24hrs in Dusseldorf


Our options: spend hundreds of pounds on a concert ticket at Wembley, OR spend less than a hundred to spend a day in Dusseldorf and see the exact same concert.

Well as you can imagine, it was a no brainer.

We didn’t think too much into it, we just booked a flight in and out, reserved our arena seats and boom we were sorted. We figured anything else we came across on that trip would just be an added bonus.

Fast forward a few months and it was days before we were meant to depart and we decided it was time to see what there was to do for 12 hours.

Turns out there’s not loooads to do. Let me start again, there are things to do, but not a lot of free things to do. Not that we could find anyway. Everyone I knew who had visited had only been as part of a business stop over. So no one had any decent recommendations. Google was happy to announce that the airport viewing park was number 11 on the highlights of things to do in Dusseldorf. Didn’t really inspire much confidence.

After an intense security check at the airport (a kind of check that I found incredibly violating and questionable) we decided to discuss our days plans over breakfast.

The plan: was to not have a plan.

We landed early morning into Dusseldorf Airport and found ourselves, by chance, on TripAdvisor’s 20th most popular attraction, the Sky Train. It was actually pretty cool! More cities should have these air suspended tram systems. Felt like we were on an episode of the Jetsons.

After a few dramas trying to get train tickets at the station, swiftly moving away from the abandoned suitcase that had appeared beside us, we jumped on the first train into the city, straight to central station.

We wandered the streets, headed to Rheinuferpromenade, passing beautiful buildings old and new. We sauntered into a few quirky shops and explored a church along the way, one with an interesting amalgamation of traditional and contemporary design features.



Not long after, it was time for lunch and so far our options weren’t looking great.

Halal-wise, we could’ve indulged in kebabs and donners as they seemed to be everywhere. But all we wanted was something small and something ‘local’ (preferably not fried). Menu after menu it became clear that sausage played a big part of what was on offer (quelle surprise), with not many appetising vegetarian options. Perhaps just a little bit of research would have been useful.

We passed a Turkish restaurant and the friendly owner somehow managed to coax us in, charming us with the promise of suitable meat-free options. Turns out we had two – cheese ciabatta or cheese and tomato ciabatta.



Despite the overwhelming variety, we decided they actually weren’t bad options so we didn’t bother re-robing and stayed put, taking some time out from the slight bit of rain we had just escaped from.

I had obviously slept on the flight over, so I had been dying to find a spot for us to rest and to freshen up. But of course we had chosen a café with the smallest toilet in the world. I entered top speed mode, changed my top, brushed my hair and was nearly done with brushing my teeth when a smart dressed diner entered and caught me mid spit.

One of my less classier moments. Luckily she didn’t look at me in disgust and definitely saw the funny side. Turns out she was from Saudi Arabia and it was such a surreal experience to reminisce about my former home with a complete stranger in a dingy bathroom whilst she applied her expensive looking ruby red lippy and I continued to cover myself in deodorant and perfume.

Well-fed, we set off once again on our adventure only to stumble upon a food market. Go figure.

Tip number one: Perhaps take time to ask locals for food recommendations when you are in a new area. Instead of settling for the first person to invite you in.

We continued on to the riverside, aiming to check out TripAdvisor’s 4th most popular attraction, the Rhine Tower. A large happy french-fry-shaped figurine caught the corner of our eye.

It was the Chip Man.

We were full, but not that full. And this was the second one we had come across so it almost felt rude not to. This place literally served nothing BUT chips. Not hand made ones either, just standard frozen chips with a heap of weird and wonderful toppings. The guys behind the counter were dying to practice their English skills, one of them wanting to know if he was good enough to brave the move to the UK (Not sure if he was aware we have a Brexit situation going on but didn’t seem the right time to break it to him).



Two fresh (from frozen) chip trays later and we were off walking along the promenade, wind in our hair, headed towards the tower. Just another beautiful afternoon in Blackpool sorry Dusseldorf (it really did feel like we were having chips on the promenade at Blackpool though!?). By this point the sun decided to come out basking the shore line in sunshine and warmth, perfect timing for our stroll across the river bank.

Rhine tower, 240.5 metres concrete site towering above the city. For the first time ever on a city break we didn’t have to queue for an attraction. Couple of euros got us a ticket straight to the top in the super sonic lift.



