Like most people, I spend way too much time on Pinterest. I get lost in a sea of really cool and creative portrait photography. From using light in interesting ways, to practically climbing in to rose bushes to get some beautiful romantic flower shots, there’s just millions of ideas out there. One photo I found was of a woman who was wearing a gorgeous ball gown but what was different was she was sat in a swimming pool. I loved it and instantly wanted to create my own version. Only problem was… no swimming pool. Here in the UK people don’t have pools at home and I couldn’t see my local swimming baths allowing me to get into their pool in a dress whilst people tried to do their laps around me.
So it was back to the drawing board. What if I didn’t do a full length photo, but a portrait instead? Meaning I didn’t need as much water. Instead of a swimming pool, how about a kids paddling pool?
So with a lot of time and a lot of help, this was my final creation. A portrait of me in a pool surrounded by flowers. I’m really pleased with how it came out as it was a lot of effort, but I think looks really cool, and maybe even Pinterest will like it (go on, give this girl a pin).
Therefore I thought I’d put together behind the scenes and tips guide on how I did it, in case you want to have a go too, as it is a lot of fun.
5 tips for doing a water photoshootBigger isn’t always bigger
I started off by buying a pretty big paddling pool. One big enough for me to fully get into lying down. However I realised some problems with this. First, it takes ages to fill and of course wastes a lot of water in the end. Second, if you want to fill with flowers, well you're going to need a lot of flowers! I found that the flowers I had just floated away in such a vast area. So I actually went out a bought and second, smaller pool (here if you want a similar one- exact pattern of demented Nemo I found in a local store). One where I needed to stick my legs out side of the pool so only my back could fit in the water. Somewhere around 220-270 litres is a good size for this.
Use warm water
Water straight out of the hose is bloody freezing let me tell you! So not only is it uncomfortable but actually from a safety point of view make sure to at least make your water luke-warm. The first time I attempted this, it was so cold and I was in the water for maybe 10 minutes, and when I got out all of a sudden I got head rush and went really dizzy and nearly fainted. I think it must have been the shock of going from so cold to standing up quickly? So after that we boiled pans of water and added it to the water to make it mildly warm.
Not all flowers float
So it turns out not all fake flowers float. There's not really a accurate way to test which will until you buy them but I had two different varieties, one that was more fabric based and one that was a little more paper like. The paper ones sank and the thicker, stiffer fabric ones float, so when in doubt, pay a bit more and go for thicker flowers. Oh also related to the flowers, but really for any props you are using- make sure you have enough. When in doubt buy too many! I actually had to go out and buy more flowers as I really didn't have enough on first attempt.
A lot of portraits of me I do, I do all by myself, using a tripod and the Canon remote app on my phone. I’ll set up the camera settings and then set up the scenes and pose, click, and then sort of throw the phone out of shot. Glam eh? But with this, you really need help! So yes, my mum was the "photographer" for this if we go by who clicked the shutter, but I set up the camera first, did test shots and prayed she didn't drop it in the water! But even if I’d had a horizontal arm for my tripod so I could have taken a top down photo remotely, I needed help setting up and filling the pool as it takes ages, and also the flowers really need to be placed around the models head after they are in the water. Oh and the flowers float away all the time, so you need someone to keep re-positioning them in between shots.
It is quite faffy to do this shoot, so make sure you have time and patience!
Do it in the shade
Bright sunshine shining on water does not work well for photography. The blow out, the reflections, the annoying shadows- a sunny day is great for many things, but photography it is not. Either wait for a cloudy day or find some shade to do set up your pool.
Post Production- Before and After
Edited in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop
So there you have it. My water portrait photoshoot. Like I said this was quite faffy when I did it, but now that I know what I need to do, I'd say it would be quicker next time. Half the battle was actually getting the right size pool and then having enough flowers to stay around my face. Having someone on hand to bring them back towards you is such a big help!
I have quite a lot of ideas I'd like to try out with water so watch this space for more of this and if you'd like to see more behind the scenes, let me know in the comments.
