A tale of two Natas

Many people have heard about the wonders of Portugal and it’s perfect city break credentials – but no, I’m not talking about lovely Lisbon. I’m harping on about the city that holds the best Port houses in the world, and has the best secret sunsets to boot – Porto.img_2359

I’ve always had this beautiful hot spot on my travel list, but never took the plunge until this year when Mr S was super keen to drink some extra strong wine. Now I only wish I’d visited sooner. And here’s why….

THE BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS

Wherever I am in the world, architecture simply fascinates me. I could get lost in the pretty facades and beautiful brickwork in many a fair town. Porto however, takes it to a new level. The tiles. Did I mention the beautiful tiles?? Blue, Yellow, Green, Patterned. They will literally take your breath away as you see each and every design adorning the beautiful architecture around the City.ba2f6a7e-8ea4-4ace-865e-89c874fceb5aAzulejos (their official name), were adopted into Portuguese culture as far back as the 1400’s when King Manuel I took inspo from Seville. Now Porto’s walls are covered in these beautiful tiles and it’s even been named a UNESCO World Heritage site because of this.

If you stroll down to the waterfront you will see multicoloured buildings beautifying the streets like giant jewels. They are well loved and characterful, and they are perfect to sit in front of whilst sipping a reasonably priced wine (please remember I’m from London so 4-5 euros a glass is good where I’m from).

THEY HAVE THE VERY BEST VIEWS

As Porto is situated on the banks of the River Douro, the streets climb up through the city of Vila Nova de Gaia on the South and Porto on the North. This makes for some gorgeous views to enjoy whilst you devour your favourite Port. The city streets are so steep that you are sure to work up your appetites for your daily Natas!!

If you are looking to chase the sunset you will need to head up the hill on the Vila Nova de Gaia side. I suggest checking out The Yeatman Hotel for an stunning sunset you won’t forget in a hurry. Here you’ll find sophisticated cocktails, friendly waiters and an atmosphere which will leave you questioning how to move to Porto before the dreaded ‘B’. I devoured an espresso martini and Rich went with an old fashioned as we watched the sun disappear beneath the city.

If you fancy a more casual affair you may want to sit directly next to the banks of the River and snack on olives and crisps as you say your goodnights to the big ball in the sky.

Top Tip: Get to The Yeatman early to secure a front row seat on the terrace.

THE DOURO VALLEY IS SPECTACULAR (AND A STONES THROW AWAY)

You may well have noticed that Vineyards feature extensively in my trips abroad, and Porto was no exception. I suggest taking a day trip from the city and checking out a few Vineyards a mere 1hr 30 away from the city. You can take a tour complete with stop overs at many a picturesque spot as you go, you can even head there on the river from the harbour if that floats your boat (sorry for the naff joke).

img_2286Once you are there, they are mighty generous with the pouring too, so make sure you eat a decent breakfast before you set off into the Valley. I suggest some Natas and yummy croissants to fill your tum. If you’re lucky like us you will have been treated to both by your lovely Hotel.

We went with Efun tours and booked via Trip Advisor. Throughout the day you will sample Port straight from the barrels in some locations. You will also learn how they crush the grapes (with their actual trotters – yes, it nearly put me off too but I soldiered on and drank all the port).

Top Tip: The weather is generally a little warmer out there than in the city, so you may want to take off a layer when you get out there. Don’t forget the Sunscreen.

THE SEAFOOD

Being a longstanding Port (who’d have known), Porto is up there with the best city seafood i’ve ever laid my nashers on. The restaurants have some lovely seafood selections and I would urge you to try their catch of the day which has likely been caught just a couple of hours before making it to your plate (yum).

TOP TIP: Head one street behind the riverfront for really yummy traditional Portuguese restaurants which happen to be a 1/3 of the price.

THE NATAS

Okay, so it may come off a little extreme to dedicate a whole paragraph to the Natas. But we are talking about one of the cities in the world where you will you find fresh out the oven insanely good Natas at every turn. First created by monks (yes really) over 300 years ago near Lisbon, the recipe made its way up through Portugal and is now an everyday staple for many.

My recommendation? Head to Manteigaria near the Igreja dos Clergios Church. You will not be disappointed by the texture, flavour and taste of these beauties. I’m considering a fight back just for these alone!!!

Where to Stay

We had an epic adventure at the Pestana Vintage Porto. I booked it months in advance and can honestly say it blew us away.

