Photo Diary: Birthday in Barcelona

 

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First off, I hope everybody had a really lovely start to the new year, if you’ve already seen my Instagram and Snapchat spams then you’ll all know that I blooming had the best start to the year!! My family only went and took me to Spain for my birthday! Like what?!?! Absolute crazinesssssss! It was the best birthday of my life, besides the fact of how old I was turning – but let’s not dwell on that…
I can’t thank my sisters and brother-in-law enough for taking me – also for being my personal photographers and videographers – had to keep up-to-date with OOTD’s guys! This post is kind of a lengthy one but only because it’s jam-packed with pictures and very little writing so for now I’ll shut up and let you enjoy my little(ish) gallery of all the places I visited and things I did in beautiful Barcelona.

Saturday 7th January (My Birthday!)

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We stayed at the beautiful Vincci Mae Barcelona Hotel  which is situated towards the centre of the city and walking distance from a lot of attractions. The staff were so lovely, always greeted with an “HOLA” from the desk every time we were leaving or arriving and the rooms weren’t too shabby either!

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Sunday 8th January

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Barcelona Zoo

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Camp Nou (New Camp) Stadium

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So, I’ve never been much of a football fan apart from when something big his happening in the footy world like the World Cup or something, but oh my, I fell so in love with the Barcelona football team – and the stadium too! Now, I’ve always been a fan of Lionel Messi, he’s one of the few footballers I know (and that’s only because he’s the greatest footballer in the world, debatable I know but he’s the best in my eyes). Anyway, we were able to see all the many, many, many, MANY trophies and cups that the Barcelona team have won over the years, many photos of the footballers too 😉 Then there was the chance to walk out onto the sidelines of the pitch, visit the press pit and even take a gander into players’ locker room!

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ALSO, it’s not every day you get to have an Outfit of the Day photoshoot in an empty football stadium – apparently I had amused one of the tour guides by taking pictures whilst sitting on the stairs rather than using the pitch as my backdrop… he clearly did not understand the ways of an OOTD shoot.

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Monday 9th January

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Sagrada Familia

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All I can say about this building is that it is so so sooooo beautiful, I cannot even express in words or do it any justice in pictures of how beautiful. My sister (Adeeba) and I had already visited it the night before – only being able to see it from outside – but even then when we could just see it in the light of the street lamps, it  quite literally took our breaths away. You just don’t expect something so grand and gorgeous to be in the centre of all the hustle and bustle of the city. Just from looking at the pictures I remember how bad my neck hurt from having to crane it all the way up to take in all the beauty… so worth it though. Gaudi, you bloody genius.

Gothic Quarter

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Park Guell

To carry on with the Gaudi guide, we visited Park Guell. Just see for yourself how amazing it is…

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I still remember making my own little fantastic and strange building out of clay from studying Gaudi in Year 7 Art and from then on, I’ve always wanted to travel to Barcelona to see his work in real life. Also, when I was younger I was a huge fan of the Cheetah Girls – please, please tell me that people remember the Cheetah girls –  and to this day I still remember the scene they filmed in this very park in their second movie – anyone else remember? It was basically my 10/11 year old self’s dream come true, so of course I geeked out – but I was totally here for the art and culture too, not just because Raven Symone had been dancing on these stairs, okay?

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Tuesday 10th January

And this was the sad, sad day where we had to say our goodbyes to Barcelona and head home 😦

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But oh my word, it was such an amazing trip, the perfect birthday and the best start to the year. I cannot thank my family enough for spoiling me and all I keep thinking about now is…

“Where are you guys taking me next year?” 😉 😉 😉

 I .. x

*All photos taken with an Olympus PEN

Photo Diary: A Weekend in Whitby

From light breezes to blustering winds, drizzly spells to torrential rainfall and times where you are just simply left breathless – and I’m not just talking about walking up and down those hundred and ninety-nine steps several times – but whether it be in the warmth of the golden sun or through blurred vision because the wind has struck you and you’re crying rivers, Whitby is still without a doubt, breathtakingly beautiful.