The 360 degree observation deck and café area were pretty impressive. Again, it was refreshing not to be at a sightseeing stop that was swarming with tourists. We found ourselves a table to relax at and enjoyed a tea and pretzel break, whilst watching the world pass by below.



Back down to the bustling streets below, we casually strolled towards the far side of town where the arena was, stopping only for what was supposed to be a quick browse around Habitat, a shop we don’t have in the UK anymore but one which was always a firm favourite of mine. As we were about to leave the store, a comfy sofa in the window called out to us. Enticed by the soft fabric we decided to test it out and instantly sunk into it’s fluffiness.

What started as a quick test of a good looking couch ended in being approached an hour later by a shop assistant whether we actually required any help mid-way through our heavy conversation about politics. We casually assured her we were fine and then sprinted out of there as fast as we could.



Time had ticked on and we realised we didn’t have long to find a quick dinner snack and get ourselves over to the ISS arena. So we picked up the pace as we walked towards the North of the city.

An hour of walking and we weren’t going as fast as we needed to. We decided to settle for a kebab shop on route, after which we would hop on a tram or some other mode of transport to rush us down to catch the start of the show.

Wasn’t as great a dinner as we would have liked but it was fast, cheap and we were definitely full. My sister in particular was full from eating a large amount of ‘not-what-I-ordered’ onions that had been added to her bread dish.

Tip number two: Don’t just agree to have all the added extras in a restaurant just because you’re too scared to say no. It won’t end well.

Quick tram ride to Heinrichstraße and there it was, a bus labelled ‘Dusseldorf ISS Dome’. We ran at full speed to catch it, only to realise the driver wasn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon as he pulled on his cigarette, relaxed and nonchalant.

Finally we were there, the ISS arena and like every other concert venue it was time for bag search.

Tip number three: If you are travelling to a concert abroad and that is the sole purpose of your trip don’t bother taking your DSLR.

Of course my DSLR camera was not allowed inside the venue and I had to leave it at the entrance with the security team. It was placed in a plastic bag, and stored in a crate until the end of the show. Not the most secure set up – but I should stress it was there waiting for me just as I left it when we returned at the end of the night.



The fun well and truly started when it was time to head home. In all our wisdom, we decided booking a hotel room was a waste as we were catching an early flight out the next day so our next stop that evening was to go straight back to the airport where we would be camping out for the night.

Finding a train station was proving a fair challenge, especially as G had managed to get us rejected from the only bus around by asking for the airport rather than the train station resulting in the driver assuring us that he couldn’t help and we should carry on. A group on foot headed to their parked car kindly led us halfway down and then left us to navigate the dark Dusseldorf streets on our own.

We found the tram but had no idea where it was going and no one else was really able to help either, mainly because their English was limited and our German was unfortunately non existent.

Tip number four: Even if you are only visiting for a short time, learn or familiarise yourself with some key phrases or download a translation app.

Just before my sister was about to throw herself into her best impression of a choo-choo train, an English speaker piped up with instructions to help us continue our journey.

We boarded the tram, which was basically an extension of the concert, revellers singing and dancing in perfect Spanish, pretty ironic considering we were in Germany.

fifteen minutes and one spilt drink on my jacket later, and we were back at Dusseldorf Airport.

No overnight lounges, just the one coffee shop and we had just over five hours to kill.

It was a long, but fun-filled night.



I use the word fun-filled loosely of course… trying to sleep whilst cleaning machines and hoovers sound off at full volume and uncomfortable armrests are jabbing into your sides is not easy even for me, the self-proclaimed can-sleep-through-anything sleeper.

Tip number five: Do not forget to take a scarf if you’re planning on camping out like we did. Or a travel blanket like the one Mo and I bought for our Brazil trip (why I didn’t think to take it this time is beyond me)

We woke to the smell of fresh bread, coffees and the buzz of everyday hustle and bustle in an airport. Flight boards started filling up, our destination London Heathrow making the list, and just like that it was time to board that plane again.

Throughout the day my sister had voiced her appreciation for this City, the best cuisine shes ever had, the best long boats shes ever seen, the best views she’s ever seen…

G and I aren’t quite sure what she saw that we didn’t, but what we did all agree on, was that it was definitely one of our most quirkiest trips to date.