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The hospitality upon entering this hotel was just fabulous. The room overlooking the river was unforgettable. And the breakfast? The breakfast was up there with the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever had. The perfect pastries, eggs cooked to perfection, sparkling wine on tap, freshly squeezed orange juice. It was the best possible way to start our days in Porto.

You are also welcome to visit their sister hotel further along the river if you want a day of R&R at the spa or lying by their infinity pool. Pestana Palacio do Freixo is an eighteenth century palace and a perfect way to spend the day.

TOP TIP: Book ahead if you want a reasonable price at this stunning hotel (you’ll thank me later).

Now I’m off to hunt down a Nata.

Safe Travels,

Han

xox

*this blog contains my personal Porto opinions (tongue twister eh?) and is not sponsored by any of the above highlights mentioned in any way. *

 

Why Instagram is S**T (in my opinion)

Okay, so I used to have a best friend, I thought they liked me as much as I liked them. I would pour hours of my time and energy into what I thought they liked and always seek approval from them. That ‘friend’ was called Instagram.

It was a slow transition. It started with an innocent picture of my Eggs Benny one day but boy did it escalate. It escalated to a point of missing fun times in place of getting ‘the shot’. It escalated to an extreme of sacrificing things I loved in place of taking pictures for brands or other ‘grammers’.

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Now I will say one thing before I tell you the ugly truth. And that is I have met some AMAZING humans through the squares. Some people who are just deliciously kind and good hearted. Some people who are up for a laugh and don’t take the whole virtual world too seriously.  For that reason alone, it could be worth it. But anyway here goes…..this is why I think Instagram is s**t.

YOU ARE BOMBARDED WITH OTHER PEOPLES S**T

Whether it’s good or bad news, you are constantly exposed to other peoples days/fears/news/relationships/cats/dogs – okay dogs are the good bits – but you get the picture. It would have been humanly impossible to come across such a large array of emotions/interactions within your 30 minute commute to work 10 years ago. But now? Now you get smacked in the face with millions of *other peoples* thoughts on random s**t before you’ve even had a chance to digest your morning cocoa pops.

img_2901.jpgThe smallest action of opening up the app to see a few pretty pics can leave you angry, sad, happy, anxious or just plain confused. And the worst thing??? We still open it up. It’s like an addiction. But like all addictions, it can be unhealthy.

I wonder, do we really need to see what everyone is up to each and every day. Do we really need to see people having a crap time and complaining or having a great time and not complaining. I’m thinking maybe not so much.

IT IS NOT REAL

Instagram is not real life. It can never ever be real life. So why do we incorporate it into real life so much?? The constant updates, the talking stories, the massively long captions which make my eyes strained. It can never ever give the full picture of someones life. It’s the portion they are willing to share with you at that moment in time on that day. *It is not real* (I really can’t stress this enough). Think someones having a shit time, you could be totally wrong, think someones having a great time, again you’ll never know. You’ll never actually know unless you take them out for a wine/coffee, and even then you still might not know. Insta is just not real.

Now there are some great posts out there which aim to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and therefore make people feel all warm and fuzzy. You know the ones I mean… talking openly about tummy rolls, or bad things that have happened to them in the day etc. But you know what??.. I don’t know about you but this can still have an impact on my mood. I end up feeling sad for someone if they complain and tell me they’re having a bad day – I take on some of their emotions just like I would a real life 3D friend. The tummy roll pics make me feel bad too, bad for not openly sharing my tummy rolls and loving them in the same way that the said ‘grammer can.

COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY

So, I want you to imagine a simple time, a time where people lived in a quiet village and would notice their neighbours new car or their friend’s snazzy landscaped garden. Maybe they gently eyed up their cousin’s watch and complimented their work colleague on their new Choos. Well all that is probably harmless right? However, add in a few hundred cars, gardens, watches, shoes, holidays which you are perusing day in day out and you could suddenly find yourself not appreciating all the beautiful things within your little real world. And that is just not cool.

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I really do think it’s true when they say “Life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it”. You could miss all the flavours of the wonderful food you’re having one evening because you’re scrolling through your feed and eyeing up someone else’s night on the town. You could miss the brilliant result your kid got at school because you’re being bombarded with someone’s good news on the squares and rushing to congratulate them wholeheartedly. You could just miss it. Period.

