Weekend in Warsaw

Last weekend I took little weekend break in Warsaw with my fabulous flatmates (you know who you are). It was so much fun! It felt really special to finally be in Poland as I’m actually a 1/4 polish! As well as eating, drinking and exploring I learned a few polish words, but I won’t embarrass myself by trying to spell them for you…

We booked our flights a few months in advance for only £40 from Edinburgh to Warsaw Modlin. The flight was only 2.5 hours, which is funny considering it takes longer to drive to Inverness from Edinburgh!

Before leaving we prebooked train tickets to take us into the centre of Warsaw where our Airbnb was. However, the train station was a taxi ride away and took an hour. Learning from this experience we rode in an Uber (£23) to the airport, which took 40 mins and was just a little more expensive than the train and MUCH EASIER!

On that note Uber is your best friend in Polish cities as it’s so much cheaper than in the UK!

 I had an amazing time in Warsaw and would recommend checking out these places…

What To See

1. The Old Town Market Place

This colourful square is the heart of Warsaw and one of the oldest places in Warsaw (it was rebuilt after WW2 ended).  Find The Mermaid of Warsaw and enjoy the Christmas market stalls in Winter.

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Legend has it that local fisherman wanted to capture the mermaid after she kept rescuing the fish from their nets. However, after the heard her singing they fell in love. Then a rich man imprisoned the mermaid,but the fisherman saved her. Ever since, she has been protecting Warsaw’s citizens with her sword and shield.

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2. Warsaw Rising Museum

This museum was well worth a visit. It was created in memory of the people of Warsaw who died fighting for the independence of Poland.

Entry is free of charge every Sunday

3. Palace of Culture and Science

This is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. Unfortunately we ran out of time to visit, but we heard a rumour that the top floor is the best place to take a picture of Warsaw!

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It was a little foggy….

4. Royal Castle

This is one of the most beautiful buildings in Warsaw! Spend time wondering around the lavishly designed rooms of the Polish monarchs.

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Entry is free of charge every Wednesday

Where To Eat

If you have been looking at any of my recent Instagram stories you probably saw brunch and Pierogi crop up a few times…. these were the stars of the show!!

1. Bulke przez Bibulke

Yes Polish is a very tricky language….so the link is above so you can find this gem too! This place was so cosy and is rated one of the best brunch spots in the city. Try the stack of pancakes!

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2. Restaurant Zapiecek

According to two of my native friends, this traditional Polish restaurant serves some of the BEST PIEROGI (dumplings)!

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If you want to stick to the local cuisine order a class of apple wine with your meal (it’s delicious).

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3. SAM Kameralny Komplex Gastronomiczny

Back to Brunch!!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day… and if you don’t wake up early enough this is the perfect solution…right?!

One word….BAGELS!

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4. Hala Koszyki

This is one of the best indoor food markets I have ever been to. It’s such a relaxed environment with so many cuisines to sample. If you are vegan check out the range of vegan stalls here!

But what did I chose to eat again…..

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PIEROGI!!!!

Where To Drink

1. Czupito

This quirky vodka bar is the perfect place to start your night out in Warsaw! Try the Pink Panther if you have a sweet tooth or Rainbow if you’re brave enough….

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2. Nap Nap Cafe

This is the perfect stop for a midday mulled wine and cake!

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3. Panorama Sky Bar

If you want to take your night out to the next level check out the Sky Bar! Great cocktails, music and views!

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Bare in mind the cocktails here are more like UK prices eg £10!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my time in this cool city and have the chance to experience it for yourself!

I’m currently planning my next trip back to Poland….people to see and things to explore!

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Guest Blogger – Explore York Like A Local

Before we get into Explore York Like A Local, I would just like to say a huge thank
you to Catriona who wrote a post for me on my blog and is the first in
the Connect, Inspire & Create series! Now I am featuring on her blog!

I grew up all around York, it was one of the first cities I went to as a
child! York is a gorgeous, unique city, and I am going to tell you what
I would get up to in a day, if I could do whatever I chose!

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Let’s get straight to it! First up I always need a coffee, I would have
to go to The Habit Coffee Bar on Goodramgate street, and get a latte,
and perhaps a cooked breakfast too! The Habit has a beautiful terrace
with views of the minster, so lovely in a morning!

