London Leopard ♥

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Lets Talk About Amsterdam ♥

What is not to love about the Netherlands? I recently came back from my third trip to Amsterdam. The first time I went there was back in 2012 with my friend. We barely explored and it was our first time ever travelling out of the country alone. The second time I went there was in 2014 with a different friend, and my most recent trip was a solo one. I have a love/hate relationship with Amsterdam but I guess there is a lot more love than hate. I am already planning my fourth trip which will hopefully be during Spring to see Keukenhof gardens.

5 things I love about Amsterdam 
1. The atmosphere is definitely high on my list. There is something about the city that reeks of calmness...and no it's not the marijuana. I don't know what it is but I cannot say the same for any other European city. 

2. The beautiful canals are second on my list. Everywhere you go there are canals for you to wander along. You can also see many house boats where some local people live. 

3. I feel safe everywhere in Amsterdam...even when walking through the red light district. To be honest I feel safer in Amsterdam than I do in my own city (London). 

4. Cultural diversity is fourth on the list. You can see local dutch people of many different ethnicities working. I see white, black, and Asian Dutch people every time I visit. The same applies to restaurants. There are many Chinese, Argentinian and Mexican restaurants in the city. 

5. The day starts late. The city is very quiet until 11am. During my first trip we thought it was weird when we came out to get breakfast at 9am and the streets were empty. Try going out at this time in London or Paris and you will be squashed between people. 


5 things I hate about Amsterdam
1. It is a very expensive city...anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Eating out is expensive, accommodation is expensive, and attractions are expensive. I was horrified to pay 5% city tax per night when checking in to my hotel. This meant that I ended up paying an extra 6 euros per night. It also costs £17.50 to enter the Rijksmuseum.

2. The roads are chaotic and there are bikes everywhere....Amsterdam is literally the capital of bikes. It can sometimes be a death trap to cross the roads because 5 bikes can just come pedaling towards you at full speed. There are also trams, motor bikes, buses, and cars all on the road at the same time. It is basically the European version of Bangkok. 

3. There are lots of sleazy male tourists wandering around. I was "sized up" by groups of male tourists on many occasions when walking back to my accommodation. Sometimes you will see solo old men wandering around the red light district with their camera ready...but I guess this is something to be expected because prostitution is legal there.

4. The preconceived notions many people have about the city. A lot of people assume that the only thing there is drugs and prostitutes. When I tell people I am going to Amsterdam the conversation usually proceeds like this... 
them: "are you going to smoke weed?"
me: "no I dont smoke weed"
them: "so why are you going there? that is what the city is for"
me: "actually there is a lot of things to see there...I would not pay for a flight just to sit in a shop and smoke weed all day"

5. The weather is awful. It is exactly like England with constant wind and rain. I have been to Amsterdam twice in August, and both times it was cold with heavy rain. It makes it very hard to enjoy the canals and flowers. 

                                                 
                                                                                          llondon leopard
                              xoxo
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Friday, 25 August 2017

The Ramblings Of An Introvert ♥

Believe it or not... i'm shy and I am an introvert. Yes I travel a lot and mostly travel alone, but i'm still shy. I don't mind socialising with people but I wouldn't say that it is at the top of my priorities. A lot of the time I would much rather keep to myself unless the group conversation appears to be of some sort of value (yeah...I sound like a stuck up bitch). Particularly when it comes to females I can't sit down and talk about celebrities, makeup, and hair. Those kind of topics just don't interest me. I would much rather sit with a group of nerdy men and talk about history, conspiracy theories, and travel. 

 I am an introvert and get a lot of slack for it but I believe that there is nothing wrong with it. How boring would the world be if everyone was exactly the same? could you imagine a world where everyone was so outgoing and eager to socialise  24/7?. It would be boring...and that its why I believe that there is nothing wrong with introverted people. The world needs to have a balance. I think there is a belief that we don't have fun, but that is certainly not the case. I just think that some of us like to take our time to sniff people out before we get comfortable.

