A Day at the Races

25 June 2017

Let me begin this blog post with a little apology, I've been terrible at writing on here recently. Starting a new job and a busy social calendar have really set me back in blogging, and I now feel like I'm so out of the loop with you all that it's put me off jumping back on here...however, I finally have a little free time today, so I thought I'd share some of my photos from my day at the races. 

A few weekends ago now, we packed up the car and headed down to sunny Chichester as we'd luckily managed to bag a few tickets to the Richmond Enclosure at Goodwood - score! As someone who loves dressing up, the races are definitely my cup of tea, I loved everything from the outfit planning, to our picnic before the races and to the betting (luckily I managed to keep those habits developed in Las Vegas under wraps!) - it really was a perfect girls day out. 

Whilst the weather looks beautiful in the photos above, for most of the day it was pretty windy 😳....we spent a lot of time holding onto our hats (and our skirts) whilst trying to watch the races, so I'd definitely recommend taking plenty of hair grips - my friend luckily had some to lend me and they completely saved me that day! 

If you're looking for a fun day out at the races, I'd definitely recommend Goodwood. It had a lovely atmosphere and the countryside surrounding the race course is just beautiful

xo Becky

Basket Bags That Won't Break The Bank

13 June 2017

Basket bags are everywhere right now, but they're also a little on the pricey side - and there's no way I'm spending over £200 on straw, no matter how pretty it is. That being said, there are some really pretty versions of this summer's hottest bag all over the high street...you just need to know where to look!

Today I've rounded up some of my favourite straw basket bags for under £100, perfect for your summer vacay (or just wandering down to the shop!)...

And for those tropical evenings, here are some of the cutest (and cheapest!) straw clutches around...

Happy Shopping!

xo Becky 

24 Hours in Amsterdam

7 June 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, then you'll have seen that this weekend I took a little trip to Amsterdam for a tour of Holland America Line's MS Koningsdam. It seemed a little silly to fly all that way for just the day, so we made the most of the weekend and spent some time exploring the city, and what a beautiful city it was. 

As we were only there for the day (apart from the time we spent on the ship - you can read about that here), we hadn't booked anything or made any real plans like I'd normally do for a city break (we had Paris planned out to the second!), instead I wanted to use the time to get a feel for the city with the view that one day I'd return knowing the sorts of things I'd like to do. 

Amsterdam often gets a bad rep for being a location for hen do's and stag parties, and don't get me wrong, we saw plenty of these, but there's so much more to the city than drinking and smoking. With it's seventeenth-century buildings museum quarter and refreshing sense of freedom, the city is so much more than it's perceived to be - and somewhere I'd definitely recommend visiting once...or twice!

Our first stop was the Bloemenmarkt, or Floating Flower Market as it's called in English. One of the things I'd have loved to do in Amsterdam was visit the famous tulip fields, however, unfortunately, we just missed out on these by a week, so the flower market was going to have to suffice.  

The Amsterdam Flower Market is the only floating flower market in the world, having been around since 1862. All of the flower stalls stand on the houseboats along the canal and are a nod to the old days when the markets were only supplied by boat. Like I said, we'd just missed out on the tulip fields and I think we were also a little late to the market too as there wasn't really much on sale in the way of flowers (it was mainly bulbs) by the time we arrived. So if you're looking for the full experience, I'd head down there first thing in the morning! 

After we'd visited the floating flower market, we took a stroll down to the Red Light District. The Red Light District isn't really my cup of tea, nor is it the prettiest place in Amsterdam, but it's something you've just got to see if you're visiting the city, as it's just so famous. We actually managed to walk through most of the red light district without me even realising as the bright sunshine was blocking the 'view' in the windows...it was only when one of the prostitutes ran across the street that I realised where we were! Photos aren't allowed in the Red Light District, as a lot of the women working there are from Eastern European countries and have told family members back home that they're working as nannies, etc and need to protect their safety. There are also police officers everywhere to ensure the women's safety, and it's up to the workers whether they let you in or not...so you have to stand outside and they will only open the door for you if they want to. 

