A Different Bite of the Apple – New York Travel Inspo

I am not really sure where this year has gone, I cant believe I haven’t managed to get one post out in year. I have travelled to some amazing places this year and hopefully will get round to documenting all of my trips. I’m going to start with my first love, NYC.

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New York is my favourite place in the world, I would move there in a heartbeat. I am really lucky to have a friend there and get to experience living in the the magical surroundings of NYC. If you’re looking for a more alternative New York than chain restaurants and Time Out’s top listed places you need to head to the other side of the water to Brooklyn.

Good Morning Williamsberg – Egg Shop 

Egg Shop is a cute, very instagrammable spot where you can get eggs in every way imaginable. Not just for breakfast they also serve dinner, and most importantly….cocktails!

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Betches who Brunch – Reunion

Brunch is practically mandatory when weekending in New York and if you’re into pancakes you need to go to Reunion. I never thought I would be defeated by a pancake but the Reunion pancake was the first to beat me, it is HUGE and beyond delicious! I would also recommend the Shakshooka if a sweet brunch isn’t your thing.

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Sweet Treats – Milk Bar 

Three words, Birthday Cake Truffles, Crack Pie and Cereal Milk Ice Cream. Go, order it and be happy. Although the store its self may seem understated the taste is far from it. The day I watched Drag Race and and ate Crack Pie for breakfast in bed was one of my all time favourite mornings. If you want to check this place out more before visiting check out Netflix’s Chefs Table Episode 1, Season 4 to see this amazing brand being created.

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Battle of the Pizza – Juliana’s 

Depending on who you ask you will no doubt get two answers for the best pizza in NYC, some will say Grimaldi’s and others will be correct and say Juliana’s. Next door to each other the rivalry between these two pizza places is fierce. You will queue outside between 30 – 60 minutes for a Juliana’s pizza but it is worth it, just maybe try to plan your trip here on a day when the weather will be nice!

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Live Your Best Life – House of Yes 

If like me the only thing you love more than food (and fashion) is a themed party complete with aerial, fierce drag kweens and glitter then you need to head to House of Yes. It was their Golden Themed party while I was in New York and i had only 12 hours to pull together a golden lewk, I managed…just but if you are heading to New York and want to attend the party of a life time check the events listing, book a ticket and plan a killer outfit.

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To check out more highlights from my last NYC trip check out my Instagram Story Highlight. – @Lottie_Helen

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Love Lottie

xoxo

The Original Ice Hotel

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Every year Ice Hotels around the world are build then melt, but the Swedish were the first ones to create this palace made of snow. In the most northern town in Swede, Kiruna the first ice Hotel was built, offering customers the chance to sleep in beautifully created bedrooms made completely of ice and snow. This has sparked off a number of countries following suit including Iceland and Canada as well as Ice Bar’s popping up in a number of big cities. I visited the original in Sweden via Discover the World  to see whether it really was “Bucket List” worthy.

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Getting there 

Discover the World are the only company to offer i direct from the UK to England, their #IceFlight is the most cost effective and easiest way to get to Kiruna, they also take take for booking your accommodation and excursions. The Hotel is only around 15 minutes via coach from the Airport but because I wanted to cram in as much as possible I booked for a dog sled to take us to the Hotel. Opting for this was a great way to fit the Dog’s in but was a harsh way to get used to the cold! Although i don’t think I could have done all of the activities we did with out taking the Dog Sled ride so early I think if i were to go back i would have rather opted for a dog sled during the day also, to make the most of the scenery.

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The Hotel

The Hotel is a masterpiece in its self, every ice filled corridor is magnificent, the bar is a destination in its own right and a each Art Suit is its own individual piece of ice crafted art. The rooms are all open during the day for you to look in and take photos and the Ice Bar opens from 12 pm until 1 am.

