Summer Road Trip to the Lake District and Scotland

So it’s the 22nd September which officially marks the first day of Autumn. I’m not going to lie but it’s made me miss summer already and it’s got me reminiscing about my summer road trip to the Lake District and Scotland, so I’d thought I’d share a few snaps from some of favourite moments of the trip.

From the beautiful lakes to the rolling hills and lush greenery, it’s quite easy to see why Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter were in love with this place. I’m honestly surprised I hadn’t visited the Lake District sooner.  One thing’s for sure though, I’ll definitely be back for another visit. There’s still so much more to explore and there are still many more mountains to climb.

Scotland was another first time trip for me and it did not disappoint. As with the Lake District the Scottish Highlands are filled with mindblowing landscapes and scenery. The pictures honestly do not do it the slightest bit of justice. It’s no wonder that Scotland was recently nominated as the most beautiful country in the world.

Being the massive Harry Potter fan that I am I was also super excited to visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct aka ‘the Harry Potter bridge’ and it was every bit as breathtaking as it is portrayed in the films. It’s honestly every superfan’s dream, so if you’re heading to Scotland any time soon make sure you book a trip to Glenfinnan.

 

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My Top 5 Dream Luxury Fashion Items

I’ve been dreaming a lot about luxury fashion items lately, and it got me thinking about the key pieces that I wish I owned and that simply cannot be successfully duplicated or imitated by the high street or smaller brands. Don’t get me wrong, the high street works wonderfully at churning out imitation catwalk pieces throughout the year, but when it comes to true icons no duplicates will suffice.

In no particular order here are my top 5 dream luxury picks:

1 – Chanel Classic Flap Bag

An obvious choice adored and lusted after by many, the Classic Flap is the epitome of class and sophistication. Worn both day and night the Classic Flap is more than just a bag, it is a statement that is guaranteed to transform your look no matter how austere your outfit choice may be that day. There may be many brands throughout the years that try to replicate the intricate leather quilting and the slick interwoven leather chain strap of a Chanel, but none can touch the true quality or craftsmanship of the original.

2 – Burberry Trench Coat

A true British classic. First designed in  1912 by Thomas Burberry to keep the officers  protected by the harsh weather during WW1, the Trench developed over the years and became the renowned icon that it is today. Styled by both men and women, many celebrities from the likes of Emma Watson and Alexa Chung to Eddie Redmayne and Douglas Booth show us how almost anyone can pull off this iconic piece.

3 – Manolo Blahnik Hangisi 105

Now I’m pretty sure that these shoes are every Sex and the City fan’s dream. As spotted in the famed SATC movie scene, where Big proposes to Carrie in her closet, the blue Hangisi 105 pumps have since become a fundamental statement shoe. They exude class and luxury and are quite simply a work of art.

4. Balmain Double Breasted Blazer

Guaranteed to make any woman feel like a boss, the timeless structure of the Double Breasted Blazer is the ultimate expression of power styling. The strong shoulder pads followed by the regal button detailing demand attention and ooze confidence. There’s simply no playing small when it comes to this piece, so handle it with caution.

5. Chanel Ballet Flats

Most may dream of skyscraper heels when it comes to luxury fashion, but there has to be a least one pair of sensible yet glamorous shoes in your collection, and that’s exactly where the Chanel Ballet Flats come in. As with the Classic Flap, the flats can be worn transitionally both day or night and are ensured to keep you comfortable and chic all day long.

What would your top 5 dream luxury fashion picks be?

 

 

A Short Break in Prague

Without a doubt Prague has to be one of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever visited. The architecture is simply divine and every cobbled street you go down is a beautiful surprise. The city is very inspired by the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods and it is utterly exquisite.

Home to Kafka and cheap beer, Prague’s main attractions include Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, The Astronomical Clock and Old Town. There are also a host of wonderful museums, galleries and cathedrals that should fulfill all of your cultural needs, and yes the beer really is cheaper than water. If circumstances allow I would also recommend visiting the Klementinum Library, which is a beautiful Baroque designed library that first opened in 1722. Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, it was closed for reconstruction during my visit.

My personal highlights were definitely Old Town, Charles Bridge and Lesser Town, especially when walking from one side to the other in a day. Although slightly tiring, it actually felt quite peaceful to see the city by foot rather than taking public transport. Prague is quite a small and cosy city so it’s definitely possible to explore it all by foot if you enjoy walking and want to save money. Another highlight of the trip was definitely the food options. The city offers a variety of cuisines and surprisingly many vegan/vegetarian options that are both affordable and delicious, so there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone.

