21 July 2017

How to Travel Like a Local in Krakow

Back at the start of May I headed to Poland for the first time for a long weekend in Krakow.  Not only did we tour the city itself but we used it as a base to head further afield to explore the Wieliczka Salt Mines and Auschwitz.  As a child my parents would always go for the easiest option and pay for an organised trip rather then look into alternative transport, but I’ve found it can be just as easy, and much cheaper, to do it yourself.  My experience of public transport in Krakow was nothing but great, so I thought I’d share with you how to do it and save your money for those polish Vodkas at the bar!


Trains

When you land in Krakow you will find the train station attached to the airport, it’s well sign posted and it’s the end of the line so it couldn’t really be easier to jump on and head to the centre of Krakow.  The ticket machines on the platform have English language options and are really easy to use, they are just like the ones in the UK.  The journey to Krakow centre takes around 17 minutes and costs 9PLN (around £1.88).  The trains run frequently, even on a Sunday.  


This same trains stops not only at Krakow Main Station but carries on through to the Wieliczka Salt Mines.  We got off at the main station to drop our bags off at the Airbnb before jumping back on the same route to lead to the salt mines, which cost a further 3PLN (around £0.63) and took around 22 minutes.  All the staff speak English and the main stops are announced in english also.  One thing to note about the trains in Poland is that they are all very punctual unlike ours in the UK.  Krakow Main Station is found within the main shopping centre and is easy to locate, with plenty of cheap food and drink options near by.  The trains were nothing but comfortable and couldn't have been easier, some even have power outlets and aircon.  You can even go straight from the airport to the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the 45 minute journey will still only cost you 12.50PLN (around £2.61).


Buses

Auschwitz is a lot further away from Krakow then the Salt Mines are so this is where you will see a lot of tourists opting for organised trips which often include a guided tour, however it is completely doable on your own.  I’m going to do a separate post on the ins and outs of touring Auschwitz when you're not part of an organised tour group but getting there is really cheap and easy.  


The bus station is around the corner from the train station, once you enter the main hub you will see all bus times displayed and ticket booths, were again all the staff speak English and Polish.  A one way ticket costs 7PLN (around £1.46, seriously!) for the 90 minute journey.  We headed to our numbered stop and again everything ran exactly on time.  I was surprised when the bus pulled up, it doesn't look at all like a normal UK public bus and instead a private mini bus.  It was a really comfortable ride and again we saw some amazing countryside, the time passed really quickly.  In fact there were hardly any stops and it was a really smooth journey.  The bus stop for Auschwitz is right outside the front of the museum so you couldn’t get closer, I think this probably a more pleasant journey then if you were paying for a private tour.  


Krakow itself is totally walkable, so I found no need for transport within the city itself.  Traveling beyond Krakow using public transport is a no brainer to me, every journey we took was cheap, easy, and completely comfortable.  I don’t know how any of it would have been better if booked privately, so go the public route and explore like a local!  

19 July 2017

Weekly Vlogs: June

You might have noticed this vlog update is a little late?  Well I'd love to give you an in depth reason but the truth is I just completely forgot about it!  I blame Pride for destroying my brain last month but it only occurred to be yesterday that I hadn't posted my vlog round up for June, so without further adeu let's get stuck right in:
Summer really felt like it was picking up this week as I was invited to the TwoRuba to check out their new summer coctail menu, saw the fantastic first part of Angels in America at The National Theatre and headed to Soho to check out the Powerpuff Girls Pop Up Shop.



In weeks 6 & 7 I share my George home wear, sleek makeup and hair product haul.  I have a go at making my own cocktail creation at home and head to Somerset to go camping for my first time outside of a festival!
Week 8 of weekly vlogging and I saw the fabulous Lady Bunny on stage at the Soho Theatre and was lucky enough to meet her after, headed to Brgr.Co for a food review and then drove up to Yorkshire where I got a new hair colour, went clubbing, booked a holiday, and headed to a family christening!  Phew!

So that's 2/12 months of weekly vlogging done, it's amazing how you can forget how you've done so much, especially while I had Pride taking over my life.  If you want to check out my videos as they happen don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel so you never miss a video!

17 July 2017

My Top 10 Must Have Apps

Raise your hand if you couldn’t live without your phone?  I’m certainly with you if can’t, I use it entertain me, to keep me up to date with friends, to inform me about the world and so much more.  For those of us in the blog community your phone feels especially essential, almost as if it’s your right hand.