YOU WORK YOUR SOCKS OFF ON THE GRID FOR HARDLY ANYTHING

Now coming from one challenging healthcare job onto a life in the squares I am honestly questioning if its all worth it. Sure, I get to unleash my creative side on any beautiful human that will look at it. I get to choose pretty outfits and sometimes I get sent beautiful clothes or even get paid to take pics of them. But there is a lot that you don’t see on Instagram. The location scouting, the ironing, the editing, the negotiating, the 10 emails back and forth for one picture and the 20 emails chasing payments from brands – sometimes they still don’t pay. I often sit myself down and think ‘what the actual hell am I doing this all for?’.

INSTAGRAM IS UNPREDICTABLE

Now one of the main things that grinds my gears about this slightly evil square app is the unpredictability of it all. The algorithm. The sodding algorithm. Just when you think you’ve got to grips with it, it frikkin changes AGAIN. I think the people at Insta must like to mess with people psyches or something. That’s my best guess. I think we will be talking in years to come about how Instagram scrapped the chronological order of things and where we were on that day!!!

At this moment in time they’ve screwed with the engagement side of things. Which is probably not a big deal if you’re just sharing a pic of your schnauzer (hopefully me in a few weeks) but, if you’ve worked your way up over the years to collaborate with brands they probably expect a certain amount of traffic on your posts. It’s kinda like being kicked in nuts by Insta since they hide EVERYONE’S posts. And it just doesn’t make sense. Also the smaller accounts suffer, lack of exposure leads to lack of growth going back to what I said earlier – what is the actual point??

QUALITY VS QUANTITY 

Quite often quality and amazing content doesn’t add up to getting those elusive likes. Nope sir, its more about post timing, consistency and using the right hashtags (Some are too big and some are too small and some are jusssssst right). The trouble is, we’re NOT robots. We are humans with lives and we may not be able to manage all of the above on every post. And even if we do it drastically sucks all of the fun out of it like that miserable guy in the corner of the party who doesn’t wanna dance to Gloria Estefan.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

1) Well, we could put our virtual tail between our legs and we could quit. Except, all that hard work?? Such a shame.

2) We could take a massive step back like, you know, to Brazil. If something is making you tense/pissed off/annoyed then I’m personally thinking it’s not even worth it. My recent mini Insta-break has refreshed my soul and done me the world of good. I’ve also noticed a mahoosive drop in my anxiety… funny that.

3) We could make our profiles private. Okay so if you’ve been mega relaxed about this in the past then it’s probably not gonna make a huge difference because lots of people have your data, but it’s probably a step in the right direction.

4) We could unfollow all the people that don’t spark joy in us. The problem with this is it changes on a daily basis for me and you might offend some genuinely gorgeous humans. But then as someone I know always says ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs’.

As for me, much like a badly behaved boyfriend from years ago, I’ll probably take Insta back with open arms at some point. But until that day, I’m enjoying the ups and downs of my delightful 3D world.

Big Love as always,

Han

xox

P.s I would love to hear your views on Instagram.

 

 

 

SNAZZY STOCKING FILLERS (that won’t break the bank)

So, it’s that time of year. Final days in the office, last minute drinks with friends. If you’re anything like me, you haven’t even started your Christmas shopping.

That’s why I’ve rounded up my favourite stocking fillers/gifts under £20 which can be ordered ASAP (obvs double check delivery times). Now we can all run into Boots and grab any old tat to give the ones we love/kinda like… but these beauties will have people convinced you actually care, and you put thought into them at this special time of year.

They’re also not gonna break the bank – some of them can be snapped up for the princely sum of just £5!!

Now get clicking, and have a bloody fabulous festive season.

Big Love,

Hannah

XOX

My Winter Boot Edit

img_0288If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know about my ridiculous shoe obsession. I remember as a 5 year old hobbling around in my Nannas white peep toe stilettos and loving life (btw if you have daughters and don’t want them to go bankrupt – take note and lock the wardrobe doors when they’re little).

But lets talk about the real reason we’re here, BOOTS. As a self proclaimed shoe aficionado I want to highlight some of my recent boot finds and show you what I’ve been drooling over this month.

This year the boot situation has reached new levels as the shoe gods seem to continually release new fabrics, styles and lengths for us to covet. My shoe closet is more like a room in itself (also known as the spare room ;)). Soon I’m going to have to use the kitchen cupboards for shoe storage!!

The days of just choosing between patent or suede leather are long gone. Now there’s sequins, tartan, heavy hardware and all manner of fur. You name it, they’ve probably made it in the shape of a boot. And I couldn’t be happier!! Here are some of my absolute faves (most are afforadable, some a girl can dream can’t she??)…

TARTAN & CHECK

Tartan, houndstooth and other check prints are HUGE right now. Traditional and yet somehow bold at the same time, the combination of colours in a check design are the perfect choice to make your outfit pop!