My least favourite feature of the city is probably the hype that surrounds The Astronomical Clock. It’s a mechanical clock that performs The Walk of the Apostles every hour on the hour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, but it’s nothing special. It attracts way too many tourists and in all honesty the show only lasts a minute so there isn’t much to actually see.

Overall, I’d say that Prague is definitely a must visit European city. It’s small, unique and charming and perfect for a weekend break or short getaway.

 

3 Habits I’m Adopting This Year

Image result for reading books

So it’s pretty much the end of January and most people have either stuck with their New Year’s resolutions or completely abandoned them. I personally never bother with making resolutions. However, I do feel like it’s my responsibility to make some changes in my lifestyle in order to ensure that this year is different to the last, so here are three things that I plan to do more of this year:

Write Frequently

I’d always tell myself that I’d sit down and create something, be it a play, screenplay, short story, poem or well… anything, but it would never happen, so this year I’ve decided that I will try to write daily, or at least a couple of times a week. It could be in the form of something creative, a blog post, or even simply just noting my thoughts down, but either way I want to be doing something. It’s a skill that I want to improve on, and I figure that the only way I will actually get any better at it is if I just just sit down and do it. I also feel like my mind is always full of so many thoughts and ideas, and I think that writing is the perfect way to materialise them.

Read More

So this one kind of feeds in to the last. I think that in order to actually write  better you have to read as much as possible, and not just the things you’re used to but a whole variety of things. I want to pay more attention to the different writing styles and techniques that writers use so that I can get ideas on how to improve my own writing style. Writing aside, I also feel like I waste so much time getting distracted by social media and Netflix that I never make enough time to actually read, and reading is never a waste of time.

Exercise

I’m sure that this one has been on many people’s resolutions lists, and by now people have either managed to stick with it or give up entirely. As for me, I plan to stick with it. Not just for the external, physical benefits but for overall health and mental clarity. I definitely feel so much more energised after doing some form of exercise as opposed to lazing around all day. I also want to increase my strength. However, I absolutely hate the idea of dragging myself to the gym so I just follow short workout videos at home, that way I have no excuses. Some of my favourite Fitness YouTubers are Blogilates and Joannah Soh. They provide a variety of equipment free workouts to target each body part, lasting as long as half an hour to as little as 5mins (a favourite option of mine) so there’s something that caters to everyone. I’ve also been getting into yoga which is great for days when you don’t feel like working up a sweat but still want to feel like you’ve done something.

 

 

Current Favourites

Movies

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Throughout the Christmas holidays I decided to work my way through the entire Harry Potter series, and it honestly surprised me how much of it I had forgotten. It triggered so much nostalgia and honestly brought me so much joy. I was literally obsessed with the series as a child, as so many were, and it was great to relive the excitement all over again.

Documentary

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

Anyone wanting to make any kind of change in their lives should definitely watch this. It will inspire you to declutter and rid yourself of anything unnecessary. It made me realise that if you want long term happiness you have to stop looking for it in the wrong places, and that means consuming less. Buying something in an attempt to fill a void may work temporarily, but once the novelty of it wears off the emptiness reveals itself again, and that’s when the toxic cycle begins. In short, less is more.

Music

I’ve always been a huge fan of Inna and would love to see her live one day. For those unfamiliar, her music is the epitome of summer and her track Heaven is the face of it. If you need something to kick the winter blues away, I can guarantee that this song will do the trick.

Books

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fe/Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_Cover.jpg

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over Christmas and surprisingly loved it. I was a little sceptical at first as it isn’t actually written by J.K. Rowling herself, but I ended up really enjoying it. It pretty much triggered my inner Harry Potter obsession all over again.

Image result for confessionso f the city girl

I stumbled upon Confessions of a City Girl in the library and ended up really enjoying. The novel gives insight into what it’s like to be a female in the financial world where the protagonist desperately tries to make it as a trader amongst the ‘city boys’. It may not be the most profound of stories but it’s definitely an addictive read.

Blog

http://www.befrassy.net/

I discovered Audrey Leighton on instagram towards the end of last year and quickly became addicted to her blog Frassy. Unlike many other fashion bloggers, she doesn’t just simply share pictures of her glamorous outfits, she accompanies them with her deepest personal thoughts and insights, many of which are highly relatable. She also keenly expresses her love of literature, all whilst rocking some Chanel.