You see, writing can get so overwhelming and stressful at times that a break is needed to avoid the risk of one becoming a sectioned patient. Luckily for us, our amazing creative writing tutors understood this and organised a weekend retreat to Whitby where we able to escape, to write, or to just take in the lovely sights that Whitby consisted of where inspiration was lurking on every cobbled corner. And it was definitely a wonderful break indeed! Minus those killer steps of course – our hostel was situated on the cliff top and the easiest way to get into the town was to go down that bugger of a staircase – but no pain, no gain right?

We arrived at the hostel and I’m sure the first question asked was “what’s the WIFI password?” (I may or may not have wanted to know that myself.) So once all that important stuff was out the way we had our chance to explore! Yes, we were at the seaside but let’s not forget it’s November (and this is Britain) so I basically wanted to wrap up so much that if I fell and hit the floor, the goal was to bounce straight off the ground and get back up again! (Fortunately I didn’t fall but that meant I was never able to test that theory.) So, hats, scarves, boots were the basics, obviously gloves were out of the question because then I wouldn’t be able to use my phone. #FirstWorldProbs

Whitby has always been a special place from a literary perspective as its mesmerising scenes has influenced many great writers – Lewis Carroll and of course, Bram Stoker are just a couple. Now, it was OUR time to become inspired! We had the pleasure of walking through cemeteries where the gravestones looked more like props stolen from a movie set (except there were actual real people buried underneath these ones.) We took a gander round the little town, discovered tiny coffee shops that seemed only fit for hobbits – there was a lot of “Mind Your Head” signs about it – I met some overly friendly donkeys and I think I probably made friends with more dogs than I did with people 🙂

We had a night dedicated to the students for their chance to read out what they had written over the course of the first day, I just have to say, I was surrounded by some crazy, mad talent in there! Being in the company of such a lovely group of people, bonding and meeting some amazing new friends has definitely been the highlight of the trip! Okay, soppy moment over.

And I think that’s it in a nutshell! So, here I have created a little photo diary of my time over the retreat. I switched into photographer mode quite often, okay, very often (I got a little excited at the Abbey ruins as you may be able to tell) and of course, there’s plenty of selfie action!

Somehow all 199 of those steps seemed to have had some kind of inspirational powers because writer, Michael Farber has wrote a whole novel about them. I don’t know what he was on whilst he was walking up (and down) them, but I want some of it. The point being, I intend to read his novel that is, oh shocker, called The Hundred and Ninety Nine Steps to try and find some positivity from the devil that made me feel like I’d done three straight days of leg-day at the gym! Okay, I’ve never been to a leg-day session in my life but if I did, I imagine it would feel like that.

Also, a massive, massive thank you to the Creative Writing Team at York St John! We had a blast!

Follow @YSJWriting on Twitter for more pictures of how the trip went down.

Relaxed Retreater out x

City Tours: York

So then York, my place of study, my (recent) place of work, my second home and one of many places when the old meets the new. This summer I have started a new internship based in York and although I am there almost everyday of the week I hardly get to see York. So, my friend and I decided to become those annoying tourists you see with a camera worn as a necklace, a backpack for ease and trainers for comfort, we were off!

(A little bit of architectural photography coming your way too)

First stop -and probably the most beautiful- was York Minster. Here’s how it went…

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Situated in the heart of York, the Minster is a beacon to all who visit (If I still have a view of the Minster wherever I am I know I’m not lost)! The archaic and grand stature provides you with a sense of security, it will remain there and never leave like it has done for the past few centuries.

The detail within stain glass windows will always mesmerise me.

Meet Rehanna: My crazy best friend (we all have one)! She began to find her inner photographer. (She can be found on Instagram with the name @Itsmerehannaaa)

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This room in the Minster very quickly became our favourite, the domed ceiling so high that our necks hurt from craning up to see it and the mosaic tiled floors were screaming to be photographed.