Carphone Warehouse have produced the App Map of Great Britain showing the most used apps not just across the whole of Britain, but my region too, and it makes for some fascinating reading.  It goes beyond the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter and shows some of the less obvious apps too that we enjoy, it’s an interesting place to explore.  Inspired by this I thought I’d share with you the apps I find myself clicking on every day:

Fitbit

I was given a Fitbit as a birthday gift just over a year ago and I have to say I love it.  I can track my food and drink when I’m on the mood to do that, but the best part is how much it gets my butt moving when challenging friends!  There’s something so satisfying and a little devious about scheduling a weekend or weekday step challenge when you know you're gonna be on your feet that weekend kicking butt, I didn’t realise I was competitive until I got this app.  I’ve got quite a network of blogger friends
on there too so it’s fun to challenge each other.  


IFFTT

This little app came into my life sometime last year and although I don’t actually open it every day, I don’t know how I lived without it.  Essentially I set it up and haven’t needed to touch it since, yet it does so much for me.  Basically it creates macros for your social media accounts and does things so you don’t have to.  It’s a piece of software that sits in your phone and goes ‘if X happens, then do X’.  To give you an example, one I use is ‘if I post to Instagram, post the image to twitter as a native image’.  That’s how I get my Instagram images to show in my twitter feed without it being just a link, and it does it all for me automatically.  There’s tons of possibilities with this app, you can create your own or use one of the ones already programmed in, it’s a big help and a huge time saver.  


Snapseed

I discovered this app last spring and it’s made the biggest difference to my Instagram account.  I use this to edit all my Instagram photos now and I don’t touch filters.  You can do so much with this and it’s so quick and easy too, it’s actually easier to use and does more than the website I use to edit my blog pics.  I wish they had a desktop version!  It takes a little getting used to at first to find all the features but once you’ve got the hang of it it’s pretty intuitive, I recommend it to everyone who wants to improve their Instagram pics.


Citymapper

I was not in the least bit surprised when looking at the results of the app map to find out this app came out so highly amongst Londoners, it’s a miracle worker!  If you are visiting London or any major city I can’t recommend it enough.  Just put in where you want to go and where you are starting from. your current location and it’ll figure it out all the possible routes for you, including the time of the different journeys and the price.  It knows all the time tables of the Underground, buses and trains and can tell you even which carriage to be in for maximum time saving.  It’s saved me money and time, I wouldn't have explored any where near as much of London without this app, knowing I can find my way home in any situation.  It also has other features like rain safe mode, which will show you routes that avoid getting wet on a rainy day, and the price of an Uber for the journey if you just want to get there quickly and easily.  I used this when I was in NYC too, it’s a must have!


Airbnb

Another travelling app that I’ve taken to this year, I wouldn’t have done most of the travelling I have this year if wasn’t for Airbnb.  Solo travelling was just way too expensive before, now I use the app not only to look for last minute adventures but also to communicate with the place I’m staying when I’m on route.  It’s honestly changed my life for the better.  Use my code www.airbnb.co.uk/c/karissa to get £30 your first stay over £55 (I get £15 credit if you do this which I am most thankful for, more trips for me!).


Bookbeat

You might have noticed in my other posts My Five Favourite Places to Listen to Audiobooks and Why I'm giving audiobooks another try that Bookbeat has been a recently find of mine.  I love that I have access to books wherever I am with just a click of a button.  Don’t forget you can use my code https://www.bookbeat.com/uk/blogteam to get one month's free trial.


Podcasts

Remember a couple of years ago when Serial came out and the world went podcast crazy?  Well like many that was my first time listening to Podcasts and I’ve never looked back!  I listen to them every day and I’m subscribed to so many, mainly true crime (check out my 5 True Crime Podcasts for Lovers of Serial) and factual podcasts as that’s what interests me the most.  


Gardenscapes

Everyone must have a game on the phone and this one is mine, it’s kind of the same style as Candy Crush but it has a cute story.  It’s kind of dumb, but it’s fun to play and it’s one of those that only has 5 lives at a time which is exactly what I need if I want to get anything done ever!


Spotify

I really don’t think I make it clear enough on my blog just how much music means to me, then maybe on my Why I was never going to be ready for Funeral for a Friend ending post.  I’ve been a pop punk princess ever since I was a pre-teen blasting tunes makes me feel like I’m on top of the world, especially in the Summer.  I’m still too much of a skinflint to upgrade and pay for Spotify but hopefully soon, I love that it has almost every band I like on there, even the most obscure metal and industrial bands.


