Escaping the Big Apple

New York is a blogger’s dream, an Instagram paradise, and a foodie heaven. If you’re a fellow travel blogger who loves exploring and taking endless photos, then the Big Apple should definitely be on your hit list.

When we visit a new city, we like to stay in the nearby towns or boroughs that tourists often overlook. This allows us to appreciate and experience the culture of the locals. If we were to go back to New York, we would definitely choose to stay in Brooklyn. It’s a short ride away from Manhattan, or you can hop on the subway, take an Uber, or walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

There’s so much to do in Brooklyn that we would also schedule in some time to explore the borough properly. We’ve decided to plan our perfect day out in Brooklyn to make us feel even more wanderlust for a trip to this gorgeous borough.

Where We Would Stay

We would use HotelPlanner to book our choice of hotels in Brooklyn. The prices vary in this borough, but there’s something for everyone whether you’re splashing out or saving cash. Even better, HotelPlanner guarantees the lowest group rates or they pay for your hotel room!

Morning Run

One of our favourite things to do when we go away is to wake up in the morning, put on our running shoes, and go for a run. We love exploring the city before we’ve properly started the day. In Brooklyn, we would run through Prospect Park and along the promenade, enjoying the views before everyone else wakes up.

Brunch

We love love love brunch, which is a massive thing in New York. Of course we would go for brunch somewhere different every day.

Le Barricou

Brunch is served 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. so you won’t miss the brunch here! The menu and pictures we’ve stalked on Instagram look amazing. There’s a great variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French toast, and filled croissants.

The Wheelhouse

We’re sold on bottomless mimosas for $15 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This place looks so dreamy, as the brunch menu is so simple. You basically pick a toast with a variety of toppings, and then you can add a topper like egg or bacon. If you aren’t feeling the standard brunch, the sandwiches look incredible.

Fort Defiance

You can eat brunch here from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the weekend, and then during the week, there’s a breakfast menu. The menu is small and simple, but sometimes we prefer that. In the evening, this place is a tiki club that looks like it serves the most amazing cocktails.

Brooklyn Flea Market

The Brooklyn Flea Market takes place at Fort Greene on Saturdays and in Williamsburg on Sundays. We love a good flea market, and we could spend hours browsing all the stores and grabbing some bargains. We imagine that flea markets in America are way better than the ones in the U.K., as we kind of have that thrift shop song in our head. However, Macklemore aside, we’re sure we would find some great bits for photo shoots.

Brooklyn Bridge

We find this one of the most enchanting bridges we’ve ever laid eyes on. We would most definitely have a fitness photo shoot on the Brooklyn Bridge. Imagine how beautiful those photos would be.

Pizza Tour

When in Brooklyn, you most definitely have to go for a slice or two of pizza. We have done a bit of research and would love to go on the original Brooklyn pizza tour. Not only would we get to see some amazing sights, but we would also get to try the best Neapolitan and Sicilian pizza in Brooklyn.

Of course, we’ll be staying in Brooklyn, but we’ll definitely be doing all the touristy attractions around New York City, too. Imagine all the Instagram photos and not to mention the shopping. Heaven.

Budapest Brunchin’

Brunch seems to be taking over the world and any new place you visit is likely to serve brunch and Budapest was no exception.

If you are visiting Budapest then you will sure be able to get your brunch fix, but where to go is the question as there are so many to choose from!

London coffee society
Okay you are in Budapest, but this place is London themed. Don’t let this put you off because this place is pretty cool. Located on a quiet street its not necessarily somewhere you would just stumble upon or end up. Even from the outside this place looks pretty cool, there are 3 tables outside which only seat 2 people per table. The inside is very quirky with a London theme, there is even a platform and 3/4 upstairs, along with a very grand clock. The menu is awesome and pretty healthy. All the dishes have a unique twist to them. The beetroot, avocados and salmon on toast is covered in pomegranate and is different but delicious. You can also choose from a variety of toast dishes but also smoothie//yogurt bowls. There are lots of different coffees too, including iced coffee. There is also a selection of healthy sweet treats including avocado chocolate brownies, which are yummy!! You can also orders pastries or sandwiches.