Also if there's anything you think I've missed that you need to know to be able to do this, also just ask away in the comments.
Does anyone else have a London bucket list (or insert your city instead) ? When I moved to London nearly 6 years ago I wrote a list in the back of my Filofax (RIP) of all the London things I wanted to do. I found it about a year ago and it was amazing how many things I had managed to tick off. One of those things was to go to Annabel’s. If you don’t know, Annabel’s is a London institution. It’s a private members club that is notoriously hard to get into and is famed for being the hangout of the rich and famous. It was one of those places that I just wanted to see once. So let me tell you I was ecstatic when I received an invite from Laurent-Perrier to come join them for afternoon tea at Annabel’s to celebrate the launch of their new Cuvée Rose Jeroboam.
Annabel’s as we know it today is actually the second iteration, but is just two doors down from the original on Berkeley Square. First opening its doors in 1963 by Mark Birley who named the club after his wife, this new larger Annabel’s is an entire townhouse designed by Martin Brudnizki is what can only be described as visionary. Every room is a different design but with a hefty membership cost, photos with other guests in them is strictly off limits, so let me show you The Flower Room.
The Flower Room really is breathtaking. Adored with floral fabric wall covering, gold flowers bordering the ceiling and of course its outstanding feature, 13,000 ceramic flowers fixed to the walls. Yes, 13,000 of them handmade and hand attached to the wall.
I'd been invited to Annabel's to help celebrate the launch of the new Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Jeroboam, which is a 3 litre bottle! Aged for 5 years, only 500 have been made as they wanted to make sure the blend was absolutely perfect.
Also launching is the new constellation cage for the regular size Cuvée Rosé which is such a pretty design update.
The Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Jeroboam is a light, fruit based champagne, with notes of strawberry and raspberry making it the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea.
Out came a selection of sandwiches with classics such as coronation chicken, smoked salmon and cream cheese, as well as some more high end ones such as truffle and egg mayo.
My favourite part of afternoon tea is the scones. Annabel's served both plain and raisin with jam and clotted cream which was delicious.
Finally on top of the silver tier was a selection of cakes, pastries and macarons which were really good.
After the afternoon tea, I couldn't leave until I'd seen the world famous Annabel's bathroom. You might have seen it on Instagram as with its pink stalls, floral walls, and flower covered ceiling, it is probably the most photographed bathroom in the UK!
Without meaning to, I seemed to have colour coordinated my outfit!
It was a dream come true to be able to tick off Annabel's from my bucket list, and to be on of the few people who will get to try the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Jeroboam is also an amazing honour. But that doesn't mean you can't be too! If you want to try the Cuvée Rosé Jeroboam, its on sale now at luxury retailers like Annabel's and Hedonism Wines.
It's been quite a while since I've been to a supper club. When I first moved to London back in 2013, it was all the rage to go to supper clubs. One of favourites is still the amazing White Room Supper and so when I received a lovely email to ask if I'd like to come down to an East African supper club by The Culinary Discovery Club and Colline’s Kitchen in partnership with Yellow Zebra, I couldn't resist. Plus it meant I had a legitimate excuse to leave my desk at a reasonable hour for once.
I've travelled quite extensively but actually I'd never been to Africa until March and then it was to Morocco so very much Northern Africa and often misrepresented as a Middle Eastern country. So I was really intrigued to try what East African food was like. My friend Helen is Eritrean and together we'd had Ethiopian food as at the time that was the closest we could find in London (although I believe there are some Eritrean restaurants south of the river now). But that was about the extent of my East African food knowledge (so basically none).
The supper club was hosted by Yellow Zebra Safaris’ which organise a range of luxury Safaris all over East Africa. They employ former professional safari guides, camp managers or people born and raised in Africa, ensuring clients speak to the true industry experts. Plus sat opposite me was Shona who works in the UK office who whilst she grew up in Africa, in fact was born on a mid flight! Yep, you can read about it here! Crazy.