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A different perspective of the Minster after the FIRST lot of stairs…

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A selfie was necessary!

The York Minster Tower Tour was a new experience for me. We hiked up through the small, narrow, winding passageways and staircases. Warning: You get pretty dizzy! (If you do decide to go on the tower tour make sure you read all the health & safety regulations!) The staircase gives a ‘never going to end’ illusion. Our legs were getting tired, we had to take a break (or two) but I’ll tell you now, in the end it was completely worth it because we reached this view:

The amount of all those stairs we climbed was explained…we were extremely high!

And the wind up there was epic! Utterly windswept!

Next stop: York’s Chocolate Story!
For those who don’t know, York is very well known for it’s chocolate! More importantly, it’s history of chocolate…and we were about to find out all about it!

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We got a small taste of how Charlie felt in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It began in a ride in an elevator as we were transported in time to when Chocolate first hit England. Our guided tour consisted of little chocolate tastings and videos along the way, ending with making our own chocolate lollies!

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Chocolate tasting using all 5 of our senses!

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Walks through the York Shambles.

A cheeky stop for an outfit of the day picture:

Our last stop was the evening Ghost Walk and before that we had a little time to kill so we took a walk over to Clifford’s Tower:

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Twinning in Denim

Last Stop: The Ghost Walk

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More Information:
Click here for more info on The York Chocolate Story
A
nd here for more info on The York Minster

Keep up to date with all things York by following them on Twitter:
@VisitYork

THE PERKY PEACOCK

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As promised we now begin our Hot Chocolate Tour within York – first stop, The Perky Peacock.

I’ll just dive straight into it:

First things first, there are two Perky Peacocks situated in York, myself and a friend of mine (Harpreet) visited only one of them (the address I’ll place at the bottom of the post). So, as we entered the small cafe, an instant aroma of coffee surrounded the air. The atmosphere was a quiet one, yet buzzing with small, intimate conversations at each table – there was the effect of this being a popular coffee hot spot! The staff welcomed us as though we were already a member of their Perky Peacock family, awww!

We seated ourselves upon a high top table upon some high wooden chairs, each furnished with a different coloured cushion.

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There was no need for menus, the whole thing was right up on the wall that substituted as a giant chalkboard! – How CUTE! Everything handwritten added character and personality to the place plus there was an adorable coat stand (which we didn’t even use!) Also, as you can see the cafe was infested with book nerds – not that I’m complaining about that! But serious bookish vibes were ongoing in here!

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A stack of books next to me for me to take at my own will to read whilst I eat/drink! Very considerate! I did get my read on…

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Then we ordered, since it was nearing up to lunch time and I didn’t eat breakfast, I felt a nice BRUNCH was also in order! We got up to order at the wonderfully stocked counter with cakes, cakes and more cakes! – All homemade too!

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As we seated ourselves back down the food and drinks did not take long to come! But as we waited we had time to appreciate the interior a little bit:

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The lonesome lightbulbs were a favourite of mine 🙂 It gave an urban, fresh theme to the place.

And now, I present to you…my brunch!!

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Poached Eggs on toasted artisan bread – absolutely delightful! The bread was crispy and soft, the eggs perfectly poach-y ! To cut it short, there was nothing left on the plate by the time I was done! 😉

Harpreet decided to feast upon a slice of Banoffee cake, and she detailedly described it as:

“The cake was very delicious with a very strong flavour of banana, the added sweetness from the toffee combination was a stroke of genius. The balance of the flavour was impeccable and really went well with the hot chocolate which can usually be overpowered in a combination of other sweet desserts, but in this case it was prefect!”

What can I say, the girl really knows her cake! 😀

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Now speaking of hot chocolates – let’s move on to them!!

Aaaah the sweet, sweet aroma of chocolate, deliciously melted and combined with bubbling hot milk to serve our chocolate craving needs! The Perky Peacock served us theirs with cute little marshmallows too!