 I personally like to listen more than I talk. A common comment which I get after people have spent more time around me is "wow I didn't know you were so fun". I think that people should take the time and get to know introverts before completely writing them off. There are many people out there who are just like me, and those are the ones who will identify with what I am trying to say.

This post was pretty much just a jumbled up collection of thoughts and probably does not make much sense.  I am not trying to criticize extroverts in any way shape or form. It just irritates me that society views it as undesirable to be an introvert. I personally believe that nobody needs to "be" or "act" a certain way. diversity and difference is what makes the world beautiful. You should not have to worry about your personality, as long as you are not causing harm to anyone.

                     llondon leopard

                           xoxo 
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Travel Diary: Portugal ♥


Monday 7th August 2017


















I made it to Lisbon and words cannot describe how happy I am. This year I have managed to visit two of my bucket list countries. Italy and Portugal were both very high on my list for Europe. Do you want to know what I think about Portugal so far? It's great. It is very different to the rest of Europe in a good way. You can see culture and diversity everywhere and everybody seems united. Portuguese people come in all different skin tones...they sort of remind of of Brazilians. Some are white with blue eyes, some are olive skinned with dark hair, some look mixed race with afro hair, some are black. That means that I blend in and it's not obvious that I am a tourist. 

When my plane landed I tried a Portuguese tart (Pastel de nata). The country is famous for them so of course it was the first thing I wanted to try. It was not that tasty...but that could be because I bought it at a train station. They tend not to have the greatest versions of food. So I am going to try one every day from a different place to see if the taste varies. Anyway, after grabbing my tart I hopped on the metro to my accommodation. I'm staying in a guesthouse which looks like a hotel. After check in I freshened up and then went to explore. One thing I have to say is that Lisbon is the most hilly city I have ever been to. It is borderline dangerous I almost slipped so many times.  I also saw many other people losing their balance whilst trying to navigate through the steep hills and roads. 


I went to Sao Jorge castle which was cool and had a lovely view. After that I went to a shop called "A Vida Portuguesa" and bought some soap. I was going to also buy some port wine but decided not to because i'm trying to budget. After that I went to the time out market for dinner. I had Bacalhau with a tomato rice. Bacalhau is like dried cod fish fried in batter. This was pretty much the end of my first day. I got the metro back home and took a long shower. Tomorrow I am going to the beach all day to relax after all those steep roads. It has been a great first day in Lisbon and I am looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. For now I am going to sort out my photos from today and catch some sleep. 


Tuesday 8th August 2017














Wow I am so tired. I went to the beach today which should not have been tiring. I took an overground train out of Lisbon to a coastal town called Cascais. It was nice and peaceful to just watch the waves go by. There were some creepy guys who kept on staring at me and trying to talk to me. THEN they started taking photos of me in my bikini. What the hell! I am not sure where they were from but I don't think they were Portuguese. After this I decided to get dressed and come off the beach for a while. 

After doing some research online I tried to get into the restaurant which supposedly has the best octopus. Unfortunately they did not let me in because they only had one table left and it was a table for 4. I suspect that they weren't too keen on solo diners considering that the restaurant was full of big tables. It annoyed me but I found a less touristy traditional restaurant within 5 minutes. I ordered Octopus with rice and some green wine. I have been waiting to try octopus for ages. Do you want to know what my verdict is? It's actually very nice. It is a bit chewy and tastes like chicken and fish mixed together. 


I texted Josie earlier to let her know that I am in her country. Turns out she is back in Portugal and we are meeting on Friday. Remember I said that I would try another Portuguese tart? well I didn't have one from a shop today. But I went to the supermarket on my way home and bought a pack of 4. It tasted a lot better this time. There is not really much to report on because all I did today was visit the beach and eat octopus. Tomorrow I am going to be a tourist and go on a day tour to Sintra. It is like a town/village in the mountains which has many castles and palaces. I think the tour leaves early at like 9am so I need to get an early night. Tchau :).