After wandering around the shops for a while, and maybe a quick stop at
York Cocoa Works I would probably head to lunch at The Shambles. I love it there as it’s a nice outdoor area with different food vendors serving all sorts of cuisines! There
are a few food trucks that are permanent but there are others that
change every few weeks, meaning there is always plenty of choice. There
is usually live music too on the weekends, which is a nice touch!

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I also love going for a walk on the walls in York, they are a lovely way
to get around the city!

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Then a stop at the Museum Gardens , and if it was a nice day, I’d maybe grab an ice cream from the boat at the bottom of the gardens on the River Ouse.

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There are so many lovely places to eat in an evening in York, a personal
favourite is Oscars.  Although you have to remember to book in advance! Last time I went there I had a gorgeous Chilli Con Carne. They also have a lovely bar you can sit
at for a couple of drinks whilst waiting for your table.

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Check out Elle’s travel blog here for more inspiration!

Newbies Guide To New York #2 Wine & Dine

If you haven’t read my first blog post about my favourite sites in New York click here to check it out!

This post, as you can imagine, is all about the top spots we found while running around NYC! The city really has something for everyone whether it’s burgers and chips, Asian noodles or pizza slices as big as your head….

1. Juliana’s Pizza

As mentioned in my previous post this amazing pizzeria is run by the pizza legends themselves….the Grimaldi’s of New York! This dining option is perfect for those of you wanting to check out the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s nestled in the cool district just over the bridge called Dumbo which is also well worth exploring.

This restaurant is so popular that you cannot book in advance, so prepare for a little wait (worth it)  or visit outwith the main dining times.

Just  note that they are closed between 3:15pm and 4pm to “stoke” the coal-fired pizza oven.

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2. Kimoto Rooftop Garden Lounge

If you spend more time in Brooklyn and looking for a rooftop bar experience head to this place! Kimoto is a good priced Asian fusion restaurant that also serves AMAZING cocktails. I think we were just incredibly lucky because we had almost the whole garden lounge to ourselves when we visited!

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  3. Joe Allen

If you are looking for a pre-Broadway meal check out this gem! Joe Allen’s is an intimate restaurant popular with locals. Everything on the menu looked excellent when we went and it changes frequently so there’s always new flavours to try!

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4. Tick Tock Diner NY

This retro little diner was situated in our hotel, The New Yorker, but is for non-guests too! If you know me you would know why this was one of my FAVOURITE meals I had in NYC. I have a MASSIVE SWEET TOOTH and heard that the pancakes in here were incredible so of course had to try them out….

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Not just orange juice…..

5. Chelsea Market

This quirky market is open from 7am to 2am Monday-Saturday and us filled with food outlets from all over the city! I would suggest heading there for lunch then walking the High Line as the access point is very closeby.

I wanted to eat EVERYTHING….

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6. Carlos Bakery

How could you walk past THE HOME OF CAKE BOSS everyday but not go in for a slice??! I know it’s impossible as it sounds…

There are so many different cakes and cannolis to chose from and they come in cute individual slice containers!

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Red Velvet cake anyone? 

7. State Grill & Bar

If you want a night to remember book a table at the State Grill & Bar in the Empire State Building! 

This really was a special night for us in New York that had been planned well in advance. We dined in the grill and had some cocktails before taking the lift up to the Observatory Deck at the top of the Empire State Building. 

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I know what you’re thinking….how could I fit on the plane after my week of indulging in New York! All I can say is we walked…..A LOT!

I hope you enjoyed my posts about my time exploring one of most amazing cities in the WORLD!

Newbies Guide To New York #1 Attractions

As the title suggests, yes it was my FIRST TIME IN NEW YORK! 

We arrived home early on Saturday morning after spending 1 week in The Big Apple and it was such an incredible place.

We got good flight deals to Stewart Airport direct from Edinburgh which was ideal (8 hours). The airline was Norwegian Air who are known for doing long-haul budget deals. It made much more sense to fly cheaper into Stewart Airport and drive 90 minutes on the bus into Manhattan than pay for more expensive flights to JFK.

