News for the ‘Travel’ Category

Exploring Lincoln

I felt like I was doing Wallace & Gromit proud when last weekend I set off for a mini break in Lincoln. It’s so lovely being able to explore England in a way that is usually reserved for European jaunts.

The reason for the trip was that 4 Uni friends, myself included, were long overdue a catch-up, especially considering we are now spread about the country. Lincoln was a totally arbitrary pick save it being more or less a half way meeting point, but when we arrived and took the 20min walk to our BnB we discovered that we’d struck gold – mini break heaven!

Lincoln town is split into the modern, flat part – the high street, the wharf and its stretch of restaurants (chains, pubs, the Odeon); the second half feels like another world – ascending up Steep Hill (it ain’t called that for nothing!) the modern shops dissipate in favour of antique shops, tea rooms, independent homeware boutiques and art galleries. The Cathedral and castle sit atop this part of the town and make for a gloriously scenic stay.

We stayed at the Goodlane BNB which I can’t recommend highly enough. Situated just outside of the Newport Arch (the old city wall) its proprietor Sue and dog Jack were incredibly welcoming, and it felt just like staying in a home rather than a hotel.

We could barely tear ourselves away – fave haunts included Bells tea room (Bunty’s is also highly recommended), Browns pie shop,  Roly’s Fudge Pantry, Lincoln castle (currently undergoing huge regeneration but still open in part), the square that connects the Cathedral & Castle (the Magna Carta pub looked popular, but we also liked the Wig & Mitre) and Shambles antiques centre where I fell in love with a £5 1930’s butter dish.

Berlin: Highlights 3

The food!!

Il Casolare, Grimmstr 30 10967

Cafe Einstein, Kurfürstenstraße 58, 10785

Posted: April 18th, 2014
Categories: Food, Travel
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Berlin: highlights 2

Considering I studied Kulturwissenschaften / Kunst (Culture/Art) in Berlin in 2008-9 I never actually came across the Berlinische Galerie. Similarly, I was not familiar with Dorothy Iannone (b. 1933). But upon reading an overview of her oeuvre and concerns I felt compelled to go check out the retrospective exhibit on her at BG, dragging S. in tow when we were there in March.

What I discovered was that she was unashamed about her depiction of female sexuality and her style is vividly graphic and colourful – an absolute feast for the eye. This is the kind of thing that’s right up my street.

She actually pasted fragments of stories within a lot of her mosaic-style paintings and even wrote an autobiographical narrative, albeit in 3rd person, about her meeting Dieter Roth, who she went on to leave her husband for (both the men were also artists). These she illustrated with graphic novel-style drawings on individual sheets. One (below) talks about how her art makes her immortal, which warms me.

In her later works she played with video, sound and life-size installation paintings and her style became more graphic, almost comic-book in style. But it’s the colour and pattern clash of her early works that I found so mesmerising. I highly recommend seeing them in the flesh.

Posted: April 16th, 2014
Categories: Art, Travel
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Berlin: highlights 1

I lived in Berlin from 2008-9 so going back is a bit like going home. This time round I wanted to do stuff I’d never done before as well as re-visit my favourite haunts. The first highlight of the trip has to be the serendipitous decision to check out the inside of the Berliner Dom (cathedral).

Located a short hop from Alexanderplatz and right on top of Museuminsel it’s a central, charming area – when we arrived there was a Sunday market right outside. Entrance normally costs €7 to explore all corners of this historical building, but as there was a service taking place we paid a reduced admission of €4 to go up to the museum and dome.

The museum exhibited drawings and mock-ups of the cathedral via its various architects – well worth a visit for architect buffs, but the real show happened further upstairs. Getting narrower and narrower as we ascended higher and higher, there was an opportunity to look over into the cathedral and see the service, as well as peek out at the view that awaited us.

The top, the dome itself, was terrifying and amazing (I’m afraid of heights) but I think that’s what it all the more worthwhile. When you’re up there you have to walk the entire circumference to reach the exit and go back down so you get a 360 degree view walking round. We timed it so well that we only had to wait ten minutes to see the sun setting. Glorious.

