Trakai Castle, Lithuania | Travel

Monday, 12 February 2018

This time last year, my friend and I visited Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and whilst we were there we visited this beautiful castle, Trakai Castle which is just outside the city. Trakai was originally built in 1409 and is miraculously still in wonderful condition due to several phases of building and reconstruction so it now is a large tourist attraction for visitors to Lithuania. 

It was originally built to help protect the city of Vilnius from crusading knights of the Baltic regions and later, when it was no longer needed for military purposes it was remade into a Ducal palace which was its main use until the 17th century. 

Several different cultures played a role in the design of this beautiful castle as the reconstruction in the 20th century was started by Soviet Russia and continued by the Germans and the Polish up until the end of the Second World War. This has resulted in a beautiful castle that could easily have been taken out of a picture book. It has beautiful towers and so many nooks and crannies to explore.

There is the museum inside the castle which is really informative and tells you all about the castle's history and then the surrounding area is lovely just to walk around and take in the views. The castle is actually on an island in the middle of Lake Galve and when we visited, last February, it was very cold and snowing so the lake was actually frozen solid and people were playing games on it! 

Trakai is really easy to get to from Vilnius, we just took a bus straight from the city centre bus station! From the bus stop there is then a nice walk through the town to find the castle which, for us, was lovely at the beginning of the day but after we had been in the snow for about 4 hours, we were quite cold and wet on the walk back!

We would definitely recommend Trakai as a day trip if you visit Vilnius. We especially loved the it was snowing when we visited as it added to the fairytale feel!

Competition Wins | January 2018

Monday, 5 February 2018

When I was a younger teenager, I used to enter lots of competitions and I won a fair few prizes over the years, including an iPad and a year's supply of Borders Biscuits! Over Christmas, I decided to give it a go again. I don't have as much time on my hands as I used to obviously as I am at university now and extremely busy but I am trying to dabble in it as much as I can! So I thought I would do a monthly post where I show you what I have won and what's arrived for the last month! So these are my wins from January, there are 3 that have arrived (although I only photographed two) and one that hasn't arrived yet!

The one that I don't have a picture of was a pair of Wasabi Plants from The Wasabi Plant Company. I won these from an online prize draw and they were delivered to my home address rather than my university address so my mum is looking after them!

I won these accent nail wraps from a nail brand called Jamberry on Facebook!

I won this book 'Things I'm Seeing Without You' by Peter Bognanni from a twitter competition!

I have also won a mug from KitKat in their purchase necessary competition but that one hasn't arrived yet, maybe you will see it next month!

Let me know if this is a feature that you would like to carry on seeing on my blog, hopefully we will see some good prizes coming through!

Walkabout Free Walking Tour | Bucharest, Romania

Monday, 29 January 2018

One of my favourite things to do when I go to a new city is to do  walking tour. I think it really helps me get to know a place and how to get around and of course, it lets me take in a few sights and learn a bit of history before exploring further! Also, there are usually free walking tours in every city that are paid for by a donation at the end to the tour guide! I really love doing these tours and so, when I went to Bucharest, we made sure to do one and make sure we were taking in all the sights!

We went on our walking tour in Bucharest with a company called Walkabout Free Walking Tours who were really excellent. Our tour guide, Elena was funny, very charismatic and knowledgeable about the city so it was really fun to get to know Bucharest through her eyes. These were some of the sights that she showed us.

Royal Court Church

Stavropoleos Monastrey

National Bank of Romania

Revolution Square - where major part of the Romanian revolution happened

Elena even recommended a special Romanian dessert called Papa Nash which is like a few doughnuts topped with sour cream and jam - it's very tasty! She recommended a place nearby where we could get some and it was delicious and very cheap!

There was lots more to see on the tour and it really gave us a lovely feel of the city. It's one of my favourite things to do when I'm travelling and I really recommend you check out free walking tours too! I would also really recommend Romania! I didn't expect to love it as much as I did - we were only there for a couple of days but we had a really lovely time. Bucharest is a really beautiful city and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend!

Reselling Haul | Making Money

Monday, 22 January 2018

So, as a student, I am always looking for ways to make a little extra money and one of the ways in which I do that is through reselling. This means that I buy things at cheaper prices at carboot sales, on local selling platforms, charity shops or as job lots on eBay and then I sell them on for a profit! I thought today I would share a haul of some of the items that I bought last week to resell and how much I bought them for!

I saw this Build a Bear in a Scottish Football kit and although apparently the bears don't sell too well on their won, this one had clothes and it was only 99p so I picked him alongside this Would I Lie to You board game for £2 and a sealed Lego set that was also £2.

I used to collect Cherished Teddies as a child so when I saw these for £1.50 and £2 I picked them up as I knew they would be good earners. The shoes were 99p and they are from Dune so will sell well. They were from a local charity shop clearance shop in which everything is 99p or less. 

This was a Gumtree pick up and it was £18 for all 7 Disney store dwarf plushes from Snow White! These sell for about £10 each so this will be a nice little earner.

I buy the Series of Unfortunate Events books when I see them if they are less than a pound and these were all 75p or 99p! I then collect them until I have a full set and sell them like that!

I do the same with Roald Dahl and Michael Morpurgo book and collect them till I make a bundle! The books at the top at Heartland books and they were 50p each for a large set so I thought I would try them out and they usually go for good money (around £35-40) if I can get a straight run!

