24 Hours in Monaco | A Travel Guide

24 Hours in MonacoIt can be pretty tough visiting a new city, or country. You’re not sure where to eat, what to see, or even where to stay. Well I’m here to change all of that with my handy guides! They’re full of tips, tricks, and the best places to go. So stop worrying about how you’re going to make the most of your time in a new place; here are my recommendations for spending 24 hours in Monaco!

24 hours in monaco

24 Hours in Monaco

  • Drive to Monaco
    • Monaco is pretty small, and expensive. Unless you want to go all out, I’d suggest staying somewhere close by and driving into the principality.
  • Brunch at Café de Paris
    • This brasserie is world famous, and you’ve probably spotted it in a movie or two. Sit outside on the terrace and mingle with the rich & famous, whilst you enjoy coffee and pastries.
  • Check out that architecture!
    • For such a small place, Monaco has a surprisingly eclectic mix of architecture. From old palatial hotels, to modern apartments, and bridges sandwiched between cliffs.
  • Visit the Prince’s Palace
    • The Prince’s Palace overlooks the bay of Monaco, and it’s a stunning sight…as proven by the 100os of selfies taken there every day.
  • Wander the streets
    • The palace is situated amongst several quaint streets, each littered with gelaterias, stereotypical souvenir shops, and restaurants.
  • Eat ice cream by the harbour
    • Because who doesn’t want to stare out onto a beautiful crystal blue sea covered with yachts…
  • Go hunting for art!
    • Monaco’s streets are literally covered in art. From traditional statues, to modern google-eyed fun. It’s a must-see for any art lover in town.
  • Do dinner in Nice
    • Nice isn’t too far from Monaco, but it’s considerably bigger, and has a lot more restaurants on offer. Such as La Femme du Boulanger.

Well there you have it, my travel guide to 24 Hours in Monaco!
And don’t forget to check out the my other 24 Hours In… guides.

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Learning to Love Instagram Again – A Guide

love instagram

For a while now it seemed as though Instagram is imploding in on itself. Longtime and new users alike are tired of the new algorithm, bots, hacked accounts, and much more. We’re given pointless updates that no one asked for – a la Facebook – and to top it all off, Instagram don’t seem to be listening to any of it’s users complaints. Yet through it all, I’ve stayed true to Instagram, although it was pretty tough at times. And finally, I’m learning to love Instagram again.

Learning to Love Instagram Again

I recently took a mini break from Instagram. The best way to describe how I felt is disillusioned. I decided that I was tired of creating promo posts, endless flatlays, and worrying about what my next upload would be. So I went away for a few days, I deleted a bunch of old photos that made me unhappy, and I came back with fresh ideas.

  • Beating the System Or ‘finding a work around the new algorithm’. It’s not easy, but there are certain things you can do to claw your account back to the realms of the living. Posting once a day, and using a selection of new hashtags (repeat hashtag usage results in posts not being seen) in each post should do it.
  • Keep it Unique Easier said than done. But studies have shown that people are bored of overly stylised flatlays taking up their feed. The “big accounts” are all looking the same, and there’s a herd of copycats on their tails. Think about it; why would someone buy a knock-off when they can have the real thing? Creating unique, concise content is one of the best ways to draw in new followers, and keep the ones you have.
  • Love What You Do It’s so easy to just give up. But if you’re really not enjoying Instagram, take a break. Basically if it feels like a chore, don’t waste your time on it. Go away and come back when you’re ready – whether that’s after a day, or a month. I did and it helped me come up with a new look for my feed, a new strategy, and it made me a lot happier.

You can follow me on Instagram @bloomzy and read more of my help posts here.

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Choosing My Bridal Party | Wedding 101

bridal party

Choosing my bridal party was surprisingly easy compared to deciding on my wedding guestlist. I was never going to have 10 bridesmaids, and an entourage of flower boys/girls following me down the aisle. Much like our actual wedding, I decided on something small. I wanted those closest to me to be a big part of my day, and more than just an invitee.

Bridal Party: Maid of Honour

Obviously the first person I had to think about was my Maid of Honour (aka Head Bridesmaid). I didn’t really need to think too long about it either, because I knew exactly who would be my perfect Maid of Honour. My best friend and partner-in-crime, none other than Chopstickpanorama. It’s a tough job, and I know I personally would freak out if someone asked me to be their MOH. All the organising, the budgeting, the hen party…need I go on? But true to form, after a few tears and hugs, VA reacted exactly how I had hoped – she said yes!