They'd just launched their Tanzania experiences that week too which sound like the absolute dream as that includes the Serengeti National Park.
But back to the food. For starters we had Matooke and Luwombo, which is a Ugandan/Rawanda meal made from steamed green bananas and plantains, spicy mushrooms all cooked in a banana leaf. We actually assembled this ourselves and learned how roll and secure the banana leaf for stewing.
For mains we tried Mchuzi wa samaki which is a traditional spicy curry from Tanzanian/Kenya made of salmon and hake, served with brown rice. It was interesting as it wasn't spicy like you might think. Having been used to "spicy" meaning, hot and burning your mouth, this was more a slow mixture of flavours that sort of just leave a small tingle. The fish was also delicious and melting.
The dessert; Mandazi was pretty awesome too. Ugandan coconut doughnuts served with chocolate and caramel sauces.
I'd never experienced East African food properly before and it was delicious and you can really taste how fresh, organic ingredients is used. I'd definitely recommend checking out the supper club for something a little different and hopefully I'll one day get to try this food again but actually in Africa.
I love to travel, to explore and to discover knew places. I try to away a fair few times in a year, but it can be difficult not only to get the time off work, but also to find people to go with. See, even though I'm in a long term relationship, my other half just doesn't have the travel bug I do. I love him dearly but I wish he wasn't such a workaholic sometimes.
I'd read about group tours before but to be honest was always a bit worried about joining a trip with a bunch of complete strangers. What if I didn't get on with anyone, what if everyone came with a partner and I was a spare wheel? Well luck would have it when last year my lovely friends Claire and Laura from the amazing travel blog, Twins That Travel launched their own tours with Intrepid. It was the perfect middle ground. A tour group but with at least 2 people I knew going! Plus knowing they were bloggers too meant I know they'd been keen for a good photo session too!
Their first tour was to Morocco and I couldn't have been more excited for it. The Medina, the desert, all the colours, sounds and smells. It was going to be glorious.
Having spent a couple of days in the Marrakesh which was amazing, but sadly I lost all the photos from Marrakesh as my SD are decided to corrupt as we were leaving we moved on and headed to the desert to spend 2 days in a luxury desert camp. Because I don't have any photos from Marrakesh I thought I'd leave that blog post as its so hard to tell a story without photos. Maybe one day I'll return.
But for now, let me take you to a very special place indeed.
Just 30km from Marrakesh is La Pause, a luxury desert camp in the middle of the Agafay desert. I'd heard about desert camps, and dreamt about staying in one, and let me tell you, they don't disappoint. It's like another world away from the quite chaotic scenes of inner Marrakesh. Just miles upon miles of rocky desert hills that honestly leave you feeling just amazed at the world.
La Pause camp itself is rather amazing. The accommodation are these big tents with either double beds or twin beds with a private ensuite to each one. Definitely nothing like camping in the UK! Yes, a proper bed- no sleeping bag required. Plus as you can see, they really have the best views.
Again, different to you traditional camping is that La Pause has many communal areas too. Theres the main building at the top of a hill which serves as a welcome area and you can have breakfast up there too. Then there's a dining area (all outside under canopies) and lots of breakout and relaxation tents for either reading, a bite to eat or even a little mid day snooze.
La Pause also has a gorgeous clear pool area which is formed from a naturally occurring oasis.
You might also run into a friendly neighbour or two.
However it isn't just the facilities that you have to occupy yourself, you can go on a little excursion too. Some might opt for quad biking, but personally I think we all fancied a little slower pace of life with a sunset camel ride.
I'd briefly rode a camel before in Qatar but it was very much a quick up and down a brief path. This was something different, an hours trek through the desert.
Camels really are amazing creatures, and for anyone who has slight reservations about the wellbeing of these camels, here they are looked after with the upmost respect.
I don't know if you've ever ridden a camel before but getting on one is quite the experience in itself! You have to hold on very tightly before they sort of jolt up, first via their back legs so you are flung forward, and then they lift up from the front, flinging you back again. But once you are on and up, it's actually rather comfortable.
