AMSTERDAM

28 Jul 2016

I've done it! My first trip without the 'rents and I loved it. My friend Kirsty and I spent a few days in Amsterdam and loved all of it- I already want to go back. As I usually do when I go anyone slightly interesting, here's what I did and some pictures.

DAY ONE

We'd purposely booked a really early flight o make sure we could make the most out of our time in Amsterdam. We spent less than an hour on our plane before getting a train and a tram to where our Airbnb apartment was. After spending half an hour trying to find the apartment we finally did where we met our host, dropped out bags and headed straight out. Right next to our apartment were some fairly well-known markets so we took some time to walk through those before heading towards the canals. We spent the next few hours exploring the local area before settling in a park and taking in the beautiful weather. At about 1 o'clock we headed back to the apartment after picking up some gorgeous pizzas and pastries from the market as we headed back through. We spent a while settling into the apartment before going out and having a further explore and going to the supermarket for some supplies. For the rest of the evening, we sat out on our little balcony making the most of the sun and the tranquil atmosphere that, surprisingly, we were surrounded by. 

 DAY 2

After a stroke of luck the night before, we managed to get early tickets for the Anne Frank House so we headed even further into the centre. We decided to walk rather than take a tram and this is what we ended up doing for the whole trip. After, again, getting lost trying to find the destination and nearly missing our time slot, we made it. It was so interesting to see the house and how some of it had managed to remain the same such as the bookcase in which hid the ladder to their annex and Anne's posters that still remained on her walls. I definitely need to read the book! One of our only set in stone plans before our trip was to visit this cafe we'd found on Instagram called PLUK. It was just round the corner from the Anne Frank House so we went there for some lunch where we had smoothie bowls and great drinks. They also had a really cute shop where we both made some purchase. 

After two super early starts, we were tired so we walked back to our apartment and had a few hours rest. Later in the day, we headed back to the main centre to continue exploring and try and find the Red Light District. If you can't tell already, we sucked at map reading and were constantly getting lost but at least we got to see a lot of Amsterdam! We walked through part of the Red Light District and all we could think was "Was that it!?" If you're not looking for it, you won't even realise where you are. We then headed back to the apartment after another long walk. The blisters were coming on strong at this point. 


DAY THREE

It was our last full day in Amsterdam and we wanted to make the most of it. We first went to the Van Gogh museum that currently has an exhibit surrounding his mental illness. As an aspiring psychologist, this was really interesting. There was a big park outside the museum and across was where the famous "Iamsterdam" sign is. It was really nice to see this place so busy. Due to the hot weather, kids were swimming in the fountain and,unlike in England where you'd be told to get out, the firemen turned up and turned on the hose to give them even more cool water. I think that's when I knew I love this city. 

One thing we really wanted to do was get a canal cruise and we found one that allowed us to get on and off at certain points around Amsterdam. Sadly, we didn't' get to spend as much time as we would have liked on the cruise but we still managed to see a lot of the city. One of the stops we made was to a new attraction called ADAM Lookout which Kirsty described perfectly as the "Blackpool Tower of Amsterdam"; it allows you to go up and see the cityscape of Amsterdam. My pictures didn't turn out as well as expected but we managed to get tickets for just 6 Euros each. 

We then hopped back on the canal cruise and headed back to the Red Light District area where we found somewhere close by to have tea before heading back through and back to the apartment; again, not seeing as much as what you think you would. We made a detour on the way home to hunt for The Fault In Our Stars bench. While the original was stolen, it was still really cool to sit on it and take some photos. As we sat there, a group of American girls walked past and said, "Is this THE bench?" Kirsty and I both then spent the next 20 minutes talking to these girls which included saying random words for the to hear how we say them as well as cockney rhyming slang. After parting ways, we headed back to the apartment as it was now really late. A great end to the trip!

DAY FOUR

We'd planned to enjoy every last second of our trip and pack up early and head to the park we were at the previous day but after a late night and waking up really late we instead headed to the markets again to pick up some souvenirs and some flowers for our great host. We then finished packing and, a tram and train ride later, we were back at the airport where we head hours to spare. After a little panic that we'd missed our flight to just find they forgot to call our entire flight to board, we headed home and had touched down within an hour. 

