in East Berlin, just at the end of East Side Gallery. If you have seen pics of me standing in front of colourful walls on my social media channels, the picture was likely taken in this district somewhere. Vibrant and full of colour, this is a wonderful place to just wander and get lost.

TV Tower


You can pretty much see this from anywhere in Berlin, but put it on here so you know to keep your eye out for it!

Berliner Dom


By the time I got to the Berlin Cathedral I had walked thousands and thousands of steps. My feet were so tired. I needed to sit. I got here not knowing what to expect, thinking it would probably be a pretty building to admire. And it was, the architecture is absolutely stunning.

But it also has a decent sized patch of grass right outside where plenty of people were sat in groups, or on their own reading books. I actually ended up lying down on the grass for around an hour just soaking up the atmosphere.

Museum Island 


I didn’t actually have time to go inside any of the museums so i just walked through it admiring the buildings. Although I have been told that the Atlas museum is incredible so I’ll try to check that out on my next visit.




Some Places To Eat & Drink


Friedrichshain


I’ve already mentioned above that Friedrichshain as a fantastic place to get lost during the day. It's full of colourful walls, lively restaurants and many ice cream stalls. It is also world famous for it’s night life scene. There are absolutely tonnes of bars all within walking distance of each other. I had a brilliant night here, I followed a few people who were heading towards dark steps and found myself in the middle of some warehouse type buildings which had been turned into bars. 

Berliner Republik


This was a unique experience. Basically the price of your drink changes in line with the stock market. At one point sirens went off, the stock market (pretend) crashed and all of the beer prices plummeted. I was quick to get my round in then!

Burgermeister


Apparently this is not only the best burger you will have in Berlin, but the best burger you will have in Europe. I turned vegetarian on the 1st of January this year, but I am a big burger fan and I couldn’t resist trying the best burger in Europe! So I gave into temptation and yes, it was a pretty damn good burger! I’ve also heard Jospers is a good rival (in Friedrichshain). 

Torstsrasse 


We actually stayed on Torstrasse, or I think just next to it. It’s full of bars and restaurants, a bit more of a relaxed vibe. You’ll more likely find people sipping on wine after finishing a delicious meal rather than crazy party-goers. There are some pretty cool bars though. One of them is an oh-so-hipster bar called Mein Haus am See, with mezzanine seating and books adorning the walls.



So there’s my rather lengthy guide to what I got up to in Berlin. There is so much more I didn’t get a chance to explore so a return trips is definitely on the cards. Have you been to Berlin before? Where would you recommend going?


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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

30 Puppy Pictures

The three puppies you may have occasionally seen taking over my social media channels are my dad’s new cockapoodles. They are the happiest little teddy bear puppies I have ever seen. I really need a puppy in my life, but until I move out of a one bed flat and into house with a garden it is not really a viable option. So when my dad told me he was getting puppies I was beyond excited as it’s pretty much the closest I can get to having my own.

The crazy man actually decided to get three puppies, as if one isn’t enough trouble! The golden one with the white paws is name Oliver, the fully golden one is called Oscar and the white one is called Dougal. They look similar but they each have their own unique personality. I asked my dad for a sentence on each and he said “Oliver is the ladies boy, Oscar is an extreme adventurer and Dougal is the brains behind them all”.

This is not going to be a lengthy, wordy post because let’s face it, you’re here to see the 30 puppy pictures. I have taken so many pictures and I need an outlet to share them instead of just bombarding family and friends over WhatsApp. So without further ado, here are the 30 puppy pictures…





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Sunday, 25 June 2017

My Podcast List || July 2017


I think this time last year I hadn’t even listened to a podcast all the way through. I knew they were out there and people were getting into them big time but I completely missed the start of the craze. Well I am now eagerly making up for lost time. They are perfect for my commute to work when the tram is too packed to dig my book out of my bag or I need both hands to stop myself falling into people! I’ve even started listening to them at work instead of Spotify. They’re also ideal for making train journeys go quicker, particularly hungover train journeys where you need to rest your eyes for a bit.

I’ve been trying to branch out and listen to some different podcasts lately, and I’ve found a few good ones. So I thought I’d write them up in a list and share them with you! 

Serial

If you’ve been in the podcast world for any amount of time then there is a high chance that you have already heard about Serial. Think ‘Making A Murderer’ meets a microphone. There are now two series but I have only listened to the first one, both follow different stories. It’s a documentary based on a high school girl who goes missing in the 90s. The finger points to her ex-boyfriend who is adamant of his innocence. Is he guilty? You’ll have to listen to make up your own mind. I found the whole story scary, shocking and unbelievably unfair. It provided a somewhat horrifying glimpse into the American judiciary system. Please listen and let me know your thoughts!

