5 Destinations on my Travel Bucket List.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to travel to some beautiful places from the gorgeous island of Corfu in Greece to one of Europe’s most cultural cities, Amsterdam. But, this still hasn’t stopped me from having a serious case of wanderlust, I’m always yearning to travel far and wide. My Travel wish list is as long as my arm and features places in all of Earth’s continents from the USA to Asia. But there are 5 destinations on my Bucket list that I have to visit..

NEW YORK CITY |
My ultimate dream destination! A holiday to New York has always been my number one wish and when I finally get there, it’ll be a dream come true. I’m not sure why I have such a connection to this city, especially when I’ve never been there but I am obsessed with everything New York! If anything New York related is ever on the TV, it’s a must watch. I’m also addicted to buying New York related homewares from mugs to cushions.. For someone who’s never been, it’s pretty extreme. I honestly can’t wait until I can get on a plane bound for New York, please let it be soon.

LOS ANGELES | 
Yes, another US city! I’ve always wanted to visit the City of Angels and do some celeb spotting, visit Venice Beach, go shopping at The Grove and even do a hike up Runyon Canyon. Yes, a hike. The girl who hates exercise would be willing to do a hike if it was up Runyon Canyon haha! There are many other places around LA I’d love to visit too like Malibu & Santa Monica.

THE MALDIVES |
I blame Youtubers/Influencers/Bloggers on Instagram for this one! The Maldives seem to be a popular destination among these people and in all honestly, I don’t blame them because it is a stunning nation. I just get jealous because it is such a luxe, expensive place I’ll unlikely ever be able to afford. The crystal clear waters, the white sand, blue skies.. ahh. I’ll carry on dreamin’..

NEW ZEALAND |
This is pretty new on the bucket list, I never really wanted to go as bad as I do now. If I had to pick between Australia & NZ, it’d be NZ without a doubt however much I would like to visit Oz. But one thing about Australia that terrifies me is the bugs and the birds. As someone with a huge fear of birds, it’s not the ideal destination haha! New Zealand looks like a stunning country with magnificent scenery. I’m also now eager to see the Southern Lights more than the Northern (those pink hues look so much prettier!) and New Zealand is one of the best places.

ITALY |
There’s no specific city with this one, anywhere in Italy will do. Rome, Venice, Milan.. anywhere.. So why is this a dream destination? Well, the food. In all honesty, it’s the food. As a pasta addict and pizza lover, I’m dying to try the real deal cooked by Italians themselves. Bolognese, Lasagna.. even the ice creams. Mmmm… but another reason I’d love to visit is because it looks like a beautiful country with so much culture. To visit Rome and see the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain would be incredible. Someone book me a ticket, please..

Which destinations are on your Travel bucket list? 

Laura x
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A Trip To Amsterdam #2

Before you scroll down and read Part Two, check out the first part of my trip to Amsterdam here.

On our first full day in Amsterdam, we expected it to be packed doing loads of touristy things. However, it didn’t quite turn out that way in the end. We met back up with our friend Priscilla and headed to the Anne Frank House. We couldn’t go to Amsterdam without visiting the museum, it’s such an important part of history. I already read that the queues can be crazy but at about 11 in the morning, I thought it wouldn’t be too bad. Oh how wrong was I!

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

After about two hours queueing, we finally entered the house. It was quite an experience and very moving, I don’t know how they lived in such conditions. The only downside is you literally queue when you’re in there too, I guess it’s because it’s so small. You’re constantly waiting behind someone to get a look at something or to move on to the next part of the house, it’s a bit frustrating but still worth a visit. Although, if you’re not too keen on steep stairs, I’d give it a miss. God those stairs were something else. Also, if you have an iAmsterdam card, entry to the Anne Frank House is not included. However it’s reasonable only costing €9.

When we were finished at the Anne Frank House, we started to get a bit hungry and Priscilla suggested we get chips from a stall, there are many around Amsterdam and it seems to be quite a popular thing. We walked around while eating our chips taking in more sights and we ended up inside Amsterdam Centraal station before we decided to take a tram down to Museumplein.

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

Museumplein is home to The Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum & the famous iAmsterdam letters. We were too late to go into the museums so we decided to take pictures by the iAmsterdam letters, it was absolutely packed so we were unable to get any pictures with just us in it which is a bit of a bummer but it’s got to be expected at a tourist attraction.