Have you been to Dusseldorf? Slept overnight at an airport?



Viking Stationery ArtyParty


I know you’re probably thinking I’m mad. A stationery party? Seriously?

Yup seriously, last Saturday I went to an arty party because arts and crafts events are the best!

As a child some of my earliest memories are of my mum taking my sister and I to local souqs in Saudi Arabia (we lived out there) where she would shop for gifts for the children at the school she taught at. The only thing I remember about the place is how AMAZING the stationery was. I’m pretty sure that’s where my obsession stems from. My sister and I have had a love for writing and desk accessories ever since.

I have many passions in life, art, travel, writing, all of which I can showcase on the blog. For the last year I have regularly written notes to myself to try and include some form of craft post, it’s something I absolutely love doing and I just wish I had more time to indulge in it.

When I started having my aversion to watching television, I took up crochet as a way to give myself something to do whilst I was sat with Mo and he was catching up on his programs. Kept me busy, very addictive and it meant I didn’t have to sit bored whilst the TV rattled on.

Since then my spare time has become less and less frequent and I do really value any time I can dedicate to arts and crafts. When you’re an adult there are so few opportunities to unleash your creativity if you happen to be stuck in the corporate world so an arty party hosted by Viking was definitely a welcome breath of fresh air.



The venue for the day was the exquisite King Street Townhouse hotel, the only one in Manchester to boast a rooftop pool. Boutique in style, kitschy-but-modern interiors, it was the perfect place to host a bunch of bloggers.

The sun was beaming on Saturday, almost as if it had been scheduled to do so, as our craft party was being held in the 6th floor event room, with outdoor terrace. An outdoor terrace with views looking out over the city, what a location.




The Viking team were joined by some wonderful helpers: Chloe and Stacey from the crafty hen and the lovely Joyce from Artsynibs. Three separate crafting stations had been set up: Notebook customisation, block printing and calligraphy.

We separated into groups and tried our hand at each one, getting stuck in the minute we sat down. We stopped only for lunch and mini tea breaks in between activities and I think I picked up my phone only a handful of times that day, my camera even less.



One of my main takeaways was how accommodating the Viking team were. I’ve been to many blogger events and this one had been so well thought out. Viking really focused on bloggers getting stuck into the activity at hand, just enjoying the moment with a photographer floating around taking snaps – saving us the hassle in feeling pressured to take our own. What a genius idea. And highly necessary as the moment I started the day on notebook customisation my focus was very much on my creation and nothing else in the world mattered!



I’m pretty chuffed with my little take aways, the file organiser and notebook are things I always need and the whole personalisation process inspired me to think a bit more on my home office and how I can create a spectacular working space, using simple accessories and jazzing them up. (I sense a Pinterest spree on its way).



Calligraphy wasn’t really my strongest skill, but as a typography nut I loved it anyway. I’ve met Joyce a few times before at various events and it’s always lovely to catch up with her, and whenever I get the opportunity to watch her in action, its quite mesmerising!! We were treated to not only an introductory lesson but also a newly released calligraphy set, which I am determined to practice at home with.



And of course not only was I able to create some fun take home accessories, but I got to spend an afternoon with a collection of pretty fab bloggers too! I finally got to meet the wonderful Maggie whose journey I have been following as she travelled through Asia recently, worth checking out trust me! I also met Holly, the lady behind WeBlogMcr, very excited to get networking with her in the near future. And of course there were many others, I’ll list them all at the end if you fancy some new blogs to read.

The whole day made me realise all that talk I posted about recently on wanting to introduce a digital detox really needs to be something I take seriously now. Having an afternoon where my mind was focused on anything but a screen, was so therapeutic. Even though it was a busy afternoon I felt completely relaxed (I think the sunshine helped!)

Viking were sure to give us a goody bag to take away too, luckily mine had lots of gold inspired stationery, perfect as I can use it to finish off my notebook 🙂

Fabulously fun inspirational day, at a stunning city centre location.

Can’t wait to get my craft back on.



*** Huge thanks to Viking for organising a wonderful bloggers event . All images used on this particular post are my own, with no editing apart from a couple have had brightness adjusted as I was using my c*** phone. ***


Some lovely bloggers I met who are definitely worth checking out:




“Will you start the fans, please!”

