Travel Tips & What To Do – Amsterdam

Hey hey

Well .. thanks for coming back. If you’re reading this it’s probably because a) You are considering going to the beaut place that is Amsterdam, b) You have just come back and are having serious Dam withdrawal symptoms (ahem.. moi) or c) You love my blog and want to read every post I put up (LOL, I’m kidding.. but if so I love you lots & you da best). Recently, Amsterdam has become THE place to visit for a short city break, and it is definitely not hard to see why. There is SO much to do (seriously), it can be hard to cram everything in if you are only visiting for a few days. Now… I did plenty of research before I went and picked out the places I really wanted to see. Of course … I had a list as long as my arm of the things I wanted to do.. but because I was only there for 3 days, had to cut down. BUT… I thought it would be a fab (and very helpful) idea if I shared some of these things too. Also – to give a few general tips that could help some of you who are going there. So .. grab yourself a cuppa and let’s talk all about Amsterdam !

 
Things to do

Museums

There are SO many museums to visit in Amsterdam, if you wanted you could spend your entire trip wandering through all the museums. There is one for everyone .. if you fancy a giggle, try the Sex Museum (I never went in there myself but every single person who has been in recommends it highly!). It only costs around 5 euros to get in and is a good way to pass some time! It’s right next to the train station too so very easy to reach. Whilst I was there, I went to the Body Works Museum.. which is definitely not for the faint hearted. It has actual bodies that people have donated to that museum for their exhibitions and is FASCINATING to see .. especially if you love creepy things (me hahaha). It cost us 16 euros each to get in but it’s a pretty decent size and has so much to see! Next .. if you really want to get a feel of Amsterdam, you have to visit the Amsterdam Museum .. it has all the history of the city and so many things to see. If you want to learn all about the two things that Amsterdam is notoriously known for (ahem.. weed & prostituion), there are specific museums for that too, both of which cost a couple of euros to get in. There are also museums for the art/culture lovers, such as the Van Gogh Museum & the Rijksmuseum (find proper spelling), which are both a tram ride away from the city centre. All in all.. there is a museum for every single person in Amsterdam, so you’re sure to find something you’re interested in.

Anne Frank House

I thought I would talk about this separately as unlike the regular museums, you will most likely have to queue for a few hours if you want to visit on the day without booking, and even then you can only go in after 3pm. SO – best thing to do if you want to go? Book in advance. Literally like 2 months in advance – as tickets go live online for 2 months ahead and they DO fill up. It costs exactly the same to book online (9 euros), and you have to select a time slot of when you are visiting. When I visit Amsterdam again, I will definitely book the trip & the Anne Frank House at the same time. I suggest you do the same, as even though I booked my trip a month before, there were still some slots available (which I stupidly didn’t book at the time, gahhh).

 

Food

I could honestly babble on about the food for SO LONG because honestly whatever type of food you want, there is something for you. They have restaurants, takeaways, street food, breakfast places, a whole China Town, and SO many dessert places too. It really depends on what you want, but I am going to tell you about my favourite places we visited.

Pancakes!

Amsterdam is so well known for its pancakes, and if you love them you have visit Pancakes. Prepare to queue, but you shouldn’t be waiting that long! It is definitely worth the wait – I had probably the best pancakes EVER from here. They have every option too, crepe, Dutch, American.. and all the toppings you could want. Also – try their homemade lemonade, it’s DELICIOUS. The staff were amazing, the food was fab and I highly reccomend planning a visit there. It is pretty reasonably priced too, which is always a plus. You get a little clog keyring when you pay which made me happy – it’s the little things ey.

 
Omelegg

If you are a lover of omelettes (let’s be real, who isn’t), then a trip to Omelegg is definitely on the cards. Again, probably the best omelettes I had and there is literally every single type of omelette you could ever want. It’s reasonably priced too, and again the staff are just amazing.

 

Amsterdam Fries

You HAVE to try fries from Amsterdam, and trust me you will see these little street food shops everywhere in central, and there WILL be queues, but it’s fast food so you won’t be waiting long. Basically you get some fries in paper with literally any sauce imaginable, and they will be the nicest fries you will have EVER. I’m thinking about them now wishing I could have them *cries*.

 
For dinner, we had no issues finding halal/vegatarian friendly food too which was a massive plus. It really depends of what type of thing you want for dinner, as I mentioned you can find ANY type of food there, so it’s always good to have a wander during the day to see where you want to dine in the evening!

Sights to see

Vondelpark

I had to include this as it really is one of the most beautiful parks ever. Think of it has a Hyde Park or Central Park of Amsterdam. It’s absolutely HUGE, was FULL of cherry blossom when I went (blogger goals), and if you want, you can rent a bike and just spend a whole afternoon cycling around. Also – it is pretty close to LOTS of restaurants/pancake places so you can make a day trip out of it!