 

Stika
This cafe is in a popular area of Pest and close to lots of things. You can sit inside or outside and the menu is large and caters for all. The breakfast/brunch menu is very egg cantered and there are different varieties of eggs to choose from. This place was set up by 2 brothers and they will always be wearing bow ties! Definitely give this a visit when in Budapest, although the pictures are enough to tempt you!

 


A la Maison Grande
This place has such cool feel to it. It feels part French but also very typically English too. The menu is large and there is so much to choose. From egg dishes, French toast, waffles and pancakes. This place is popular so if you want to eat outside then we advise you to book in advance, as the terrace out the front is very small.
The place is also very busy so the staff are very rushed and not as attentive as they could be, and it takes a while to be served or to get the bill etc so bear this in mind!

 

Emile
This amazing place is such a hidden gem. Located on the Buda side you would NEVER visit if you didn’t know it was there. We had to take a taxi there because it’s at least an hour walk from pest! This place is located i the most random place ever, it is very very posh and kinda feels like you are in Beverly Hills 90201!!! The courtyard is stunning and has lots of tables with u breakfast, but they also comfy little pods to sit in too. The breakfast menu is small and the portion sizes are also small. However the setting makes up for it! The food however did taste amazing, just could’ve eaten the meal 3 times over!! You can have eggs on waffles or waffles and fruit. However the iced coffee was the best sampled in Budapest. It was incredible, plus there was cream on top!!

 

Szimply
Really really wish we visited here because their Instagram is SO dreamy. We were recommended this place too, however its super healthy and different and we didn’t think the boys we were with would appreciate it. However, after speaking to many people this is the best brunch in Budapest, so guess you will have to try for us and let us know what its like!

Disneyland Paris Top 10

There is so much to see and do at Disneyland Paris that we thought following our recent visit we would write a post so that you don’t miss out on all our favourite parts of the park

1) Firework Display – lots of people do not realise but at close of the park there is the most amazing firework display. As the display is at close the time of it can vary throughout the year, the park usually stays open a little later in the summer than in the winter. The firework display also changes depending on the time of year you visit as they like to update it to be in keeping with the current films and popular characters. The display is amazing, there is music and images are projected onto the castle whilst an epic firework display happens – all at the same time! This is the one thing that is not to be missed!


2) Parade – The parade happens (weather permitting) everyday. Again the time of the parade can vary, its usually either at 3pm/5pm/5.30pm . The parade is a magical event full of all the popular characters parading down Mainstreet to a catchy tune. It pays to get yourself a spot for the parade early. People start sitting down on the sidewalk up to 45 minutes before the parade starts. You want a spot so when you take pictures the castle is in the background – this is the ideal anyway! We recommend grabbing a coffee (its it cold), or an ice cream if its hot and making yourself comfortable on the sidewalk to grab your spot! Make sure your camera is ready to take pictures and some of the characters may even come up to you and interact with you!


3) Buffalo Bills Wild West Show – this is at 6pm and 9pm (at time of writing) and we think is excellent. You watch a fantastic show featuring Mickey and his friends along with some real life animals and stunts whilst tucking into the tastiest 3 course meal. They also refill your beer constantly throughout the show! This is one that is not to be missed and is ideal for all.

4) Character meet and greet – you cannot go to Disneyland and not get a picture with your favourite character. On arriving to the park make sure you pick up a guide with all the timings in it. Then pick the character(s) you want to see and go and queue to see them. You have to be prepared to queue and wait your turn but its definitely worth the wait. Depending on the characters you want to see you will either be queuing inside or outside. In Disneyland you will queue inside to the see Mickey and the Princesses, however in Studios you have to queue outside to see Mickey. For children you can get the characters to sign your autograph book. These books can be bought from any merchandise store, however you will also have to buy the pen too. The characters can only sign using a special (thicker) pen so you need to buy one of these too!

5) Character dining – dining with the characters is so much fun and you can have character dining at Auberge de Cendrillon, Inventions and Plaza Gardens Restaurant. Character breakfast is our favourite! This is the most magical experience ever but must be booked way in advance.