If those words fill you with extreme excitement, you MUST book to visit the Crystal Maze Manchester experience.

My sister and I, like many others grew up watching the TV series back in the 90’s. Richard O’Brien hosted a game show with a difference, where teams fought to beat the clock and complete challenges to collect crystals. Each crystal buying you time in the iconic crystal dome where you and your team mates will scramble to collect tickets, which will then translate into prize money.

OK, so at the Manchester experience, you won’t win any money.

But you WILL have the time of your life!!

The preview nights have been ongoing for the last two weeks and I decided to secure a team to test it out as pre-birthday celebration last Friday.

Lets start with the venue…

IT’S PERFECT (insert lots of smiley-heart-eye-emoji-faces)

The Manchester experience is at the old Granada Studios and I was expecting it to be good, but not this good. Exactly like the TV series there are four zones: Medieval, Futuristic, Aztec and Industrial and these guys have really gone to town to try and re-create the magic of each section. There are tunnels, narrow corridors, overhead walkways, bridges and sand! The Aztec zone really did have sand!!


Crystal maze manchester zone map from tv show


Before you go in, you have the opportunity to wear one of the fetching Crystal Maze jackets and take a group picture. Which we did. However, you don’t get to wear these stylish suits as you do the games, they are purely for picture purposes. Don’t be sad though – you will most definitely be grateful they didn’t let you wear it once you get in as you will get very warm as you dash around.


crystal maze manchester group picture

Our team – The Hateful Eight


After all the paperwork and safety briefings, the first task is the most important – choosing team and sub team captains. Sub team captain very important, just in case the team captain gets locked in. Of course, as the pre-birthday girl and organiser, I forced myself into the team captain role and appointed my partner in crime G as the sub.

A short welcome video from the legendary Richard and then boom! Out pops our very own Maze Master – Edward-something-something-something-the seventh. He was eccentric, dressed in tweed, very tall and skinny, carried a briefcase… oh and most importantly, he was BRILLIANT. The Maze Master job was one that was quite sought after, the Crystal Maze opened the applications out to actors and actresses as it is very much a dramatic role rather than simply having a host walk you through.

I’ll get back to Edward later, but let’s move on…

After a quick getting to know each other session, it was time to get cracking. 60 minutes on the clock and we were off.

The games! Oh gosh, they were completely on point. I was so pleased. Just like the original once again, you can choose between physical, mental, skill or mystery. The Maze Master offers the options in that particular zone and as the captain I got to choose who played WHICH game.

I’m not going to ruin the surprise for you by describing them all, but think maths puzzles, laser beams, pulley ropes, puzzles… and they’re all SOOO GOOD!!!

Once the chosen team mate is in the room facing their task, the rest of us could watch through windows… you know what I’m going to say next, it was just like the TV show!

I could give you plenty of tips at this point – such as, don’t all shout at once, read the instructions clearly out loud, move on if you don’t understand something… but the beauty of the game is once you’re there and the door has closed, even when you’re watching someone else do the task, you’ll completely forget everything you’ve read or heard as adrenaline kicks in and you move into competitive mode.

We won seven crystals in total, that gave us 35 seconds in the dome. We came soooo close in some games but we didn’t want to risk losing a team mate (although I’ve heard there are some novel ways of getting them out, so maybe its worth a try??)

Now, I said I’d come back to Edward-something x 3-the seventh. I kid you not, this guy was incredibly talented. Throughout our whole experience, he stayed in character, he worked off our enthusiasm and played a truly exceptional host. He was comedy GOLD. Our very own compere to take us through and he literally had us in stitches the whole time – G and I took the brunt of his jokes (we did ask for it though 😉 ).



If I could do this whole thing again. I would. All day every day until we’d tried every single challenge. And I’d want Edward to go through the pain of leading us all through it too.

If you want something fun to do with a group of friends, whether you’re a fan of the show or not…


But book it NOW – because those slots are filling up fast.




*** Booking information ***

Ticket prices vary £45-£55 depending on when you book – Click here to see what available

If you don’t have a team of 8, you will be placed with other people, I’d say that’s a neat way to make new friends.