But if you don’t want to don a set of check trousers a la Rupert the Bear, then switching up your boots could be the perfect way to introduce this print into your wardrobe. With just a glimpse of check on your toes, you can make your outfit just a little more daring without going OTT. I ordered the cream and yellow styles below from ASOS and I am currently in a slight dilemma deciding which pair to keep (you can help by voting on my stories).

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SEQUIN & SILVER

Perfect for this time of year, but why limit yourself to just a season with shoes that make you smile so much. They are a perfect style to light up a dance floor at the Christmas party without crippling yourself and needing a med evac at the end of the night.

I’m personally preferring the soft leather silver leather varieties (I’ve heard some of the high shine options can be slightly less toe-friendly).

ANIMAL PRINT

Good old animal mania… are you bored of it? Nah, me either. And it’s probably a good job as it seems to be here to stay for a little while longer. Snake, zebra, leopard; we’ve practically had the whole zoo in our closets. If you’re feeling less risqué, I’d recommend to stick with the leopard – it’s been around longer and the neutral tones make it an easy one to match with traditional base colours (see recent lilac post for inspo).

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ALL BUCKLED UP

It all started with Chloe. Well, at least thats where my personal obsession began with extensive hardware-emblazoned boots. Buckles, chunky metal and a sexy masculine quality made me fall onboard with this trend.

Ultra easy to pair with skinny ripped jeans and a biker jacket, these boots are the most functional for, you know, actually walking. I guess that’s important too after all.

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CLASSIC

Sometimes the classic, well made styles are just what the foot Doctor ordered. I’m sure you’re aware by now that I am a huge fan of a heel. I feel more confident and more ‘me’ if I’ve gone up a few inches in the world. These beauties are styles which do just that, they enhance your mood and can be worn from the office straight to cocktail hour.

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Which are your faves?

Have a good week guys!

Hannah
xox

N.B This is a personal blog written by me containing affiliate links, all opinions and thoughts are always my own. 

Sleeve dreams are made of this

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Knits, jumpers, sweaters; whatever you call them, they are a necessary addition to your #OOTD at this time of year.

The cold temperatures, skating dates and Winter Wonderland strolls call for lots of layers. I’m a big baby when it comes to being cold, but I don’t want to miss out on all the outdoor fun either.

I also don’t want to wear boring jumpers all the live long day and get fed up of my oh-so similar roll necks on repeat when I remove one of my fabulous coats (like these babies). That’s probably why I’ve developed a penchant for snazzy sleeves.

It started last year with some cheeky faux fur, and the obsession has expanded from there, now my wardrobe has amazing ‘arm-wear’ and all manner of textures and fake fur.

As far as I’m concerned the fluffier the better. Sure, you will get accused of looking like a chicken from time to time, people may call you a bear behind your back, but you will feel far from a plain Jane.

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This year, sequin sleeves and pearl embelishments have been doing the rounds and this is right up my Christmas street. Office dress down days, Christmas drinks and even a Saturday shopping sesh are all screaming out for this festive update.

I’ve linked some sexy sleeve-y faves for you to have a spy at.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Hannah

xox

SHOP THE LOOK

N.B This is a personal blog written by me containing affiliate links, all opinions and thoughts are always my own. 

 

Black Friday Bargs

It’s that time of year (that as a Brit holds zero significance to me) which we all get swept up by EPIC DISCOUNTS.

Yes thats right you’ve guessed it, it’s another Black Friday round up.

Now, I wasn’t going to bother bombarding you with Black Friday-ness but when I recieved an email from Mango telling me there is 30% off EVERYTHING, I was compelled to share this information with you. Enter BLACK18 at the checkout and your order price will be slashed.

Not long after that I saw some amazing boots from Nasty girl with a whopping 50% (yes you read that right) 50% off all clothing!! To cap it off stores like River Island made my week with 30% discount (selected lines but ya know, still awesome).

So below are a couple of the amazing things I saw and my favourite Black Friday bargain goodies below including the black and white two tone boots I ordered from Nasty Gal and some sequins for Christmas time too.

Remember, you don’t need it ALL.

