Travel Highlights from 2015
Part of the reason I’m so excited about the New Year finally being here, is thanks to some pretty awesome moments in 2015. Last year I made a resolution to visit as many new countries (ones I had never been to before) as possible. Well I don’t think I did too bad; I visited Germany, The Netherlands and Italy. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had, and it has spurred me on to work even harder in 2016.
I will be returning to Japan in March. It’s been almost five years since I was there last, so naturally I am already planning all of the things I want to see/do. Of course I intend to reunite with all of my friends. I also hope to eat ALL of the delicious food, and take plenty of photos. My inner photography geek is pretty excited about this, because when I was living in Tokyo I only took snapshots on my mobile phone/digital camera. Oh hey there, my name is: the annoying tourist in the corner with the DSLR.
I’d also like to take more long weekends away from London, and discover more European countries I’ve yet to visit. On my travel wish list this year? Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. I wonder if I can best 2015 and manage to do those alongside Japan… I’ll certainly try my best.
You can check out my 2015 travel posts here.
Send me your travel recommendations in the comments below.
Christmas Day in Wales
Christmas Day, for me, has always been a family affair. From the beginning of December I look forward to spending a relaxing day, chatting and eating with all of my family members. This year I spent it in Wales, with my “in-laws”. My day started with a light breakfast and coffee, whilst others slaved away in the kitchen (much appreciated) preparing a Christmas feast. Trust me, you don’t want me anywhere near your Christmas dinner. Unless you count eating it, because I can do a pretty good job of that.
I think this time of year allows us all to be a slightly more eccentric version of ourselves (read: show our true colours). And that’s great! I mean, when else would it be acceptable to start drinking champagne at 11am? It’s also readily accepted that you will gorge yourself silly, on food you simply refuse to eat any other time of the year. Again, I’m all for this. I actually love brussel sprouts and stuffing. I’ll pass on the Christmas pudding though. However, dowsing it in brandy and setting it a flame does make for a good photo.
I really just love the feeling and general joyfulness during this holiday. I’m very lucky to have some wonderful family and friends. And whereas I do appreciate them all year round, it is nice to spread a little extra love. After all, tis the season.
#SeeWhatYouWearTour with Expool Consortium & EmilCar
I can’t believe it’s been a month since my whirlwind blogger adventure (on the See What You Wear Tour) in Italy with Andy (Andy Sparkles) & Elena (Vasilieva) – alongside some of Italy’s top Instagrammers. I was shown the amazing world of luxury, handmade Italian shoes. The delights of the local food. The beauty of Marche. But most importantly, I discovered a whole new country that I’d never been to before. I took far too many photos to count, which has probably given me enough content for the next month. However I believe that you should end things on a high (read: don’t drag them out). So this will be my final Italy Travel Diary post. A small photo round-up, highlighting all of the things I fell in love with during my visit. You can also see my Instagram adventures via #BloomzyItalia, and check out the people who joined me on my journey. I hope you’ll enjoy.
Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.
I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.
Rijksmuseum | Museumstraat 11071 XX, Amsterdam | Website
I do love a good museum, and the Rijksmuseum is renowned worldwide for being exactly that. I know not everyone enjoys wandering around museums. However I was in luck as it was my travel companions who suggested we visit this Dutch hub for culture. The perfect activity for a rainy Saturday.
The museum recently finished undergoing renovation in 2013. The main hall is modern, spacious and bright. Of course I fell in love with the minimalist interior. However the hall is not the main drawer to the thousands of tourists who visit every day. Housing classics such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, the Rijksmuseum is a labyrinth of art and history. Turning each corner reveals something magnificent. From the classics, to a 1960s Yves Saint Laurent mini dress, there’s a variety of items on display. I was pleasantly surprised to find the museum also had collections dedicated to fashion and Asian art. Both of which happen to be interests of mine. After studying Buddhist art at university in Japan, I’ve become somewhat intrigued with the meanings and significance behind ancient religious art. The collections on display here may be modest, but they’ve been expertly curated.
