What’s Happening? | That Little Lola

Hey guys!

I haven’t actually taken a hiatus in a while, but right now, I really need to. I have too many projects that I want to focus on, and I feel like I’m trying to cram in so much, as well as worrying about numbers.

But I’m definitely burnt out like you wouldn’t believe. However, in terms of all of the content I have planned, I intend on carrying on with all of the ongoing series anyway, getting them scheduled up and then taking a break.

I’ve come to realise that I’m no longer enjoying the writing that I’m doing. Everything I do outside of writing, I always think of ways to try and embed that into the blog. Honestly, I’ve done almost daily posts for the past year or so, and I’m tired.

I want to be able to upload roughly once per week, and that will happen with the Pokemon top 10 lists, and my Gym Teams posts will still continue, but there may be delays. Other anime posts will wait, and I will do the Community Day posts as and when.


What I’ll be doing instead is catching up on other projects that have fallen to the wayside a bit – the books, Miss Lola’s Scents, other videos that I have planned, the works! So in that regard, I’ll be keeping busy, but for now it just comes down to wanting a break for my own mental health and well-being.

Miss Lola’s Scents has had a delay, purely for costs, feedback, manufacturing and just general health.


And, for now…see you guys soon!

Exploring Dublin – My Personal Picks!

I’m going to give a huge shout-out to Passport Overused, who has been writing up about their explorations in Dublin! I’ve been looking back over to when I was last in Dublin, and for some strange reason, I’ve never actually written about it, until now anyway! So thank you so much P.O. for coming over and enjoying the content!

Here are my top picks for going to Dublin that I experienced while I was over there. I may miss some things, but we did only have three days to explore, not to mention Storm Doris blew its way over as well.


The Hotel

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We actually went with the Staycity Aparthotels Millennium Walk for our trip, as we’d booked it as a package deal via Ryanair at the time, and it only cost us around £330 for the entire lot, including seat reservations and extra luggage (we’d booked eight months in advance). We went with a 1-bedroom apartment, which can sleep up to three adults. And it was so gorgeous! The hotel staff were amazing on check-in, and they gave us a map with all of their recommended activities and amenities highlighted, and that helped us a lot. They offer super-fast WiFi in all of the properties at no extra cost. I think the benefit was that the location was so central to everything else – it was so close to the River Liffey and close to Henry Street.

I don’t think I could have picked a better spot. Not even when some drunk dude was butchering I Will Always Love You right outside at night. That was some quality entertainment!

Getting To and From the Airport

I highly recommend using the Aircoach to get from Dublin Airport to your destination. It gets there so quick, and it’s really luxurious, too. We went to O’Connell Street, so you’re guaranteed to get very central. According to the online booking, you’re looking at €12 for two adults on a single trip. You can also buy tickets from the stall at the airport or any shop.

There is also the Airlink Express, which does a similar thing but goes around a little bit more. It has a section on the bus dedicated to luggage, and it’s also very inexpensive, coming in at €6 per adult.

The Food

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The food is a highlight of any trip for me, and Dublin is no exception! The benefit of staying at Millennium Walk is that right below our apartment was the wonderful Lemon Jelly Cafe. It’s a small yet cosy cafe with an amazing selection of food and drinks, not to mention the opening times – 7.15am on weekdays, which I adore! When I’m on holiday, I love a good early morning. In the picture, I had a mini breakfast, while Connor had the brekkie crepe – and don’t worry, that crepe was apparently a lot more filling than it looks. If you’re looking for a later meal, they have you covered. They have so much on offer, you’re spoilt for choice!

And speaking of crepes, we keep raving about Gino’s Gelato, which also has branches in the UK. But Gino’s does amazing crepes and gelato which I was always giddy to try and enjoy.

Another must is Pitt Bros BBQ – there used to be a branch on Millennium Walk, but now you’re looking to go down to George’s Street Upper to try the beautiful BBQ offerings that they offer. And they provide free soft-serve ice cream with every meal. I remember having the brisket bun, which I still think about to this day if I’m completely honest.