These clothes were all 99p from a charity shop clearance store. I go through the rails here and usually buy brands like Topshop, Zara Warehouse, Coast etc. 

Sylvanian Families are one of my favourite things to sell as I had them when I was a kid. This is a set called Beechwood Hall. I just sold a completely plain Beechwood Hall for £35 and this one has both furniture and working lights in it so I bought it for £50 for the hall and the furniture sets and I will be selling this as a bundle. I also have some spare furniture that was included that I can use in future sets.

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into the kinds of things that I resell and let me know if you would like me to continue posts like this!

La Boqueria Market | Barcelona

Monday, 15 January 2018

When I visited Barcelona, visiting La Boqueria on Las Ramblas was on our list of must do things and boy, was it worth it! I'd seen it on other food and travel blogs and I knew that once I was in there, I wouldn't leave without shelling out at least a few euros on some delicious food!

For those of you who may not know what La Boqueria is, it's a huge food market in the centre of Barcelona, off the most touristy street in the city, Las Ramblas. It has a huge mix of tourists and locals doing their food shop and features street food stalls, grocery stalls and tapas bars with everything and anything you could need food-wise. From spices, meats, fish, to marzipan McDonalds fries, there is so much variety at La Boqueria!

After wandering around in the market for a while soaking up all the smells and sights to see (believe me, there were a lot of sights) we wanted to try some food and my friend Rebecca and I decided on trying some spinach pastries from a tapas stall which were delicious and some of the juices above which were very tasty and turned our mouths bright pink! We wanted to try more food there but it was so busy and the family had split up so we met up afterwards and went to get a full meal but if I go back to Barcelona, I will definitely be stopping again at La Boqueria and getting lots more food!

Siem Reap Tuk Tuk Tour | Cambodia

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

So this summer I went on a big trip to Thailand to do some teaching English as a foreign language. We were based in a town called Krasang which is in the east of Thailand, relatively close to the Cambodian border so on one of the weekends whilst we were there, we went to Siem Reap, Cambodia. On our first day there, we did a Tuk Tuk Tour of Siem Reap and that's what this post is about!

Our first stop was The Killing Fields. Cambodia suffered a huge genocide under the Khmer Rouge regime, a tragedy that happened whilst my parents generation were alive, just 30 years ago and now there are thousands of sites across Cambodia that are the Killing Fields and Killing Caves were thousands of people died and were tortured. This is one of the ones in Siem Reap and if you are in Cambodia, I would definitely recommend taking the time to go and find a Killing Field. They are very sombre places but have been turned into places of beauty and remembrance. It definitely affected me quite a lot, especially as it isn't that long ago and Cambodia has changed so much since the so it is definitely worth doing.

We also stopped at Angkor Artisan Workshop where we had a tour through and they showed us different crafts that are common in Cambodia and how they are made. Cambodia doesn't have great art support in schools so they showed us how Angkor Artisan provide apprenticeships to teach skills like sculpting and metalwork to then make handicrafts that are sold throughout Cambodia.
We also stopped at a Lotus Farm. Unfortunately the Lotus Flowers weren't in season yet so only a few had budded but the symbolism of the lotus in Cambodia was explained to us and we got to eat a Lotus fruit which wasn't actually too bad!

Lastly on our Cambodia Tuk Tuk tour we did a hike up a big hill just outside Siem Reap which had a monastery which is older than Angkor Wat  at the top and a wonderful viewpoint to watch the sunset. It was a very sweaty climb but worth it from the top where we could see for miles out into Tonle Sap Lake which is huge.

We really loved Cambodia and the best posts are definitely to come as we experienced the Siem Reap night markets which I absolutely loved and Angkor Wat and the other temples!

Szechenyi Baths | Budapest, Hungary

Saturday, 16 September 2017

When my best friend and I went to Budapest, one of the things we were really excited about was going to the thermal bath spas! They have been visited by locals and tourists alike for years and we were so excited to try the thermal hot springs that run under the city of Budapest.

They have been known about since the Romans settled in the city and they had warm water public baths but they were really developed into what they are today during the Turkish occupation of Hungary when the large bath/spa complexes were built. There are now more than a dozen public bath complexes dotted around the city of Budapest, more than in any other city in the world. Each complex has it's own style and is very different which was one of the things that was really exciting about visiting them!

The waters are actually said to be beneficial to health as they are rich with minerals and apparently, bathing in the Budapest pools can help relieve a variety of conditions and diseases. In Budapest, you can actually get visits to the bath as a prescription!

We chose to visit Szechenyi baths as we only had time to visit one and Szechenyi is the largest bath complex in Europe and features Greek, Roman and Scandinavian features. The water is sourced from over 1km underneath the baths and once it reaches the pools, it doesn't really drop below 26 degrees Celsius. It is probably the most famous of the baths with its popular yellow architectural design and its image that is included in almost every tourist guide to Budapest. There are 18 different pools in the complex and each one has a different atmosphere and experience available, both indoor and outdoor. We loved relaxing in the warm outdoor pools as we visited in December where the warmth of the pool was a strong contrast to the outside weather as it actually snowed at one point whilst we were out there!

The baths are quite expensive in comparison to other things that there are to do in Budapest but they are definitely worth a day out there, it was one of our favourite things that we did on our trip, alongside the ruin bars!
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs