Tag Archives: honeymoon

Las Vegas: What to Pack, Where to Stay & Things to Do

Las Vegas What to Pack, Where to Stay & Things to Do (11)

I’ve been meaning to write a definitive Las Vegas guide for ages – you guys are always asking me for recommendations of things to see and do! I’ve been there four times now and on each visit I find something new to entertain myself with.

I often hear people say they couldn’t stay in Vegas longer than a few days, or that one trip is enough, but I completely disagree! Sure, if you’re just there to drink, party and gamble you’ll probably be ready to go home after a long weekend, but if you want to broaden your horizons a bit more then one visit is barely enough time to scratch the surface. Vegas is so much more than blackjack tables and nightclubs (although a little of both is a hell of a lot of fun!)

Las Vegas is a city like no other, with a slot machine on every corner, gargantuan hotels, amazing shopping and some of the hottest weather you will ever experience! Seriously, during this recent trip (in July – we were clearly having a moment of madness when we booked it, who the hell goes to the desert in the summer?!) the temperatures soared to a scorching 48 degrees celsius (and it was still over 30 degrees at night!) It felt like god had left the oven on, thank goodness for the ample air conditioning!

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What to pack

This is one question I get asked I lot! I like to think my Vegas wardrobe is pretty similar to my at home one… but with more sequins! Definitely bring comfortable shoes for the day time if you’re planning on walking up and down the strip, but for nights out pack your most OTT ensembles!

You see ALL SORTS in Vegas (some of them have to be seen to be believed) and its impossible to ever be overdressed. False eyelashes, glitter and your most extravagant shoes are a must. Plenty of swimwear too if you plan on lying by the pool or doing pool parties. I only bought one swimsuit on my last trip and I regretted it! Even lying poolside is a fashion moment opportunity.

Where to stay

Over my four visits I’ve stayed in five hotels – the Stratosphere, the Encore, the Cosmopolitan, the Flamingo and the Venetian. They all have their perks and downsides.

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The Mirage is next on my list!

The Stratosphere is super cheap but waaaay the fuck down the far end of the Strip. You’ll have to get cabs everywhere which can be expensive and inconvenient.

The Encore is fabulous, super glam and definitely one of my favourite hotels. It (and the Wynn which it’s connected to) is a quite a bit more luxurious then a lot of the others so you pay a premium for it. The lobby interiors are stunning and there’s lots of natural light which is rare in casinos. Our room was no bigger or better than any of the other hotels we’ve been to though.

The Cosmopolitan is in a GREAT location, right smack bang in the middle of the strip and within walking distance to a lot of the main sights. I found it overpriced for the size of the room and the lobby had a bit of a funny smell when we stayed there! The pools were disappointingly small and unexciting too, especially when you compare them to the pools at the Flamingo, Mandalay Bay (they have an actual beach!) and the Venetian (below).

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A view of the pools from our room at The Venetian

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Two Wonderful Days in Paris

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I am very, very bad at keeping secrets, especially exciting ones! So when Sophie and I planned months ago, to take Ronnie to Paris for her birthday, I was sure I would accidentally blab. BUT I DIDN’T AND I’M SO PROUD.

We had the most wonderful two days in the City of Light (as you will have seen if you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat), and I decided to make a little video to bring you along with us. We meandered around the beautiful cobbled streets (Monmartre is my favourite!) marvelling at the architecture, eating croissants, crepes and macarons, and spilling Prosecco nearly everytime we ordered some!

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: A Surprise Trip to Vienna!

When you decide to book a holiday, what’s the first thing you do? You probably figure out if you want to go lie on a beach, explore a new city or throw yourselves wholeheartedly into some kind of action/ adventure sports trip. Next, you might want to know how the weather is at the time of year you plan to travel. Then you’ll probably look up what the local food is like, research the must-sees and investigate all the popular sites to decide if they sound like something you’d enjoy…

But what if I told you you could go on a holiday that you knew nothing about until two hours before take off!? Well, that’s exactly what Gareth and I did last weekend!

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Surprisetrips.co.uk is a new concept from the people behind Expedia.co.uk. How it works is you tell them your preferred departure airport, send them a short list of places you don’t want to visit (maybe you’ve already been there or you just don’t fancy it) and they book you a completely surprise European holiday!

They currently offer 77 weekend destinations in Europe and the service is open to all UK, IE, CA, AUS, NZ and US passport holders (all flights depart from the UK or Ireland). All flights are at convenient times (we flew out at 9am and back at 8pm) and are under 3 and a half hours.

When I heard about the concept I was excited, if not a little bit nervous. I’m not an over-planner when it comes to travelling, but I do like to do a little basic research so I know what to expect of a new place. Not least of all, I like to know beforehand how I’m going to get to my hotel from the airport!