6) RIDES! – we have put our favourite and must queue rides for you all to enjoy!
6a) Big Thunder Mountain – this has recently been reopened and its such a fab roller-coaster. The ride is so much longer than you expect it to be, it goes very fast but doesn’t go upside down. Try and get fast passes for this ride for sure!
6b) Rockin Roller-coaster – the ride goes upside down so be warned, it goes very very fast and does plenty of loop de loops! There is loud pumping music whilst you scream your head off!
6c) Indiana Jones – this is such a classic and we love it. Its even more fun going on this ride in the evening when its dark.
6d) It’s a small world – you cannot go to Disney and not go on this ride and get the song stuck in your head – its a small world after-all……
6e) Pirates of the Caribbean – the crazy thing about this ride is that it is not based on the film, rather the film was inspired by the first ride! Walt imagined this ride just before he passed away and its so good. You can also go on this ride in America too, and if you are lucky Johnny Depp might make an appearance. This ride is suitable for all and you sit in a large boat and go on a journey around the pirate world.
6f) Crush’s Coaster – as the name suggests this is a Finding Nemo/Dory themed roller-coaster. This is a good one to help introduce the young ones to a roller-coaster, and parents love it too!

7) Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular – you HAVE to watch this show at the Studios. Its an amazing car show with fire and lots of cool stunts. We love this show and cannot recommend it enough.

8) Shops – make sure you visit the shops to look at all the amazing merchandise you can purchase. Al the merchandise is exclusive to the parks so you won’t be able to buy it anywhere else. We love our Mickey Ears and we just HAD to buy them, plus look how cute they look!

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9) Disneyland Hotel – if you have all the money in the world then you HAVE to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. We haven’t stayed ourselves but it is a dream of ours. You are literally staying right at the entrance to the hotel and can imagine you can see the castle from your hotel window! The hotel is the best hotel in all of Disneyland Paris resort so if you are wanting that super magical visit then this is a must stay. Imagine watching the fireworks at the end of the day from the comfort of your hotel room…. two girls can dream eh!

10) Photopass – why not get a Disney photopass to capture all the memories from your time at DLP. Whenever you get your picture taken, be on a ride or with a character you can get it saved/downloaded to your photopass. You have 10 days to buy and download the pictures, or even have the special pictures printed.

Paris food: Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is located in the 5th arrondissement is to the south of the River Seine and close to the Jardin des Plantes. The Jardin des Plantes is a very pretty garden that reminded us of Kew Gardens in London.

This is a completely different part of Paris and there were some amazing cafes that we stumbled across when exploring. Our favourite street was Rue Moffetard. The Rue Mouffetard sometimes has a food market but if not there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to visit instead. Below are the highlights:

Dose – Dealer de Cafe
Maybe one of the only independent cafes we found that serves iced coffee. It was a real struggle to find anywhere in Paris that serves iced coffee, its strange how it isnt a ‘thing’ yet in Paris – but hopefully will be soon! There are two of these in Paris, one of the Rue Mouffetard and the other on Place du Dr Felix Loblieois. Not only does this cafe serve iced coffees but also amazing brunch and sweet treats too.

La Maison des Tartes
A place that basically only serves tarts, from savoury tarts to sweet ones this place is where you need to visit! They also serve brunch on a saturday.

Au P’tit Grec
The queue outside this place was crazy, so crazy that we took a picture to show how busy it was! If there is a massive queue then this place MUST be good! Au P’tit Grec sells crepes and paninis and pride themselves on the food always being fresh. The best thing to do is takeaway as there is less of a wait.

Vegan Folies
Also situated on the Rue Mouffetard you will find this vegan cafe serving up a vegans dream. The desserts and pastries look amazing, and its a must visit!

Alberto
The amazing rose shaped ice creams are what drew us into this ice cream shop. If you want a instagram worthy picture of ice cream then you have to head here! You can tell they take pride in every ice cream cone they make and the selection of different flavours is dreamy. The perfect place to visit on a hot summers day.

O’Tacos
French tacos are apparently a thing, who would’ve thought! If you fancy some tacos then this chain of restaurants is the place to go, and thier instagram sure will leave you drooling! The one on Rue Mouffetard is not their only one so if you are craving tacos find an O’Tacos near you!