‘Will you be my Maid of Honour?’ Biscuits by Lavish Slice*
‘Will you be my Maid of Honour?’ Card by notonthehighstreet.com

Bridal Party: Bridesmaids

Choosing my bridesmaids took slightly longer. Not because I was unsure of who to choose, but because I was unsure of how many to have. I’ve been to weddings where there are no bridesmaids at all, and others where there are enough to man a small ship. It’s safe to say I had no idea what the ideal number was. But after deliberating symmetry – coz what else would I consider? – and who I wanted to follow me down the aisle, I decided on three people:

  • My sister – Whom I love dearly, and could never even begin to think about celebrating my big day without. She also probably thinks I’ve forgotten about the dance pact we’ve made. But she would be wrong.
  • Jemi – A woman who has been with me through thick and thin, and who still loves me even after witnessing all of my awkward style choices throughout the years.
  • Ffion – My soon-to-be Sister-in-Law, and someone I can rely on when it comes to all the important things in life: good food, style, and telling me how it is.

‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ Card by Jade Fisher*

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This post is in collaboration with notonthehighstreet.com, however all views, photos and words are my own.

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24 Hours in Oslo, Norway | A Travel Guide

24 Hours in OsloIt can be pretty tough visiting a new city, or country. You’re not sure where to eat, what to see, or even where to stay. Well I’m here to change all of that with my handy guides! They’re full of tips, tricks, and the best places to go. So stop worrying about how you’re going to make the most of your time in a new place; here are my recommendations for spending 24 hours in Oslo, Norway!

24 Hours in Oslo

24 Hours in Oslo, Norway

  • The best banana bread in town!
    • Is found at Supreme Roastworks, alongside some pretty superb coffee too. It makes for the perfect breakfast.
  • Walk along Grünerløkka
    • The latest trendy area in Oslo is somewhat akin to London’s Shoreditch. You’ll find a variety of independent stores, designers, coffee shops and restaurants.
  • Coffee stop!
    • Grab some caffeine to go from Tim Wendelboe – the coffee is high quality, as is the well thought out interior of this popular spot.
  • Architecture fans will love…
    • Oslo City Hall. Tours do run but only during certain parts of the year. However you can wander in freely and walk around the gorgeous interiors.

24 Hours in Oslo

  • Have Lunch in Aker Brygge
    • One of Oslo’s newest developments, the harbour side district is full of restaurants, cafes and shops.
  • Take in some modern art at Astrup Fearnley 
  • Take a boat around the Oslo Fjords
    • Littered with beautiful islands, stunning landmarks, and enviable Summer houses, the Oslo Fjords shouldn’t be missed. Tours run throughout the day, and start from the port in front of Oslo City Hall. Times depend on season.
  • Vippa for dinner!
    • Vippa is Oslo’s leading street food market, and you’ll find friends, couples and families enjoying a variety of cuisines alongside the sea front.

24 Hours in Oslo

Hints and Tips for 24 Hours in Oslo:

  • Stay in an Airbnb
    • You can choose something that suits your personal style, and it’s much more affordable than a hotel. We stayed in Inga’s stunning apartment.
  • Free wifi & charging in the streets
    • Look out for the smart benches littered across the city. They have USB charging ports, and free wifi!
  • It’s expensive, but…
    • Yes, Oslo is expensive but you can get your tax back on a variety of goods including clothes, homeware and food. Just ask for a tax form when purchasing your goods, and get your tax back at the airport.
  • Alcohol
    • Spirits & wine are only sold at Vinmonopolet stores. Everything else is available in supermarkets, but isn’t sold after 6pm on a Saturday, or at all on a Sunday. However restaurants and bars serve as normal.

Well there you have it, my travel guide to 24 Hours in Oslo, Noway!
And don’t forget to check out the my other 24 Hours In… guides.

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Save the Date: Choosing Your Wedding Guestlist

Wedding GuestlistSave The Dates by Sugar & Spice Designs*

We must have written, erased and re-written our wedding guestlist a hundred times. It’s been one of the hardest parts of planning our intimate (read: small) wedding. And today I’m going to let you in on a little secret…it’s not even finished!

Choosing Our Wedding Guestlist

Obviously the first people we wrote down were immediate family. Then it was the bridal party, and our closest shared friends. After that it became a bit more complicated. We have to stick to numbers, and it’s horrible trying to figure out where to draw the hypothetical line. It was also important to take into consideration whether our friends and family could make it to our location wedding. I say “location” because it’s outside London, and in the middle of nowhere. Honestly it won’t be easy for everyone to get there and find accommodation, and we understand that. We would love to be able to pay for everyone’s hotel/airbnb, but let’s be realistic – it’s not possible on a budget.

Choosing Our Save the Dates

Choosing the guest list may be tough, but there is a fun side to it as well – deciding on our save the dates! We both wanted something that reflected our personal style, as well as the theme of the wedding. I went straight to notonthehighstreet.com as I’d fallen for their wedding stationery at the press day I attended earlier this year. We narrowed it down to a couple of our favourite designs, and eventually we ended up with the Luxury Eucalyptus Save the Dates by Sugar & Spice, which you can see above (and below).

We were so happy with how the ST… note to self: don’t try and abbreviate ‘Save the Date’. But seriously, we were so happy with our final Save the Dates. The handwritten calligraphy in the form of our guests names (on the envelopes), added an extra personal touch. They’re simplistic, yet memorable, and the design matches our theme perfectly. We may still be finalising our wedding guestlist, but at least we have some awesome save the dates to help us along the way!