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Sleeping 

The whole point of the Ice Hotel is to sleep in one of their Cold Rooms and yes they are really that cold, our cold room night was around -8! There are a wide range of rooms in the thanks to the new Ice Hotel 365 as well as the original Ice Hotel 27. The Ice Hotel 365 is a new concept and allows the Bar and some Cold Rooms to be available all year round and the 27 is the original which will still melt and be re built every year.

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There are different rooms depending on your budget, although each room is special an Art Suite will definitely make your stay a little more memorable. If you really are worried about the cold there are Deluxe Art Suites which have a private warm area with a toilet and shower attached to the room. Although I didn’t opt for a Deluxe Art Suite I was extremely lucky and scored “Dreamscape” an ice bed at the top of a magnificent staircase which was worth having a shared (sex separated) toilet and shower.

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The best way to make sure you get the most out of your Cold Room is to plan a to keep warm a couple of hours before going in, this could be going for a meal in a restaurant or visiting the warm bar. To sleep i wore thermal trousers, long sleeved top, thin gloves, ski socks and a hat, although I wasn’t cold and slept fine, I wish I had put a thicker jumper on.

Eating 

The food at the Ice Hotel is amazing, each day there is a full breakfast buffet and in the evening there is a choice of the Ice Restaurant and the Old Homestead which is around a 10 minute walk away from the Hotel. Most excursions include food also, usually served round a fire or in a small cabin.

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We experienced the Chef’s table on our first night which is an 8 course tasting menu served in the kitchen. The menu included all the Arctic favourites such as Elk, Reindeer and Arctic Char as well as a trio of the most delicious deserts. It was quite strange at first but the staff were so lovely I soon felt relaxed and it was great to see the hustle and bustle of the kitchen while you ate.

Things To Do 

The excursion list is huge but you can do as little or as much as you like. When booking your excursions make sure you look at the start and finish times, whether food is served and consider the cold. Discover the World can help you pick excursions but they wont know how much you can stand the cold. Its best to make sure you have time to warm up between excursions and over dress for excursions. Having a back pack with an extra balaclava, dry gloves and an extra layer will never be a bad decision.

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I did the Dog Sled, Wilderness Survival, Snow Mobile Northern Lights Tour, Cross Country Skiing and Sauna Ritual. If i could have I would have also either gone on the Horseback Moose Safari or went to see the Remainders but I couldn’t have fit one more thing in!

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The best excursion was the Snow Mobile Tour, although we didn’t see the Northern Lights it was definitely the most fun. I was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights while at the Hotel, if you are looking to photograph the lights and don’t have a professional camera, download the Norther Lights Photo Taker before going.

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The Ice Hotel is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had to date and worth every penny. If it isn’t already on your Bucket List it needs to be!

Love Lottie xx

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Dubai Travel Tips – Part 1

Dubai is quickly becoming the centre of the world, a hub for many flight transfers and a holiday destination in its own right. Dubai is literally the place you can do anything! A morning at the beach followed by skiing or an afternoon or shopping local souvenirs in souks followed by being in the largest shopping Mall in the world, anything is possible. I’ve been to Dubai a few times now and hope these tips will help you have an amazing trip.

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Accommodation

The magnificent palm is a post card location for Dubai and is an amazing place to stay with luxury hotels including the fabulous Atlantis but if you want to actually see Dubai the palm may not be the best place to stay, especially if you are short on time. Getting on and off the palm can take between 30 minutes – 2 hours if the traffic is bad so if you want to be able to get around most places i would recommend staying some where more central such as Down Town Dubai or the base of the palm if you are looking for that post card destination.

There are so many hotels in Dubai but Trip Advisory have a good list of Central ones with detailed reviews here: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/HotelsList-Dubai-City-Centre-Hotels-zfp45245.html

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Shopping

The biggest destination is the Dubai Mall, with its huge aquarium, waterfall, ice rink and of course hundreds of shops. The good thing about the Mall is the stores are grouped well, you can usually find what you are looking for relativity easily. There are also numerous help points around the Mall both electronic and manned stands which have a huge index and easy to follow maps. Although Dubai is a place known for its wealth a number of things are actually more expensive in Dubai, designer goods, make up and Victoria Secret being just a few, so make sure you check the prices before going on a shopping spree. There are many restaurants and the majority are well known chains so its easy to spend a full day here viewing the sights and shopping.