There’s a trailer on the website if you want to get a real feel for it – But if you can resist, I’d recommend leaving it a surprise 🙂



Have you tried the Crystal Maze? Were you a big fan of the TV show?




Sick of doing the same old thing night after night? I mentioned over the weekend that I am totally off tv, and when you do decide to stop watching it I’m telling you, you’ll find yourself faced with hours of free time, you just won’t know what to do with it!

But that’s ok because believe me, there is always something much more exciting waiting for you and one of those things involves a room full of amateur artists, a palette of paint and some quality tunes.

It’s time to join the latest craze in evening entertainment, it’s time to take part in a paint party.

Ever since I first saw The Paint Republic on twitter over the summer, I have been trying to coordinate my diary to attend one of the classes, but alas our schedules were constantly clashing. Finally a date popped up where I had nothing planned – but the event was all the way in Chester, over an hours drive from home.

What the heck, I wanted to paint – no I needed to paint as it was on my 2016 to do list so Mo would just have to deal with me schlepping him across Cheshire for a night of creativity.

I sat down and stared at my blank canvas, glanced over to my right at Lindsay’s completed masterpiece. How on earth are we supposed to paint something like that freehand?!?!

I consider myself to be fairly creative. I did well in art throughout school, took a fine art module at university, but I’ve never freehand painted anything. Ever. I’ve always pre drawn my outlines and then used a paintbrush to colour it in. Free painting surely meant there was little room for error, and I was feeling slightly pressured as Mo was enjoying making a big deal over the fact that I was a lot more experienced than he was.

I literally can’t put into words how much fun we had that night!!



We left immediately counting out how many friends we can rally round to organise another party, and I can’t wait to get in touch with Lindsay when I get back from my travels to make it possible. Lindsay is not only the lady behind the painting we were trying to recreate, but also the co-founder of the Paint Republic in the UK.

Amazingly, she was able to lead a whole class of beginners through the process step by step. I don’t know how she did it, but she just did. Bit by bit we built up the colours, the layers, the strokes… we blended, dabbed, flicked… the full works! All the while Lindsay was on the mic offering help, commentary and most importantly keeping the atmosphere going, she has a fantastic ambience about her and she kept us smiling and laughing all evening.

With only a short break in between painting, the time that night flew by. Before we knew it lo and behold on the stand in front of us was a completed work of art. You get a real sense of achievement and I don’t think anyone around us was disappointed with what they had created.

I thought it was worth sharing a few tips, because I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to do this at some point so hopefully these will help you through:


Top tips to survive your first paint party:


Don’t wear clothes you’re precious about

You’re painting for crying out loud, the chances are paint is going to land on your clothing at some point. In my case, Mo’s technique of snow splattering ended up with half my side covered in white flecks of acrylic. I wasn’t bothered, added to the fun and it all came off – but if you are thinking of wearing something fancy, don’t be precious about it


Keep your drink away from your paint-water glass

Nobody wants paint in their drink. Or to drink paint water. And yes I nearly did both of those things.


Take your friends

This isn’t a silent solitary art class, this is a paint party. So rally your friends round get a table together and enjoy yourselves! Perhaps compete on whose turns out best? Mo enjoyed asking facebook friends to judge between painting a and painting b (thankfully I won!)


Go with the flow

The flow of the night, the flow of the music and of course more importantly, the flow of your paintbrush. Yours might not look exactly like the original, but who cares? It’s your masterpiece. Own it.


If this has intrigued you in any way then I am pleased to tell you that a few days ago the Paint Republic finally published a list of new dates on their website. None in Manchester just yet… but as I said, the minute I return I shall be on the case!!!

To be perfectly honest, Mo and I both said we would travel all the way back to the heart of Chester just to have another go if we had to, we enjoyed it that much.

If this year is the year you try new things, do things differently then you need to get online, book a class, switch off that TV, peel yourself off that sofa and unleash your inner Picasso! You might discover a whole new direction in life…??


Have you been to a Paint Republic experience before? Or done anything similar? Are you based in Manchester and would like to book on and give it a go?