Does the museum live up to it’s reputation? I think so. Even though classical art doesn’t interest me, I had to admit that the artwork on display was impressive. It was particularly wonderful to see so many Dutch artists. I would have liked to seen more contemporary pieces, but then you don’t come here for that.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of my Amsterdam Travel Diaries.
Southwark | Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Walking is one of the few forms of exercise I can get behind. In fact I walk a lot! London may be big, but it’s pretty easy to walk between tube stops, or around a specific area. Of course it helps when the city you live in is so beautiful. Yes, I genuinely mean that. London is a wonderful mixture of old meets new – history and culture seep from it’s streets. Speaking of, the streets are incredibly inspiring in London, especially for a budding photographer such as myself. I often find myself stopping to take a photo or two. The architecture is like nothing else in Europe. Paris may have it’s charms, but I could walk for hours and only snap shots of London’s buildings.
Of course the people are just as interesting. That’s why whenever I walk I always make sure I have a companion. Lately it’s been V.A. After taking her on a tour of Dalston/Stoke Newington, she returned the favour and showed me around Southwark. It’s very different to my part of town – East. It’s more polished (in parts), but that doesn’t make it any less compelling.
View more of the ‘A London Life…’ series
The Canary Wharf Sky Garden | Crossrail Place | Nearest Tube: Canary Wharf
Finding tranquility in London is a lot easier than some might think. Although I’m sure most of you would scoff at me if I said you could find it smack bang in the middle of Canary Wharf. An area known for it’s skyscrapers is the last place you’d expect to find a bounty of greenery. However a few weeks ago I made it my mission to find this hidden gem.
With V.A in tow, we battled the crowds of shoppers and made it out to the new Crossrail Place complex. It was eerily quiet outside amongst the skyscrapers, and I half thought we’d taken the wrong exit. However we soon realised we were in the right place, and so we crossed the bridge and rode the escalators to the heavens. Heavens is maybe a slight exaggeration here as the sky garden isn’t particularly high, although it does offer a lovely view over London. However what I enjoyed most was how serene the garden was. Everything has been carefully landscaped, and laid out alongside spacious paths. As we weaved in and out of the tropical plants, it was easy to forget that we were still in London.
Unfortunately the garden doesn’t go on forever, but there’s plenty to see (and Instagram). The variety of plants on display is amazing, and the contemporary architecture is astonishing – just look at that roof! I’m a big architecture/plant geek and I have to say, this is now one of my favourite spots in London. I could easily find myself relaxing here for the afternoon with a book, or sharing a coffee with some friends.
View more of the ‘A London Life…’ series
Neues Museum | Berlin, Germany | Website
Museum island is a must-visit for anyone in Berlin. As well as this, I’m a bit of a culture nut, so it was obvious it would appear in my Berlin travel diary. If I had been travelling alone, I would have visited every museum in the vicinity. However I wasn’t, and I wanted to be considerate to V.A (as having grown up in Berlin, the museums were known to her). So when she asked me of any “must do” items for the trip, I knew exactly what to answer – the Neues Museum.
Ever since I was a little girl I have had a fascination with Ancient Egypt, and it’s safe to say that my interests have not wavered in adulthood. A friend of mine visited Berlin last year and told me “you need to go, just to see the Ancient Egyptian artefacts”. Then just before our trip to Berlin I read Yasumi & Hiro’s post on the Neues Museum. The history behind the museum is moving; it was bombed during World War II and remnants of this can still be found today in the bullet holes that litter the walls. I was intrigued to see the restoration it had undergone, especially as Berlin is a city that chooses to remember its scars, and not paint over them.
What I received from the museum was so much more than I had been hoping for. The museum is home to Ancient Egyptian architecture and art, prehistoric objects, antiquities, and of course the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti. In fact it would seem that people had come from near and far to view the bust. As proven by one lovely old Italian woman who would comically shout “Nefertiti?” to her husband, every few minutes. The bust of Queen Nefertiti was a must-see on this visit for us also. To finally be stood in front of something I had longed to see since my childhood – it may sound silly, but it was a pretty big deal for me. All I can say is, it was as magical today as it would have been twenty years ago.
You can check out the rest of my Berlin Travel Diary series here.