The Creek area is filled with market stalls and usual tourist gifts, there is also a vast spice market in this area too. With that comes the traditions of a market, forceful selling techniques and constantly saying no thank you as you head head through the streets. I would definitely recommend the Creek Area just for a look around and to sit at a cafe on the Creek with a a Rose Tree Cooler or Saffron Karak Chai (a traditional tea).

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If that isn’t for you but you would like a for  more of a traditional shopping experience the Souks at the Madinat are the perfect compromise. Although usually more expensive than the traditional market’s you can wander through the Aladdin cave style stores, pick up some souvenirs then head to a Cafe Rouge for a glass of wine. In this area you can also find great views of the Burj Al Arab and see the small Venice style rivers which wind through the area.

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Sights

Burj Khalifa

If you would life to have a view from the top its best to book this in advance, tickets sell out fast at peak times! If you really want to explore the views there is a great bar and restaurant, but neither are cheap and both have a minimum spend. If you want to see the view at dusk or night going to to bar is a great way to relax and see the view as you can easily meet the minimum spend by having a couple of cocktails and there is no fee to go up.

The Dubai Fountain

The Fountains are best to be viewed when spending time at the Mall, this way if you miss a show you can either go back to your shopping, grab a soft drink or bite to eat while waiting for the next show. There are only 2 day time shows these times change depending on the day but the evening shows are every 30 minutes from 6pm – 11pm.  The evening show is very popular so it may be best to try and get a good view form a near by restaurant and wait it out or wait till one show is ending and try to get to the front. You will have to wait 30 minutes, defending your spot if you are desperate for a prime view. The evening shows are broken up with a light show on the Burj Khalifa so you will be entertained no matter which option you go form.

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You can’t go to Dubai with out going into the Desert. A Desert Safari is the best way to ensure you get the full experience. This trip is a long one, starting in the afternoon and not getting back till 9pm, the majority of time spent in the vehicle so make sure you are wearing something comfy. It also can be cold at night in the desert so take a jacket or jumper if you are used to the Dubai heat. You will go into the desert, bouncing round the dunes, get a chance to do quad biking, camel riding or dune surfing then will be served traditional food while watching live entertainment. I would recommend this trip, especially if you want to make the most of your time if Dubai but driving through the dunes isn’t for the faint hearted!

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The Culture

People forget how young Dubai is as a city and that not that long ago there were no sky scrapers and Ex Pats. I went on a cultural tour at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. On the tour you see how the people of Dubai used to live and get an opportunity to ask a local anything. You will be served traditional food and coffee while discussing the culture with your guide followed by a walk through the Centre ending at a Mosque. Women will be required to cover with an Abaya and Hijab but this is provided by the Centre. It was amazing to see a side of this city that is forgotten, the locals as well as the culture and I would highly recommended this excursion.

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Burj Al Arab

To get that perfect Dubai image the Burj Al Arab at night is a must! You can see this from the Madinat Souks as mentioned earlier but a great way to see it is by booking a meal at Shimmers Restaurant in the Madinat Jumeirah. You can have great food with a view of the beach and the Burj Al Arab then shisha and drinks on the beach  with the best backdrop. If you want to see the Burj Al Arab in the day light you can do a paddle board tour, I am desperate to do this on my next trip

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I hope these inspire you to visit Dubai or make your next trip even more amazing. I’ll be following this up with where to eat and party in Dubai!