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The anticipation of where we might end up was definitely one of the best parts of this whole experience and everyone I told about it was like “Wow that’s so cool, I’d love to do that!” Once you book, Surprise Trips emails you a link which tells you which airport and terminal to go to and what time you need to arrive. Then, a couple of days before the trip they email you again with a weather report from your destination so you have some idea of what to pack. Ours told us it was going to be 26-30°C so we were kind of expecting that we might end up on a beach somewhere… But as you can see, that couldn’t have been further from what happened!

Now I’m no YouTuber, but I thought it might be fun to make a little travel video so you can see what we got up to. Enjoy!

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Hiroshima

For most people, only one thing springs to mind when they hear the name ‘Hiroshima’. As the first ever city to suffer a nuclear attack, it has a sad history for sure, but today’s Hiroshima is far from a depressing place.

I had no idea what to expect when we hopped on the 90 minute train from Osaka, but what greeted us was a lively city with some of the friendliest people (and wildlife!) ever. They also have great food (make sure you try Okinomiyaki, a local speciality which is a fried cabbage, egg, meat and noodle dish) and fantastic scenery. We spent 48 hours here at the end of our time in Japan.

Here’s how we filled it:

The Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial

Our first stop was the Atomic Bomb Dome, one of very few structures left standing after the nuclear attack. The iconic ruin is a natural place to start your visit as from here you can walk down the river to the Peace Memorial Park and museum.

This was an emotional morning, especially because we’d both completely fallen in love with Japan and the people who live here. Just the thought of what it must have been like during the aftermath of the bombing is unfathomable.

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Alternative Honeymoon Ideas

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After all the stress and excitement of the wedding is over, your honeymoon is the perfect chance for you to kick back and relax. But what if the idea of lying on the beach in the Bahamas sounds frightfully dull? Don’t you worry, my friends from Patchwork, an online alternative gift registry and honeymoon fund, are here to share their top five 2016 honeymoon destinations!

For this article I’m handing over to Patchwork founder Olivia Knight.

Speed through stunning Japan: Two weeks sightseeing on the bullet train

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We’ve got tons of couples using Patchwork to plan and fund honeymoons to Japan this year. I know you’ve just been there Kat (always bang on trend) so you’ll appreciate what an incredible culture trip it is. From the bright lights of Tokyo to the ancient temples of Kyoto and the paradise island of Miyajima, there’s so much to see and do. And thanks to the speeding bullet trains it’s actually possible to experience it all in a two-week break.

Japan is an expensive country to visit, especially if you want to see all the sites and travel in style! So if this is your dream honeymoon, it makes sense to ask friends and family for cash gifts to help make it happen.

Experience bohemian Berlin: One week living on a houseboat

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If you’re planning a summer honeymoon and want a city break that’s full of culture, colour, music and art, Berlin is where you need to be. If you want to experience the city’s bohemian delights avoid hotels and live like a local in one of the many unique homes available to rent. My favourite place right now is a super stylish houseboat on lake Rummelsburg that offers a romantic and secluded escape for honeymooners with excellent access to the city.

I think the best way to experience Berlin is just to take your time to wander the East side, stopping off at the food stalls, pop up bars, flea markets and random arts events that all spill out onto the streets in the summer. But there are a few essential tourist-y things to include in your Berlin patchwork too: Dinner up the TV tower for £50, U-bahn tickets for £20, a guided tour of the Berlin wall for £40 and zwei bier for a fiver.

An epic adventure in Peru: For couples who can take some serious time out

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Kyoto and Osaka

One of the things I was most looking forward to on our recent trip to Japan was that we were going to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to a few different cities. The transport in Japan is so fast and reliable and it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. (I wrote about our itinerary and all the ins and outs of getting the bullet train in my Japan 101 article.)

After Tokyo, the next city on our tour was Kyoto which is less than a three hour journey away. We opted to spend five nights, and although it was beautiful and peaceful, any longer and I think we would have struggled to fill our time. I must prefer to be busy and occupied when I travel. I’m terrible, I know, I literally do not know how to switch off!

There are way more people in traditional clothing in Kyoto which was so cool to see. These colours!

If you enjoy history, castles, palaces, gardens and museums, you’re going to LOVE it in Kyoto.

Castles and shrines

Being an older city there are plenty of castles (many of which have been converted into museums) for you to explore. Doing touristy things really isn’t my idea of a brilliant time, but Gareth particularly enjoyed our visits to Nijo Castle, the Silver Pavillion and Osaka Castle (which is in Osaka, obviously! More on that below). The Golden Pavilion, which unlike its silver counterpart is actually covered in gold, was also on our list, but we were feeling a bit Pavilion-ed out by the time we came to visit so we gave it a miss.

There are also SO MANY shrines in Kyoto. It’s hardly surprising that the city’s nickname is ‘the city of ten thousand shrines’! I’m pretty sure that’s literal too. Nearly every corner you turn its like “Oh hey, there’s another one!”

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