I feel I have so much more to say about this city. There was anything really that I didn't enjoy, that I didn't like. The atmosphere, the friendly people, and the beautiful cityscapes I want to go back tomorrow. I'm planning on doing a few more posts surrounding this trip but if there's anything, in particular, you'd like to know let me know.

Again, I loved this trip and can't wait to go back again either later in the year or next year.

Have you been to Amsterdam? Where have you been or off to this summer?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

HOW TO PACK LIGHT

23 Jul 2016

Sorry for the lack of posts this last week but I've just been in Amsterdam having a great little holiday. Last year I headed off to China for 10 days with just hand luggage now Amsterdam with just a small suitcase. Before China, I always over packed but now I personally feel I'm a dab hand at packing light and so I thought I'd share with you some tips you may find handy. 

PLAN YOUR OUTFITS

Throwing half your wardrobe into your suitcase is always unnecessary and we all take at least one item of clothing that we know we're not going to wear but "just in case". Deciding what you plan on wearing beforehand is the best way to keep clothing to a minimum. You want to make sure you pack for both warm and cold depending on your destination so pick clothes that would be good for both. Pick items that you can wear in different ways; say a top that goes with your jeans but always you skirt- gives you less to pack and hopefully a little more room in your suitcase to bring back some souvenirs. 

WILL I USE THIS? 

I kind of just touched on this but try not take things for the sake of being a comfort but more if they are practical for the holiday. Don't take up half your suitcase with stonkingly big 500-page long hardback books that you might not get time to read instead download it on your phone or as an audiobook. I don't see the point in taking all my lotions and potions just in case I have a breakout. I'd rather it simple- take the basics and hope for the best and if you find you need that spot cream you left behind...

BUY IT WHEN YOU'RE THERE

All countries have shampoo, conditioner, body wash. If you really want to cut down don't take it- there'll be somewhere to buy it all when you're there. This is the case for most things so if you're really struggling with room in your suitcase, take out things you know you'll be able to get when you're there. Also duty-free; it's not always the cheapest to run into the boots at the airport but it does mean you don't have to worry about packing it just find it before your flight and store it in your hand luggage. 

DECANT

When only allowed hand luggage, I had to do this to stay under the 1litre limit and it also helped reduce space taken up by toiletries. While I don't to be as precarious this time around, I never feel the need to take a whole 500ml bottle of shampoo. To last me five days, putting a 100ml into a smaller bottle will do. This is the same with most of my toiletries that I don't want to buy something different but still want to take. Also minis! There's always a great choice of miniature favourites in Boots and Superdrug this time of the year and I managed to get everything I wanted. If you want to see more about the toiletries I take, here's those I took to China last year and I might do the same again for those I'm taking to Amsterdam. 

MAKE THE MOST OF THE ROOM

There are so many packing hacks that you see online. Just type in "Packing Hacks" to Pinterest and you'll be amazed at the variety of ways to help you make the most out of your suitcase. Personally, I tend to opt for the rolling method. Rolling t-shirts keeps them from majorly creasing and giving me more room. With other items, I use my packing cubes in the past you can buy them cheap and easily from Ebay with them acting as a suitcase within a suitcase. Great, again, to keep things neat and also an easier way to find everything. 

So I head to Amsterdam for a short break next week. Have you got any of your own packing tips?
I'd love to know!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

RECENTLY READ #17

17 Jul 2016

Go follow me on goodreads!

HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOUR // JOHN COREY WHALEY

It feels ages ago since I read this now and since I posted a full review which you can read here. I can't recommend this enough- a great one for this summer. But is this my favourite Corey Whaley book? The jury's still out on that one!

KINDRED SPIRITS // RAINBOW ROWELL

The last book of hers I read was Fangirl over a year ago. I tried to read landline but could never get into it. When I saw this short story released for World Book day I picked it up and finally got around to reading it recently. It follows a young girl as she waits in line for the new Star Wars film. It really wasn't anything life changing and, not being a big Star Wars fan myself, the references weren't something I always understood. Things did start to pick up nearer the end and it left the story in such a place that could warrant a follow-up. For only £1 on Amazon, it's a good read for any fans of Eleanor and Park. 

