lifeofemmax

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A Weekend in The Dam

Amsterdam

Back in 2016 I was lucky enough to spend ‘A weekend in the Dam!’ Amsterdam is a beautiful, enlightening and controversial European city set in the heart of the Netherlands (Holland). I visited Amsterdam as part of a mini European tour of Holland and Germany (Berlin post coming soon). There is an ever growing array of ‘tourist’ things to do whilst in Amsterdam and I hope to cover MOST of them within my post. We visited Amsterdam in March, hence the warm clothing, scarves, hats and gloves. We were very lucky with the weather as we actually didn’t experience any rain whilst in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is popular for it’s canals and narrow houses.

Places to see

  • Anne Frank Museum

The Anne Frank Museum is a must for anybody visiting Amsterdam, it’s a very enlightening museum being able to experience. The Anne Frank House is a museum all about the story of where the family lived and the conditions they experienced during. Annelies Marie Frank was a German-born diarist. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously with the publication of ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’, in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The Anne Frank Museum is an emotional exhibition portraying where Anne and her family went into hiding, the rooms are small and cramped, sadly the rooms are exactly how they were at the time, for obvious reasons. But it’s amazing to see where Anne wrote her book during the holocaust. I definitely do not know how anybody could of lived in such a small space… But I suppose they had no choice!

  • The IAMSTERDAM Signs

As you may be aware Amsterdam is famous for its ‘IAMSTERDAM’ signs which are dotted around the city, be sure not to miss them! Actually, I am pretty sure you will spot them, along with the swarms of tourists posing on/beside and underneath the letters 🙂 It’s a good laugh and a lovely way to show you’ve been to Amsterdam. Of course it’ll make a great snap for Instagram. A weekend in the Dam wouldn’t be complete without the ‘Iamsterdam’ sign. I love being a tourist wherever I go so I couldn’t miss out on a picture at the sign (which was in fact less than a minute walk from our hotel).

  • Amsterdam Ice Bar – Xtra Cold

We booked the Ice Bar from a local visitor centre which organised excursions, it worked out to be less than €20 each! You’ll receive three free tokens at Amsterdam Icebar. Two silver and one golden token. You can exchange these tokens at our two bars. The first bar you’ll enter is our ‘heated’ front bar. Here you can exchange your golden token and order a large Heineken beer, glass of wine, cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage. After you’ve visited the ice bar Amsterdam’s front bar, you will enter the actual ice bar in the back where you can exchange your two silver tokens for beer, strong alcohol shots or orange juice. We will be given, gloves and a LOVELY blue cape [which was way to big for me!]. The drinks come in ice cube, so be careful they slide around.

  • Heineken Experience

Myself and my friend Molly aren’t massive beer drinkers, but everyone talked about how the ‘Heineken Experience’ was a must when in Amsterdam. So we decided to check it out! And we weren’t disappointed. The Heineken Tour costs €18 which includes;

  • 1.5 hour experience tour

  • When booked online – a time slot to suit you

  • 2 chilled beers from the best ‘Dam bar

  • A free city map of the best hidden gems of Amsterdam

The whole experience was interesting and engaging, don’t forget to try a few halfs of heineken whilst you are there and you can even purchase your own personalised pint glass from the shop on the way out.

  • Canal Boat Cruise

We purchased a ‘IAMSTERDAM City Card‘ before we travelled and just picked it up from the airport on our arrival. The card allowed us 48 hours access [you can choose 24/48/72 hour cards] to GVB public transport – the trams were interesting to navigate! Just remember to scan your card or you could face a penalty charge. The card allows you a free Canal Cruise, the stop off points are all indicated in the map within the card information. It was so easy to get around amsterdam via bus or tram and the Canal Cruise was a great way to explore the hidden depths of Dam life. I’d definitely recommend purchasing the Iamsterdam Card, it also gives you free access to certain museums and discounts galore.

Amsterdam offers so much to see and do but that is all we had time for whilst in the city! Actually I lie, we did take a visit to the Red Light District which was a eye opener to anyone visiting the city. It does have to been seen though as Amsterdam is famour for their red light district. One tip… try and avoid the dead end alleys which lead to a brothel… That wasn’t quite where we wanted to end up! It was a good laugh never the less.

A weekend in the Dam should be on everyone’s bucket list, the canals are beautiful the people so friendly and helpful and the food was incredible! I’d love to return one day.. But if Amsterdam doesn’t take your fancy why not visit the lovely Budapest?

Love

             EMMA

 

 

 

50 Things that make me happy

Love, Happiness and Health – 50 things that make me happy

Three things we all take for granted in life is having excellent health, finding love and enjoying yourself with lots of happiness and adventures. Life can be hard, challenging and very demotivating at times, but always remember you are doing your best and also that YOU deserve the best! Never settle for a little bit of love when there is someone out there that can change you life for the BEST, always strive to succeed and if you fail pick yourself back up and remember… Your Happiness is Key! I thought I would share with you all a little post about the 50 things that make me happy. Some are little sentiments that make me happy and others are people/things that make my life that bit better.