If you really want to go to a touristy-like pub, go for The Brazen Head. It’s Ireland’s oldest pub and the atmosphere inside is great, like that warm, homely feeling (it kinda helped that I was sat next to the fireplace though). We both went for the Irish Stew with a pint of cider each, and I tell you something – the grub was amazing! It was genuinely hearty, and I could go back for more right now. And if you’re in the mood for live music and entertainment, they have that covered too!

Vicar Street

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If you want to go see a band or a comedian live, there’s no place quite like Vicar Street. It’s very unassuming from its exterior, but it has a seated capacity of 1,050 and a standing capacity of 1,500, making this venue rather intimate. The bar is really nice as well, and the bar people there were super-friendly. It’s the right kind of atmosphere to have a couple of drinks before the show, and meet some new people while you’re at it!

This was the venue where we went to see Russell Howard live for his Round The World tour. The tour was announced just over a year in advance, which gave us the perfect opportunity to plan everything. We’d reserved seats not quite at the front but at a good distance, and it turned out we were super-close to the stage.

Irish Whiskey Museum

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This is a must for anyone who loves a bit of whiskey. This one was pretty much for Connor, as he loves his whiskey – I’m not a huge drinker of whiskey, but it’s always worth having a look around and taking in the history of whiskey in Ireland. Before the tour, you can have a drink in the bar (the sign does say “Keep off the fecking ladder”), or have a look around the retail store.

There are three different tours you can take: the Classic, Premium and Blending Experience. The Classic takes you round the guided tour, and you can taste three perfectly crafted Irish whiskeys. For a typical adult, the price is €20. The Premium offers the same as the Classic, but an additional fourth whiskey and a unique souvenir whiskey glass, and this comes to €23 per adult. The Blending Experience is adults-only and comes at €30. This tour runs twice a day later on and offers the same as the Premium, but you also craft and blend a whiskey to your own taste, and you can take that sample home with you.

A newer option is the Whiskey and Brunch Experience, where on a weekday morning, you can have the same Classic experience, followed by a brunch which includes Irish smoked salmon (with a vegetarian option available on request).

For the kids and non-drinkers, there are soft drinks included with the Classic so you don’t feel left out!

We went for the Premium, just for that little bit extra. We still have the whiskey glasses, just for souvenir purposes, and the extra whiskey we tried was my personal favourite – it was a 12-year aged Tullamore Dew, and it’s probably the only whiskey that I can drink straight. We both really enjoyed the tour, and it is something I’d wholeheartedly recommend to others.

Trinity College

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Across the road from the Irish Whiskey Museum, you have Trinity College, where you’re able to take a guided tour to see all four quarters of the campus, as well as taking a look at the Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition. Adults just need to pay €15 per person, but I find it cheaper to buy the Guided Tour Only option for €6 per person, and then the Visit Upgrade option for €4 each.

At the time we went, we were able just to explore the central grounds of the campus, as we still had quite a bit to do. My favourite picture with Connor was taken here, and one of the buildings is also today’s featured photo!

Temple Bar

I can’t talk about Dublin without talking about Temple Bar. Unfortunately, we’re not the kind of people that go out bar-hopping, but on the exterior, the area was lovely. But if I’m honest, we were either too exhausted from travel or busy with another activity that we just kinda bypassed it, except for in passing. But I’ll still talk about it.

The Temple Bar pub is iconic with its red exterior and is the go-to place to have a couple of rounds. Be aware of the prices, though, as I talked to a local who said that because of tourism, the prices can be around  €8 per pint (this was back in 2017).

Shopping

There is so much to shop for in Dublin, and I could have done this in separate categories, but this post is getting hella long! So I’ll take you down to Jervis Shopping Centre, which is a great place to shop for a variety of items – they have your typical name brands, as well as a great food court providing you with a great KFC.

A shop that was my favourite was Butler’s Chocolate Cafe – I still crave their white chocolate truffle bars to this day. They are so good, and it’s a shame I haven’t had one since I bought a few to take to Lisbon with me.

You want souvenirs right? Carrolls Irish Gifts has you covered, and more so. There are so many stores in Dublin, so you’re spoilt for choice to get something that may just be a bit silly. The sheep soft toys were my picks, but then I found novelty condoms.

Also to note that Primark there is called Penneys. It’s actually because Primark originated as Penneys in Ireland, but is called Primark everywhere else but.