Begijnhof

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This is basically a courtyard in the middle of Amsterdam where you can visit if you want some peace for an hour or so. It is about 15 minutes on tram from central and is definitely worth seeing. You honestly feel like you have stepped into a whole new city when you go inside. It is also pretty close to the Amsterdam museum so you could fit in both of these in one afternoon.

Red Light District


Honestly? It’s not as notorious as you might think – it’s a pretty interesting sight to see. We went there during the day and night, and it’s amazing to see the difference! During the day, it’s just like any other of the canals, but by night it literally comes alive. If you really want, you can book a tour where you can have entry to one of the museums I mentioned earlier, or you can just take a stroll at your own pace. Also – do NOT take pictures of the ladies – there was a specific place at the top of the discrict near a bridge where people seemed to gather to take some pictures …. but you should avoid taking them anywhere else.

Keukenhof

If you visit Amsterdam during the months of late March – May, you should definitely plan a visit to Keukenhof. This is where the famous tulip gardens are and its around 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam. You can easily get a train out or there are tours that you can book. If I had an extra day, I would have definitely gone because it really is a breath taking, beautiful site to see!

Canal cruises

If you want a pretty chilled tour of Amsterdam, canal cruises are the way to go. We didn’t get a chance to go on one as the weather wasn’t the nicest, and we just had so many other things planned! You can get tours where you have dinner, romantic tours during the sunset, or just standard tours … whatever you are after you’ll find something. They do get quite busy though, but as there are so many to choose from you shouldn’t be waiting too long.

 
Right – I think that will be all for the ‘things to do’ bit – I could honestly go on for ages but I think I’ll save that for another time right?

So – now some general tips for Amsterdam .. things that I found helpful and that could help you too!

Get a Travel Ticket

 
These are so handy and something that you can pick up from the airport. It basically allows you to get on any train, tram, bus & ferry in central Amsterdam (including ferries to North Amsterdam which we used it for) and it cost us 26 euros for 3 days. You can also get one for 1 or 2 days (obviously cheaper depending on the days you need). It is so much easier and cheaper having one ticket for your whole trip rather than purchasing a new one each day.

Beware of cyclists

As Amsterdam use the opposite side of the road to the UK, looking to one side of the road can usually mean you miss a cyclist on the opposite side (or is that just me LOL). Basically look left, right then left again. Amsterdam locals are so so lovely, but they can get pretty annoyed if you rush into a bike lane (anybody would to be honest), so just watch where you walk. Also – only rent out a bike in the city if you are a confident cyclist. I personally would not because I wouldn’t be quick enough to cycle on roads – save the bike hire for Vondelpark.

 
Make sure to try takeaway stroopwafels/crepes/churros

Trust me… you will not forgive yourself if you leave Amsterdam without trying one of the above. They just taste SO GOOD.. and I had so many whilst I was out there. Calories don’t count on holidays guys.

Visit the SIX FLOOR PRIMARK

Yes you read right – 6 floor Primark. It’s amazing and I wish wish we had a Primark that big. Every single thing you’ve seen in a Primark is there… and if I had some extra space in my luggage I would have stocked up on some goodies!

Be prepared for the smell of weed everywhere

Although smoking weed is preferred in coffee shops, it’s not illegal to smoke it in public places, so you will continuously smell it whilst wandering round Amsterdam. Just be prepared. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Try the cheese

There are SO many cheese shops in central and more or less all of them offer testers of their cheese. It is SO worth trying because it was probably some of the best cheese I’d tried. If you have some space in your suitcase, bring some back. You won’t regret it.

You don’t have to stay in Central

I know so many people say you should find a hotel in Central as you are closer to all the attractions .. but this doesn’t have to be the case. We stayed at the Mercure Sloterdijk Station Hotel, and it was SO handy as the train station was a 2 minute walk away. Trains from there to Central were every 5 minutes. I would highly recommend the hotel too as it was really quiet, affordable and had great connections to the city.

 
Phew … I think that’s everything on my list!? I loved Amsterdam so so much and definitely HIGHLY RECOMMEND going as I know you will love it too! It’s a pretty affordable place to visit and you will find so much to do!

If you have ANY questions, just let me know and I will be happy to help!

Hope you found this post helpful! Have a fab week guys – I love you lots!

Saira

Xx

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Travel Diary – Amsterdam

Hi GUYS

How ya’ll doing? Hope you have had the best week EVER. Been up to much ? If you follow me on practically any social media – you will know that I recently went to the ever so popular, BEAUT city of Amsterdam. Oh yes. One of the most popular places to visit ATM – especially amongst my fellow blogging gals. In fact – booking a city break and travelling to Amsterdam was actually on my Spring bucket list (ahem – post here if you fancy a gander) – and I was SO chuffed to tick it off!