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The hot chocolate was a perfect drinking temperature, the chocolate not too overpowering however, in my opinion I could have done without the marshmallows. Their sweetness sunk into the rest of the drink, putting off the taste of the chocolate but overall, The Perky Peacock is a MUST-VISIT kind of cafe! And, I intend to visit the other one soon!

Hope you guys found this helpful! To find out even more information about The Perky Peacock I have listed more details about them below:

The Perky Peacock,
74 Gillygate,
York

Website: http://perkypeacockcoffee.co.uk/#home
Twitter: @ThePerkyPeacock

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOT CHOCOLATE HOT SPOTS : THE YORK EDITION

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Like all good ol’ fashioned Brits, there is no better sound to me than the sound of the kettle rearing itself up for good old brew! I sometimes think I was meant to be born in a past generation (old biddy in a twenty year old body over here!) Aside from the comfort of your own home, it is pretty hard to determine where to go for a chillaxing moment when your out and about…SO…I’m going to tell you!

As I am studying my undergraduate degree in YORK I have come to the conclusion that the historical little city oozes with the CUTEST, QUIRKIEST, COSIEST cafes for food and hot drinks! And it got me thinking that these little places are one of a kind and nobody outside of York are aware of them!

SO, I have decided to venture upon each little cafe to seek out the best hot chocolates in York (those standard Costa and Starbucks brews are so overrated!) As well as hot chocolate’s there will also be food involved – I can’t go into a cafe and not eat!

So keep your eyes peeled on this space as my first review will be up very very soon!

Iram x

London Baby!

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So, as I hit the ever so mature and wise, older age of 20 (wow, I still haven’t gotten used to saying that!) I watched with a heavy heart as my teenage years faded far, far away from me…BUT… my sisters decided to treat me to a trip to London!

Like any major FRIENDS fanatic, you hear London and the first thing you think of is ‘LONDON BABYYYY!’  Oh Joey, what a wonderful man-child. Anyways as it is one of my favourite places ever (well some parts of it) I was mega excited to go AND  to top it all off my amazing sisters surprised me with a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum! Where else would that be but of course the one and only…. 221b Baker Street!! Major fan-girling moment (total Sherlock Holmes geek over here!!)

Enough chit-chat, let me show you some pics!!

 

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What’s a day out in London without a cheeky OOTD? My slam-dunkin’ dungarees paired with some kicking New Balance trainers! 😉

 

 

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Slogan T-Shirt @ River Island. Dungarees @ ASOS. Trainers @ JD Sports

 

Let the journey begin…

 

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On board the Grand Central and here, Ladies and Gentlemen are my travel compadre’s #antisocial feat. Ms Monroe photobombing in the back there.

 

 

 

Meanwhile at Baker Street…

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We had reached 221B Baker Street! Feat. Old-school looking police man.

 

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Pouts with the pooch!

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So she could say that she ‘went’ at Sherlock’s House, my big sister everybody.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Then it was time for Din Dins at SPAGHETTI HOUSE – The Special that night…Seafood Linguini!!! Served in little mini cooking pots!! Cuuuute!

 

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Yeah it rains a lot in London so a hair change-up was needed!

 

Three girls in their early  twenties (do not think I will ever get used to that term for myself) in the middle of London and all its glory. With some birthday money burning a searing hole in my pocket how can we visit London and not go SHOPPING?! Thus propelling us into the third instalment of our trip, as Oxford, Regent, and Carnaby Street opened up their great pathways before us like Dorothy venturing upon the Yellow Brick Road. We set forth on our mission.

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As we became absolute professionals at mastering the underground (Ha! Who are we kidding? I’ll settle for amateurs) We visited Piccadilly and of course prowled through all five floors of MnM world and Trafalgar Square where I visited THE biggest Waterstones I had ever been too!

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Dark clouds brew above us – A spooky looking atmosphere surrounding Trafalgar Square. And more rain, yay(!) Bringing our visit to an end!