It really is quite hard to sum up the views that I saw whilst on my camel trek, but it really does give you this mesmerising feeling that the world is truly an amazing place that we just don't even know the half of.
Did you know traditionally mint tea should be poured from a height of 12 inch, causing foam to be formed on top of the tea. If there is no foam, the tea is not ready to be served. And whilst not traditional, I'd say tea at sunset is the best time to drink it!
After dark, the whole camp really comes alive with fire pits and lanterns. It's just the most beautiful and truly relaxing moment.
Of course that's until it gets fully dark and well, I'd never seen a starry sky quite like it! No photoshop here!
La Pause really blew every expectation I had out of the water. I'd go back in a heartbeat. In fact I'd love to go for a a few days next time and just spend some time laying by the pool or doing one of their private yoga classes.
Also Claire and Laura's tour really was just amazing and I loved every moment of it. So much so I have booked onto their next one to Istanbul in September! I believe there is still places so check it out and maybe I'll see you there!
I'd had my birthday with my boyfriend over at the St James Hotel and Club, where I'd been pampered, and drank and ate till I collapsed in a heap. Well for my birthday with friends I was pretty much doing the same thing all over again. But this time with a little more classical Englishness- Afternoon Tea.
If you are a seasoned reader of Heroine In Heels, you'll know I adore the Four Seasons as a brand. I've been countless times to the one at Park Lane, as well as Hampshire and as of last night, the new for 2017 one at Trinity Square here in London. It's a brand I think that has perfected refined luxury with impeccable service, yet still maintains a relaxed and accessible nature to it. Many people criticise bloggers for hopping from one place to another and saying something is amazing only never to speak of it again. Well I'd like think I'd shown you that the Four Seasons is a brand I genuinely (not that other things on this log aren't genuine) love. Which is why I decided to head back and have their Afternoon Tea for my birthday.
I was due to meet Angie and Lauren, but sadly Lauren who works as a lawyer just couldn't escape the office in time (She works so damn hard) so it was just me and Angie. Well more champagne for us I guess.
The afternoon is currently called A Journey Through British Summertime although this is due to change very soon. It's created by Executive Pastry Chef, David Oliver and each component is based on a classic British event or idea.
Out came the cake stand in all it's shining glory. My first reaction though was "where's the scones?!" I nearly had a heart attack thinking there wasn't any! But fear not, they bring them out when the waiters notice you are done with the sandwiches so they are warm and fresh. They think if everything... even if I don't.
So the first order of the day is of course the sandwiches. I immediately dived into the smoked salmon with caper, tarragon and asparagus butter as I am a smoked salmon fiend. I think I said in my last post about me eating it everyday day for breakfast. Then of course in true Four Seasons style, simple sliced beef is no good, instead its the one and only Wagyu salt beef. Personally I love the classic Cheddar and pickle. There is just something so satisfying about a cheese and pickle sandwich.
The sandwiches were lovely and fresh, even at post 6pm, the were freshly made to order. Something that sounds pretty simple, but I've had my fair share of crispy, dry bread at some big name hotels.
But then it was onto my favourite section of afternoon tea. Scones. Oh Lordy, scones are just the best thing ever. Layer up that cream and jam- and yes in that order- nice and thick and oh it's just so satisfying.
Then finally it was the cakes. Beautiful, intricate cakes made to reflect the very best of British summertime.
Funnily enough I guessed the green semi-sphere one right away- Goodwood. It was a peach and ginger mousse with red current coulis and crunchy pistachio which was my favourite. I love ginger in desserts and pistachios are my second favourite nut after pecans.
The most obvious one had to be the tennis ball of Wimbledon. A mixture of vanilla mousse and strawberry. Sweet and light, it was nice to see the vanilla actually coming through as you'll know, so many vanilla flavourings are... Lacking to say the least.
