Five European cities I'd like to return too


1. Bratislava
Oh Bratislava, the city I wax lyrical about whenever someone is asking for suggestions of places to visit. I shouldn't really as I almost don't want anyone to visit so it stays perfect forever! It's not a big city but it certainly packs a punch thanks to a fun cafe culture, picturesque old town, easily navigated streets and great Slovak wine. It's the perfect place for a lazy weekend break, offering the ideal of mix of culture and food. I honestly couldn't recommend it enough and it's up at the top as my favourite European city. I'd love to go back in the winter for the festive Christmas market.


Picture credit: The Intrepid Guide via Pinterest

2. Berlin
Ah the city that sparked my travel addiction. We spent three solid, tiring days seeing all the sights and soaking up the history. But what we didn't do was really get to know the personality of the city. We never got to see what the locals loved and where they chose to hang out. I want to get deeper under Berlin's skin and see what really makes it tick.


3. Copenhagen
Ah Copenhagen makes me wish I was Danish. So much. As soon as I got of the train in the city centre, I fell head over heals. It's such a cool, vibrant and happening place. It feels so laid-back yet absolutely buzzing. The food scene is incredible, the architecture is stunning, the social life is fun and the people are just so darn beautiful. Copenhagen has it all!


4. Vienna
Our whistlestop tour of Vienna was no where near enough time to fully appreciate the city. We only scratched the surface and didn't get to investigate properly. I was in awe of the architecture so would love to delve deeper into the history of the city. One major error was not being having enough time to discover the food scene, we didn't have the best meals - apart from some incredible ribs - so I feel there's so much more I could eat. How do you truly know a city unless you overindulge in the local food eh?


5. Barcelona
Barcelona holds so many fun memories for me. I spent a week in the city with friends getting up to mischief, eating the most amazing tapas and gazing at stunning architecture. Its the perfect city break offering both culture and a beach holiday. I never got to go inside to the Sagrada Familia after *ahem* being too hungover so I'd love to go back just for that. I also feel I didn't eat as much tapas as I should have so I want to spend a few days filling my belly.
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Hotel review: Maldron, Derry, Northern Ireland


When we were planning our trip to Derry, we wanted to spend a few nights in the city centre as we had lots of trips catching up with family when we first arrived. Derry was a city that we both hadn't really explored despite visiting a few times So we were keen to have a few early starts to really find our feet before catching up with everyone after lunchtime. The Maldron Hotel was the perfect base - bang within the City Walls.




From the moment we checked in, the Maldron was a dream. After checking into our room without a hitch, we went upstairs to the third floor to be greeted with a ginormous fluffy bed and a view of the Peace Bridge. With handy bathrobes, gorgeous smelling toiletries and a delicious box of chocolates on the pillow, it was the perfect home away from home from which we could explore the city. It was a joy to come home to each night and get a much-needed good night's sleep before doing it all over again the next day. The breakfast buffet was fit for a Queen with a ridiculous amount of food on offer. With fresh yogurt and cereal for those more health-concious to a full fry up on offer for those preferring something a bit more hearty.

If you ever find yourselves in Derry, the Maldron is the place to be thanks to its friendly staff, central location and comfy beds. We were kindly offered a media discount but I'd stay here in a heartbeat and pay full price. I really don't think the location can be beaten - every attraction is within walking distance and you're never too far from stuffing your face at one of the tasty restaurants in the city.


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Three tips for throwing a summer party on a budget


Although we currently don't have any wallpaper on the walls, no flooring on the floor and walls missing from our house, we're hoping that we might find the time to throw a little party in the summer to help celebrate becoming homeowners and the fact the boyfriend finally catches up with me and turns 28. We'd love to throw a party in a gorgeous venue in London - a great venue finding service such a Venueseeker offers lots of inspiration and a big variety of venues - but we're on a budget so are having it at home. Here are three tips on how to throw a party without spending an absolute fortune:

Look for deals
Catering can soon add up so keep an eye out for special offers in supermarkets. Some venues also let you do your own catering which is a great way to keep costs down too. There's often deals on alcohol to be had and BOGOF offers on food. A BBQ is a great stress-free way to host a party. There's no slaving over a hot stove for hours, trying to get the timings right. As soon as the summer comes, supermarkets offer great deals on meat.

Become creative
Pinterest is a dream for inspiration - you will get lost for hours upon end. Become an expert at DIY and make all your own decorations. It's a great way to stop costs spiralling out of control and to add your own little stamp to the party. Pick up supplies from craft shops, charity shops and pound shops.

Make your own
You pay a premium for the ease of pre-packaged food so making it your yourself can sometimes cost half the price. Make your own salads, sandwiches and nibbles. If your cupboards are anything like mine, they're already filled with every type of spice you can imagine so use them to create your own rubs for the meats.

Do you have any tips on how to throw a summer party on a budget?
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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

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