Wednesday 9th August 2017














I am back from my evening shower and refreshed. So I did my trip to Sintra today. It was good because we had a great guide, he was friendly and went out of his way to talk to everyone. We visited Pena Palace in Sintra mountains which was beautiful. It is so beautiful, I have been to many palaces in Europe and nothing tops this. It is mainly bright red and yellow but has some Moroccan patterns as well. I learnt that Portugal has a lot of North African style decorations from when the Moors moved to Spain and Portugal. After visiting the Palace we went to Sintra village to have a break for lunch. Two Italian girls on my tour asked if I wanted to join them for lunch because I was travelling solo. So we went to eat chicken crepes and tried the famous Sintra pillow pastries (travesseiros). They taste amazing! a lot better than the "pastel de nata" tarts.  

So after eating we went went to try a shot of "ginjinha" which is like cherry liquor. Then we back to the tour bus and made a few more stops along the way. It was so windy to the point where the van was shaking. The police closed off some of mountain roads due to the extreme winds. Our tour guide said that Madeira airport has been closed for 5 days due to the extreme winds. Madeira is also another place I would like to visit some day. I wore shorts today and everybody was staring. I sincerely hope that my bum cheeks were not on display. I kept checking in mirrors to make sure that shorts were not showing my cheeks. But that wind is extreme so you never know. On Monday I wore a skirt and the wind kept on blowing it up. I'm pretty sure that half of Lisbon has seen my ass. Just before the tour ended we had some free time and I went to browse the shops. I went to Zara and got an olive t-shirt and nude bag for 11 euros. That would have cost me double the price at Zara in England. It is a Spanish company so their products are cheaper in Spain and Portugal.


Anyway, so after the tour our guide drove us back to Lisbon and dropped us off near a square. From here I went to a local restaurant called "Bonjardim" to try piri piri chicken. It tastes so much more real than the piri piri chicken in England. I even went to the supermarket afterwards to buy some piri piri seasoning. 


Thursday 10th August 2017














I had a nice day today which started with a food tasting walking tour from 10-3pm. I rarely do tours when I travel, so it's shocking that I have done two in Portugal. It was a great tour because we got to eat and see the city at the same time. I had nice people on my tour and got to talk to everyone. We got the boat to another town called Cacilhas on the other side of the river. I can still smell the fish on my fingers. On this tour we got to try sheeps cheese, port wine, sagres beer, vinho verde, shrimp, bacalhau, and a fish pastry. To be honest these are things that I could have tried anywhere and I didn't really need to do the tour. Like for example I had already tried vinho verde, sagres and bacalhau. But I guess it was a nice way to meet people and share travel experiences with other travel/food enthusiasts.

So after the tour I went to Carmo convent because I did not get the chance to go on Monday. It was cool because it is not something you get to see everyday. It was also not packed with tourists and had a low entry fee of like 4 euros. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Then I wandered around the shopping area and went to Zara agan. This time I bought a nude coloured dress. Then I went to have dinner and had the cheapest meal so far in Lisbon. This included olives, grilled fish, salad, rice, potatoes, and a glass of sangria. Guess how much? 9 euros. The manager even gave me a shot of Ginjinha and a shot of port wine for free after my meal. If I ever come back to Lisbon this restaurant will definitely be my first stop. Now I am back at my accommodation and need to shower and pack. Tomorrow I am meeting Josie Belem and leaving for the airport at night. 


                   llondon leopard
                         xoxo


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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Cloth Period Pads: My Experience ♥


                      What are they?
They are reusable pads, which can be used for your menstrual cycle. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and are designed for different types of flows. They are usually made from cotton or bamboo materials.

                     why do I use them?

I found out that regular period pads and tampons have chemicals which are supposedly linked to dryness, cancer, and hormone disruption (research further on google). I don't want to put my body at risk, and regular period pads are expensive to buy when you have a heavy flow (like me). I combine them with organic tampons and find that it provides me with a "happy period". I will wear the cloth pads during the night, towards the end of my period, and to catch any possible tampon leaks. 