But the cutest award goes to the gorgeous picnic basket made from cherry and liquorice and choux pastry. I was just amazed at the detail! Angie was a little hesitant about liquorish but I knew it would be good. Liquorish the sugary candy isn't great. But really fresh liquorish is delicious. I have it with mint in my tea at night and it's the most calming, relaxing flavour.
Then we had an apricot and lavender tart with orange blossom and yogurt cream which represented the Chelsea flower show. This was gorgeous and sweet. The tang of the strawberries against the soft lavender was such an elegant flavour.
Afternoon tea is a long drawn out affair, and we certainly kept to that. I think I lost count of how many glasses of champagne we had (and not much tea to be honest) but as the sun set we decided to head out onto the terrace for a few more drinks.
And unexpectedly they brought out a little happy birthday platter of macarons and Chocolate. Just one of the many reasons I love the brand, they do little personal touches that for me make it.
So that's my 26th birthday wrapped up. Another year older, definitely not wiser. But next up is Angie's birthday in November. Where shall we go for hers?
Make sure you check out the Four Seasons, I promise you, you won't regret it.
After the royal wedding this weekend, I think most people will agree in that we are all feeling a little bit more British. And what is a bloody brilliant British tradition? Afternoon tea.
I love afternoon tea. I'd always choose afternoon tea over lunch but also i'm quite picky with my teas. If something isn't up to scratch I'll say so.
Funnily enough, sticking with the royal wedding theme, I headed to The Athenaeum hotel which is a hotel literally across the street from Green Park where Buckingham Palace sits. It's less than a 10 minute walk door to door.
A name in the London restaurant scene may have heard of dozens of times is the Galvin Brothers. Famed for their high end French restaurants such as Window's and La Chapelle, they have recently moved into more British cuisine and never more evident with their afternoon at The Athenaeum.
The tea is hosted in their garden room which is a small but elegant downstairs bar, but what is quite impressive is their "living wall" which gives a feel of a garden terrace without the noice or cold that that could bring in central London.
We ordered the Royal Afternoon Tea (come on we had to!) and soon it arrived filling the table.
The list of sandwiches read like a list of the finest ingredients; Eggs Drumkilbo bridge roll with James Baxter’s potted shrimps, Cumbrian beef & Coleman’s horseradish on beetroot bread, Regents park honey roasted Dukeshill ham, mustard mayonnaise on brioche, H. Foreman and Son smoked salmon & cream cheese on multigrain bread and Coronation chicken on white bread.
The salmon and cream cheese was delicious, although I'm slightly confused as to why there was only one and not two when it's a two person tea. The coronation chicken was also perfect and a standout sandwich of the set.
Then of course came the scones. Now how do you put your jam and cream on? Because let me tell you seeing as we are on the subject of Royals. The Queen puts her cream on first, and so I think thats the true confirmation there eh?
All the jams here also come from Royal Warrant Holders, making this a truly regal experience.
Finally the cakes arrived. Now I will say, some were good, others were not to my liking. The giant macaron was fantastic, and baked and flavoured so ell. Also the chocolate orange tartlet was delicious. However the eclair and the opera cake, I found too mousse-y and sickly for my liking.
Does Coworth Park host the most luxurious picnic in Britain?
Here in Britain, we aren't exactly blessed with good weather often. So it was quite strange finding ourselves with weeks upon weeks of scorching sun. I think we forgot what rain actually was. So true to classic British nature, we went out in droves with our picnic baskets and rugs under arms. However picnics really do range in quality. From soggy tin foil wrapped sandwiches, all the way up to bone china plates in whicker baskets. However I don't think anything quite compares to the Michelin starred restaurant food and champagne picnic at Coworth Park. It is quite possibly the most luxurious picnic in Britain.
Coworth Park is one of the most glorious country hotels I've ever laid eyes on. Sitting in 240 acres of unspoilt countryside in Ascot, it's a classic but modern country hotel. Every inch is luxurious but made for relaxation. I even found walking into the lobby gives that same feeling as when you step into a spa. Of course you'd expect nothing less as it's from the world renown Dorchester Collection.
