Exploring London: Keats House, Hampstead, north London


When Gem came down to London to visit over the Bank Holiday weekend, she suggested a day out to Keats House in Hampstead. This part of north London isn't a place I visit to often so I was game for exploring it a bit more. It turned out to be an insightful and fascinating afternoon!




Dedicated to the memory of the poet John Keats, we arrived just in time for a tour which I highly recommend. I'm not as much of a fan as Gem so I wasn't too up-to-date on the background of Keats. The tour guide was very enthusiastic and really knew her stuff. It's owned by the National Trust and costs £6.50 to visit - I think tours usually start at 3pm.




On a nice day it's a wonderful place to sit in the gardens - which are free - and think back to John Keats. His life was tragically cut short at 25 and he never fulfilled his potential. His work was only actually in publication four years before his death and he never really had an success until after he died. 

It still amazes me that decades after I first visited London as a child that there are things that I still haven't seen. Make sure you pop into Keats House next time you take a stroll in Hampstead!


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Creating the perfect nook for blogging


It's hard to believe I've been blogging since 2010. Something I started in my boyfriend house because I was bored he was watching Man Utd on the telly has somehow snowballed into this. I honestly can't imagine my life without it but as I've got older, finished university and started my career, it's becoming harder and harder to make time for it. So I like I create a little blogging nook once a week to help to get focus and write without any distractions. Here are a few tips that help me settle down to business...



As much as I love lounging in bed, I find it doesn't really make me productive when I'm trying to work so I make myself a little work station. First things first is to make sure there is enough light coming in. My room is pretty dark so this white colour changing desk lamp from Omrod* is perfect. It also has a built-in USB charging port for my phone and is dimmable via touch control.

I also like to treat myself to a fresh bunch of flowers to brighten the area up. Tulips seem to be my bloom of choice at the minute - don't they look beautiful in this ceramic jug from Amara*? My favourite travel books provide a constant source of inspiration and these cactus candles from Pimark add a cute kitcsh element. Finally a picture of the BFF and I that makes me smile every time I catch a glimpse at it. I find it's always the little things that encourage your motivation.

How do you keep productive when you're writing blog posts?

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My top 10 travel highlights


























1. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Sadly we got our timings wrong - thanks to a heavy night the day before - and missed our time slot to go inside the cathedral. But even just seeing it from the outside completely blew my mind. It's probably the most stunning building I've ever seen. The intricate detailing is mesmerising and the sheer size just takes your breath away. I'm gutted I never got the chance to make it inside but I'm definitely going to be visiting Barcelona again so will no doubt cross it off my list soon.

Image via Pinterest via Into Flow

2. A lot of people had recommended the Top of the Rock to me before my NYC trip so it was put top of our list when we were planning out trip. There's a reason why its so highly rated! It was a wet and windy night but when we stepped out on the viewing platform and saw all the twinkling lights of the Big Apple below us, I got all chocked up. And nearly blown away by the gale force winds... There's just something unbelievably special about being above such an iconic city. You feel almost insignificant as you look out over the skyline. It's one view I won't ever forget.


3. The Skydeck, Chicago
On the top floor of the tallest building in the western hemisphere, the Ledge is a glass box extending out about four foot from The Skydeck. Looking below at the sprawling city is such a surreal feeling. With wobbling jelly legs, it's a heart-in-the-mouth moment as you soak it all up. Something I won't ever forget and something I'm not even sure I enjoyed doing... But I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


4. Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C
I'm still not quite sure if I was a fan of Washington DC but seeing the Lincoln Memorial was the highlight of the trip. It's so imposing and iconic - pretty special to see something in the flesh you've seen numerous times in films. I couldn't get Forrest Gump out of my head...


5. The Highlands, Scotland
The Highland has been on my bucket list for year and to finally tick them off was fantastic. It's such a stunning part of the world and standing on some rocks, watching the sun go down, listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the rocks and seeing seals playing in the water is one of my favourite memories. I don't think I never felt as much at peace as I did that moment.


6. Szechenyi Thermal Baths, Budapest
The biggest thermal baths in the city, the Szechenyi Baths should be on everyone's list when they go to Budapest. Yes they are tourist central and yes they are extremely busy, but they're amazing. Over a 100 years old, it's pretty special sitting in 38 degree water in one of the 18 baths and thinking back to all the people who have passed through these doors.


7. Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland
Ballintoy is a place where I feel like I can sit for hours and block out the world. Sometimes Mother Nature is just so bloody amazing isn't it? Clambering over the rocks trying not to fall into the Atlantic Ocean made me feel like a kid again and without a care in the world. Gosh Ireland has completely stolen my heart - I knew there was a reason why I found a boyfriend with Irish heritage.


8. Arc D'Triomphe, Paris
I'd been to Paris a handful of times yet still had never made it to the top of the Arc D'Triomphe. So when I went back to the city in January, it was top of my list of things to do during my whistle stop tour. After a long slog to the top, this view made it all worth it and it fast became my favourite place in Paris.


9. Galena, Illinois
During my Illinois road trip we stopped off at in Galena, a all-American town that feels like a movie set. I love all the big cities but to me, this is the real America. These is the small towns that you hear about with the iconic water towers, where everyone has known each other since the day they were born and where you go in a shop to buy a bag of crisps and come out two hours later knowing the shopkeeper's life story. It's laid back, picturesque and so unbelievably different from home. I could have stayed for a month.


10. Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Oh how I wish I was Danish. Surrounded by multi-coloured houses, the harbour is the perfect place for a wander, soak up the city and people watch for hours. Despite being overrun with tourists, it was my favourite place I visited during my trip.
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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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