Happy Friday beauts,

Hannah

XOX

TOPSHOP PICKS

MANGO PICKS

RIVER ISLAND PICKS

NASTY GAL/ASOS PICKS

N.B This is a personal blog written by me containing affiliate links, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Faux Fur Faves

img_1197.jpgI don’t know about you, but these plummeting temperatures have really got me reaching for my jumbo jumpers and black forest hot chocolates. It’s cold in the mornings and even cooler in the evenings. I reckon I’m one step away from full on hibernation in an ugly set of pj’s.

So let me bring you to the real reason you’re here, my winter rescue remedy: faux fur coats. They’re toasty, they’re cosy, and they look frikkin chic! But, perhaps even more importantly, they keep you from feeling like an extra in the film Frozen .

Handily they also happen to be one easy layer to ditch on the furnace-like temperatures of the Piccadilly Line. Pick one of the printed or (slightly) colourful versions and you are sure to jazz up any outfit in no time – you probably already know my feelings about looking like a real life cookie monster.

I have rounded up my absolute faves in the shops right now for you to feast your beasty eyes over (get it?!).

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You could also opt for the sleeveless variety and go down the gilet route. Here I paired my black faux fur version with a fluffy sleeved white jumper to add some volume to the look.

A word to the wise… seeing as we Brits are adopting all the American holidays, (not quite sure why) some of these are sure to still be in the Black Friday sales, if last year is anything to go by. So bear that in mind before you rush off to click your credit card details in.

And if you are actually American and celebrating Thanksgiving (not British peeps pretending for the Black Friday discounts) then I hope you have a good one 🙂

Peace.

Hannah

XOX

FAUX FUR PICKS

N.B This is a personal blog written by me containing affiliate links, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Ice Ice Purple

img_2573.jpgLilac. Let’s face it, it’s an ugly word. It conjures up images of Nans knitting in old cardigans and all sorts. But theres no denying, this pastel purple shade is hot right now (or cold – depending on which way you look at it). Yep, they’ve even given it a sexy new name – Icy Purple.

Seen all over the catwalks in SS18, it filtered into the AW high street collections and I for one couldn’t be happier. I selected this purple knit from Littlewoods to keep me cosy in these winter months and it is stunning. I definitely recommend you check them out – they have a really gorgeous selection of jumpers for the winter season. This particular one is oversized and a perfect match with some leather-look leggings. The leopard print boots  work perfectly to soften the effect of the purple and marry the look together. Both are on SALE right now just in time for Black Friday.

Now I’m aware that this shade of purple may remind you of previous Boots No7 eyeshadows you used to wear as a teen, or perhaps eating those weird parma violet sweets (did they actually taste of anything?). But I reckon this trend is not going away anytime soon so we should embrace it with open arms!

img_3042.jpgI also chose these stunning lilac sock boots from Littlewoods. They are such a beautiful shade to be worn with denim for a head to toe pastel look. They also look understated and chic with winter whites and creams, or you can keep it edgy like I did with my foolproof formula – black, lilac and leopard. I find these puppies are incredibly complimentary when worn with tan and brown hues so this ‘wild cat’ print works like a dream. They also happen to be incredibly comfy due to their sock-boot style.

While we’re walking on the wild side, can I just say I adore leopard print in general?! Okay, it’s been around the block a while but it pairs perfectly with pretty much any colour due to the neutral effect. This makes it a great option for any outfit, especially when you’re being a bit daring with your accent colour choices.

The bucket bag was gifted from a wonderful company which can personalise your totes and coincidentally matches perfectly with the purple shade in the boots. I’ve linked the exact bag below, and they also have loads of other cute goodies on offer.

I have rounded up some of my favourite lilac and leopard picks for you to have a look at at the bottom of this post.

Have a great weekend guys!

Hannah

xox

P.s Some of the pieces in this post were gifted but chosen and styled by me.

EXACT ITEMS

LILAC SOCK BOOTS

LILAC OVERSIZED JUMPER

LEOPARD PRINT BOOTS

BUCKET BAG

 

MY PICKS

N.B This is a personal blog written by me containing some affiliate links, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Christmas at Peggy’s

img_2826I don’t know about you, but I think catching up with people at this time of year can be so tricky. There’s parties, birthdays and Christmas drinks are starting to creep in already. Thats why I’ve started scheduling in Christmas coffee mornings at my favourite coffee joints.

Couple that with an invite from Peggy’s to pop by and sample their Christmas Menu, and I was on the tube to Victoria quicker than you could say ‘slow down cupcake’.

The beautiful festive shop front is a good enough excuse to go regardless of the food, but add in a little sprinkle of the best cupcakes you’ll ever taste and you will not regret a visit to Peggy’s Palace.