Fever

Whenever I have a free evening or weekend and just fancy doing something new Fever is a great place to jump on to find out what’s going on in London.  They have tons of deals on here from theatre, to food and drink, to big events.  It’s always worth a look to see what’s happening.  


So that’s my top 10, why not share yours in the comments below?
This is a collaborative post with Carphone Warehouse and also contains affiliate links

14 July 2017

Seeing Clearly with GlassesShop.com

 As a glasses wearer there is nothing more important to me when it comes to eyewear then comfort and style, thankfully that's where GlassesShop.com comes in.  They have a whole range of glasses that are stylish, modern and totally affordable.  You might be remember me raving about them a few months ago in my post on vintage inspired frames, well this time I went for something more modern with these clear glasses frames.  Side note, I didn't realise till looking at these pictures that my lipstick matched the pink in my hair so perfectly, accidental fashion score!  (it's Sleek's Matte Me in Fandango Purple if your wondering.)
There's still a hint of vintage style to these with the wayfarer shape, but other then that these are thoroughly modern.  The large frames means these are the most comfortable glasses I've ever worn, it's easy forget that I'm even wearing them, especially as they are so lightweight.  The frames are really solid and sturdy, whilst the clear plastic gives a unique look.  This style is the York Wayfarer's in Crystal and are just $34.95 if your looking for this exact pair.

GlassesShop.com have hundreds of eyeglasses styles to choose from to suit all budgets in all shapes and colours.  Like the look of a pair?  Use my code GSHOT50 to get 50% off, so take a look and snap up a bargain!
This glasses were given to me in return for an open and honest review.

12 July 2017

Fashion: Keeping it Colourful in Bristol

I had grand plans for this photo shoot, with all the amazing street art Bristol is famous for I just had to find somewhere for some amazing, colourful backdrops for this shoot right?  Well somehow I managed to totally fail.  We’d headed to Bristol for our anniversary and ended up in the funky, colourful part of Bristol in the evening and the day I took this outfit out to shoot we had a gorgeous, if maybe a little muted, walk along the river before heading up to the Clifton Suspension bridge. Not a colourful background in site!  All my own fault for my bad planning of course, so you’ll just have to let me outfit being the colour for this one.

I am all about bright colours lately as I mentioned in my Spring mermaid post, so I just had to share another of my colourful creations with you!  My old emo ways of wearing a pop of colour against black appear to finally be slipping away from me, and although my love of Industrial goth is here to stay the jump from that to this isn’t too far away in reality.  So when the super colourful company Loudmouth reached out to ask if I wanted to try one of their skirts it seemed like perfect timing.
My new found love of all things vibrant and my 50’s aesthetic doesn't always go hand in hand, but this time it did. While the cut might not be 50’s inspired, the print I chose totally is.  This 8 track print is typical of the funky, youthfulness of this era, it’s one you will have seen everywhere if your in the vintage scene. I adore the colour scheme also so I just had to go for this one.  Loudmouth primarily make loud, funky, brightly coloured clothes for sports events, think crazy golf trousers! However they have such a wide variety of patterns and styles you can grab clothing for anything you want as log as your not colour shy. The clothes are a really high quality which is unusual for clothing that is just used for parties, which is why I think this can be used for so much more. This skirt was made to measure, out of high quality materials that is really hard wearing.
One thing I really love about this skirt is its practicality.  Not only does it have actually real pockets (praise the lord!) but it has concealed shorts inside.  Yes this skirt is actually a skort, but it’s not like the wrap around version we all wore in the 90’s.  This time you really can’t tell at all that this is anything other than a mini skirt, and the shorts part is made of a light, white cotton lining making it breathable and comfortable. This is a big help to those like me with wide thighs, combatting chub rub is a must on a hot day!  Plus the whole skirt is made of a material that contains elastic so it's comfortable even after my second burger of the day. I love dazzling the streets in my kindergarten colours!
Now you know accessorizing ain’t my strong point, and I kept this simple by pairing it with a plain white Primark vest top.  Elsewhere however I let my imagination go a bit wild.  The real highlight here is this mint green jacket!  Months ago I saw someone at a blog event in one and after some hunting online found this from Forever 21. It's not a place I’d normally shop in but I was really impressed by what they had in store and this jacket was only £18.99 if I remember correctly.  I love everything about it, it’s perfect for finishing an outfit, warm enough and has really good sized pockets, I don’t know why I‘ve not owned jackets before!  It also meant I could jump on the current pin trend.  I used one of my favourite vintage wooden milkshake pins on one side, and the more on trend enamel pins on the other.  Currently I have my rainbow Mickey from Disney World, my Funeral for a Friend and my Star Wars Join the Resistance pin also from Disney World on there, but I’m sure I’ll change them up from time to time.  
As I was going a lot of walking I kept it casual with frilly socks and floral Vans I picked up from TK Maxx before my Disney World trip which I’ve been living in this summer!  I kept the child-like fun with this pink and blue choker adding a definite 90’s feel, and topping it off with this glittery watermelon headband, both from Primark. I’m loving watermelon accessories this summer!  The jelly bag from Sun Jellies is actually something I've had my eye on for a long time and was lucky enough to receive as a gift for my birthday. You can't hold anything too heavy in it as the plastic is a bit uncomfortable and of course you have to be careful because of the hole pattern but I just love it! It's fun, cute and large enough to carry my essentials. I just love the light hearted fun of this look, even if I am only a few months away from the big 3-0!