S-Town


S-Town begins in a similar fashion as Serial. A man named John McLemore, gets in touch with the podcasting people asking them to come to his town to investigate a murder. John is not a fan of his home town, coining it s**t town. He believes he not only knows who the murderer is, but that the murderer has gone around town bragging about what he has done. But the podcast soon takes a twist when another person ends up dead. I found John’s story truly fascinating and almost mesmerising. It’s really difficult to say why without giving too many things away, but I guess what it really drove home for me is that you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

My Dad Wrote A Porno


Well this is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, except he wrote an erotic novel. Jamie Morton's dad wrote himself an erotic novel, which is available on Amazon if you’re wondering. Instead of hiding in shame and denying any relation like most of us might do, Jamie decided to take to the microphone and share his dads stories with literally millions of people! Boasting over 50 million downloads this is a podcast not to be missed. It had me actually laughing out loud throughout the entire thing, which looked a little weird when I was sat on a tram on my own on a Monday morning. Jamie reads the story a chapter per podcast with his two friends James Cooper and Alice Levine, who both offer witty and hilarious interjections. I became weirdly hooked on Belinda Blinked (the title of the erotic novel) and was a little lost when I finished the series. The third series started while I was on holiday and I cannot wait to have a binge and delve back into Belinda’s weird world.

Distraction Pieces with Scroobius Pip


I got introduced to Scroobius Pip at university and I quickly grew to love his work. I have CDs, I’ve been to see him live twice and now I’ve started on his podcast ‘Distraction pieces’. Scroobius Pip is a spoken word poet and hip-hop artist, if you haven’t already go listen to his music (one of my favourite lines is ‘you see a mouse trap, I see free cheese and a fucking challenge’ from the song Introdiction). But back to the podcast. So every week he chats to guests, some of them well known like Simon Pegg, James McAvoy and Russell Brand, as well as some lesser known people. I think the first one I listened to was the Jams McAvoy episode, which involved a thought provoking conversation on Disassociation Identity Disorder. 

This Paranormal Life


When my boyfriend showed me this I was really unsure that it would be something I would enjoy. Basically it is two guys, Rory Powers and Kit Grier, who are answering the big questions out there - is Big foot real? Did the lost city of Atlantis exist? Is there really a giant wizard frog? The questions on everybody's lips! Not only do I like it, i love it. The banter between the two is brilliant. They’re both witty and effortlessly bounce off each other. To put it simply, it’s hilarious. This is another podcast that has me laughing out loud on public transport. Seriously, people are going to start thinking I have a problem, I have got many funny looks! They approach the paranormal stories with open minds but also with reasonable scrutiny. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself believing some of them exist! 

So those are the podcasts I have been listening to lately. Have you listened to any of them yet? If you have some suggestions for other podcasts then I would love to hear as I am really racing through them at an alarming rate! Let me know in the comment section below.
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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Pancakes in Prague


So you’ve booked your flights and found the perfect place to stay that is 5 minutes away from everything. You’ve logged many hours on ASOS, found the perfect holiday outfits and packed them up. You’ve arranged your airport transfers. You’ve made many lists of where to go, what to see and what to do. You’ve got everything pretty much planned. Or have you? Have you made one of the most important decision of all?

I am of course talking about where to eat pancakes. Okay so sure, pancakes may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people picture Prague. They may think of Prague Castle, Charles bridge, Lennon’s Wall. But pancakes are important too!

Every time I go away somewhere I look up good places to eat. Not only does it prevent a lot of h-angry conversations, as fun as they are, but it also means I end up eating lots and lots of delicious food. And isn’t that what going on holiday is all about? Give me some sun, sights, good food and drinks outside and I am one happy holiday go-er. 

So the must-go place I found in Prague was Den Noc, a beautiful bistro and wine bar. That’s right, the best of both worlds. According to the website two young people bonded over their almost equal interests. One likes baking and cooking, while the other likes wine. So by day it sells delicious food while by night it also sells delicious food but accompanied by wine. 

We went in the morning for breakfast. I am not normally a pancake person but I had a real craving for them on holiday. They sell lots of different savoury and sweet options, but obviously I went for sweet. I don’t so much have a sweet tooth as a full set of sweet teeth. Surprisingly I did not go for the chocolate. I was going through a jam phase so I chose the jam and cream. They came in a neat stack, the kind I try and completely fail to recreate every pancake day (how do they do it?), and they were as delicious as they looked! The boyfriend went for a pancake with Haagen-Dasz ice cream, fruit, apple chutney and nuts and he swore they were delicious too.

So if you’re heading to Prague then sure, look up all the beautiful sites to see. Find all the beautiful places to go. Make sure you’ve noted down all the cool bars. But please, if you want to have any fun at all, then think pancakes and head to Den Noc. They also make a mean hot chocolate!


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