Rosa Kiwi
This frozen yoghurt bar is so cool! You choose your type of yoghurt from natural to chocolate or berry and then choose all your toppings. There lots of toppings to choose from including fresh fruit, chooclate, sweeties and a variety of sauces. It is all done by weight so you weight your yoghut and pay per kilo. We had such fun creating our toppings and the natural frozen yoghurt was INCREDIBLE!

Strada Cafe
This place looked super cute and on weekends no laptops are allowed to make way for brunch. The atmosphere at this adorable cafe was lovely. Here you can enjoy brunch along with coffee, juices and a variety of sweet treats too.

Joe Burger
If you fancy a burger then this independent burger bar is pretty cool. Each month they have a flavour of the month and all burgers are made to order.

Unique places to visit in Paris

Of course when visiting Paris you want to see all the toursity places, and get that shot of the Eiffel Tower. However there are also some hidden gems that you have to visit when in Paris. We have written a post on the hidden gems that we visited on our trip.

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Rue Cremieux
This street is bloggers paradise and you wouldn’t know it was there unless you knew about it. Close to the Gare du Lyon its a very short street lined with stunningly colourful houses. Many bloggers come here for photoshoots along with other professional photographers carrying out a variety of photoshoots. However on visiting Paris this is an absolute gem and must be visited.

Rue Mouffetard
This street sometimes has an amazing market to visit full of incredible stalls. On non-market days however its equally as beautiful and there are some amazing restaurants to be visited. A number of restaurants from this post are here too.

Palais Royal
This featured in our Tourist Guide to Paris post, but we decided to feature it here as its not a place that is on many peoples ‘places to visit in Paris’ list but we think it should be! The gardens and the courtyard with the black and white pillars are so beautiful and when here you would never think you were in the centre of Paris.

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Rue Montorgueil
This street is very old and very pretty. You enter the street under an old fashioned archway and there are many restaurants and cafes to visit.

Passage Choiseul
This passage is very hidden and you wouldn’t know it was there. Its such a cute little passageway with random shops and restaurants

 

A Tourists Guide to Paris

Paris is an amazing city and we were lucky enough to spend the weekend there at the end of April. There so much to see and do so we have written down the top 10 things to do when visiting Paris:

1) Eiffel Tower
Of course you have to see the Eiffel Tower when visiting Paris, although you don’t necessarily have to go to the top of it, sometimes you want it in pictured as its so iconic and if you have climbed up it it wont feature in your pictures. The best place to go for pictures directly in front of the tower is the Place du Trocadero, you can walk through the gardens and up the stairs and have stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. As for all places in Paris to get good pictures it best to go early and beat the crowds.

2) Arc du Triomphe
You can climb up the Arc du Triomphe and get amazing views of the streets of Paris or head to the Champs Elysees where all the amazing shops are with the Arc du Triomphe at the end. On the first Sunday of every month it is free to climb to the top of the the Arc du Triomphe.

3) Notre-Dame de Paris
This famous cathedral is located on the Ile de la Cite and is very popular with tourists so is a great photo opportunity. You can visit inside and climb to the top too. When here make sure you also visit the Ile Saint-Louis which is the slightly smaller island but has some amazing shops and restaurants. Make sure you also visit the green market stalls on the streets surronding the Notre-Dame de Paris!

4) Sacre-Coeur – Montmartre
Another touristy place you must visit when in Paris and great photo opportunities. This stunning church is located at the top of a hill. Whilst here make sure you visit the artist market, which is iconic for Paris and can be seen on many postcards! The Sacre-Coeur is also very close to the Moulin Rouge if you are a fan of the film then pop here for a picture outside the famous red windmill.

5) Galeries Lafayette
The Galeries Lafayette are a huge department store, so if you fancy a spot of shopping then head here. However we recommend you visit here for the free amazing views of Paris. If you head right to the top of the building there is a roof terrace that looks out over Paris and its not to be missed.