There is so much to do in Dublin, I can’t even describe it all. But I hope that gives you a good idea of what to expect!

 

Remembering My Trip To Berlin, Germany

This is a trip I think I only made slight references to in older posts, but I want to talk about it now, because it’s almost been ten years since that trip, and it essentially gave birth to my wanderlust.


Nearly a decade ago, I was able to go on a trip to Berlin, Germany with my Film Studies class in sixth-form (yes, I took Film Studies – it was a good course). My ultra-planner inside me was giddy as hell with the itinerary, with what we had planned for the days we were there. Basically, it was an all-inclusive trip that cost around £250, including flights and hotel, as well as some activities that we would be doing throughout.

I remember how nervous I was at the thought of the trip – I’d never been abroad in my life, so it was a new experience for me. I had studied German in school but because I couldn’t take it as a GCSE, my skills had pretty much gone – and I was one of the top students for German, I just wasn’t allowed to take it as a GCSE. But I really wanted to go, because my birthday was also happening during the trip.

On 9th February 2010, I got on the coach very early in the morning to head to East Midlands Airport. It’s quite a nice airport, not gonna lie, but I was humoured by how many passport checks were required throughout the run from the baggage check to the plane itself. I don’t remember eating a whole lot beforehand, just grabbing a couple of snacks from the Duty-Free and reading at the gate.

Once I got on the plane, that’s when my nerves started kicking in. But I needn’t have worried at all, because I was fine once I was up in the air. I think even to this day, I’m not a great flier anyway.

We landed in Berlin Schonefeld Airport towards midday, and I remember going into border control thinking that the room looked very prison-esque and uninviting. But once we left the airport, it was a different story – it was all new and fresh for me, and it had been snowing, a far cry from the, well, lack of snow back in the UK. We went on the train to our destination, which was the Berlin Central Station, which I remember was massive, with a few levels up and down from the ground entrances. It acted as both a shopping mall and a train station, with Berlin Bears dotted around the place. There was also some kind of film crew there, but I wasn’t sure as to what film they were shooting at the time.

The View From The Hotel
View from Meininger Hotel Berlin Central Station

The hotel we stayed at was the Meininger Hotel Berlin Central Station, where we were introduced and welcomed by the staff there and were given a breakdown of the hotel rules, which were your usual non-smoking, be respectful kind of rules. We were given writstbands to wear to designate that we were indeed staying at the hotel.

How the Meininger works is that they have normal hotel rooms, but also group rooms with two bunk-beds, to sleep four students. I was roomed in a room with one friend, someone I didn’t know and a former bully from school (great). I found out that I was supposed to be rooming with three friends, but they swapped me around for some reason. But we managed to stay civil throughout the trip. Once we were all unpacked and freshened up, we were to head downstairs for drinks and food. For this first night, we were able to have some of the buffet from the hotel.

The drinking laws in Germany are that you can have beer or wine at 16, but then everything opens up at 18, so I stuck to a bottle of Berlinerkindl – I’m not a beer drinker in the slightest, but in Germany, it’s a bit better than most other places. We had that drink and some food, and then we went to Potsdamer Platz because we were going to go to the cinema (because that is what we do as Film Studies students).

Sherlock Holmes Poster

I remember Avatar being out and popular then, and we were excited because we were going to the cinema to see… A Serious Man – which was critically acclaimed because it was the work of the Coen Brothers. And it was lifeless, as though someone had picked a random person off the street and filmed their life. Some people walked out and sat at the bar, others – like me – sat through it bored.


We woke up the morning of my 18th birthday to snow. Well, it had already snowed, but it was actually snowing when we woke up. I laid in bed for a while and checked my phone, and slowly got up to get ready (I had showered the night previously). We weren’t in a rush, because we had breakfast to go, and we had a special itinerary. It was gone 7am at this point, and I think breakfast was at 8, so we all had plenty of time to get ready and get the birthday wishes out of the way. The breakfast was an assortment of cereals, fruit, meats and juices, and it was probably one of the healthier meals I remember having throughout the trip, I will admit.

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Pariser Platz

We spent the early portion of my birthday celebrations on a 3-hour walking tour. I dreaded the idea of walking for three hours (although now, I can do it without thinking), but we clearly managed it. We arrived at Pariser Platz, and we had a look in the souvenir shop, and then went over to these two men holding flags – we dropped a Euro in a bucket and took a picture with them – obviously, I handed my phone to someone to get the picture taken.

