Visiting London: Your Guide To Experiencing British Culture

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When you plan a city break, you’re completely spoilt for choice. Not only does the world have some incredible cities, all of which should be on your travel bucket list, but the UK has it’s fair share too. If you’re thinking about visiting England for the first time, then your first stop has to be London. Not only can you forget about being beach body ready, but you can soak up the incredible cultures that make up British life. If you’d love to see the city through the eyes of a local, these simple planning points should help you.
Plan Your Sights
After booking your flights, the first thing you’re going to want to do is work out the sights you’re dying to see. London has some incredible architecture, history and attractions, and you might want to work your way around them all. There’s Big Ben and Buckingham Palace of course, but you might also want to stop off at Madame Tussauds to see the waxworks and even catch a glimpse of the impressive MI6 building. Either way, work out your route and then you’ll know where to stay.
Stay In Style
Booking your stay in London can be tricky. You might be torn between locations, hotel brands and even the type of accommodation you want to stay in. Regardless of your final choice, make sure you stay in style. Hotels, like Dorsett Hotels Sheperds Bush, can make or break your stay. Make sure to find one that will be comfortable and make you feel at home. You might even want to stay slightly out of town so that you can truly experience life like a Londoner.
Do As They Do
Next, we need to talk transport. London is relatively small, and you can get around the central area on foot, but, it can be tiring. So, Londoners tend to jump on the tube or flag down a black cab. If you use Uber already, you might even want to book yourself a taxi to get from place to place, either way, you’ll feel like a local by getting to know the route and working your way around.
Eat Out
London has some incredible cuisine. You really are spoilt for choice when you come to stay. Not only do you get to pick from amazing places to eat, but you also get to experience the food fusion of the many cultures found in London. And, when you’re in town, make sure to save room for some fish and chips, a traditional Sunday lunch and a spot of high tea.
Shop Until You Drop
As one of the few fashion capitals of the world, you have to shop when you come to London. With Oxford Street, Bond Street, Selfridges and Harrods, among others, you’re in for a treat. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of shopping, you’ll be in awe just wandering around and taking it all in. Plus, with it being your first time on British soil, it would be rude not to pick up a souvenir, wouldn’t it?

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Get Some Action And Adventure For Your Next Vacation

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There are lots of reasons for taking a vacation. You may need a really good break from work. Or you may be a keen traveler ready to take on your next country of interest. Whether you want to relax, or you’re looking to learn something new about another culture, a little action and adventure could be lots of fun. It helps to make your vacation even more memorable. And you might even have the chance to try something new. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try one of these fun activities next time you’re on vacation:

Husky Sleds
Driving dog sleds can be one of the most fun activities you’ll ever do. If you’re looking for a really cool vacation idea, then a winter holiday in Europe could be just the thing. There are several places for you to enjoy riding with Huskies. You can tour with a group to make the experience even more exciting. Racing across the snowy landscapes with the dogs will certainly get your heart pumping.

Cycling Tours
There are many countries that offer excellent cycle routes for you to follow. The ones that take you through the open countryside can give you the greatest challenge as well as the most spectacular views. You might choose to book a cycling tour that could take you through a region’s vineyards or toward some interesting attractions. The best thing about it is that you won’t gain any weight on this vacation!

While the landscapes all over the world can be a huge draw for a traveler, other people live for the view under the water. You might be keen to dive for lost treasures and shipwrecks. Or maybe you want to see some of the most beautiful marine life in the world. Getting your diving certificates could be one of the best things you do. You can then tackle some of the most incredible waters the planet has to offer and get a view like no other.

Hiking is a great way to see some fantastic landscapes without missing any of the detail. It’s a great way to keep fit too. If you like to be active, chances are you’ve already enjoyed a walking holiday or two. Of course, there are hundreds more you can choose from. Pick coastal hikes or serene lake walks. Maybe you’re ready to take it up hills and mountains?

For all you adrenaline junkies out there, traveling by snowmobile can give you the greatest adventure. If you’re able to pick customised holiday experiences, then you should definitely include a ride on one of these. They can get you quickly from A to B across snowy terrains. But they’re not just practical. They are so much fun to drive too! Race across the wilderness and make the most of any winter break away.