So – as I was saying, unless you’ve been avoiding me on Twitter (hope not) you will know that I went to Amsterdam over the May Day bank holiday – and as the typical blogger would do – am writing up my travel diary for you (WOOP). Now – I have decided to incorporate a travel series on my blog – so will be doing a few posts on my trip, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

For now though – a quick run through of what I got up to, with plenty of shots of one of the most picturesque places I’ve EVER visited.

Day 1

Armed with our bags, we scuttled off to Leeds Bradford Airport and boarded our flight to Amsterdam, which only took 50 minutes (I couldn’t even fit an episode of 13 Reasons Why on it). We arrived at Schipol Airport around 4pm & got the train to Sloterdijk Station. We stayed at the Mercure Hotel just opposite there, so getting the train to central was an absolute doddle (literally took around 8 minutes).

After settling in to our hotel, we freshened up and headed out to central Amsterdam to explore. It honestly is one of the most beautiful places. It sounds odd but I found it one of the most lively, yet calm places ever. There was so much going on, but I never once felt stressed walking around. We were absolutely starving so found a cute Turkish restaurant to have dinner (you will be spoilt for choice -there is SO much to eat!), and then explored the centre a little bit more. We also found ourselves walking down the Red Light District too (don’t judge – hear me out guys), and I found it so fascinating to walk around. It didn’t have that ‘seedy’ feel to it that I thought it would, and honestly it was more of a tourist attraction than anything else. Prepare for a lot of ‘live show’ adverts & naughty shops though. Lol. After that – we scoped out where we’d be having breakfast the next morning, then headed back to our hotel.

Also – when booking the hotel I only selected a ‘room’ option – as there were SO many breakfast places that I wanted to try rather than just having what the hotel would serve (quick tip there for you).

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Day 2

We had a little bit of a lie in then headed out on the train to central again for breakfast. I’d planned on having breakfast at the famous Pancakes – which there was actually a queue OUTSIDE for. But luckily we only waited around 15 minutes until we were seated. The pancakes were INSANE though and pretty reasonably priced too which was fab! After – we hopped on a ferry to North Amsterdam (which we could get with the travel ticket – more on that in my tips post!) and found a cute little cafe where we hung out for a while & for some lunch. Then, we got the ferry back to central & went to the Body Worlds museum – which was FANTASTIC. It is literally a museum with real human bodies that people have ‘donated’ and they have been preserved so you can see every single bit! It sounds creepy but it’s amazing and such an interesting place to see. We then got some fries (which Amsterdam is popular for and DAMN were they good) and then went back to the hotel for a quick rest, before heading back out to central for some dinner and another wander round! And yes as you can probably tell, we ate A LOT. I actually went past the Anne Frank museum – which unfortunately I couldn’t get into as it was SO busy, but it was just nice to see it in person. I love Anne Frank and her story and am definitely looking at going again so I can actually visit the museum next time.

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Day 3

Our last day (boo!). We visited a place called Omelegg for breakfast which is again a very popular place – and I can honestly say it was one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve ever had! As you can probably tell by the name, they serve up omelettes (literally any one that you can imagine), and it was SO GOOD. The interior was also so adorable, but again this was quite busy too. We did have to queue to get a seat but we were seated pretty quickly, and it was worth the wait! After – we headed to a place called Beginhof, which is a courtyard in the middle of central Amsterdam where nun’s actually live, but it is open to the public to visit. This was a highly recommended place as it is so peaceful & beautiful, despite being in the centre of the city. I would highly suggest checking it out if you want to get away from the hustle & bustle for a while. We then walked around the gardens of Amsterdam museum for a while, before getting on a tram to Vondelpark. Ahh guys … the park. I feel as though this is Amsterdam’s version of Central Park in NYC (despite me never visiting New York LOL), it is definitely a beautiful place and if we’d had enough time, we would have rented some bikes out to ride around (as it was a BEAUT day). Unfortunately, time was ticking so we headed back to central, where we got some souvenirs and churros (which were SO good), and then made our way to the airport.

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So – that was my short but very eventful trip to Amsterdam. I regretted not going for a canal boat ride, but we just did not have the time *cries*. Amsterdam is definitely a city where you are never short of things to do – and I am hoping to take another trip soon to visit other places such as the Anne Frank House & the outer regions (where the popular windmills & cheese farms are!) OH- we also managed to taste a lot of cheese whilst we were there in one of the many cheese shops (yum).

Right guys – I hope you enjoyed this travel diary of my trip! As I’ve said I will do another post with tips where I’ll go into detail about getting around Amsterdam, things you have to do and just some general helpful things! If you are thinking of visiting, I would 100% reccomend as there is SO much to see and do, whether you fancy a chilled out break or one spending your time in the coffee shops (hehe), or exploring all the history & museums!