*** Thank you to Lindsay from The Paint Republic for inviting Mo and I to take part in this fantastic experience, and for helping me create artwork that I could then use on my Christmas cards this year! They went down a treat, a real talking point! ***






Copenhagen is a great European city with a fair bit to do. As you would expect from a Scandinavian capital, it is super clean, easy to get around and public transport is extremely efficient and simple to use. All the ingredients for a perfect city break – check! The great thing about Copenhagen, is it is not too big a city.

Whilst I won’t say you can see everything there is to see in one weekend, you can certainly see a lot of the main stuff. Here’s my list of things we saw with just 48 hours in the city:


The Little Mermaid:

Denmark is, of course, home to world famous author, Hans Christian Andersen and one of his most famous stories is that of The Little Mermaid. This world-famous, little statue is not far from the Amalienborg Palace and you can’t miss it because it will be swarming with tourists.

You’ll see coaches parked up 100 yards down the street all with tourists who are here to take a picture with the famous mermaid. As one of Copenhagen’s most famous landmarks, you cannot visit the city without passing this by.


Opera House & Kissing Bridge:

The Opera House gets a bad rep amongst locals, which is sad. Whilst it may not have the pizzazz of the Oslo Opera House, it is still a major, unmistakable landmark, dominating a major spot in the city and just on the edge of the water. It looks almost like a ginormous spaceship that has landed here from outer space and it occupies pride of place opposite the palace.

We didn’t go in, but we hear that the acoustics in this place are second to none. Whilst it may not be a local fave, still worth checking out.



Also known as Paper Island. On the same side of the water as the famed Opera House and opposite the Royal Theatre, this is the ultimate place to go for a gastronomic extravaganza of street food. The food hall here caters to thousands of tourists and locals every day and is packed with cuisine from all around the world. Simply cross the gorgeously named Kissing Bridge and once you get in you will be spoiled for choice. Seating inside is busy, especially if is it cold out but there are tables by the water with beautiful views of Copenhagen.

Our recommendation is the Moroccan stall which had the biggest queue of all and the mesemen with chicken we ordered from there was divine (like DIVINE).


Royal Palaces:

Mo is a big fan of world royalty, so he was particularly excited when G pointed out the Queen’s palace. We didn’t walk through the grounds as we had quite a few things on our list, but we walked past and I can confirm that the palaces are stunning, particularly the Amalienborg – the official residence of the Royal Family.


Botanical Gardens:

I would say the Botanical Gardens are a tranquil haven in the city centre, but this city is already tranquil – so, the gardens just mellow you out even more. Gorgeous flora and fauna surrounds you, so if you are a plant enthusiast, this place is ideal. There’s a huge orangery in the centre which you can walk in and explore. Made a very humid change from the freezing temperatures outside.

Perfect place for a nice stroll or to just sit and read a book. And there’s a shop at the entrance where you can buy rare seeds to take home with you if you fancy growing something different.


Black Library:

We came here early on Sunday morning whilst walking around the city. If you are a fan of architecture then you’ll want to see this sleek, black glass creation. We didn’t go inside as it was closed. Not sure whether this would be on the top of unmissable things to see. I’ve put it on purely because it is a fantastic piece of modern architecture that blends in perfectly around older, more noble surrounding. It is about a 10-15 min walk from Christianborg Castle.

As someone who likes to find peaceful mind-reflecting zones in a city, this was a perfect spot.



This is apparently the world’s largest pedestrian street and it runs through the main shopping area of Copenhagen. The shops are what you would typically expect from a western capital city. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Cool, danish fashion shops, interiors, high end and eateries. It’s all here. The difference being a lot of them are housed within gorgeous old buildings.



A short walk from the Botanical Gardens, this market hall is a bit different to papiroen. The stalls here are a bit more high end and specialist, less street food. There are artisan vendors selling all sorts of goodies such as fresh fish, exotic spices, handmade luxury chocolates, olive oil and much much more! The food that was prepared here all looked fresh and of the highest quality, we chose to indulge in some traditional smørrebrød (Danish open sandwiches) and we were definitely not disappointed.


So there we have it. A list of pretty much everything we got up to on our weekend break to Copenhagen 🙂


If you like look and sound of the above why not enter to WIN a trip for 2 to the Danish Capital!! It only takes two ticks – Click here to enter the competition



Or if you’re in the process of planning a trip in the near future, you could always pin this post for later 😉




Have you been to Copenhagen? What else should we have covered on a weekend break?