Staying active on holiday can help you avoid putting on any holiday weight. You might even become fitter while you’re away. But most importantly you’ll have a lot of fun. Make some great memories with a little action and adventure for your next vacation.

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Making The Most Of Your First Trip To A New Country

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So, you’re heading on a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before. It’s an exciting experience, but you also want to ensure that you make the most of it. Here are some things that you should do if you want to have the best trip possible.

Do Some Research First

Before you actually arrive in a new country, you should find out about it. You need to know how to back, first of all. Find out what season it will be when you arrive and what the temperature and weather tend to be like at that time. There’s nothing worse than arriving somewhere and then realising that you backed for a different climate. Doing some research will also allow you to get informed about any local customs that could affect you. There are different customs and laws in different regions, so it’s best to understand these things in advance of your arrival.


Organise Your Sightseeing Plans

Sightseeing can be a lot of fun when you visit somewhere for the first time. The sights you see don’t necessarily have to be world famous landmarks. Even small or remote locations have local landmarks and sights that are worth catching a glimpse of. Sightseeing can be tiring and overwhelming though. If you want to experience great sightseeing, you need to make sure that you limit your scope. You’re never going to see everything if you’re heading to a large city. So, it’s best to pick out a few things that you want to see most of all. That way, you’ll still have time to do and see other things.

Talk to the Locals

You can often find out the most about a location by talking to the people who live there. After all, they are the ones who know it better than everyone else. So, don’t rely on holiday companies or guide books. Instead, get out on the streets and talk to normal people. As long as you can break through the language barrier, you could find yourself being given lots of tips and ideas. Ordinary people always tend to give better advice to travellers than the endless books you read on areas. You might even meet new people who you can build lasting friendships with. It’s all about getting involved and engaging with people.


Try Something Entirely New

When you go to somewhere new, you will find a culture that is completely alien to you. So, why not make the most of the chance to try new things? Whether it’s a new food or some sort of local custom or event, there is sure to be a way to get involved in the local culture. It’s much better than sticking to the usual hotels and tourists traps that you find in many locations where tourists flock to. If you open yourself up to new things and new ideas, you will really be able to make the most out of the trip. You might find out you love the culture and keep coming back in the years ahead.

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December in Berlin

Finally, after months of feeling like I didn’t have a second, I have some time to sit down and tell you some of my favourite things about my trip to Berlin in early December.

Berlin was a trip my lovely friend was planning on going on herself and the minute I broke up with my ex bf I decided I was going to be joining her. I am so happy I did.

One of my favourite parts of the trip was of course my hotel. Oh my GOD. I am still so in love with it. I genuinely wish my bedroom looked like that… a girl can dream. We stayed in the nHow which is a ‘Music and Lifestyle hotel’ on the banks of the River Spree in Stralauer Allee. Ugh my God I loved everything about it. The room as pink first of all! But also so bright and airy. It was really modern too. Nothing was too big or too small for them to help us with. Also a special mention on the lifts. Each one played a different genre of music. Very fun. Oh and did I mention the Spa? Yeah that happened.

We went to Fairytale Bar when we were there also. There is so much I want to say about this bar but I can’t say a lot without ruining the experience. Whilst slightly more expensive than most places these were definitely the best cocktails I have had in a long time. Sure the bar was not even open a year and they had won a mixology award. If you want a bit of magic and enjoy a good drink then this is the place for you. Be warned though, unless you know what you are looking for, you may not find it.

Finally I ADORED the winter markets. While a lot of them were the same, selling similar things, the atmosphere was just so infectious and really got you in the mood for the Christmas spirit. My favourite was the market in Charlottenburg Castle however. We went for a stroll around the castle grounds and in some antique stores in the area before returning to the market for some Bailey’s Hot Chocolate. 

I have included a little slideshow of photos for anyone who wants to have a nose. There are some more on instagram, @lynnjochaney. I will say though, if you plan on visiting Berlin, bring some good walking shoes.

Next time on this here blog I will be spilling all about my online dating experience thus far. See you then. Have a great weekend!
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Summer in Berlin | Guest Post

Hi all, today I am sharing the second in my “How I Am Spending My Summer” Series.
Today’s post is from Jade Rebecca over at She has gone to Berlin to spend the summer with a friend. Have a look to see what she had to say.