50 things that make me happy 🙂

  1. Family, I love spending time with my family and they all make me happy – there support is amazing!

  2. Adventures – I enjoy going out and exploring new places.

  3. Comfort Eating – I LOVE food and enjoy sitting down with a good bowl of chilli (my comfort food)

  4. Achieving my goals – I am a profound goal setting, it makes me more motivated and allows me to feel happy when I have completed a set goal.

  5. When I see friends I haven’t seen for a long time.

  6. A smile from a stranger.

  7. Making new friends.

  8. Having a day to myself to relax and de-stress.

  9. Seeing friends happy and succeeding.

  10. Weddings.

  11. Watching live music – concerts, festivals and musicals 🙂

  12. Dancing around the house.

  13. Forest Walks.

  14. Having freshly painted nails.

  15. Shopping.

  16. Being hugged by people.

  17. Cheesey chips!

  18. Going to the beach and soaking up the sun.

  19. Holidays – UK or Worldwide.

  20. Swimming.

  21. Seeing people overcome illness or fears.

  22. Hot Chocolate (not just for winter).

  23. Smiling.

  24. Conquering a fear – no matter how big or small.

  25. Chocolate (any kind will do).

  26. Going to fancy places to eat.

  27. Seeing people celebrating success.

  28. Strawberries.

  29. Laughing until my tummy hurts!

  30. Planning the interior for my new home.

  31. Writing for my blog.

  32. Trying new things – blog events.

  33. A good bottle of Rose.

  34. Going for a drive.

  35. Seeing cute animals – my friend has a new kitten and he’s so cute 🙂

  36. Making people smile.

  37. Sitting by a log fire.

  38. Making memories.

  39. Taking photographs – of any kind.

  40. Walks in the snow all wrapped up in scarves and wellies.

  41. The excitement of being asked to be 2 of my best friend’s bridesmaids in the near future.

  42. Watching my favourite football team win!

  43. Planning weekends away with my special ones.

  44. Helping someone with directions if they look lost.

  45. Window shopping with my Mumma.

  46. Late night chats with my nearest and dearest.

  47. Feeling confident in my outfit choice when going to a event.

  48. When I’ve had a busy day so end up relaxing in the bath.

  49. Flowers.

  50. Being ME!

There is a real mix of things that’s make me happy – from food to people to exploring! I loved writing this post, it’s made me happy writing down all the things that make me happy 🙂

What makes you happy? Is there certain people in your life which make you happy? Or a special place that makes you happy?

I’d love to find out more!

Love

             Emma

4 Hour Artisan Baking Course

Back in May myself and my bestie Laura attended a 4 Hour Artisan Baking Course in Canary Wharf, London. What an experience it was, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to share it with you all! I hope it doesn’t make you too hungry 🙂

Myself and Laura always get stuck with presents for birthday and Christmas so I decided to check out Buyagift to see what exciting experiences they had to offer! I ended up purchasing the 4 hour artisan baking course in London (they had a great deal on) £79 for two people instead of a RRP of £249!! We booked up for May and were very excited about all the lovely treats we were going to make.

4 Hour Artisan Baking Course

• We arrived at 10am for our Baking greeted by a lovely lady called Una. She explained about where to put our bags, wash our hands and find aprons/gloves.

• There were 4 other people in our baking class so we all introduced ourselves and shortly the course got under way.

What did we bake?

Throughout the 4 hour course we made a number of signature foods… which I am sure most of you would love!

Focaccia – with olives

Ganache Truffles – rolled in cocoa powder

Custard Tarts – these tasted AMAZING!

  • Seasonal Chicken and Mushroom Pie

  • Scones

  • Hot Cross Buns

  • Seasonal Berry Crepes with Madagascan Vanilla Crème

There were a few other dishes mentioned on the voucher that you could make on your course which were; Mojito Jelly, Churros and Ann’s Espresso Nutty Biscuit. I think it depends on the season to which ones you make.

We thoroughly enjoyed making these wonderful treats, I would definitely recommend not eating beforehand as unfortunately they do not have a licence for you to take the food from the premise! I loved the chicken pie along with the custard tarts [these were my favourites]. I think everyone loved my non round scones which I created, but they tasted GOOD which is the main thing, right?!

If you’d like any recipes for the above foods, please let me know and I can send them onto you for you to make and enjoy 🙂 I would highly recommend the 4 hour artisan baking course with Ann’s Smart School of Cookery.

 

Have you tried my Gooey Chocolate Brownie?

 

Love

             Emma

A Fathers Day Gift Guide

Fathers Day

With Father’s Day quickly approaching the UK on Sunday June 17th 2018, I decided to create a Fathers Day Gift Guide. Father’s Day is a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Everyone has different views and opinions on ‘Commercial’ day such as Valentines Day/Fathers Day and Mothers Day. But I personally see it as a lovely family day to spent with your Father. I love spoiling my Dad, he’s a multi tooled guy who has always shown me the ropes in life whether it be learning to walk, ride a bike or purchasing a car… He’s the one I turn to for advice!