What do you think of this look?  Fun and youthful or just immature?

5 July 2017

Giveaway: 2 X Tickets for any Pop Up Screens Showing!

It’s been a bit quieter than usual around there this last few weeks as I prepare for Pride in London this weekend, but to tide you over I have a fantastic giveaway to share with you.

As I’m writing this the sun is blaring outside my window, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do then join a group of friends and relax outdoors and watch a film with a couple of drinks.  Last summer I attended my first ever outdoor Cinema when I went to see Casablanca and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  There’s something about watching a film outside when the sun goes down that feels super exciting, especially in the UK where our ability to do so is very limited!  

Thankfully Pop Up Screens is coming to London this month to bring some well loved classics to London's outdoor spaces. There’s loads of different shows to choose from such as The labyrinth, Dirty Dancing, Mean Girls (a personal favourite of mine) and lots more. Check out the full listings here to see what is available.  Grab a drink, a bean bag and settle in!  

Pop Up Screens have kindly offered my readers a chance to win two tickets to any screening of their choice, to enter simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.  Good Luck!

29 June 2017

Burgers with a twist at BRGR.CO

Don’t you just get a hankering for burgers in the summer time?  I don’t know if it’s the smell of BBQ wafting around but I sure do.  Last week I headed down to try a burger joint that is new to me, BRGR.CO, so I took this opportunity to try and squash my Summer cravings.
London is awash with burger joints, but BRGR.CO has something of a unique selling point, it’s the only Burger joint in London with three different meat blends made from prime cut steak.  The three meat options for meat blends are the blade steak burger made from a blend of blade (bavette) steak and brisket, the hanger steak burger made from prime cuts of hanger (onglet) steak, and lastly the rump steak burger which is made of blended rump and prime rib.
I went for the rump burger as I’d heard it was truly delicious, I chose the stilton and caramelised onion option as I have a real love for strong blue cheese at the moment.  The burger was well formed, juicy and was complemented well by the brioche bun.  It could be cooked exactly how you liked it which I appreciated (medium rare for me) and was cooked exactly as requested.  The meat was well seasoned and flavourful, which can be a deal breaker for me when this isn’t archived.  I went for the side of spicy mac and cheese which was really creamy and perfectly crisp on top, with just enough kick from the spices.  It’s a combo I’d definitely choose again.
My sister is vegan so she went for the falafel burger with homemade herb tahini sauce and added avocado,  which she combined with a side of fries and onion rings.  The burger was plentiful and literally overflowing with fresh toppings, but the falafel was overcooked sadly which took away from the flavour.  The fries were well seasoned and crispy, however sadly the onion rings were far too greasy and lacked any real flavour.  
Onto desert and although there were no options for my vegan sister it sure didn’t stop me!  I went for the apple and banana crumble and although they had sadly ran out of the ice cream accompaniment this was still delicious on it’s own.  Just sweet enough with a crumbly sweet topping and a great balance for the banana and apple filling.  I’m not normally a banana fan but this combination really worked.

You can find BRGR.CO in both Chelsea and Soho, have you ever been tried BRGR.CO?

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