Posted: March 16th, 2014
Categories: Travel
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The Aviator

For our anniversary S and I took to Mr & Mrs Smith to find an English country hideaway – you know the kind where you can enjoy a whisky while sitting by the fire. We didn’t quite find anything that matched that criteria, though we did find something better. The Aviator on the Surrey/Hampshire border.

This luxury hotel sits next to the Farnborough airfield, so is oft used by pilots. Rather than eschewing this would-be mundane fact, the hotel has embraced it. It could have gone the way of a literal homage to all things aviation, but instead the hotel simply nods to its neighbouring venue with a sleek aesthetic and bachelor pad feel that recalls the early days of air travel – when it was an expensive luxury rather than a mass-marketed quickie portal to Europe.

We stayed in a Sky suite, an impressive room that’s larger than our East London flat. A large corner sofa separated the living area from bedroom, though both areas had a television and was pleasingly decorated with walnut and leather furniture and Egyptian cotton sheets. I loved the walk-in wardrobe, especially important on relaxation weekends away as they keep our suitcases and clutter out of sight. What’s great about staying here as a couple is that the airplanes are a constant reminder of escapism, and of course appeal to the boy inside the man.. The gentle hum of planes taking off weren’t a disturbance, but an attraction.

Since the hotel has just started offering spa treatments we got the chance to try them out. The hotel doesn’t yet have a spa per se, but undertakes spa treatments in a hotel suite that has been kitted out for the purpose. We were treated to a couples massage and facial. The massage itself was gentle and relaxing and segued beautifully into a sumptuous facial which left me smelling sweet and feeling refreshed. The only downside was that post-treatment the relaxation room was a walk down the corridor which jarred slightly with the intimate pampering experience. Complete with current issues of Vogue, GQ, etc. as well as cucumber water and fruit, it hinted at what the hotel’s spa facilities could become in time.

With the spa facilities, restaurant, bar, and in-room free mini-bar and DVD library it’s very easy to hibernate here all weekend long.

aviatorbytag.com
mrandmrssmith.com

Posted: January 24th, 2014
Categories: Travel
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What to pack for Goa

While Goa sounds glamorous for Christmas, the combination of heat, suncream, sweat and dust has me worrying about my wardrobe. So the likelihood is I’ll pick up some cheap pieces to see me through the two-week break. The best thing about shopping for summer weather in the British winter is that a) there’s not much on offer, so there’s no getting overwhelmed and b) a lot of items that are suitable are likely to be reduced.

While it’s going to be 30 degrees, because I’m so pale (practically reflectively white on a beach..) I’d rather ensure I’ve got layers if I’m feeling uncomfortable. This Celia Birtwell for Uniqlo long-sleeved cotton top, £7.90 is fun and colourful way of covering up.

Ditto for legs – these Uniqlo draped trousers £9.90 are light and comfortable, and perfect for pairing with a vest top.

This Uniqlo grey flowy dress £9.90 is perfect for the flight as much as throwing over a bikini to go down to the beach and will look great with bright accessories bought from local markets.

As for beauty products – Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is a cult and this special Sun Defense for Face cream in SPF 50, £25 will ensure that I don’t go wrinkly before my time.

I can’t resist this smell; I’ve put this luxurious REN exfoliating body polish, £32 on my birthday wishlist. It’d be perfect for scrubbing away dead skin cells and maximising my tan.

For hand luggage/the beach this vivid turquoise Folli Follie bag, €105 in the sale, is a good size with lots of individual pockets, and it’ll be sure to add zing to my outfits when I get back to the British winter.

and if money were no object, I’d be shuffling around in these badboys by Marni..

Posted: November 18th, 2013
Categories: Fashion, Travel
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blog alert!

New blog I love from a lady whose life I crave: The Style Traveller by ELLE’s Bonnie Rakhit.

LUSH

Posted: May 9th, 2011
Categories: Editors, Fashion, People, Travel
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The Past Week of my Life

Apologies for the long absence.  On 6th February it was my boyfriend’s 30th birthday and I planned a huge surprise holiday, so the past week of my life has looked something like this.

Needless to say it’s been a gorgeous week, but now I am back in stinky, beautiful London and ready to throw myself back into work.

I promise I’ll be a better blogger!