One of Coworth Park's iconic features is it's flower meadow made up of a stream of pink, yellow and purple wild flowers, and that's where their picnic would be held. But unlike most picnics which come stuffed into a basket, this was something quite different. Laid out under a gazebo was a spread of the finest foods from Michelin starred restaurant, Restaurant Coworth Park, headed by executive chef Adam Smith and an abundance of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé champagne.
The most beautiful display of bowls, plates and stands of luxurious food.
From freshly baked breads in every variety a bakery could offer, to Mediterranean salads, cold cuts of meat, a selection of fine cheeses, fresh salmon, pate, rare steak and the crowning jewel, crab dressed with caviar.
Of course, we can't forget about dessert! Bakewell tart is quite a common appearance at picnics, usually in the form of a Mr Kipling slice. But oh not here. Here it's a dessert worthy of a Michelin Starred kitchen. Beautifully decorated, it's a work of art. Then of course there's the strawberries and cream jars in little glass tumblers. Everything is of the finest quality and ingredients.
But what really makes a picnic luxurious is champagne. Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne is celebrating their 50 year anniversary since it's launch in 1968. It also happens to be my favourite champagne too! Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is the most glorious champagne. Sweet but not so much that it's too much. In fact it's a champagne that I find very drinkable indeed. It's perfect for summer days, although to be honest, it really is just perfect in any situation.
The picnic came with proper tables and chairs to sit at to save any unwanted grass stains that are often a staple at picnics, however sometimes even with the most luxurious of picnics, traditions have to be kept, and so a picnic rug was laid out amongst the flowers.
Although table or in this case, rug service is a new picnic tradition I'm now fond of.
With the weather glorious, the champagne flowing and stomaches certainly satisfied, it truly was the most amazing picnic I have ever attended. Coworth Park is an incredible place, and they certainly know how to through a picnic and make you feel very special. Is this Britain's most luxurious picnic? I'd say so.
With all the hot weather we've been having here in the UK, you'd be forgiven for thinking we were in Italy! I don't think anyone has ever seen such long sunshine and warm weather here before. Whilst us Brits are famous for a spot of tea, personally I can't drink tea in hot weather. Plus, I feel like tea isn't the most social of drinks either, and when the sun is this glorious, I just want to gather with all my friends.
So, with that in mind, let's take a leaf out of the Italians’ book and delve into the world of Aperitivo.
The Italians are known for their love of food and drink, and aperitivo is all about that. It is in fact a time to drink and enjoy some small plates and nibbles to whet the appetite in preparation for dinner.
Aperitivo was born in the late 18th century in Torino by Antonio Benedetto Carpano who created the first aperitivo drink: vermouth, and as you probably guessed it, this went on to be Carpano, the international bestselling drink brand.
Today, the concept is now an Italian tradition, where for a glorious couple of hours all over Italy — generally between 7pm and 9pm, Italians meet to relax over a glass of wine or a cocktail and light food.
For a traditional style aperitivo, a light drink is typically enjoyed, such as Prosecco, Campari, Aperol and Vermouth.
My personal favourite is always sparkling, and so what could be better than the Italian prosecco. For an authentic aperitivo experience, Mionetto is a quality Prosecco, steeped in Italian heritage and tradition.
Hailing from Valdobbiadene, in the heart of the Prosecco region, Mionetto is the world’s bestselling sparkling wine. The Mionetto Prosecco Doc Treviso Brut whilst dry, has notes of apples, and honey, making it a very palatable drink to sip whilst chatting with friends.
Of course, it is also the time to get creative, so why not combine the Italian’s two loves, Prosecco and Aperol, together?
Mionetto Aperol Spritz
-1-part Soda Water
-2 parts Aperol
-3 parts Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso
-Orange Slice for garnish
-Fill glass half way with ice.
-Pour the Prosecco, Aperol and add a splash of soda.
-Top with a slice of orange.
Aperitivo is never meant to be just drinks. It's always accompanied by food, although remember this is not meant to replace your dinner, just whet the appetite.
