Falling in love with Lisbon

Portugal’s capital made the perfect September city break (I know I’m running a bit late, let’s just call this post a throwback). The city is made for those who like to explore on foot – the quiet streets climbing up the hills are great for wandering, but bring good shoes!

The views are wonderful, the September sun is just right, and the famously colourful tiles and gorgeous light make for great pictures. Our 3-day trip was short and sweet, and left me wanting more! We strolled through the cobbled streets and ate our way through ice cream and pastries – the best way to spend a long weekend, right?

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Hot spots

H10 Duque de Loulé
A beautiful hotel with a great rooftop bar which is open to visitors. We visited on a Saturday night and it wasn’t busy at all. Cosy up in the cool evening breeze and take in the spectacular view of the city.

Open Brasserie Mediterrânica
Some of our party had food allergies so we were eager to find a restaurant that could accommodate all of us. The Open Brasserie Mediterrânica had knowledgable, friendly staff and a great choice of meals for everybody, including vegan and gluten free. I recommend the pumpkin gnocchi!

Belém
Belém, a charming district just a tram ride away from the centre, fast became my favourite part of the city. There was a photogenic door or wall at every turn through the peaceful, colourful streets and the Tropical Botanical Garden was perfect for chilling out in the sun.

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Christmas in Cologne

Oh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. This time last December Meg and I escaped to Cologne – we wanted the full Christmas experience: ice-skating, sweet treats, mulled wine to warm us up as we wandered the markets…

…And that’s exactly what we got. Our airbnb wasn’t far from the centre in a sweet residential area – a ten minute walk brought us to the first of the many Christmas markets. We spent hours taking in all the busy stalls, sparkling lights and sugary smells. Apparently we couldn’t get enough sugar, though – one of my favourite parts of the long weekend was the Lindt Chocolate Factory. A visit to the impressive Gothic cathedral is also a must. Another of my favourite moments would have to be the brass band starting up just as we’d snuggled into a table outside with our mulled wines (both of us having disliked the stuff before the trip)!

I hope my Christmas shots of Cologne get you in the festive spirit! The first 5 are on Kodak Portra 400 and the rest are from my Canon DSLR.

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Thailand

I never thought I’d really have the chance to go to Thailand. It just seemed like one of those far-away, mystical places. Luckily, my best friend Emily travelled the world this year and I managed to join her for two weeks, travelling to Bangkok and the Gulf islands of Thailand! We started with 3 days in Bangkok, including a visit to the Grand Palace. I’d highly recommend a visit to the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, a two hour drive from the city – we got to walk with, feed and shower the elephants, as well as learn about where they’d all come from. It wasn’t just a home for elephants, either – bears, gibbons, birds and dogs were all looked after. I wish I could’ve stayed with the elephants forever, especially baby Prin!

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A long overnight bus and ferry took us to Koh Samui, our first island adventure. The Sirin Samui Hostel was the perfect stop, with clean, spacious rooms and a great pool to relax by. We spent most of our time on the beach! Our second island was Koh Phangan, for the infamous Half Moon Party. Once we’d recovered from our hangovers, we visited Paradise Waterfalls and even found the beautiful Milky Bay resort tucked away on the beach. The breakfast was delicious and they let us use their pool!

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Our final stop was Koh Tao, which fast became my favourite island (perhaps purely because of the sunsets). Koh Tao is the smallest of the islands, and I found it the most beautiful! Our days were mostly spent relaxing on the beach and walking around the shops and restaurants. A snorkelling or scuba-diving trip is a must – we visited all of the bays of the island, as well as Koh Nang Yuan which is just breathtaking. I can’t wait to go back!

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Waiting for summer: Barcelona on film

I fell in love with Barcelona two summers ago so I jumped at the chance to visit again in July. This time, we stayed in an airbnb apartment in a lovely residential area which was a twenty minute walk from Sagrada Familia. Our time was spent wandering the side streets of La Rambla and sipping sangria. I will never tire of Barcelona – it’s the perfect blend of city break and beach holiday.

We hired a boat in Parc de la Ciutadella, explored Park Güell and drank cocktails in the sun. I can’t wait for this summer already!

All photos were taken with Kodak Portra 400.

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New York Take 3

This time last year, snow was still on the ground and I was lucky enough to visit New York with university for my third visit. As I had been before, this trip was spent wandering and exploring new areas, including Soho and Chelsea. Here are some of my favourite holiday snaps, including the classic tourist spots. New York will always be one of those places I could visit over and over again. Now if only I could have the exact apartment Dakota Johnson has in How to be Single…!

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My favourite places/tips:

  • Iris Cafe – Store #9 in Brooklyn – the best breakfast, and we discovered a drawer under the table with cute little inspirational notes!
  • Go to the top of the Rockefeller at sunset – it’s the best view. Also, we went ice skating at about 8/9pm and had the rink to ourselves!
  • The 9/11 Memorial museum was free to enter after 5.30pm.
  • Save lots of time for Chelsea Market – we were in there for hours but I still need to go back for more!
  • We stayed in the Row NYC Hotel on 8th Ave; it was great value for money, round the corner from Times Square and we had the amazing view from our balcony (above)!

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Dreamy Cornwall

It was over a year ago that I paid my first visit to the pretty coastal village of Coverack in Cornwall. We chose the perfect weekend to go in July – I couldn’t get enough of the deep blue sea and sky, and the little shops, cafés and pubs. Every corner of the village was picture-perfect; here are some of my favourites.

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Duxford Air Show 2015

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I finally got my negatives developed from September, most of which were from the Duxford Air Show. It was quite an emotional day for my family as we all were obviously thinking of my grandpa, who passed away a couple of years ago, all day. I’m lucky enough that I inherited his 35mm camera, so seeing the air show through his lens was a very lovely, moving experience. Enjoy the photographs, taken on Kodak Porta 400.

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Summer Vibes with Romy

Summer seems so far away now so I thought a little throwback would cheer me up. Luckily, before I went back to university, Romy and I had a chance to shoot a few more outfits before the autumn chill set in. I love these pictures – they take me back to the summer and show off my beautiful hometown of Cambridge. See more pictures and outfit details on romydesmarais.com.

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Postcards From Prague

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I’ve been lucky enough to visit many European cities in the past year. In September, I fell in love with the City of 100 Spires! We stayed in the Old Prague Hostel, which was a two minute walk from the main square. The staff were so friendly and it was a great place to meet people – I’d highly recommend it!

Our first afternoon was spent checking out the area (and dodging the rain!). Over the next few days, we did the walking tour of the city, as well as of the castle. This was a great way to get to know the city a bit more, and the fascinating history. We climbed to the top of the ‘Powder Tower’ for an amazing view, but there are many places to get a great view (the above photograph is from the castle area).

Other than the rain on our first day, we were blessed with the sun and boiling heat for the remainder of our stay! As always in cities, the small streets were filled with boutiques and sweet cafes, perfect for a drink and people watching session! The architecture is incredible – on one corner by the Powder Tower, you can see six different architecture styles including gothic, cubist and art nouveau.

I will be visiting again as soon as possible, as there’s so much more to explore.

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