The festive menu is simply delicious and beautiful, it is sure to put a smile on even the Grinchiest Grinch. They also have mulled wine, yes you read that correctly, MULLED WINE on the menu.

Upon closer inspection inside, I clapped eyes on the festive cakes and I knew I wanted to get my paws on a snowman-topped treat. I went for the ginger and lemon cupcake which was so delicious. The ginger was beautifully balanced and not in any way overbearing and the lemon gave it a nice citrus kick. Plus, check out his cute little hat and scarf!

I washed my cupcake down with an expertly textured oat milk cappuccino – I’m always so relieved when cafes have an extensive range of milk offerings as I don’t drink cow’s milk. Peggy’s offer oat, soya, coconut and almond milk,  so it’s a perfect meeting spot for any lactose intolerant lads and ladies.

img_2702My parter in cake-eating crime @pepperpaperstyle opted for the raspberry, lemon and rose layer cake which was light, fluffy and refreshing (I stole some). The icing has a beautiful zing to it and the perfect pink is so pleasing to the eye. There is the same old problem at Peggy’s every time though, where the cake is almost too pretty to eat, but you’ll be happy to hear that I tackled that hurdle head on and stuffed my face.

img_2705If you haven’t visited this beautiful coffee spot in Victoria I urge you to add it to your London list. The staff are lovely and friendly, the cake is divine and the setting is stunningly pretty!!!

TOP TIP: Visit in the mornings for the best tables!

SHOP MY LOOK

ACTUAL RED SNAKESKIN SKIRT

N.B This is a personal blog written by me containing some affiliate links, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Magical Munich

img_9175Munich, not exactly a place I’ve been dying to visit. But this ignorant heel-wearing girl is fully prepared to eat her words (and some schnitzel).

It’s was late September when my boyfriend told me he had some work to carry out in Munich (I realise this makes him sound like some kind of drug dealer – not too far from the truth, as he works in pharmaceuticals). ‘Why don’t you come with me?’ he said, but  ‘nah’ was my immediate response. I had a mani booked and an appt with a bestie and some wine which I couldn’t miss. So off he went without me.

Fast forward two weeks to Oktoberfest time and Mr Styledit popped the question again. ‘I’m going back to Munich. Do you fancy coming?’ Hhhhhmmm I thought. What would I do when he’s on the office?! I got straight onto Google and starting looking up things to do in Munich.

Now the pictures looked cool, and I had heard Oktoberfest was fun, so I messaged my German friend @thesearchofhappiness for more info. She had been before and told me it’s a whole heap of fun, she also mentioned we’d be lucky to get a flight/hotel at such short notice. This weirdly made it seem 10x more desirable. You know, like when your sibling is playing with a toy as a kid so of course you want it too.

I booked my expensive ticket and thought ‘WHY THE HELL NOT?!?’. Turns out, this was one of the best decisions I made all year. Here’s some of my top finds…

 

1) KÄFER

Ahhhhh beautiful Munich, where do I start. On Day One I had a day-long date with the city. My boyfriend went straight to the office and I dropped my stuff off at the hotel and decided to walk into town. Personally, I think walking is best way to get to grips with a new city. I started on Prinzregentenstrasse near Prinzregentenplatz subway and made my way west into town. I had been told of a really pretty food shop named KÄFER near my hotel and it did not dissapoint.

 

It’s like walking back in time and has all the charm and splendour of Fortnum and Mason without a hint of the stuffiness (or maybe I just couldn’t detect it because of the language barrier). The higgledy-piggledy lay out just adds to the beauty and charm of the shop. The pastries are just delicious and it’s a good spot for your morning caffeine fix if you’re staying nearby.

2) ANGEL OF PEACE

img_9336.jpgI continued into town past the ‘Angel of Peace’ monument and fountains – well worth a look if you’re in Munich. As the Bronze Angel towers over you there is something very calming about the fountains right next to her. Take a book and relax on one of the steps or walls at the top. Its worth a mention that the road crossings are few and far between so be careful as you go (especially if you’re in heels).

As I mentioned Prinzregentenstrasse is a fantastic road to choose to walk into the city. It happens to have many beautiful buildings along the way, and I was blessed with some fine weather during my visit which just makes strolling all the more fun.