That night, we decided to head to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. It was absolutely delicious with some of the best customer service I’ve ever experienced, such lovely staff! I had a lovely juicy burger with my favourite cocktail, a Strawberry Daiquiri! After we finished up here, it was time to say goodbye to our amazing friend and guide, Priscilla and head back to our hotel for the night.

The next day, Saturday, was our day to be proper tourists and cram everything in as it was our last proper day. Although we weren’t leaving until the evening on Sunday, our iAmsterdam cards would be invalid from about 1pm onwards and we would not be able to access any of our free entries, travel, discounts or canal cruise so Saturday was going to be a busy ol’ day. We were pretty tired by the end of it, that’s for sure.

We started the day off at another pancake house, this time the Pancake Corner. I went for the Bacon pancake which was just simply four bacon strips cooked within a pancake. It was absolutely delicious. After our breakfast, we headed back to Museumplein and walked to the Rijksmuseum. We knew we wouldn’t get in with our iAmsterdam cards so we wanted to see how much a ticket would be. As this was a trip with a strict budget, €17 was a bit too much so we went to the Van Gogh museum instead as this is included.

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

If you’re a huge lover of art than the Van Gogh museum is a must visit. It’s home to the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work and also home to the work of his contemporaries. The museum gives a great insight into his life and as well as galleries filled with his amazing art there are sections dedicated to letters he wrote to his family. Even if you’re not much of an art person, I think you’d like this.

After a quick drink in the cafe, we headed back out the iAmsterdam letters and the pond that is located in front of it. It’s such a pretty little area and due to the Amsterdam Tulip festival going on there were several beds of tulips on the water. A great photo opportunity!

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

We finished up there and decided to take our free canal cruise thanks to our iAmsterdam cards. You can use any of the boat companies located around the city, we chose Canal Cruises as they had a stop located just behind the Rijksmuseum. If you do the whole canal cruise, it’s about 1 hour 40 minutes however you can get off at any of the stops along the way if you wish. It was a great experience although it was absolutely freezing! The Canals are a big part of Amsterdam so I definitely recommend you do a canal cruise or hire a boat to explore them a bit more.

A Trip To Amsterdam #2
A Trip To Amsterdam #2

A Trip To Amsterdam #2It was then time to take a walk to the Red Light District, certainly an eye opening experience even though it was day time, I can’t imagine what it would be like at night and I’m kind of glad I didn’t go there in the evening. I’m pretty open minded but it was still a bit of a shock to see these girls scantily clad standing in windows. If you’re not narrow minded, it’s worth taking a walk through and stopping off at one of the many bars in the area. Or a coffee shop, you know if that’s your kinda thing.

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

Later on, we headed to the Amsterdam Ice Bar. With our iAmsterdam cards, we managed to get a discount so it was much cheaper then the normal entry price of €19. This gets you entry and 3 drinks (1 in the bar, 2 in the Ice bar itself) which is pretty damn good. Before we went in, we got a cocktail each in the small bar outside then when it was time, we headed into the Ice Bar. The temperature was -9C and although that is ruddy freezing, I didn’t find it too bad at all. Strange. It’s very small in the Ice Bar with very few sculptures, it’s a lot different to the pictures you see on Google. I’m not sure what that’s all about?! However it was a good experience, especially drinking beer out of a glass made of ice! We finished up at the Ice Bar and headed back to our hotel as we needed to be up early to check out the next day.

A Trip To Amsterdam #2

Our last day in Amsterdam was our shopping day so to speak, we walked for ages past Dam Square down the main shopping street in Amsterdam and past it back to Leidseplein. I picked up a few gifts and souvenirs as well as some clothes in Zara. It was an absolutely beautiful day so we stopped off at a bar and had a pint and some food before we had to get back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head off on the tram and metro back to Duivendrecht station to catch our coach back to London. Another long journey ahead of us and then to make matters worse we were delayed making us 3 hours late into London missing our connecting trains home. Boo.

But what a fabulous trip it was! It was so worth the long coach journeys there and back. If you’re travelling on a budget and don’t mind spending 11 hours on a coach, it’s the perfect way to go to places such as Amsterdam, Brussels or even Paris for that matter as it’s so cheap. I would definitely recommend it although next time, I think I’ll catch a flight! haha.

Have you ever been to Amsterdam?