AM I NORMAL YET? // HOLLY BOURNE


This was not a book I planned on reading right now but one I did want to get round to. It was on offer on the Kindle Store so decided I should pick it up and I wasn't disappointed. It was a great YA read which married the two poignant topics of feminism and mental illness. I was worried this book would offer a romanticised version of mental illness but it didn't. Instead, it described living with a certain type of OCD. OCD is not a mental illness I've read about in books before and so I loved reading something that was new. I was also worried the feminism would not be what I believe to be feminism but it was- it spoke about equality and how the patriarchal society affects both women and men. I loved the friendships explored as well as the love interest. The only reason I couldn't give it full marks was due to my feelings towards the love interest and how that was explored. Apart from that, however, I stormed through this book and really enjoyed getting to read another of Holly Bourne's great books and I definitely recommend this and I will definitely be carrying on with this series. 

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN // J.K ROWLING





This is probably not the most summery book I've read and so it felt a little weird reading one that centred around winter and a more dark story line that I tend to steer away from more so in summer. However, my aim this year is still to read all the Harry Potters and I'd already started this before my exams so I wanted to finish it. It did take me a few chapters to remember what had previously happened before I put it down but I soon got straight back into it and finished it within a few days. I much preferred this to the film. I find the end of the film slightly annoying but the book didn't drag anything out really and that's what I liked. Straight to the point and straight to the action. That's what I quite like about these books so far- they don't spend ages umming and ahhhing about their next move they do it and it keeps the book going. I feel I might be being a little generous with my rating for this one but there was nothing I didn't really dislike but it wasn't my favourite. Plus, Neville was great in this one. I was going to leave Harry Potter for the summer now but I've already started reading the Goblet of Fire. 


So that's what I've read recently. What have you been reading? Any recommendations?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x


A PERSONAL PLEA

16 Jul 2016

I've always tried to keep my blog as transparent as possible sharing all the trials and tribulations that I face. I've not been sure to this with you but if you follow me on twitter you may have seen that over the past couple of weeks my local community including my family struggled to come to the terms of the loss of one of our closest friends after a tragic event.

That's all the detail I'm going to go into on to the events here but if you want to read more follow the links below where you can read more. 





This is not in anyway shape or form to drive sympathy but, instead, try and raise money for a cause to bring something positive out of something so sad and negative. 

Sam had a great love of dogs and aim was to join the police specials which she had already been accepted into. It seemed only right that close friends and family raise money for the Police Dogs and I feel as a blogging community we could help raise the money to hit the £10,000 goal. 

Just a pound would make a world of difference. 

Thankyou 

Sarah x

SUMMER 'BOOK'ET LIST

10 Jul 2016


The weather definitely doesn't agree but Summer is definitely here and so it's time that I put together an overly ambitious list of books I want to get read this summer that I will probably only read a handful of but hey you never know!

This summer there's not that many books I currently own that I have the intention of reading in the next few months but I would love to continue reading the Harry Potter series. I might have to put this on the back burner due to the very wintery feel to these but I might get round to reading one or two more. That's similar to The Revenant by Michael Punke. I recently included this in a haul and expressed how different of a read this is for me and it's one that's on my list but not an urgent read. 

Another one I hauled and hope to get read really soon is Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell; being such a short story this shouldn't take me long at all. 

Silence is a Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher I have owned for a while and while loving Pitcher's other books, I wasn't able to get into this very quickly but, hopefully, I'll get round to it this summer and finally get it done. Also, Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. I'd read the first few chapters when I purchased this a while ago but quickly felt the audience was one a little younger than me but now all I want is easy reads so this might be a great one to pick up if I get stuck in a reading rut. 

Summer Days and Sumer Nights is one I definitely have to get round to reading; the title (obviously) screams summer!

They are the only books I feel a slight urgency pick up this summer but there's no doubt I'll be picking some new books up in the coming weeks. One of those I hope is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. After discovering this isn't a horror book about an asylum for mentally ill children it sounds like one I'd enjoy and would love to read before the film comes out later in the year. Ready Player One is also set to come out in a film and it's been one I've been meaning to pick up for a while so now is the best time for me to do that. There are a few sequels that I might choose to pick up (P.S I Still Love you and How Hard Can Love Be?) but apart from that, I think I will just play it by ear. 

There are a few other books that I've recently seen that I wouldn't mind reading so, like every other year, I might not end up sticking to this TBR but we'll see!

Any books you're planning to read this summer? Any summer book recommendations to add to my long list to read?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x


design by amanda inez