 

 

A Trip to Hogwarts

After years of wanting to visit the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studios, and hearing so many things about it from other people, I finally took the plunge and booked my trip. I decided to build myself up for the excitement of the tour by re-watching as many of the films as I could over the Christmas period. I also wanted to remind myself of all the things that had happened so that I could identify everything on the tour, and I’m glad I did. It was honestly mesmerising as to how much detail and work went into the actual sets, costumes and props etc. and I could easily identify which parts of the tour belonged to which film. It definitely made me appreciate and admire all of the talent and hard work that must have gone into making the films; it truly was magical. The only downers to the day were A) the crowds, and B) desperately wishing that Hogwarts was real.

Hogwarts Castle

The Great Hall

Hogwarts Express

Gryffindor Common Room

Privet Drive

What I did in Malaysia and Singapore

Back in September I boarded a 13 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur. Was the flight comfortable? No, but was it worth it? Yes! When people thing of South East Asia most immediately jump to either Thailand or Bali, and whilst they’re great for their beautiful beaches and wild nightlife it’s important not to overlook the less touristy destinations which can offer you the same thing, if not more, with the added bonus of safety. That’s where Malaysia and Singapore come in.

Malaysia

Petronas Towers

My favourite thing about Malaysia is its cultural diversity and the acceptance of it. Although most of the population practices Islam, the country is very accepting of other religions and cultures, so you can expect to see Buddhists, Hindus and Christians all living and working alongside one another harmoniously. In one location, for example, there was a mosque, Hindu temple and Catholic church all within the same vicinity as one another. It was truly refreshing to see and is perhaps the way that all countries should handle multiculturalism. My tour guide also informed me that Malaysia has a low risk of natural disasters, unlike it’s other South East Asian counterparts.

Batu Caves

The nightlife is also wonderful and diverse and is sure to offer something for everyone. Changkat Bukit Bintang is where you want to go if you want a big night out filled with nightclubs and booze. However, if you want a more chilled night out they also have jazz bars such as No Black Tie.  One of my favourite nightlife spots was the Helipad Lounge Bar which is a rooftop bar on top of, yes, a helipad. It offers you unlimited panoramic views of the city which are simply breathtaking, especially at night. You can see the Petronas Towers and the KL Tower lit up all from the same spot.

Helipad Lounge Bar

Whilst I was in Malaysia it was absolutely mandatory that I go and see some wildlife, so when I’d heard that I could go and visit an elephant orphanage, I immediately jumped at the chance. A couple of hours outside the city in a state called Pahang lies the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre. The centre does a fantastic job of taking in injured or homeless elephants whose habitats have been destroyed. They then nurture the elephants back to health and release them back into the wild once revitalised. Unlike some notorious parts of South East Asia, the orphanage does not advocate tourists riding the elephants, only the keepers can do that. You can, however, bathe a baby elephant in the river; this has to be one of the highlights of my trip, but be warned you will get soaked (totally worth it) so bring some spare clothes to change into.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary

Singapore

I immediately felt at home in Singapore. As great as Malaysia was, I did miss my Western comforts. So when I arrived in Singapore I was relieved to see flushing toilets and, well, how clean everything was. The country takes great pride in its cleanliness, what with its strict laws against chewing gum and littering, and rightly so.

Marina Bay Sands

One of the key attractions in Singapore is Gardens by the Bay.  I fell in love with the place and all the different gardens and conservatories that take you to different parts of the world. I also really admire their emphasis on the importance of climate change and looking after the environment. In fact the whole construction of the gardens reflects this. For example, the Supertrees collect rainwater, generate solar power and act as venting ducts for the conservatories. How amazing is that?

Gardends by the Bay

Now lets talk shopping. For your more high end luxury brands and shopping centres you can head to Orchard Road. However, if you’re looking for great deals and are on a tighter budget, you absolutely need to go to Bugis Street Market where you can pick up tonnes of great clothes starting at around $10 per piece. Remember you can always haggle your way down to a cheaper deal. The place can be a bit of a maze and it’s easy to spend forever getting sucked in to all the bargains, so be sure to leave plenty of room in your suitcase! Chinatown and Little India are also must dos for good bargains, especially for touristy souvenirs and interesting paraphernalia. They’re also fantastic places for delicious food at great prices.

Little India

There are a few more things that I wanted to do in the city but didn’t have time for, such as go the the top of Marina Bay Sands or take a ride on the Flyer. However, the little taster that I did get has definitely encouraged me to return for more.