Laura x
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A Trip To Amsterdam #1

I’ve always wanted to visit The Netherlands beautiful capital city, Amsterdam and had planned to visit later this year. So as you can imagine when I won a competition with Eurolines to win coach travel to Amsterdam, I was over the moon. I persuaded my best friend to come along with me and on the 6th April, we set off from London’s Victoria Station to Amsterdam.

Even though I was so excited about my trip, the 11 hour coach journey filled me with dread. We headed to the boat at Dover arriving at about 2am, I was exhausted by this point and would have loved to of just climbed into a bed. But that was not going to be happening any time soon. Oh how I wish I had won a return flight instead! The boat from Dover to Calais took about 90 minutes. In that time, we grabbed a Starbucks and browsed the on-board shop looking at all the make up, skincare and perfumes on display. I managed to resist buying anything. Go me.

When we arrived in Calais, the longest part of the trip began. A 4 to 5 hour drive through France, Belgium and The Netherlands to Amsterdam Duivendrecht Station just outside of the city. I managed to drift off during this time and woke just as we were arriving in Brussels to drop off a few passengers. I was so happy I didn’t miss seeing some of Brussels, even if it was just from the coach window. It looked like such a beautiful city, I will have to plan a trip there soon.

After about 40 minutes sat in a Brussels bus station, we set off again. Next stop, Amsterdam! We arrived at Duivendrecht Station at about 11am and we met up with our Dutch friend who would be our very handy guide for the next 48 hours. (Thankyou, Priscilla!) We then headed into the city by Metro to Amsterdam Centraal Station, Amsterdam’s main train station in the city.

A Trip To Amsterdam #1

The first thing we did when we arrived was head to iAmsterdam’s Visitor Centre located just outside Amsterdam Centraal. Here, we picked up our iAmsterdam cards which in my opinion are a tourist essential. If you want to save money on tram fares, museum tickets and more then definitely buy one of these! You can buy 24hr, 48hr, 72hr and 96hr cards all at reasonable prices. We chose a 72hr card which cost €75 (£56). You get free entry into certain museums and attractions, unlimited use of Amsterdam’s Metro, Tram and GVB Bus Services, fabulous discounts and a free Canal Cruise! It’s totally worth it if you’re looking to save some money during your travels. Buy here.

A Trip To Amsterdam #1

After picking up our cards, it was time to get on the tram and head to our hotel to drop off our bags. When we arrived, it was too early to check in so we left our bags and headed out again. We stayed at Hotel Marnix near Leidseplein. It was central which was perfect, however it wasn’t the best hotel ever. It was cheap by Amsterdam standards however still pretty expensive for what it was. It was very basic but it did the job just fine.

The Pancake Bakery was our next stop. The must visit. I’m a huge fan of pancakes so when I read about this place, I knew we had to go. The Pancake Bakery has a huge menu of various different pancakes, both sweet and savoury. I chose the Chocolate Sauce, Ice Cream and Whipped Cream pancake which was absolutely heavenly. I’m drooling at the thought of it. It was huge and although it was gorgeous, I couldn’t finish it. If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam and love pancakes, go here. It’s a must.

A Trip To Amsterdam #1

When we finished at The Pancake Bakery, we were feeling pretty exhausted so we headed back to our hotel to check in and chill in our room. We chatted away for a few hours before the exhaustion got the better of us, it was time for a nap. We napped until about 9pm then decided we needed to grab some food.

Now, I really dislike it when people go abroad and head to a McDonalds to eat. But as we were so tired, it was all I could face. After we ate, we took a stroll around some of the nearby canals, window shopped and had our first of many whiffs of cannabis and what a lovely smell it is. I kid.

After our stroll, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for bed so we could be up bright and early for our first full day in Amsterdam.

Next up: Days Two, Three and Four. We visit the Anne Frank House, the Ice Bar and take a cruise around the Canals.

Laura x
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What's In My Handbag | Amsterdam Edition

I recently got back from my trip to Amsterdam and thought I’d show you what I carried in my handbag during my travels. It’s not the most interesting thing in the world but I’ll be honest, I kind of just wanted to show off my beautiful new bag hehe! There will be another one or two Amsterdam posts coming soon sharing what I got up to and some tips for you if you’re planning a trip to the Netherland’s beautiful capital city soon.