                 Pros of using cloth pads

Can be reused. All you have to do is rinse them out in the sink, store them in a wet proof bag, and put them all in the washing machine when your cycle is over.

No smell. I found that sometimes a weird odour is created when the blood reacts with the chemicals in normal period pads. This is not an issue with cloth period pads. 


Snap buttons. These keep the pads securely in place, and there are usually two buttons depending on how tight or loosely you want the pads to sit. 



                 Cons of using cloth pads

Expensive to invest in. When you first buy them you'll likely be spending £30-£50, because you need to buy enough to last for a whole period. But it is a life long investment. 

Leakage. I personally find that the bamboo topped pads allow the blood to spread to the buttons. This means that your thighs will sometimes feel moist...and disgusting. I tend to avoid the bamboo topped pads on heavy days for this reason. 


Stains. Sometimes there are stains on the top layer of the pad which will not wash out. You cannot use regular detergent on most cloth pads which also makes this harder. But I am a "raggo/free spirited" kind of girl...and do not care about the stains. It's only me who will see them anyway. 

  
                                             llondon leopard
                                xoxo
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Saturday, 29 July 2017

12 hours in Nuremberg ♥

This is called weissgerbergasse and it is a traditional old German street. I always like seeing things from the olden days because it makes me wonder what life was like. Surprisingly it wasn't crowded so I had plenty of space to snap some selfies. 

I decided to try a German bretzel with salt. I flicked a lot of the salt off because the taste was too strong, but it was a nice cheap snack at €0.55
This is a fountain called "Schonner Brunnen" and it reminds me of the shrines they have in Thailand. 


Rostbratwurst mit sauerkraut...or sausages with cabbage as we would call it in England. Wow German food is extremely heavy, I genuinely struggled to stomach all of those sausages. 

Posing by the way of human rights. It is a collection of pillars which have the universal declaration of human rights inscribed on each pillar.

Nuremberg is my favourite German city so far without a doubt. It was like the German version of Luxembourg. Everything was able to be viewed within a day because it is compact. Most of the attractions are within walking distance, and some are even clustered together. It was more than worth the £20 return flight.

Happy Travels 
✈  

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Hamburg Diary ♥

                   Saturday 8th July 2017 
                            4.05am
i'm on the coach on my way to the airport. There are protests in Hamburg so I'm a little bit scared. What if my flight gets cancelled? Will I be safe out there?
                   11.30am
i'm at the port of Hamburg eating "fischbrotchen", which is apparently a popular snack in Hamburg. All my photos are coming out hideous due to cloudy weather and lack of bottom eyeliner. Anyway I ordered a prawn sandwich which was difficult to eat. Imagine trying to eat that on a date. The bloody prawns were bursting out. Then there is the infamous German stare haha. They stare at everyone and everything. But they stare more when you are a tourist. Anyway my time here is limited I need to go and explore. 
                            5.30pm
i'm at the airport now. I tried to go in to ST. Nikolai's memorial church/museum. It was closed because of the G20 protests. My last chance was to try and go to the warehouse district and wander around the red canals. This failed because the riot police had blocked the entrance, and I somehow ended up in the middle of the protest. I sort of felt scared but a hint of excitement at the same time. I followed the protest for a while and then went back to the airport. 

                                                                  llondon leopard
                               xoxo

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

10 Random Confessions ♥

Photo: Barcelona, Spain- August 2014

1. During my second trip to Copenhagen, I did not buy a train ticket on the way to the airport. 

2. I used to deliberately pee in the swimming pool when I was a child.

3. I don't know how to take the shell off prawns...so I don't eat them at restaurants. 

4. The first thing I do every morning is search for cheap flights.

5. I am not the biggest fan of American tourists.

6. I rarely shave my legs during the winter. 

7. I have been contemplating going commando during summer. 

8. I have a thing for ginger guys.

9. I have no shame in letting out silent farts in public. 

10. I once "accidentally" elbowed the hairdresser who kept burning me while she was straightening my hair. 


                                                                      llondon leopard
                                                                               xoxo

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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Roaming Around Rome ♥

I was happy to spend 4 days in Rome Italy. It has been one of my dream destinations for years and I finally managed to get there. Rome is definitely on the expensive side but it is worth every single penny.