On June 2nd I got on a plane and traveled to Berlin, Germany, embarking on a slightly terrifying summer adventure with one of my best friends. She had visited the previous summer and fell in love with the city. She lives in Scotland so we do not get to spend a lot of time together throughout the year and we had made plans to spend the summer together, so heading back to her favourite place was something I was ecstatic about.

I have had tons of changes in my life in the past few months, including some pretty big changes in the next year. I will be graduating university in September 2016 and to say I am terrified is an understatement. I realised that I had not comepletely embraced the ‘college’ experience and decided to do something crazy and fun this summer, travelling to Berlin for the summer was on that list. While it is not my final summer before I am out in the big bad world, I wanted to begin exploring the world.
While a J1 visa to the US was definitely on the cards, I decided I would much prefer to wait until I was 21 to embark on my USA adventure so I will be saving that for next summer.
Although two of the three ‘summer’ months have passed I still feel like there is tons of time to try something new or even travel somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be a flight away, explore your own country some more! While in Berlin I have learned a lot about myself and I feel like I have learned a pretty good amount about the German culture and people. In my final two weeks here I plan to visit several museums that I have been dying to see, German history is one of my favourites to learn about and I am excited to see more.

So far this summer we have mainly just explored the city, visited the Holocaust Memorial, seen the sights such as Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburger Tor etc. While it has been a summer for fun I have also been working a lot so it has not all been fun and games. It does not feel as much like a holiday as it had before in the beginning, it now feels more like I live here, which is strange because I have never felt that for a city other than Dublin. It has been amazing to explore a new country that I have not visited and it has been incredible to just live day by day here going through the paces.

 We are now into our final two weeks here and I have loved our time here but I am still excited to head home before I begin university for my third and final year. I miss my family and my dog, there are certain home comforts and Irish food I miss (lucozade, white pudding, red lemonade) but I am so grateful to have had the experience of living in Berlin for the summer, I don’t think I have ever travelled on so many trains until I arrived here. I have definitely fallen in love with the city and hope to visit it again after I leave!

Thanks for that Jade Rebecca and enjoy your last two weeks in Berlin.

Pop back on Sunday when I will be sharing one of my favourite base recipes which I often change and adapt. It is so quick and simple, it may change your life.

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Summer in New York | Guest Post

Hi guys,

As mentioned a few posts ago I am going to be posting essays from a number of bloggers who were willing to share their plans for summer with me.
Today’s post comes from Liza Tait-Bailey (how amazing is that name?!).
Liza is a gorgeous student who set her blog up after she moved to Paris as an opportunity to document her travels. She has travelled to Morocco and studied in Abu Dhabi but today she is telling us all about her summer LIVING in New York. Does anyone else have major travel envy? My favourite feature of Liza’s blog is her bucket list. Maybe I might post mine on my blog, although I’d have to come up with a bucket list first.
If you want to read more of Liza’s tales of her travels you can check her out here.

There is a special kind of overheating that one experiences in July in midtown Manhattan at the end of the working day, when all around you New Yorkers are hurrying to the subway or bars to mark the sense of freedom that I have come to associate with 6pm. It’s something I had never considered before this summer, and every time I experience it I get a strange sense of amusement that I am here, witnessing this daily parade of sweaty, well-dressed adults.
As a rising Junior at New York University Abu Dhabi (that’s a special little NYU campus in the United Arab Emirates for those who haven’t heard of it), I am spending the summer interning with a social enterprise in New York. Global Goods Partners aims to empower female artisans in poor communities by providing a marketplace for their products. They pay a fair wage, and as a non-profit ensure that as much money goes back into the community as possible to provide necessities such as education and health care. And my job? Well I’m a marketing intern, focusing particularly on the social media side.
Interning has been inspiring and exhausting in equal measures. As a student, albeit one who is usually busy with about four projects at once, I usually have far more control over my time and the 9-5 came as a real shock to the system. That, coupled with my hour commute twice a day, means that I feel a frustration that I can only associate with being in an office in Manhattan all day. Being in New York this summer is amazing, being inside a building on W 30th street where the only window faces a wall, not so much.
It’s not all despair and dissatisfaction though! In true intern fashion I have learning a lot in so many areas: from non-profit lingo to the best practises for Pinterest, and met some really interesting people along the way. And outside the office? Well I’ve been making the most of being a temporary New-Yorker, in true tourist fashion.
Attending the Pride March on Fifth Avenue just days after the marriage equality act passed was a day I will never forget, as the sense of joy and love in the city was all consuming. Other highlights include seeing Wicked on Broadway, and of course enjoying all the museums that line Central Park (yes I did sit on the steps of the Met, because who doesn’t want to feel like Blair Waldorf?). Weekly bottomless brunches and walks along the highline, my all time favourite spot in NYC, have made me fall in love with this lifestyle, a shame since there’s only a few weeks left. Luckily future plans include taking a trip up to Niagara Falls and a cheeky visit to Costa Rica on the way home – my first jaunt into Central America – so I’m not too sad at the prospect of leaving. You’ll have to keep your eyes on my blog to see read about those adventures!