I know some people reading this may not be lucky enough to have their Fathers around this Fathers day and for you guys, my heart goes out to you all! I am sure you all share beautiful memories with your Fathers and I hope Sunday 17th June is a way of reflecting those memories.

 

Jeya Narrative

I always look for a ‘out of the ordinary’ gift for my Dad, mainly due to his lack of helpfulness when asked what he would like for birthdays/Christmas or Fathers day. I’ve purchased him adventure gift vouchers, experience days etc but WOW! Jeya Narrative is such a classy and stylish shop that I stumbled upon via google searches looking for quirky socks (Yes I know, a bit random!) but how warm and lovely do these look?! I am looking to purchase some ladies ones in the near future ready for wearing with boots in the winter.

 

 

It’s Your Bottle

It’s Your Bottle are a personalised gift supplier, they provide a lovely service which allows the customer to purchase personalised wine and bubbly for any occasion, ranging from birthdays, anniversaries and Hen/Stag Dos. Whilst creating my Father’s Day gift guide I came across an email from the lovely Bryoni at ‘It’s Your Bottle’. She kindly gifted me a beautiful bottle of red wine* for my Dad for Father’s Day, which arrived with a personalised label which I designed myself via their website. The bottle was perfectly wrapped in a lovely wooden box, making it look very professional. I cannot wait to give my Dad this lovely gift of his favourite Merlot!

 

LazyDogz

Lazydogz are luxury designer shoe and slipper company who offer quality British designed footwear for both men and women. With memory foam insoles and toughened soles as standard, Lazy Dogz and Beach Dogz are here to keep your feet stylish and comfortable each and every day. My Dad is often jet setting across the world to exotic beach holidays so thought he’d love a new pair of sandals! Lazy Dogz beach sandals* look and feel amazing 🙂

It’s hard work finding a present for Father’s so I hope you have found this Fathers Day Gift Guide helpful with your search for the perfect gift! Don’t forget these items are available to purchase all year round for Christmas or a birthday!

 

Love

             Emma

 

 

 

(* Item has been gifted)

The Guernsey Novels – Blog Tour

The Guernsey Novels – Guernsey Retreat by Anne Allen

Book Synopsis

Anne Allen’s intriguing ‘The Guernsey Novels’ comprises of a six book series.

The six story novel are all based predominantly on the beautiful island of Guernsey, each book is interlinked through character and location.The Guernsey Novels are an array of Mystery, Adventure, Love and Drama the 6 books are based over 6 years, with a presence of german occupation and character change throughout the series. The books are based during World War 2.

Anne’s love for the Island of Guernsey is strongly portrayed throughout the novels, due to her experience of ‘many happy years’ of life spent on the beautiful island.

 

My Review; Guernsey Retreat

Firstly, I was delighted to be invited to take part in ‘The Guernsey Novels Blog Tour’ by the lovely Anne Allen and The Globeflower Agency.

Guernsey Retreat, the third in Anne Allen’s Guernsey Novels series, is an excellent page-turner from this popular award-winning writer. Anne combines mystery with romance in a tale which moves smoothly from times of sadness and loss, about the past which have life-changing effects on the main characters.

The heroine Louisa is followed through her journey from London to Guernsey in 1939 in reach to find her Father, who does not know Louisa even exists.

The Guernsey Retreat health centre, is the setting for the major part of the story. It was comforting to see that the Retreat is based in La Folie, the imposing gothic mansion which featured in Anne’s second Guernsey Novel.

It is a wonderful revelation to watch Malcolm and his daughter Louisa reclaim their relationship and watch them grow throughout the novel. The Guernsey Retreat portrays family, hidden relationships and sorrow all based within Guernsey. The picture of Guernsey is beautifully painted to allow us ‘the reader’ to feel like we know the island without even needing to of visited the island.

‘A fascinating read, great novel to take on a summer vacation or if you are a gripping read – it’ll keep you hooked’

 

Where to buy The Guernsey Novels

Book one – Dangerous Waters

Book Two – Finding Mother

Book Three – Guernsey Retreat

Book Four – The Family Divided

Book Five – Echoes Of Time

Book Six – The Betrayal

All About Anne

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.

Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt.

At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.

Where To Find Anne

Website

Twitter

Facebook

 

To enter the #Prize Draw to #WIN a 2 night short break to the beautiful island of Guernsey also you’ll get signed copies of ALL 6 of Anne Allens ‘The Guernsey Novels’. Good Luck!!

The Guernsey Novels Prize Draw

 

I hope you enjoyed my part of The Guernsey Novel Blog Tour, check out Anne’s lovely array of novels.. you won’t be disappointed.

Fancy jetting off to the South Coast?

 

Love

        Emma