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My saves the dates were gifted to me by Sugar & Spice, however all views, photos and words are my own.

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Ling Ling: Scandinavian stylings meets Cantonese cuisine

ling lingLing Ling | Hakkasan group | Cantonese | Map

If you’re living in London, you’ll know the Hakkasan group well. Yauatcha, Sake no Hana, and of course, Hakkasan. But did you know that they have restaurants in cities across the world? And much like their London counterparts the restaurants vary in style, dishes and cuisines. Well one of those cities just so happens to be Oslo, and one of those restaurants just so happens to be Ling Ling. Which was lucky for me as I was just about to take a break in Norway’s capital city.

Ling Ling Oslo

Ling Ling is the younger sibling of the Hakkasan group. Located in the trendy area of Aker Brygge. It’s vibrant, fun, and stylish; this much is clear when you walk into the harbour side restaurant. From the simple Scandinavian stylings, right down to the innovative cocktail list. And there’s no better way than starting a journey at Ling Ling than with one of their cocktails. We tried the delectable Plum Sour (Akashi Tai Ume-shu, Johnnie Walker black label whisky, lemon, lime, egg white & Boker’s bitters), and the popular Red Shéng (Aquavit white, raspberries, ginger, lime & lychee).

We could have easily spent the rest of the day on the stunning rooftop, overlooking the Oslo Fjords. However we decided that a diet of cocktails alone wasn’t for us – we wanted food! So with eyes bigger than our bellies, we chose the Ling Ling Journey menu:

  • To Start
    • Peking duck with Oscietra caviar
    • Supreme dim sum platter
    • Golden fried chicken and mango salad in sweet chilli dressing
    • Spicy Norwegian scallop in glass vermicelli noodle
  • To Continue
    • Barbecue char siu pork
    • Grilled silver cod in ginger soy
    • Norwegian langoustine in samba sauce
    • Stir-fry three style mushroom
    • Jasmine rice
  • To Finish
    • Soy caramel and banana delice (peanut, milk chocolate, vanilla chantilly)
    • Apple bavaroise mousse (sea buckthorn, caramelised white chocolate, Chinese five spice)

At 988NOK (around £97) per person, the menu is available all day for parties of 2 or more.

Scandinavian stylings meets Cantonese cuisine

My personal favourites have been bolded above, however I do want to give a few shout-outs. The Peking Duck features crunchy, fatty duck skin sandwiched between caviar, duck, cucumber & pancakes. If it was socially acceptable, I would eat a whole one. As for the Grilled Silver Cod, let’s just say that I’ve never tasted cod like that done at Ling Ling. It was chunky, flavoursome and buttery soft. And to finish with a dessert, you can’t visit without experiencing the Apple Bavaroise Mousse, even if it’s only for the photo opportunity (although it is also refreshingly light & moreish).

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a Norwegian restaurant serving Cantonese cuisine. However I left feeling that the team behind Ling Ling have definitely done their homework. The merger of Cantonese dishes and Norwegian ingredients works perfectly at this contemporary location. Largely helped by the fresh seafood that features throughout the menu. From the location, to the service, ingredients, and execution; Ling Ling is an outstanding experience.

Check out more: Where to Eat and Oslo

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This post is in collaboration with Hakkasan however all views, photos and words are my own.

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The Parla Pop-up is a Minimalist’s Dream

parla pop-upParla Pop-up | Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate | Map

I get a little bit giddy anytime a favourite brand of mine expands. Especially when that brand is an independent one, with a strong emphasis on talented females. Enter Pärla, an East London store based in Boxpark Shoreditch, whom you may remember from some of my previous posts. I’ve been chatting about the brand online – and off – for a while now, which makes their new pop-up even sweeter for me.

Being the fangirl that I am, I decided to go check out the Parla pop-up as soon as it opened. And I don’t think I’m going to be the only one falling in love with it.

The Summer Parla Pop-Up

Pärla may have started with an East London store, but some of you will be glad to hear that they’re now expanding West. Yep, their special Summer pop-up is based in none other than the famous Portobello Road, Notting Hill. The new pop-up is airy, bright, and filled with contemporary jewellery and gorgeous lifestyle items (including lingerie and candles). The usual jewellery design players are all there: V Jewellery, Jessie Harris, Clarice Price Thomas, Smith/Grey, and more. And this time they’ve been joined by a few fashion designers too, such as Danielle Foster, Jody Shafton and others.

I personally can’t stop by Pärla without adding a hundred things to my wish-list, and buying several of the ones already on it. This time I added a piece of V Jewellery to my collection; a little bling to perk up the numerous ear piercings I’m stacking up. And naturally I added everything from Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris’s new collections to my wish-list. It’s safe to say that the new Parla Pop-up is everything I had hoped for, and I can honestly say it’s a minimalists lifestyle dream.

You can visit the Parla Pop-up yourself at 201 Portobello Road, until Sept 3rd.

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