Foods vary, but it's usually always finger food. Crostini, which in Italian literally means “little toasts”, is a common snack. This can be topped with meats, cheeses and tomatoes. Italian cheese is also a firm favourite at the table, along with a selection of cold cuts such as Prosciutto. Olives are also a must for any Mediterranean table and roasted vegetables are also a popular choice.
Make sure everything is easy to pick at by either pre-cutting it or providing knives and cocktail sticks for easy eating.
Whilst many Italians might go to a bar that has an Aperitvo hour or meet outside friends’ houses, I get it, many of us here in the UK just don't have a proper outdoor space with tables and chairs. Which is why here in the UK, we might have to get creative and combine with one of our own traditions, the picnic. Pop a bottle into a hamper, along with your food choices, and head over to your local park or outdoor space. Maybe near your work, or home, but really anywhere that you can your friends can gather for a pre-dinner drink and chat.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you gather your closest friends to unwind with after a long day at work. Aperitvo is all about good food, drink and good company. Celebrate life and enjoy each day, and those little moments that make you smile. So, what are you waiting for, this glorious weather won't last forever!
This post was sponsored by Mionetto, but all words, images and opinions are my own.
After a good reaction to my previous Instagram city guide (To Rome) I thought I'd continue the series with a new city that I recently visited; Budapest.
I visited Budapest right at the beginning of December which is a great time to go, albeit a cold time! There's plenty of Christmas activities on, including the famous markets, but Budapest is great any time of the year as there's a rich history and culture to explore.
Of course though, in the age of social media, we all want to know where the best Instagram spots are, so here are my top 6 most instagrammable locations in Budapest, all vetted and taken by me, and like last time, I'll tell you exactly where the shot was taken and at what time of day.
In the mean time why not follow me on Instagram to get more location inspiration.
Ok let's dive in...
Check coat from Quiz // Trousers from Zara // Beret from Quiz
The Budapest Sign
This sign is located outside the Sofitel Budapest hotel along the river on the Pest side of the city. As you can see from the photo its in prime location by Chain Bridge and offers a great spot to see the city all lit up.
It's not a busy spot by any means. A few people came whilst I was there looking for photos, but only from a passing by, quick snap on the phone type, so feel free to take your time.
Of course the best time to go is at night as then you get all the lights in the background.
Arguably the most famous attraction in the whole of Budapest, Fishermans Bastion is a fairytale castle of turrets and sweeping staircases. It's incredibly beautiful and extremely photogenic. Theres so many nooks and crannies to explore and of course take photos of.
Needless to say it gets absolutely rammed. By 9am coaches of tourists are arriving, so honestly, get there for sunrise if you want people free photos. I arrived at 7:15am and there was already people, but plenty of space for all us hardcore photographers. But by 8:30 it was too busy for those people free photos.
Szechenyi bath is a public outdoor thermal bath surrounded by the most elegant building design, making it a fantastic place to relax and chill out. Well, I say that, only if you get there early enough. The baths are a tourist trap and from lunch time onwards they are absolutely filled to the brim with people and the vibe is less relaxing and more party like. However if you get there before 9am, its mainly locals that attend.
In the winter as it's so cold outside, and because the water in the baths is around 38c, these amazing steam plumes appear. During the summer you won't find these, so if you are after this affect for your photo, it's winter time for you.
Fountain of King Matthias
The Fountain of King Matthias is often called the Trevi Fountain of Budapest and depicts a hunting party led by Kind Matthias. Constructed in 1901, it survived the second world war with minor damage and the minimal damage it did receive was reconstructed in 2010.
As it's the Trevi Fountain of Budapest, it makes an ideal photo op. But thankfully it's no where near as popular. When I arrived there was no one taking photos of it, and I was probably there around 2:30pm on a weekend.
New York Cafe
Often called 'The Most Beautiful Cafe In The World', I have to say it really is stunning and lives up to its reputation. Once a meeting spot for distinguished writers and poets to discuss ideas over coffee, it's now a very touristy cafe.