There is no “cheap” way of doing New York properly but there are plenty of wallet-friendlier alternatives…

After researching the cost of the attractions that we wanted to visit (there were so many) we thought it was cheaper to purchase a 5 Day New York Pass. This pass granted us access to all of the city’s main attractions. This was great because it meant that we could visit everything we wanted to in the time we had! For the 1 day pass it was $127 but for 5 days it was only $325. The pass was definitely worth it because there was 4 of us doing on average 3 attractions per day. For example the price to visit the observatory deck at the Empire State building is $57 per person

Click here to purchase the New York Pass

It would take far too long to write a day by day itinerary of my week in New York… so I’ll give you a quick run through of my favourite things to see and do!

1. Brooklyn Bridge at Sunset

For the best view of the complete Manhattan skyline spend the day in Brooklyn! There are so many cool places to visit in Brooklyn, we loved Dumbo! This is the area of Brooklyn that is just over the bridge and is home to Jane’s Carousel and the BEST pizza you may ever try in NYC!

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Promise I wasn’t the only adult……
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Guacamole on a pizza is life changing!

The pizza parlour was called Julianas Pizza and was run by the pizza legends themselves….the Grimaldi’s in New York!

After exploring Dumbo follow the pedestrian signs onto the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset and watch Manhattan light up! The walk took around 30 minutes but we stopped for lots of pictures.

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If you love the look of my t-shirt use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

2. Empire State Building

Included in our New York Pass was entry to the observatory decks at the Empire State building. I don’t know if we just got EXTREMELY LUCKY but we went up to the top at around 10pm and there was NO QUEUE!!

Even if there was a line we would have waited for this magical view!

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3. Top of the Rocks

On our last full day we realised that we still had to check out the view from Top of the Rock! Again we flashed our New York Passes and got entry up to the top. The fact that we didn’t have to pay more for the entry was good as we might not have seen the view because the weather was similar to Scotland…hence my signing in the rain picture!

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4. Broadway Show

Even if you are not a huge theatre fan (like my brother) most people still love the experience of seeing a show on Broadway at least once! We saw Chicago in the Ambassador Theatre and it was definitely worth seeing.  If you are not too fussy and looking for discounted tickets try websites like BroadwayBox. 

5. The High Line

I know when people think about parks in New York, Central Park springs to mind. However, The High Line is a cool green space hidden above the busy city streets. This space used to be home for an old railway line now it’s an urban oasis.

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6. New York Water Taxi

I know this isn’t an attraction but it was a great way to see the city! You can hop on a New York Water Taxi either in Midtown Manhattan, Battery Park, Seaport or Brooklyn. My favourite part of the ride was sailing around the Statue of Liberty with the Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind” playing!

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As I come to the end of this post, I’m a little sad that I didn’t mention all the other amazing attractions. However, I would be writing a book not a blog post in that case and that’s not what I do!

Watch this space for Newbies Guide To New York #2 Wine & Dine!

What’s In My Summer Suitcase

Hey Guys!

It is ALMOST the start of my SUMMER!! FINALLY!

I am packing to go to Croatia and Germany until September and moving into a new flat so I thought packing was a good theme to write about this time.

This post will highlight some of the items that are essential in every summer suitcase!

Summer Wardrobe

I LOVE SUMMER CLOTHES! They are just so much cuter than winter clothes and I feel much more comfortable in them. As I was abroad for most of last summer I already had quite a good summer time wardrobe but another few dresses and shorts won’t put me above my luggage allowance right?!  This year I loved shopping online at PrettyLittleThing for pretty dresses and bodysuits.

A little bird told me that palm leaves were trending this summer and I found a gorgeous dress on boohoo.com

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Health & Beauty Essentials

I’m not going to bore you by writing a big list of everything I have related to health and beauty in my case but here are some of my MUST HAVES!

Suncream 

This year I have gone with boots own brand factor 50 face lotion which is a great alternative to an extra moisturiser and the Nivea factor 30.

Waterproof Mascara

Who wants panda-eye photos?! I have brought with me my Maybelline Volume Express Waterproof mascara which was only £7.99 in Superdrug!

Maybelline Superstay Matte Lipstick 

I hate having to constantly reapply my lipstick for every photo while travelling so this really is the ANSWER. It comes in gorgeous colours and really does stay on ALL DAY from ONE application!

