Helsinki City Guide

Helsinki Summer City Break Guide

Helsinki is one of those dark horse city-break destinations. It doesn’t feature top of everyone’s list of cities to visit. Not when you have the grandeur and flash of Stockholm and the understated cool of Copenhagen so close by to get your Scandi fix. But as a summer weekend destination, I have found it to be all of quirky, eccentric, creative, stylish, hilariously fun and beautifully scenic. Continue reading “Helsinki Summer City Break Guide”

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My City Break Wardrobe

I was recently appointed the new London Resident Editor for Luxe City Guides to my absolute delight. Aimed at the more sophisticated traveller, Luxe City Guides gives you the insider guide to the world’s major cities across Europe, Asia, the USA and Australia. I always describe it to people as being a very cool friend you have in each city who tells you where to go for the best, exclusive places to eat, drink, shop, chill and get your dose of local culture (without bumping into the track-suit wearing tourist hoards).

This got me thinking about my city break wardrobe. With the amount of travelling I do, I am constantly planning city break outfits, primarily for trips to Europe. And I am the kind of person who feels better when I think that my outfit is working for me. A bad outfit can affect my mood (not for the better). In those situations, I usually claim it’s because I’m hangry so as not to appear completely materialistic to whichever poor buggers are travelling with me at the time.

So what are the ingredients of a fail-safe, mood-enhancing city break outfit? Continue reading “My City Break Wardrobe”

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In Search of Sisu in Helsinki

The Danes gave us Hygge to make our lives that little bit more cosy. The Swedes balanced it all out with the concept of lagom (everything in the right amount). Now its the Finns’ turn to influence us all with their own very unique take on life with the concept of “sisu”. Sisu describes the typical Finnish trait of rising up to meet life’s challenges, even in the face of the fiercest of adversity. It’s about having guts and determination, stepping outside your comfort zone and  giving it everything you’ve got.

On my recent trip to Helsinki, I went in search of sisu based on only a shamefully low level understanding of what it is. And so it was through my tour of saunas and (Baltic) sea swimming that I found not so much sisu, but a fabulously relaxing, rejuvenating and invigorating side of Finnish life. Continue reading “In Search of Sisu in Helsinki”

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Five Provence Wineries You need to Visit

In the second of my Provence duo, I have saved the best for last. One of the best things to do while in Provence is to tour the wineries, be dazzled by the in-your-face-beauty of the scenery and taste a few local wines at the cellar door.

So here are my top five Provence wineries, all easily accessible if you base yourself in the Luberon area. Plus, I give you few practicalities to help you plan your trip. Continue reading “Five Provence Wineries You need to Visit”

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Planning your next trip to Provence | 5 Villages to visit in the Luberon

Provence is one of those places where the reality lives up to its reputation. The dramatic hilllside villages. The dreamy lavender fields. Vineyards stretching across rolling hills. Drinking rosé under the stars. Shopping for the freshest local produce at village markets. Mouth watering cuisine and the romantic lifestyle made famous in books and films.

On a recent trip to Provence we focussed our efforts on the Luberon area and found so much more than we expected. Before you plan your next trip to Provence, read on for planning tips plus five villages to visit in the Luberon. Continue reading “Planning your next trip to Provence | 5 Villages to visit in the Luberon”

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Eating in Soho

It’s fair to say I spend a lot of my time in and around the the buzz of London’s Soho. Soho has everything to make my life complete: amazing restaurants, great coffee, mind blowing cocktails bars, intriguing boutiques and just a touch of the crazies to keep you on your toes.

In the first of my three part series, giving you the inside tips on where to eat, drink and shop in Soho, I focus on Soho restaurants. AKA, where to find your foodie happy place, Soho style. Continue reading “Eating in Soho”

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Brussels Weekend

Brussels is most famous these days as the home of the European Parliament, host to Brexit negotiations, moules et frites. So when I was recently scanning a map of nearby European cities for a last minute, I’ve-gotta-get-out-of-London weekend break, it didn’t really jump out at me as a very glamorous or sexy destination.

But anyone who has read previous posts here on Second Sister knows that I do enjoy a challenge. Could I go to Brussels and have a fabulous time? I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but yes, I discovered that Brussels has a vibrant restaurant scene, quirky markets, old-school European charm and a fabulous cocktail called the “Spicy Belgian”.

Here is my Brussels weekend diary, for you to consider when planning your next city break.. Continue reading “Brussels Weekend”

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Marylebone Focus

One of my favourite London nabes has to be the charming enclave of Marylebone. A short walk from the West End, Marylebone is the perfect place to spend the day. As per, my focus will be firmly on the shopping (of which there is quality and quantity in Marylebone), with a few additional things to see and do for good measure. Continue reading “Marylebone Focus”