After our brief wander through the Red Light District, we headed over to Jordaan, near where Anne Frank's house is located. We hadn't booked tickets to Anne Frank's house as we weren't sure how much time we'd have in the city and it was just as well - the queues were ridiculous! Instead we took a stroll around the canals in Jordaan, a much quieter area of Amsterdam (apart from directly outside Anne Frank's house). The sun was shining so it was lovely to walk around and take in the sights (and smells, ahem 🌿) of Amsterdam. 

If you're planning a trip to Amsterdam, I'd highly reccomend a walk through Jordaan. It's perfect for that idylic canal photo (and it's where I took most of my photos!) and it's quaint narrow streets, boutiques and pretty galleries are an instagrammers dream. Jordaan was once a poor area of the city, but has now been renovated and discovered by a new artsy generation, making it one of the most expensive areas in the city! 

After we were suitably full of ice cream and sunshine, we headed back to the hotel for a quick change and we were right back out the door, determined not to waste a minute. That evening we headed down to the canals (one of the many!) for a river cruise around Amsterdam. We sat on the canal boat, travelling around the many canals, eating a seriously tasty four course meal and watching the sun set whilst sipping prosecco for a good few hours - it was the perfect end to the day and a chance to reflect on the jam packed day we'd just spent in the Dutch city!

Although I only managed to spend 24 hours exploring what Amsterdam had to offer, I completely fell in love with the city and it's chilled vibe. Amsterdam is definitely somewhere I plan to return to, but next time it will definitely be for a few days so I can fully explore what the city has to offer. 

xo Becky 

All Aboard The MS Koningsdam with Holland America Line

6 June 2017

If you've been following my journeys on social media recently, then you'll know that last weekend I took a trip to Amsterdam with Holland America Line. Whilst we were in the Dutch city, we took a trip to the MS Koningsdam, the first of Holland America Line's Pinnacle class ships. Launched in 2016, the Koningsdam keeps with the traditional nautical style for which Holland America Line is known, whilst bringing the overall experience into the 21st century.

This was actually my first experience on a cruise ship, and despite the Koningsdam holding 2,650 guests, it's still only classed as a mid-side ship in this day and age - although it still seemed huge to me! Whilst we were on the ship, we were able to take a wander around the cabins and staterooms, which I found so interesting. I'm not sure why, but I always had it in my mind that the rooms would be tiny and very 'ship-like' (if you know what I mean!). Instead I was surprised to see that the rooms were spacious, light and airy - a lot like modern hotel rooms. Although, I'd definitely want to stay in one of the Neptune Suites - they were so luxurious (the only way to sail in my opinion 😉). If you'd like more information and floor plans of all of the Koningsdam's rooms, you can take a peek here.

Another thing which I assumed about cruise holidays, was that there was a lack of dining options or that everyone had to eat at set times, which is something I really don't like when I'm on holiday - however, on the Koningsdam there are so many dining options that you're spoilt for choice. The Koningsdam has something for everyone, whether you'd looking for world class seafood in the Sel de Mer, Pan-Asian food at Tamarind or the best burgers in the world* at Dive In (*they've actually tested this!), there's sure to be something to please even the fussiest of eaters.

Onboard the Koningsdam, there are activities aplenty, whether you're looking for a relaxing spa holiday, a culinary experience or want to hone your video editing skills. The Koningsdam even has the only wine blending experience on the seven seas - sign me up! You can find all of the onboard activities (including the dreamiest of spas) here

As I said, the Koningsdam was my first cruise experience (despite not leaving the port!) and it's definitely piqued my interest in a cruise holiday for 2018. If like me, you're restricted to your 25 days annual leave, then I think cruising is the perfect way to see a lot of the world in a week or two (and only have to unpack your suitcase once!). When picking your cruise holiday though, it's important to focus on the type of holiday you're looking for. If, like me, you're more about the destination than the 'resort',  Holland America Line will be perfect for you as they focus their cruise experience on the destinations you'll be visiting, and because of that they're really generous with the amount of overnight stays you'll get in different destinations - so you're effectively getting a few city breaks in one holiday! The only thing I would say though, is that the Koningsdam seems to be geared more towards the older generation (think 40+) so I wouldn't really expect to be on the cruise with other 20somethings, but I could really imagine my parents generation loving the ship!

Becky xo

*Post in collaboration with Holland America Line

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