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3) EISBACH WAVE

Towards the end of this road is the Eisbach Wave – a sort of fountain of continuous waves in which guys and girls seamlessly surf across with ease.  I honestly could have stood here for an hour – in fact I suggest taking a snack with you. The surfers are brave, talented and don’t seem to be put off by the hundreds of tourists assessing their skills. Wait till one falls and you here the wipeout-esque ‘ooooooooooooo’ coming from the spectators.

I pressed on as I wanted to find my dirndl for Oktoberfest. I had a tip off from @thesearchofhappiness that going to Oktoberfest without taking part and donning the traditional wear is seen as bad form to the locals. I’d also been advised C&A was a good shout for an affordable authentic one (funny,  I thought C&A had closed down in the 90’s but appaz it’s still going strong for our German cousins).

4) NEW TOWN HALL

C&A and most of the Dirndl shops are located in Marienplatz which is the main square in Munich. And what a breathtakingly beautiful square it is. Okay so it’s crowded and busy, but the first thing that strikes you is the insanely gorgeous Gothic-esque architecture of Munich New Town Hall. With sharp spikes and detailed carvings, it is just too pretty not to take your breath away.  It was built in the early 20th century but it feels and looks much older than its years.

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I popped my jaw back in place continued about my quest for my traditional Bavarian attire. I’ll be honest, this is where I lucked out – C&A totally came up trumps. I headed upstairs to the first floor where every single dirndl and lederhosen was half price. Yep you read correctly: 50% off. I began to speed-browse for my size in the panicked fashion you do when you need something and it’s reduced. Sizes are a little crazy, but after three attempts I soon figured out a 36 is like a UK8 and a US4. Shame, because the bright red one only had a size 40 🙁 boo hoo.

Now to the lederhosen stand. Probably the most stressful shopping experience I’ve ever had. A) because I couldn’t remember my boyfriends size in the UK and B) because it doesn’t actually make a blind bit of difference when I did find out the info as the German sizes are mental!!! But being the clothes-obsessed hawk I am, I managed to pull it out of the bag.

5) OKTOBERFEST

This Bavarian beer swigging festival runs from late September until early October. We’ve all heard of it, but unless you’ve been it’s pretty likely you won’t know what this German knees-up entails.

 

I for one had zero idea of what to expect. So I did what any millennial would do, and ‘trip-advisored’ it. It mentioned that tents get mega full and you are a special kind of lucky if you manage to find a seat in one.

Turns out, seating doesn’t actually matter one bit! The set up is like Winter Wonderland’s cousin on steroids with more beer. There you will find an abundance of rides, games and market stalls as well as traditional German food, beer and more beer.

We arrived in the evening and milled around. I started with a G&T, because you know, I’m set in my ways. We ordered a currywurst and bratwurst from questionable looking stalls (all part of the fun) to line our tummies.

We then headed to the wine tent. Yep, there’s a WINE TENT. It happens to be the busiest and most exclusive, but I was prepared to chance it given my unreasonable addiction to Reisling. And with no seat for most of the night on a cold october evening we had THE MOST INCREDIBLE TIME. As a Brit it goes totally against my culture but if there is one thing I can recommend you do it is TIP, TIP, TIP. It’s the only way to not be ignored. The staff run around endlessly carrying full litre vases filled with beer (usually at least 5 at a time!) so don’t expect them to stop and take your pesky order if you’re not nice to them.

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The atmosphere is fun and infectious, as everyone is out to have a good time. Do expect to dance on the tables and basically just DON’T MISS IT. Also, order the cone-like dessert thing on your way out at the end of the night. It’s filled with Nutella and sprinkles of hazelnuts and is out of this world!! I’m contemplating booking my ticket back next year just so I can eat that dream again!

6) CHURCH OF ST PETER

October 3rd is a national holiday in Munich meaning a lot of shops are closed, but fear not, restaurants do not seem to be affected. The plus side for me was that I had a co-explorer. We got the subway into town to Isartor. I’d heard nice things about a restaurant so we had some lunch and then explored our way back to Marienplatz.

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Just behind Marienplatz is a beautiful church called St Peter’s. It looks kind of cute from the outside, but the real beauty of this spot lies in the roof top view. This is a must see when in Munich. With panoramic views across the city and entry for €3 you really can’t go wrong!! I was actually a little surprised by how quiet it was (perhaps the holiday played a part in this). The stairs are challenging (I work out too ha ha) so perhaps it’s not one for the families/silver stair climbers.

img_9173The steps are also crazily arranged so maybe tick this one off before all the beers if you’re ‘festing too. But it truly is an absolute must and you will not regret the climb once you poke your head out at the top to see beautiful building tops and the dreamiest skyline.