What's In My Handbag | Amsterdam Edition

Firstly, let’s talk about the bag. I’m completely obsessed with the Chloe Drew Bag and have constantly been looking for similar bags/dupes because I can’t afford to fork out a grand on one bag. I was out food shopping in Sainsbury’s one day and I came across this little beauty. It’s the perfect Chloe Drew dupe for only £14. Even though it’s small, I find it quite roomy and can fit a fair bit in it, I love that it can be worn crossbody as the majority of my bags are crossbody and it’s my favourite style of bag, I also adore the gold hardware. Unfortunately, the bag is no longer available online but if you’re lucky, it may still be in stock in your local store!

Now onto the bags contents!

Obviously as I was travelling to another country, my passport was a necessity. As was my Eurolines ticket (I have kept the stub as a keepsake!) or otherwise I wouldn’t be getting on the coach and therefore wouldn’t of even got to Amsterdam. There will be more on Eurolines and their service in an upcoming Amsterdam post, so if you want to know more make sure you check out that post when it’s up.

Evidently, my purse and my phone are my handbag essentials because I cannot live without them. Especially my purse. I mean, what fun would Amsterdam be without zero cash? The horror.

In the little star print card holder are my train tickets, Oyster card and the iAmsterdam city card was stored in here too. Again, more on this will be included in a future post but it’s a good little card to have if you’re a tourist in Amsterdam, reasonably priced too.

There are 3 things in my handbag at all times, I can’t leave the house without these as I’d probably go into panic mode. Ok, that might be a bit extreme. One is a lip balm as I always have crazy dry lips, I’m currently using the Bioderma Atoderm Moisturising Stick. Two is a hand cream for when my hands get dry and I love Soap & Glory’s Hand Food and lastly is a strip of paracetamol tablets just incase I get a headache or some other pain while I’m out and about.

Recently, MAC’s Brave has been coming everywhere with me, it’s constantly in my bag even when I’m not wearing it that particular day. However, I did wear it a lot in Amsterdam.

And lastly to keep me occupied on my long 11 hour coach journey from London to Amsterdam and back, I had my earphones to listen to music on my phone and as you are all probably aware, iPhone batteries never last anywhere near 11 hours and thankfully as the coach had plug sockets (albeit European ones) I could charge my phone with my adapter. As I’m a bit of a granny, I also had a book of Crossword puzzles in the bag too.

Laura x

My Travel Memory

Travel is my passion. I want to see so much of the world. I’m lucky enough to have been to some incredible places already and Lanzarote is one of them. A beautiful island off the west coast of Africa, part of the Canary Islands which are a Spanish archipelago – other islands include Fuerteventura (read my post on my recent trip there here.), Tenerife and Gran Canaria. I have so many good memories from this holiday but one memory in particular that stands out the most, something I reminisce about a lot..

Timanfaya National Park. An absolute natural beauty. A must visit if you ever travel to Lanzarote. The Fire Mountains located here were created about 15 million years ago when over 100 volcanoes erupted creating the most spectacular landscape, the views around this park are absolutely breathtaking. Temperatures below the surface reach between 400C and 600C. At the visitors car park/centre you can witness demonstrations showing you how hot the surface is – water poured into a bore hole erupting a few seconds later into steam or a dry brush thrown into a hole catches fire immediately. It’s quite incredible to see. People are also handed bits of the earth which are obviously incredibly hot, if you manage to keep hold of it – you get to keep it as a little souvenir! There is also a restaurant located here where they BBQ the meat from the heat underground – I wish we got to eat there!

You can also take part in a camel safari at Timanfaya. I was a little dubious at first but it was the best thing ever and I would do it again! Absolutely terrifying at the start when the camel we were on decided to stand up and none of the others did.. which ended up with my mum screaming her head off shouting to get off haha! We were convinced he was about to run off with us but we found out the first camel in a row stands up before the rest.. phew! It was such a hilarious journey through the park, having the camel behind me constantly in my face, sniffing my hair, I had made a friend!.. I was laughing the whole way whilst enjoying the amazing views of the volcanic landscape. Definitely an experience I’ll never forget!

That’s #MyTravelMemory!

I now tag Amy, Amanda and Lauren to share their Travel Memories!

This post is an entry into Celebrity Cruises competition to win either a 7 night France & Spain cruise or a 7 night Greece & Italy cruise. Want to enter? Write a blog post with your #MyTravelMemory and tag 3 fellow bloggers to share their own. Email it to Celebrity Cruises directly at mytravelmemory@celebritycruises.co.uk or tweet them @celebrityuk with the hashtag #MyTravelMemory. All entries must be received by 31st January 2016.

Laura x
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