We started the tour and went through Brandenburg Gate all the way down to the Holocaust Memorial, which from what I heard is beautiful no matter the weather, but I saw it when it had snow on top, which made it even more beautiful (see the featured image). And yeah, because it was slippery and ended up on a slope, I fell down on the ice and skidded down somewhat. And then I fell down on my arse again once we got to the spot where Hitler died (am I cursed?). My tutor said next time I’m staying on the floor!

We went around most of the tourist destinations, like Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall and we finished with the telling of how the Berlin Wall came down. In between, we had a rest-stop in cafe that did a gorgeous hot chocolate.

Weird Birthday Thing
Birthday dessert

After all of this, we went back to the hotel and got ready quickly to go out for the evening. We were going to go to the same cinema as previously to watch Avatar, but it was German-only night. In the end, we decided to take a train somewhere else, and we went to this pub that I cannot remember the name of, sadly. There, I was able to get a Watermelon Man cocktail that I’d wanted to try, as well as a burger meal that was actually really good. A few of us were bought shots just for fun, including one for me because it was my birthday. I was also given this birthday dessert with various fruits, which was quite nice. I was able to share it with some of the people I was sat with because I was already so full of food!

Now here was where the evening got a bit…interesting. So, the laws in regards to ID were pretty lax in Germany, so we were walking around and we (teachers included) ended up in a sex shop. Now, we had a woman come up to us, just to ask if we were over 18. Of course, everyone says yes, and she leaves us to it. It was admittedly a blur because I didn’t even have a boyfriend or any idea of what to do with half of that stuff!

We got back to the hotel and had some drinks, and we were joined by some German school students on a trip from Munich. We had a good time, downed some beers before heading to bed.


Day three happened, and a lot of people were worse for wear – definitely hungover, that’s for certain! Thankfully I was okay, just a bit groggy, but I pulled through. We went to a few haunts, including a couple of museums, before heading to the Film Museum in Potsdamer Platz – it goes through German cinema, including that film Metropolis, which is such a great film to watch.

We followed this up with just an afternoon to spend at the Central Station to have some lunch and do some shopping because later on, we were to head out to a couple of venues. The first was towards Berlinale Palast, which you avid film buffs will know is the main location of the Berlinale Film Festival, and we were there to witness some of the red carpet for the 60th iteration. And just across the road, we went to the Blue Man Group theatre to watch them perform.

I hadn’t heard a lot about the Blue Man Group when I arrived, but we sat towards the back, which had a great view all the same. Any YouTube videos you’ll find will not do the performances justice, I tell you that now because you just have to be there, especially when they call out people for being late, and the audience participation. I had a really good time there, and we got to meet them in the foyer after the show, which was pretty cool.

So we all got back to the hotel, and I was chilling in the room alone, I just wanted to wind down before the flight home the next day. Instead, I got a knock on the door, and I opened it to some of the guys, shirtless and getting me to go to their room because they were hosting a party. I mean, yeah, sure. In short, I ended up properly drunk for the first time, having a laugh and while I had my arm rested on the bunk bed ladder, someone fell and it caught my arm, which was just a little painful at the time. Quite late on, we were eventually told to keep it quiet. I ducked out and went to bed in the end, relatively drunk. I got to sleep at about 3.30am, I remember. I kinda had to keep an eye on one of the girls because she was ill from being drunk.


Last day, and oh boy, I woke up completely worse for wear. I think I was still drunk when I got out of bed (and considering I was in the top bunk, an achievement indeed), and went for my shower at 7am. Everyone else was asleep, but I managed to stay relatively quiet. We all managed to pack away and get some kind of functionality for breakfast, and it was a quiet affair. However, we managed to keep our spirits up as we left the hotel and went over to the train station to go back to Schonefeld Airport.

I think the most that I could really stomach in Duty-Free was a simple salami sandwich before we actually had to rush to the gate and board. Thankfully we picked up some bits in one of the shops just before we had to go. I was more confident on the plane this time, albeit there was turbulence. I’d actually brought A Child Called “It” to read on the trip so that I could have some down-time to myself.