Love Lottie xxx

 

 

 

Flight Essentials

I fly A LOT and usually long haul, over the years I have learnt how to make my flying experience as comfortable and easy as possible. These are my top tips for anyone jumping on a plane this summer:-
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Comfortable (buy stylish) Outfit – Every flight I used to get on I would be in heels, full face of make-up and jeans, always glam. After having to remove my shoes and run the length of 3 Heathrow Terminals, being delayed on the runway for 3 hours and deciding a value sleep more than looking good this soon stopped. Now it’s all about comfort!
Firstly underwear is so important, no one wants to be sat for 7 hours with an underwire poking them in the rib or lace slowly being imprinted on your bum. Thanks to the countless celebrities making Calvin Klein bralets and full briefs popular its now acceptable to not wear an actual bra to so many occasions (YASSS) and they are a must have for flying. Pink, Tommy Hilfiger and even Topshop have their own versions of these little beauties perfect for every style and budget.
Trainers are another must, Airports are huge and you never know when you will get that delay and need to run carrying all your carry on to make a connecting flight. My Nike Air Pegasus ‘83’s are my choice of foot wear for any flight, comfy and go with everything. For my flight today to New York I’ll be wearing them with some Ivy Park Leggings and my sassy “YASSS QUEEN” top from Betches.
Flights also tend to be a little colder so even if you heading out to 30 degrees and sunshine always pack a hoody or jumper for the flight as well as a pair of socks. I never fly without a pair of Hello Kitty socks!
Supplies – Even if you are flying on a flight were you get food and drinks as part of your ticket fare I would always recommend grabbing a bottle of water and a snack in the airport. You will never know the menu until you get on the flight and if they aren’t serving something you like then it’s a long time to go with nothing! Also the drinks on flights are small and they also don’t come round too often, especially if you are flying at night. If I have ever had to rush through an Airport and forget to pick up some water I spend the whole flight climbing over the person next to me to go ask for water, it doesn’t make you very popular!
Entertainment – Before you leave for the flight check the airlines website and look at what’s available on the entertainment package. Some airlines charge for the latest movies so look out for that as spending hours choosing between the bottom of the Netflix barrel is the worst. Checking the entertainment before you fly will allow you to download the latest box set to your tablet or lap top or bring enough books to keep you going.
Another must for entertainment is comfy headphones, if they are going to be on your head or in your ear for pretty much the full flight they need to be comfortable. Bose do a sound cancelling headphones are amazing, even if you need to sleep you can put these in and cancel out all the sound around you completely.
Don’t forget your chargers and make use everything is fully charged before leaving, there is nothing worse than 20% battery anxiety. Flights tend to have a USB plug so you can charge your phone or tablet and Business Class seats on British Airways have a plug socket. This is an American plug fitting though so if you need to use it you will also need an adapter.
Toiletries – Even though you can only take 100ml of any liquid on a flight its worth working out a way to get your skin care and toiletries on that flight. If you need to sleep on the flight it’s so nice doing your nightly routine before getting comfy and means you can freshen up before landing. I use Clarins skin care and whenever I can get a sample size I always pick my essentials, cleanser, day cream, night cream and eye make-up remover and use them for flights. I also pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, a moisturiser, lip balm, deodorant, comb and my basic make up items. Everything I need to get ready for bed, freshen up in the morning and feel amazing for arriving at my destination. They also come in handy in case your luggage is delayed (which has happened to me 4 times now!!!).
Set Up – You have to get your seat right, first selecting your seat always try to get a seat with that little extra leg room, these are at the front of the flight, emergency exits and at the beginning of any Class Cabin. Some airlines charge for these but others its first come first serve so check in early and grab those seats.
 Once you are in your seat you need to make sure you have everything you need in reaching distance, there is nothing worse than having to go through a mini yoga routine to reach up and pull all the overhead luggage out mid-flight, or even worse, the seat belts signs staying on for what seems like a life time while your left pining for your head phones. At about this time I would put on my Hello Kitty socks and press play on a good girly film ready to start my trip in comfort!
Enjoy your next flight!!!!
Love Lottie xxx
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