By the way guys I am delighted to announce I was nominated for The Blog Awards Ireland 2015 so a BIG thank you to anyone who nominated me and also don’t forget you can get 20% off a Dukebox subscription over at using my code LYNN20. Jynx’s first Dukebox should have shipped today so I can’t wait to share her opening it with you all. 

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The Osprey Hotel & Spa

Do you ever have those days that just seem like they are never going to end? Today I had one of those days but thank God I am home now and wrapped up in my jammies with a full belly.
Today’s post is dedicated to my lovely two night break in The Osprey Hotel and Spa. Before I start I just want to point out that this post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way by the hotel, I just had a bloomin’ brilliant time.
Our booking was an awkward one. There were four guests, one was staying only one night, the remaining were staying for two. Our single guest wasn’t quite sure if she would make it for a while which added some slight difficulty to booking, no point booking just to cancel. I fired away anyhow with the booking for three as it was definite we were staying.
Throughout the whole booking process I dealt with Helen, the reservations manager, and she was a godsend. She made the whole process much easier. She sorted us out with a triple room with an AMAZING value package. For €190 we were to get two nights B&B, three course dinner in MASH restaurant one night and two spa treatments. When it came to booking the one night stay I was asked would I like a package and the same deal was sorted out for me for one night only at a cost of €130.

The other staff in the hotel also carried out this high quality customer service, always smiling and always willing to help. Two of these stood out particularly, Niall, the waiter who managed to put up with 4 giddy women and the girl in the spa who moved some things around so my mum could get the massage that had been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Let us not forget the girl who made her first black Russian for my mum and went out of her way to ensure it was right.

The treatments were lovely, if you have never been on a spa break The Osprey is ideal for your first. I had never been to one before but I was so at ease. I got a facial and my skin has been glowing ever since, I had been worried I wouldn’t be able to relax but it took me no time to do so. We also had the Rasul Mud Treatment all together. This is a ‘self service’s treatment with no therapist and it is definitely an experience. I won’t ruin it for anyone but I would highly recommend trying it if you can. My aunty also said the Hot Stone Massage was the best she has had.

I will stop harping on about how great a time I had, but for a great value, high quality break I would definitely recommend it.

Chat soon.

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My Manchester Trip(s)