BB Cream

This is the perfect solution for girls who want slight coverage without having to worry about it becoming patchy during the day from the sun. I like to use the Garnier BB Cream that you can get in most large supermarkets as well as Boots/Superdrug.

Insect Repellent

I love being in hot temperatures but hate the insects that come as part of the package! The trick is to be prepared before you go….I learned this the hard way last Summer.

I would recommend a repellent that you can plug into your bedroom wall as well as a roll on/spray.

Beach Towel

As per usual I cannot recommend the brand SandCloud enough for beach accessories!

If you love the look of my towel use my personal code CatrionaKe15 for 15% off all orders at the checkout! A percentage of all Sandcloud’s profits go into saving marine life by supporting conservation charities. #savethefishes

Tech

Travel Adapters

Make sure you pack enough travel adapters for you electronics. If you forget to pack these on occasion like myself you can easily pick them up at the airport.

Camera 

I love taking pictures of my new surroundings with my Sony DSCH400B Digital Compact Bridge Camera (£162 on Amazon). This has been my favourite present ever and really steps up my photography game with the 64 optical zoom feature.

Kindle

One of the only times I can spend hours reading in chilling by the pool on holiday. The Kindle is a great way to take advantage of your portable bookshelf and purchase books on the go!

My 5 Favourite Travel Apps

I can’t believe we are into July already! Where has the year gone?! Although that means that we are into Summer or the less cold months as we call it in Scotland! In all fairness the weather has been over 20 degrees which is pretty amazing for Scotland….

This blog post is going to focus on the 5 travel apps on my phone that I don’t board the plane without. 

1. Google Maps

I honestly don’t think I would be able to get around if I didn’t have this app downloaded, as I’m terrible at reading maps and have zero sense of direction! Not good traits for a traveller I admit but with this app it doesn’t matter about my lack of skills…

Google Maps is great for estimating the time that it takes from A to B and I particularly love the fact that it can detect where you are (especially in winding alleyway) before you know yourself.

I also use this app while travelling to detect good places to eat and drink if I make an unplanned stop. As the app can detect where you are it also gives you the option to look at restaurants close by.

2. Like A Local

This app is perfect for discovering all the cool spots during your city-breaks!

For those of you who haven’t heard about Like A Local  before it’s an app created for travellers (not tourists) who want to discover some of the best LOCAL hangouts…hence the name. It’s very easy to use and it can detect what location you are in, similar to Google Maps.

Don’t know where to go to have the best night out in Barcelona? Don’t worry, this app has got you covered with multiple party destinations handpicked by locals.

In addition, this app can let you become the expert you are by offering advice about YOUR CITY to other travellers. You can even get PAID for showing someone your favourite places, sound fun?

3. TripAdvisor

Now this is a tricky one…I’m not saying that I use this all the time for restaurant recommendations while travelling as the best places are often stumbled upon by chance.

However, if you don’t want to be wondering the streets for ages on an empty stomach getting grumpy (I can’t be the only one like this) then TripAdvisor is the way to go! It has hundreds of reviews for places all over the world which makes it easy to find somewhere nice to dine.

I also love this app because you can filter down the recommendations according on what cuisine and type of meal you are after.

When booking accommodation now that’s not on Airbnb I always look at the TripAdvisor reviews first. I have almost been caught out before by using Booking.com because obviously they show more of the good reviews!

4. Airline Apps

What an amazing invention airline apps are! I really don’t know why every airline doesn’t have these created. They save time, paper and most of all STRESS. 

In the past I have been super paranoid about losing my boarding passes that I have been the person to take multiple copies…just in case.

Should I put it in the security tray?

Should I keep holding it?

Where is the safe place I stored it?

Download the app for free…..insert your account details…. BAM it’s saved on the most precious item you posses, your smartphone.

5. Uber

This may seem like a strange one to include but it has been my saviour more times I’ll care to admit.

Uber….the black cab killer or your safest and often cheapest way to get back to your accommodation.

When you have had one too many vodka and cokes is it really a good idea to try and work out the London Underground , that has 11 lines and 270 different stations? No, no it’s not the best idea. With this app you can order a car with no cash needed and your location will be automatically detected (which is insanely helpful in an unknown city).