Monthly Archives for October 2014

Discovering the Real London: Where to Stay

Best Destinations - Amanda - October 30, 2014



For those who have never been to the UK, London is merely a façade of afternoon tea and biscuits, the Queen, and iconic red buses and phone boxes. Yes, we have all of those things. But when it comes to the real London, only us Brits know best.

If you’re looking to pitch upresidence in England’s famous capital for a few weeks, there’s a lot to learn about London’s different areas, all of which are completely unique and have something different to offer.  It’s not all tea and cake in this city. In fact, it’s so much more than that.

Unsure of where to stay in London? Here’s a handy little guide on some of the different areas.

London’s West End

If you want to be in the midst of it all, there’s no place like the West End. Near Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, you will find the “typical” London that so many tourists talk about. Surrounded by busy main streets and gleaming with bright lights at night, you will be right in the mix here. For shopping, theatres, cinemas and casinos, bars and restaurants, museums and galleries, you will find everything at your fingertips in the West End.

Chelsea and Fulham

As made famous by the reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, this area of London is home to some of the richest Londoners. If you have a penchant for fine dining (try Marco Pierre White’s restaurant or Gordon Ramsay’s Foxtrot Oscar), designer shopping, and sipping cocktails in the swankiest bars, Chelsea will prove to be the perfect luxury treat.

Shoreditch and East

If posh nosh and designer shopping is a little on the pretentious side for your taste, why not try the arty and eclectic Shoreditch? Famous for its vintage shops, its amazing art and theatres, a fantastically alternative nightlife, Shoreditch is the UK’s answer to Paris’ Montmartre or NYC’s East Village. You can complete your experience with a boutique stay in an alternative hotel.


Another creative hotspot in London, Camden is famous for Camden Lock Market, an exciting venue not only for shopping throughout the day, but also for late night street markets which serve up the most mouthwatering food and attract people from all over the city. If you’re an adventurous foodie, this is definitely the place to be. Known for its diverse culinary options, including street food from Chinese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Korean, Mexican, Lebanese, Portuguese, Caribbean, South African and Persian vendors, Camden is a bucket-list location for food lovers.


This is a guest post by @magstheblogger, a food lover and travel writer over at The Smart Girl’s Travel Guide.

Continue Reading

European Road Trip Essentials

Best Destinations - Amanda - October 30, 2014


A European road trip is a fun, budget friendly way to see a lot of Europe in a short space of time. The continent is full of picturesque scenery, quirky venues and globally revered historical destinations, making it the perfect place to soak up the sun, and a little bit of culture along the way. To make the most of your journey, plan your itinerary in advance, and make sure that you don’t forget these road trip essentials.


Maps can seem rather romantic, but they’re just not worth the time it takes to fold and refold them. If you want to enjoy the scenery as you pass, get your hands on a GPS and let it guide you. Not only will a GPS make sure you get where you need to be, but most will warn you of traffic jams and offer alternative routes, so that you don’t spend the majority of your holiday nose-to-tail with the car in front. You can also use them to find the nearest shops, hospitals and historic monuments, making them worth their weight in gold.


Yes, that’s right, we did just recommend that you get your hands on a GPS and avoid maps at all costs. However, we all know that anything technological can have a tendency to be unreliable. If your GPS loses its signals in the Swiss Alps, a good old-fashioned map can be a godsend.

European Insurance

Your car is unlikely to take your holiday into account: if it’s going to breakdown, it will breakdown. To avoid being stranded at the roadside in a foreign country, European insurance is imperative. Make sure that you check, and if necessary upgrade, your policy before you even think of crossing the sea. It’s a good idea to carry proof of your insurance with you to make sure that you have access to any services you might need.

A Camera

Most phones will have this covered, but whether you prefer to use your mobile or a traditional camera, make sure you can document your travels as you go. Remember to take batteries if you need them, and an in-car charger if you’re using your phone. Memories are all well and good, but your family members and friends are going to want to see evidence of your adventures on Facebook, and in a few years’ time you’ll have great fun looking back over your photos.

A Playlist of Your Favourite Music

Before you even think of leaving the house, make sure that your phone or iPod is fully stocked with all of your desert island tunes. Although you’ll spend most of your time talking, when the conversation runs dry you’ll be glad of your music. If you’re travelling with friends, make sure that you all do the same, so that everybody gets a turn listening to songs that they like. Laptops and portable DVD players are also great for keeping everyone entertained.

Once you’ve got the essentials and loaded everyone into the car, all that’s left to do is have fun.


Continue Reading