We landed back in East Midlands Airport, and it was quite a nice, sunny day for February. It wasn’t too cold, but that’s coming from having been in a colder climate for the past three days. Border control was simple, and we just headed out to the coach, got on and headed back home.

 


I recall that throughout the trip, I managed to master the art of living out of my suitcase. It was just more convenient for me that way, and I’ve done it on other trips since, though. There was also that moment after half term where we all came back to college and discussed the trip amongst ourselves and reminisced about the adventures we had. It was a whole bonding experience, but I wouldn’t really do it again as a huge group, due to the scale of it.

 

What I Pack For A Holiday – Suitcase

I think the most stressful part of a holiday is the packing that ensues whenever you go on a trip. Of course, the more you travel, the easier it becomes. I find it moderately easy now for short trips, but for longer stays (or when I packed to move to Portugal) it was stressful as all hell.

I want to go through the things I would typically pack for a 3-night stay, as that’s the average time I usually go on a trip. This is mainly stuff I would pack in a suitcase, but there are other things I’d keep in a handbag.

I found this feature image on a Google search.

Before we get into it, I’ll let you know that it’s important to check with your hotel/AirBnB host to see what they provide. They may provide towels and other amenities so that you don’t have to bring them. Therefore, I tend to be quite minimalist when packing, making sure I bring enough to last me throughout the trip.


Clothes

Of course, I don’t want to be walking around naked or in the same clothes for three days, so socks, underwear and t-shirts suffice, and usually pyjamas if it’s winter. I have to make sure that I have enough clothes to last the holiday. Sometimes I’ll add a dress and leggings during summer if I feel like wearing something nice.

Charge cables/plugs

Nowadays I can find hotel rooms with USB charging ports beside the bed, which is pretty cool, but I like to have plugs and cables, my life is surrounded by technology, especially now when I’m thinking of the blog full-time (without pay), and to keep in touch with others. However, we watch the TV in the hotel room normally, where we wouldn’t normally at home.

Of course, if I was to travel to a country with a different outlet to the UK, I would bring adapters that will work in that country. I would bring about three if I was travelling solo, otherwise, I would add an extra adapter.

Hairdryer/hairbrush

A hairdryer is a must for when I’m going out for exploring. I have quite long hair, so it takes a long time to dry naturally, and then it’s wavy. While hairdryers are a staple in hotel rooms, I can’t go without my own, which is a Neutech Touch Me, which I got from (of all places) a Pingo Doce supermarket in Lisbon. I am in love with it, and I’d be sad to lose it. It’s a touch-controlled hairdryer that dries even my long hair so fast – even my mum was amazed when she borrowed it!

Of course, a hairbrush is essential for me, as I did mention, I have quite long hair. I don’t usually bring straighteners, because my hair usually ends up relatively straight after I’ve blow-dried it.

Toiletries

Toiletries are essential to how I function. Because I have to shower every day, I have to take shampoo, shower gel and a disposable razor – I recommend these from Wilko, because they have the solidness of a normal razor, but they’re easier to acquire – I’ve found that my favourite normal razor is usually cheap to buy extra razor blades for, so they’re usually out of stock. Basically, my hair is so greasy that I have to shower every day – I have tried every other day, but the greasiness never went away. I use L’Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths, which I started using in Portugal, and combined with the less harsh water than I’m used to, it made my hair so soft.

Of course, I also bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. Gotta keep up that dental hygiene! I keep all of my toiletries in a big toiletries bag, and I often keep Connor’s toiletries in the same bag if he’s travelling with me. I also make a note to bring nail scissors or tweezers, in case we encounter any nail problems or anything that requires these instruments. I mean, you never know! We also bring face wipes and deodorant – also very important!

Obviously, I also have feminine toiletries that I bring when the time arises.


Sometimes though, I keep a lot of suitcase space free so that I can do some shopping when I’m travelling, and oftentimes buy souvenirs that I keep in the suitcase. It’s why I literally pack the essentials, and if I forget something, then I can always buy it while I’m there.

I wonder what others will pack into their suitcases. I might make a post of what I would usually pack in an in-flight carry-on at some point, as a continuation. It’s a bit more interesting than this one, I’m sure.