Let me know if you liked this post – and also if you’ve been to Amsterdam! I’d love to know and see your posts if you have done any!

I’ll see you all in my next one – have an amazing weekend!

Lots of LOVE

Saira xxxxx

Travel Diaries: Lake District

Hello hello

I’ve got a little bit of a different post for you all today guys. You might be used to my usual beauty/lifestyle/fashion ramblings – but I wanted to incorporate something a little bit different into my blog. What is that you wonder? Some good old travel diaries. I have recently been LOVING reading other blogger’s travel posts.. but I always felt like because I wasn’t jetting off to the Maldives/exotic trips that my posts may be a little bit boring. But to be honest – the more posts I read – the different variations I saw… and I absolutely love the little weekend getaways to York/Brighton just as much as beach & New York holidays!

So .. getting onto my trip – over Easter me & my family spent 3 nights in the Lake District. Now – I had never stayed here before so it was a new experience for me… but let me tell you at the end of the trip I NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE. If you’ve ever taken a trip to the Lakes you will know how beautiful it is… literally the most perfect place to go if you need a few days away from a busy lifestyle.

You’ve probably heard of the popular Lakes at Windermere .. however we travelled up further north to a place called Caldbeck Fells – the hubby did a quick search on Google and found a 12 bed MANSION called Thistlewood House in the area… and seeing that every review had rated it 5 stars, we knew we had to go there (oh and yes – there was 12 of us going).

GETTING THERE

We set off at about 4pm to get there on Good Friday (we were meant to leave at noon – but rallying around 12 people trying to get them ready to leave at the same time is HARD) – and it took us around 2 and a half hours to get there from little old West Yorkshire. It might seem a little bit of a trek – but seeing the views as you drive up there is WORTH it. The house itself was literally in the middle of nowhere – I’m talking no signal guys – and there were probably around 3 other houses there (all of them just as big too)… so it’s definitely a perfect place if you want some chill time!

THE HOUSE

O.M.G. Guys .. the house. I was literally speechless when I saw it. The photos online did NOT do it justice. As we drove up there was a huge drive, gardens surrounding all sides of the house, and a field just opposite. Also .. we got a perfect view of all the little lambs with it being the perfect time of year .. MY HEART. I wanted to keep one .. seriously.

The house itself had everything you could ever need. I think I went into each room and was more and more gobsmacked each time. I want to kick myself because I didn’t get enough pictures of the inside (since everyone piled in at the same time and the house was just MANIC).

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WHAT WE DID

As we arrived pretty late, the first day was just spent eating some pizza we had brought and getting settled into the house. I fell in love with the bathrooms there too.. and me & my sister made it our mission to find a Lush so we could pick up some bathbombs to use (priorities guys).

The morning after, we had a pretty chilled breakfast (the kitchen had a coffee machine, Aga, orange juice maker & ice machine – WOOP), chilled out in the gardens (where I managed to take some outfit pics), then headed out to explore the surroundings. We spent the day walking, visiting a lake & found central Carlisle (where we spotted a Lush & Costa, muahaha). We then set off back home for a BBQ & another chilled evening.

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The next day, I had a Lush bath & watched some Gossip Girl (perfect start to the morning might I had) – and then me & my sister made pancakes for breakfast. FYI .. I don’t think I’ve ever made as many pancakes as I did that morning – feeding 12 people breakfast is tough. We then ventured out on a long drive to a place called Silloth which is on the coast. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side and we literally experienced all four seasons whilst we were there (I’m talking hail & all that shit guys). It was still absolutely beautiful though – and I even found some coloured buildings (perfectly instagrammable) AND we had fish & chips by the sea (sat in our warm cars might I add). We then set off home & spent the evening watching TV & having plenty of tea & Easter eggs.

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Our last day (boo!) was spent on a long drive through the mountains – where I spotted the dreamiest houses EVER and the most picturesque villages. We also spotted a picnic basket offering homemade scones which were an absolute TREAT and probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. We then spent the afternoon in South Lakes Safari Zoo which is in Cumbria, before venturing back home.

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WHAT I WORE

I knew I wanted to be comfortable the whole trip.. so I literally lived in my oversized denim jacket & converse. I DID take some outfit pictures which you can take a peek at!

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Overall – the trip was probably one of the best I have ever had. I would 100% go again and highly recommend you all take a trip to the Lakes if you get the chance. It is the perfect place if you want to get away from the busy-ness of everyday life and just relax. You can either spend your day in the many little villages they have, or just chill in a cottage for some peace and quiet.

So – there we have my first travel diary! I really hope you enjoyed it loves – I am visiting Amsterdam in a week (EEEEK) and will be doing a similar post for that!

Lots of Love,

Saira xo