7 February 2016

Suitcase. Copenhagen, Denmark - Travel Guide

My trip to Copenhagen was quite a last minute little jaunt for me. You all know my motto of visiting a new place every month, so when January rolled around and I didn’t have anything planned, I went for a quick and easy option; Denmark’s capital. Arriving in the dead of winter I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d made the right decision, not only was it cold (the kind of chill that freezes your face and you actually have difficulty forming words) but it was also rainy, grey and super expensive. But there I was with 48hrs to explore, which turned out to be the perfect length of time.





My base for the weekend was The Square Copenhagen. The location is perfectly central and my tip is to pay a tad more and book an executive room which gives you free access to the 6th floor lounge including free snacks, drinks and alcoholic beverages. Win-win.




Sights
Whenever I had thought of Copenhagen I’d always imagined those gorgeous little coloured homes on every street and every corner. I was mildly disappointed to find this is not quite the case, they’re contained to particular areas of the city including the lovely Nyhaven harbour. Nevertheless I snapped plenty of pictures when I did find them.




If you’re an Aussie, of course you can’t miss visiting Australia’s favourite royal, i.e., the fairytale romance that turned Mary from Tasmania into the Princess of Denmark. Not sure if she was home at Amalienborg Palace but I waved at the windows all the same.


The Botanisk Gardens are lovely for a stroll and home to a beautiful greenhouse. If you’re visiting in winter, the plants let off such steam that you’ll find the humidity a cosy delight compared to the brisk wind outside. Be sure to climb up the winding staircase and take it all in from above.






While you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by Rosenburg Castle and admire its Danish design. It dates back to the 1600s.


Your final stop is an intriguing one and due to the photography ban I have no images to show you, but let’s just say it’s an experience. Freetown Christiania is a commune within Copenhagen that has rules and laws unto itself. 850 people reside here and to put it nicely it’s a fascinating area of squalor – things are a mess, there are no systems to speak of and cannabis is sold out of makeshift army tents guarded by sinister-looking, balaclava-wearing men. It’s a tourist hotspot because it truly needs to be seen to be believed so definitely take a quick wander through however make it just that, a quick wander.

Transport
Bicycles are the way in Copenhagen – they are EVERYWHERE. I watched in awe as locals rode against the blustery -5 degrees winds with no gloves on their hands; they must have some serious acclimatisation skills. The city has a hire bike system like most European capitals but if riding’s not for you then Copenhagen is a great city to cover on foot too.


Food
Known as quite the foodie hotspot in Scandinavia, Copenhagen has restaurants and cafés a-plenty to choose from. Local bakery Lagkagehuset will go down in history as the best pastry I’ve ever eaten.


Open sandwiches (known as smørrebrød)are also all the rage. Try the delightful Royal Smushi Café for a true work of art.


If you’re on the go and fancy a bite then Torvehallerne Market has an array of food options to choose from. Wander the aisles and take in the fresh produce including fruit, veg and locally brewed spirits. I had my eye on their smørrebrød too and also a gorgeous little Spanish tapas assortment. It’s obviously the go-to place for fresh food because I certainly noticed the fish and bread stalls are very popular with the locals.





For dinner I totally recommend KoD if you fancy a great steak. Suitably located in Copenhagen’s own version of New York’s Meatpacking District, this down-to-earth restaurant has a great vibe and even better food. We ordered the salmon carpaccio and the tenderloin steak with sides.



Be warned, the meals here are very large so unless you have the appetite of an ogre, I’d opt to share an entrée and a main between two people.

And so came the end of my 48hrs in Copenhagen. A great spot for a weekend away although I will say when I returned to 8 degrees in London it felt like a very welcome heat wave.


Photos by Krissie & @curioussophia.

4 February 2016

Must Have. Final SALE – the best steals

If you’re smart you’ll hold out.

I’ve been given this advice so many times in my life and it’s always paid off. Hold out for the right job. Hold out for the right time to invest. Another instance in life where this phrase comes into play?... Sale shopping. And I’m here to tell you, if you’ve been holding out, now’s the time to shop.

Most retailers have now got their final markdowns on and you can even nab a sneaky extra % off with a few too. Sure the pickings are a little slimmer but the prices are rock bottom. I’ve rounded up the best bargains below so hold out no longer and go go go…

Net-A-Porter
Their final markdowns are up to 70% off! Hello designer bargain, plus get an extra 20% off items marked a “Sale Must-Have” with code: SALE20.


ASOS
So many party dresses so little time. Up to 70% off these styles will ensure your Saturday night wardrobe is sorted.

REVOLVE
Always one to go to for standout styles, REVOLVE’s final sale is not to be missed.

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Photos via retailers.

1 February 2016

Suitcase. Runnymede On Thames, Surrey

Friday afternoon and it was time to escape the city, fleeing the overcrowded stations and cranky commuters we were heading for a weekend of luxury at the Runneymede On Thames in Surrey.

Jacket (similar and a total steal) / Boots 

Arriving *whoosh* we were hit with crisp, fresh country air. Such a pleasant change from London’s hustle-and-bustle. I immediately felt on Surrey time.


History buffs will love the fact this spa hotel lies just down the road from an ancient battleground and the spot where the famous Magna Carta was signed. Interesting, right?!


After a whip around the property and a cheeky dip in the spa and sauna it was time for supper at the Lock Kitchen. Three courses awaited us which we gobbled with much enthusiasm as we sipped wine and shared stories from our week.


You can’t beat the scallops for entrée. Every time I eat these beautiful sea-beings I think of the crabs in Finding Nemo eating the air bubbles saying “sweet nectar of god!”. I couldn’t agree more…


Next we had the lamb shank with cous cous and the sea bream ratatouille. The lamb was delightfully tender and the fish extremely fresh.



Then, my favourite: dessert of course. A little Eaton mess and then a very, very delicious treacle pudding. Can you tell I love my custard?




We retired to our room, made a cuppa’ then fell into bed, drifting instantly into a deep slumber in what could possibly be the comfiest bed I’ve slept in…


Morning came and I think it’s safe to say I’ve woken up to worse views. Such tranquillity…


We rolled out of bed with grumbling tummies and set off towards the scent of cooking where we were let loose on the buffet. The breakfast options are never ending here. Think of any breakfast food – yep they have it.


After breakfast we sat in the lounge and devoured the day’s news. When else is there such time for these guilty pleasures? Certainly not in London…


By then the sun was trying to shine so we set off outside for a stroll by the River Thames, through the woods and round the gardens.





When the chill got the better of us we headed to the tranquil studio for a yoga class - I was certainly very out of practice but I aced my omm-ing...


Then I set my sights on the spa where I was massaged and smoothed to within an inch of my life. I left feeling as relaxed as a molten pool of butter, heading for the spa deck for a hot cup of ginger tea.


I tell you it’s a tough life here at Runnymede but I think I could get used to it… Book your spa break here and tell them I sent you. It’s the perfect way to brighten a grey winter and switch off from life’s responsibilities. I guarantee you won’t regret it…


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Photos by @CuriousSophia - she's quite the travel bug too, follow her amazing adventures on Instagram.