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TOP TIP: Time it with sunset if you can and let mother nature add some colour to the already breathtaking scene.

7) VIKTUALIENMARKT

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After you’ve been blown away by the view in St Peters, walk down the adjacent hill and you will find a bustling food market that is open daily (except for bank holidays). The cute cookies that you see all over Munich are available in the bakeries here (at a fraction of the price to the ones on Oktoberfest. You’ll find traditional German meat and lots of interesting food.

8) THEATINE CHURCH

img_9273.jpgAlong from Marienplatz is a series of beautiful arches that lead you to the beautiful bright and yellow Theatre Church.  There are a selection of incredibly pretty cafes and bars which you can sit and and enjoy the atmosphere.

The arches that lead to Marienplatz from the church contain gift shops and cute florists etc. They are worth popping into, and sell the kind of trinkets and souvenirs that you may want to buy (I bought a magnet for my fridge).

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9) GARTNERPLATZ

I could not come to Munich without checking out the shops. My favourite area to shop in was Gartnerplatz. Just a short walk away from the Viktualienmarkt, it housed cute boutique stores and vintage clothing shops.

I found some incredible unique pieces, there are also some health food and coffee shops in this area which are worth a visit.

WHERE TO EAT

When I travel I generally like to stick to local cuisine as much as possible. If you are travelling during Oktoberfest I would recommend the food stalls in the park. They are not glamorous, but the food sure is tasty. If you want to have a more snazzy dining experience I strongly advise you check out the following…

SCHWARZREITER

Here we enjoyed a truly hearty meal, with lots of delicious meat and very friendly service.

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The warm pretzels are a delicious way to start the meal, and the decor inside is special yet relaxing. The restaurant is part of a really swanky hotel on the most expensive street in the city (think the Rodeo Drive of Munich) but the meal we had was actually pretty good value for money.

TOP TIP: Have a drink in the hotel bar next door where you’ll be serenaded by a live pianist whilst you drink your pre-dinner cocktail.

RUSTICANA

Hands down the best ribs I’ve ever eaten – I’m still thinking about them now. This restaurant is small but oh so German. It’s extremely cosy and crowded, but we were lucky enough to get a seat at the countertop, which was a cute way to eat in an informal setting. We hadn’t booked ahead so didn’t have much space but it didn’t put me off.

The staff have come under criticism on Trip Advisor but I honestly can’t see why. It’s a nice atmosphere with delicious food and plenty of good wine. We had good service and would definitely go back!!!

TOP TIP: Order one portion of ribs to share as they are the size of a semi-detached house!!!

MARIANNEHOF

Filling and hearty, this is a fab place to stop off for some lunchtime fuel (especially if you’re walking around the city all day).

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The schnitzel is really tasty and I was surprised by the quality of the fresh salad option (leaves can be pretty sparse in Bavaria). As we found in a lot of places in Munich, the local wine is both drinkable and really cheap – starting at around €3 a glass.

TOP TIP: Wash it all down with some of the yummiest Rose wine i’ve had in a while.

WHERE TO DRINK

ORY

The most ‘un-Munich-y’ spot, but you have to check it out anyway. This newly-opened cocktail bar in the Mandarin Oriental hotel just oozes decadence from the moment you walk in. After a complimentary welcome drink, I definitely recommend you order yourself an amazing Espresso Martini and just bask in the sexy vibes for the perfect post dinner aphrodisiac.

TOP TIP: Order a cocktail, they’re mega good at them!

XAVER

Back to a more German joint. This bar also serves extremely yummy looking food, but since we already had reservations elsewhere they were kind enough to let us cop a squat and sip some wine.

LE COPAIN

Situated near Marienplatz this is a coffee shop with a really decent blend. I’ll be honest, as Germany isn’t so famous for its coffee I wasn’t expecting much, but their brew was delicious and their pastries went down a treat too.

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I went back a couple of times as the staff were so friendly to me when I was looking lost on my first day in Munich.

COFFEE FELLOWS

Ideal for people watching and listening to German conversations whilst sipping your cuppa Joe (NB I don’t speak a word of German). This coffee spot is very close to the Viktualienmarkt.

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TOP TIP: Borrow one of their glossy German mags and catch up on the latest German fashion trends.

Note: I was going to call this 72 hours in Munich but due to an EASYJET cancellation I got an extra day to enjoy this wonderful city.