6) Boat trip
We went on a boat trip with a company called Bateaux Mouches which took us up and down the river with commentary. The commentary pointed out all the landmarks and also gives a brief history too which is interesting. The commentary is in English, French and Chinese. However there are many other boat companies to choose from and all as equally good.

7) Grand Roue
This is like going on the London Eye only much more cheaper. To ride this costs 12 euros and you go around twice. This is a different way to see the sights of Paris and get some pictures from high up. From the wheel you can see all of Paris so its pretty spectacular.

8) Palais Royal
These gardens and courtyard are stunning and the black and white pillars and perfect photo opportunities. Its best to visit early to avoid all the tourists to get a good pictures without massive of crowds spoiling it

9) The Ritz
This is the hotel that Princess Diana stayed in when she visited Paris. The Ritz is on the Place Vendome and is surrounded by designer stores including Rolex and Chanel. Its good to go here for some stunning photographs of the square, and oogle at the expensive cars.

10) Museums
We have put 2 museums into on point in order to make this list only 10 (oooops!). The Louvre is where the Mona Lisa painting lives, however be prepared to queue to enter the museum and also be prepared to see how small the painting actually is! If you don’t fancy going inside you can take some cool pictures with the famous glass pyramid. When visiting the Musse D’Orsey make sure you go and see the iconic huge clocks and take that Pinterest worthy picture! This museum is in a former station so inside it is pretty impressive.

 

Northern Ireland National Trust

On my short visit to Northern Ireland we visited a number of different National Trust places so it seemed fitting that our next post about the National Trust was all about Northern Ireland.

In total there are over 30 National Trust places you can visit, the country is so beautiful that I can see why there are so many stunning National Trust places to visit.

Castleward
Castleward is where some of Game of Thrones was filmed, I personally haven’t watched any of the episodes but for the avid fans you can take a GoT tour to all the set locations. Coincidentally whilst we were there the BBC were actually filming a TV drama called The Woman in White, they were filming a scene with a horse and cart and doing take after take. Castleward is so close to the sea and you can do a coastal walk along the bay overlooking Portaferry. You can also visit the mansion and grounds too, that are beautiful.

The Giants Causeway
This is one of the most famous places in Northern Ireland where all the rocks are naturally hexagonal. This is a very popular tourist destination and they arrive by coachload! This is free to visit for National Trust members however I would recommend you do what we did and park in Portballintrae, where you can park at the end of Beach Road and walk to the causeway to save money and also see the stunning Norther Ireland coastline where you can also see Scotland!
The Giants Causeway itself is very very busy but most definitely worth a visit.
The walk back to the car you can do a loop and walk along the mainland next to a railway track.

Rowallane Gardens
These gardens were really close to our cottage so we visited one morning, would recommend going early in the morning as you will have the place to yourself. The grounds at Rowallane are simply beautiful and we were lucky to be visiting in spring so there were lots of flowers in bloom. We took advantage of the map and did a nice loop around the grounds. We then ended the walk at the tea rooms where I enjoyed a soya luxury hot chocolate and gluten free chocolate cake. There is something about National Trust tea rooms, they are so cute and cosy and the food is always amazing. This is the sort of NT place that you don’t need to spend the day at, but can visit on route to somewhere.
This NT place is very close to the small town of Saintfield where there are 2 fish and chips shops if you fancied a spot of lunch.

The Crown Bar
This is the oldest bar in Belfast and surprisingly is owned by the National Trust. However saying that by being a member doesn’t give you any perks, you can’t get a free pint! This bar is a must see on a visit to Belfast its so cute and there are loadsa booths to sit in, but you have to be wait a bit for a free one!

Carrick-a-Rede
Visit here if you a feeling very brave where you can walk along a rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede. You used to be able to turn up here and walk across the bridge, however to manage the crowds (Northern Ireland has become very popular recently, most probably because of GoT!) you now have to turn up and pick up a ticket for a slot that day.
This means you have to go and get your time slot and potentially go back for your allocated time slot.
However, it is totally worth it to get that Instagram snap of your daring to cross the rope bridge to show off to your friends!

Now summer is nearly here we shall be making the most of our life memberships and visiting some more National Trusts places, expect to see lots more posts!