The food is fine, but nothing special, and it is pricey for what it is, but you don't come here for the food alone, it's all about the experience and the view.
If you want to come in, you really do need a reservation as the non reserved queue was out the door. It's super simple to get a table reservation though- just book online, and I even did it the day before and got a lunch time spot.
The Budapest parliament building is quite an architectural feat and definitely worth a walk around. It's funny, as you can get right up to the building without any problem, something you just couldn't imagine here in London.
For an early December weekend it wasn't that busy really and so made for a nice stroll around and un- problematic photo ops.
So there you have it, my top Instagrammable locations in Budapest. Are there any others you've spotted in Budapest?
I don't know about you, but I learnt to drive out of pure practicality. When you live in London you don't really think about driving as there is always a bus or a tube just a stone's throw away. But, when I moved out of central London 2 years ago to the commuter belt, I realised that I really needed to learn to drive simply just to get around. Driving for me had always been about necessity, and so I never really thought about going for just a nice drive. Now I realise, living in Oxfordshire, that there's a whole beautiful world in the UK just waiting to be explored.
Last week I test drove the new Hyundai Kona, which for me was very exciting as my car is, well, less than modern. It's a 15-year-old Ford Mondeo, which for all intents and purposes does the trick, but isn’t exactly a fun drive.
With a new zippy car coming my way I decided to explore my local area, going for lunch out and about and popping to see some friends - essentially to go on a country road trip for one!
The first thing I noticed about the Hyundai Kona was the size. It’s an SUV, although more on the compact side of SUVs which was quite hilarious when I first got in - I felt so high off the ground! It doesn't look it, but it does have a noticeable difference to a classic car.
The Kona 4WD is the top spec model and comes with a great 1.6L Turbo which is super nippy round corners... let me tell you. It’s an automatic which, as a manual driver and someone who had never been in an automatic before, took some getting used to. However, once I got the hang of it it felt so, so easy to drive. When most of Oxfordshire is made up of winding country lanes (under the national speed limit of course), you need something nimble.
So without further ado I was off on my grand adventure.
If you haven't explored Oxfordshire much I would really recommend it. The towns of Chipping Norton, Woodstock and Great Tew are all so beautiful and postcard perfect. I was actually heading to Chipping Norton but first stopped at Blenheim for a quick tea break and a general nosey round, seeing as the weather was so gorgeous. Did you know Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace?
I very much enjoyed the in-built Apple Car Play system, where I could hook up my music on the go. I also really liked the Head-Up Display as it was super simple to see my speed.
Onwards with my journey I arrived at Chipping Norton, where I have to say, I think I did some of my finest parking ever. The in-built parking camera and sensors are so much easier than my manual way in my car.
Chipping Norton really is such a cute little English town. I mean, they have bunting! I spent the remainder of the day with friends, soaking up this crazy amount of sun we’ve had this February.
Finally, as the light drew to a close, I headed home. I don’t usually like driving in the dark and as country roads are really fast I always fear sticking out too much and scraping an oncoming car.
When I discovered the Lane Keeping Assist feature I was suddenly put at ease. It keeps you within the boundaries of the lane and gently nudges you back to centre if you veer a little. Now that’s cool!
Honestly, just how beautiful is Oxfordshire? I forget that I live so close to all of this. Which is something I'm sure we are all guilty of, not exploring our own towns and counties.
Of course driving is hungry work and so, on my way home I found the cutest cafe and popped in for a spot of pancakes and coffee, because no road trip is complete without road-side food.
It's funny really, I’ve just never made a conscious effort to go out driving for the pleasure of driving before, and yet it honestly really changed my perception. I spent about 5 hours out and about and loved every moment of it. It’s taught me that I really should explore more, especially as it’s so beautiful out there. Sadly the Kona can’t stay with me, but my love of driving certainly will.
This post was sponsored by Hyundai UK, but all words, views and photography are my own.