As all you regular visitors/followers on any of my sites will know. I have been to Manchester twice in the recent past. Once at the start of July and once at the start of August. You may also wonder why I have been there so often. It’s quite simple really. Danny, the boyfriend, is originally from Manchester, so it is the perfect excuse for a weekend away. When we went in July it was pretty much for a quick visit to see his mum as he hadn’t been home since early March. August was to see Anberlin in concert and spend some time with Danny’s sister for her birthday.
I always get so stressed before going away. I have to have everything planned in advance. But thankfully as we were going to visit Danny’s family I was able to leave it all up to him to sort both times. I mainly took charge of printing everything off and arranging a hotel for gig night. I also made sure we got to the airport on time. I did this by making sure we left the house four hours before our flight. It worked fine the first time when we were getting to the airport by bus. The second time not so much as we got a lift and had to arse about for some time. Ah sure. Better to be safe than sorry.
The one thing I was very worried about was actually getting to Danny’s mum’s house. Thing is she lives in a lovely little town called Ramsbottom. As lovely as it is it is still 40 minutes from Manchester City/Airport. The local taxi company had a deal on which was pretty handy. It cost us £25 to get to where we were staying. It was either that or get a Train, Bus, Metro and taxi.
I of course got some shopping in both times we went over. The July visit consisted of me getting disco pants and LOADS in Primark and pretty much cost me all my money. The second visit I was a bit more smart, choosing to invest wisely in make up brands I can’t get at home and such. To be honest though, the days in Manchester were probably the part of the trips I wasn’t too fussed about. At the end of the day shopping is shopping and I much preferred hanging around Ramsbottom than bashing around Manchester hoping to find nice presents. Especially when shopping grates on my nerves at the best of times.
The best part of the days where we were actually in Manchester City had to be staying in the Ibis Hotel and going to see Anberlin in Manchester University. Anberlin has been one of Danny’s favourite bands for a long time and they have decided to call it a day at the end of 2014. Before that day arrives they have released a final album and gone on a final world tour, which Danny had tickets for. The first song Danny ever got me to listen to was an Anberlin song and we have listened to them every day since so not only did he get to see his favourite band but I felt like I was also seeing mine. It was a bonus when we got to meet them all after. 
I love gigs, I love the music and the atmosphere and I had such a great time that night but I have to say the best part for me was dragging my sweaty, weary body into the shower after the gig and getting into a nice, plush, hotel bed. The shower was UNREAL even if it does look like the inside of the space ship.
I just realised I’m pretty much blabbering on and I don’t want to bore you. I’m sure if you wanted to know ALL about my trip you would have gone yourself. I will point out two more things I ADORED and then I will leave you to enjoy the rest of this not so awful day. Yes they are both food related.
The first is a restaurant called Spice Garden. It is Thai and the best you will ever get. The one problem is everything is cooked there and then and it is quite small but also takes take out orders, so you can be waiting on the food for a fairly long time. But I will say it is always worth it. Their Pad Thai is my favourite meal in the world and I genuinely can’t wait to go back to Ramsbottom to get it again.
The second is a café and again I look forward to going back again. We went there during our first visit and all I wanted when we got home was to go back to The Chocolate Café. I was so happy when Danny’s sister said she wanted to go there for her birthday. I have no pictures to show you how cute it is but basically downstairs is a little chocolate shop and upstairs is a café selling all manner of chocolate infused foods. They do the best hot chocolate I have ever have. I PROMISE I will get photos when I go back.
That’s all for me. My next post will be live just after the weekend as it is mine and Danny’s birthdays and I will delve a little further into my anxiety. Until then I will share the few photos I took on my trips with you.
PS. I’ve been shortlisted for the BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the BLOG AWARDS IRELAND. Thanks for all the support.
PPS. Please send me post ideas or #AskLynnJo questions via my email which is listed in my information 😀
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The City (Day 2) | London Trip Post No. 1(b)