The Colosseum was my first stop when I arrived in Rome. 

The inside is just as beautiful as the outside.

This is Palatine Hill which is also worth a visit. It is included with the ticket to the Colosseum along with the Roman Forum.  


                       Pizza pizza pizza!


  Crypta Balbi Museum. I will be honest and say the crypt was a  disappointment, but the museum section was cool. 


I'm obsessed with the cute little colourful mopeds in Italy.

Aperitivo is something I did not get to do in Milan so it was nice to try it in Rome. You get an Italian cocktail with some free bites. I went for an aperol spritz and it was only €5. 

This is the inside of St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. The queues for the Vatican museum were too long (like hours long) so I went here instead. I was there on a Sunday and got to see the pope leading mass which was cool...I was not expecting that.

Seafood spaghetti.

Trevi fountain is so big! I arrived there early in the morning and got to see them taking all the coins out.
Please excuse my pasta belly. It was full of the seafood spaghetti :(. Anyway...this photo was taken at Castel Sant'Angelo.

Campo de' Fiori food market is definitely worth a visit. I bought some oregano olive oil from this cute stall. 

Caprese Salad.

last but not least...gelato. They have so many flavours, this one was pistachio and amaretto cherry.

It was a great trip and I loved every second of it. I will definitely go back to Rome at some point just to see more of Vatican city. But for now...the next stop will be Hamburg Germany.

llondon leopard

xoxo



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Friday, 19 May 2017

Book: How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are ♥

Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. It gives you advice on how to be a chic woman, but from a French perspective which is cool. The main thing I liked about this book was that it teaches you to be careless and not let things bother you. It has an "on to the next one" approach when it comes to men. Which is something I would argue that many British women fail to follow. 

The book also shows you how to have a very simple approach to fashion. It teaches you to have some signature items and some staples that can you can mix and match. The fact that there are pictures, lists, and recipes makes it more like a magazine. It doesn't feel like a chore at all to read it, which is something I cannot say for any other book. I would highly recommend you to read it if you are in your early 20's. 

                  llondon leopard
                        xoxo
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Friday, 12 May 2017

Luxembourg Photo Diary ♥

Luxembourg City...the fairy tale city. It's like something out of a story book, and I was happy to spend a weekend there. Did you know that Luxembourg City used to be a fortress? nope me neither, but it became clear when I saw the layout of the city. It is very hilly and surrounded by a lot of greenery. 
This is called Chemin de la Corniche, and has been nicknamed as the most beautiful balcony in Europe. I will definitely agree with that.


Selfie sticks really do come in handy when travelling solo. There is no other way I could have caught this view in the background. 

The chocolate house is a must see in Luxembourg. You kind of get to make your own hot chocolate by stirring a spoon of chocolate in hot milk. There are many different flavours such as caramel, matcha, vanilla, eggnog. I brought back four different flavours which I look forward to using this winter.


Gelle Fra statue (the war remembrance monument). 


When in Luxembourg be French...or German. On this occasion I decided to be French and have an omelette. This was legit the best omelette I have ever eaten, it had tomato, bacon, broccoli, potato, onion, and mushroom. 


Inside the Casemates du Bock. They are caves and i'm guessing they were used in the war. 


Please be warned that there are lots of stairs in the casemates and they are steep. So dont make the same mistake as me, by turning up there in a dress and ankle boots.


Paris is not the only city where you can get your hands on macaroons...Luxembourg has them too of course, because of the French influence. 

                                   
                                                             Au revoir...tschuss...addi
                                  xoxo

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