Okay folks, back to telling you about London. Today we are talking about my second day in the city, which was Saturday the 21st of September aka CONCERT DAY and my mammy’s birthday(Happy Birthday Mammy). I’m not really going to talk about the last day of my trip because that literally just involved going to the airport and hanging about there which isn’t too exciting to be fair. I’m also not going to talk about the concert itself as that is tomorrow’s blog post and it’s going to be a long one 😛
When we were checking in with the delectable Matthew (seriously, call me) the night before, we decided to book breakfast for Saturday morning, just to give it a bash and to save us having to find somewhere to eat. That and breakfast is served until either 11:00 or 11:30 in that particular Premier Inn so it meant we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn just to eat and could get up in our own time. Needless to say we woke up fairly early having been to bed so early. Like I mean Jean had time to shower and I had time to put a full face of make up on and still get to breakfast for like 9:00 or 9:30, I’m not too sure what time, all I know is we left the hotel just after 10:00 ish and were on our way for the day. I’m not going to lie, the breakfast wasn’t the best and definitely not worth the £8 or £9 it cost. We got our sausages and everything and sat at the table, but by the time we got coffee and juice the food was cold. Add to that the fact toast takes ages to make and the amazing hash browns we were promised were all gone and I was very disappointed. We saw them put out more hash browns but after the wait they just weren’t worth it. I literally just had 6 glasses of orange juice for breakfast and that was it. Looking back now I don’t know why I didn’t get a croissant or some cereal or something but to be honest I think I had just been put off food at that stage. When asked how our breakfast was, in typical Irish fashion, we said fine. Why we did that I will never know. The Premier Inn have their beds and pillows perfected, even having different firmness of pillows, but they still need to work on their breakfasts if I am being quite honest.
Harry Potter goodies in Harrods
Day two was to be a shopping/visiting places day as opposed to a touristy day, we did all that on the Friday. To start off we went to Harrods, now Harrods is my favourite store in the world. I LOVE it. I could spend forever there. My mum however had never been, it’s a bit away from our hotel and last time we were in London we didn’t venture too far from the hotel bar to go to Legoland, so I got to bring her there. She didn’t really like it to be honest,  I think everything was just too expensive and that got her a bit down. I loved it though. I was in heaven, could barely afford anything but I still managed to spend alot, to the point I got a Harrods reward card!! (I will show you everything I got in a haul post very shortly.)
I did get to meet One Direction again while we were there though 😛
Bumped into them completely by accident whilst I tried to find Paperchase, we are literally best friends now. I even left them a note on their wall, it did say McFly is better though! The guy selling the One Direction perfume was also beautiful and asked me all these questions about who my favourite member of One Direction was and that and I was kind of like, ‘I don’t really like them THAT much mate.
I look like an arse in every photo from  London
Our next stop on our journey was to the Victoria and Albert museum which I have wanted to visit for years, ever since my Godparents got me a bracelet and earring set from there. It all stems from working in fashion, I have always wanted to see their fashion exhibit. They had a really cool exhibit on called ‘From Club to Catwalk’ which I wanted to go see but my energy was waning at this stage so I didn’t go. The exhibition is on until early next year though so I should still make it there to see it. I didn’t really get to enjoy the V&A so it is definitely on my list of things to do next time I am in London!
We came out of the Exhibition Road entrance of the V&A then so my mum and I took a quick trip into the Science Museum for a quick coffee and so I could show her where my little brother will be going on his science trip to London with his school. As it was a Saturday the museum was jammers so it wasn’t as fun as when I went with the lads two years ago. There was a hot guy working there too. Seriously the amount of talent in London is unreal. 
I knew the Royal Albert Hall was at the end of Exhibition road so I forced my mum to go check it out before the gig later on that night. Yes a part of me was hoping to meet McFly while I was there, no I didn’t meet them but I am fairly certain Tom and Dougie drove past me, I’d recognize that fluffy hair anywhere, I may be wrong and am convinced I was hallucinating but to be honest I am going to continue to live in that fantasy 😛
Me looking like an arse at the Royal Albert Hall. I am meant to look excited in this photo….
Mammy wanted to go to Hamleys on Regent Street then so we took a cab to Oxford Street to have a wander and try pick up some nice bits. I didn’t actually get anything I had wanted to get, I just wasn’t in a shopping mood. I went into La Senza to get some bras.. I’ve been lost without them since they pulled their stores out of Ireland, didn’t fancy anything there and as we were leaving I got the best suprise ever. HAZEL!! My friend Hazel who moved to London for college was there, she worked their. Well Jean and I stood there for ages chatting to her, and Hazel helped reassure my mum about something, but that is for a different post 😉
I am thinking Saturday was a bad day for trying to shop, especially when I was with my mum. I am so much better alone when I shop, even though it was busy, that wouldn’t bother me. Having to wait for other people kills me though (sorry mam).
We visited a few different stores, got what Jean was looking for then tried to get a cab back to the hotel, trying to get a cab from Regent Street at 5:30 in the evening on a Saturday is not easy, and it involves alot of me nearly getting run over by various vehicles. We got one in the end and he was the nicest driver ever which made a difference 😀 
We grabbed some Subway and Starbucks and then got ready for the concert…
And that my loves is where I have to stop. I will save that all for the concert post which is coming at you tomorrow!
I’m off to apply for some jobs. 
Love you all! 
Lynn Jo xox 
Raging I didn’t buy this -.-