Your Honeymoon Wardrobe Essentials

The big day is over, you’ve said your ‘I dos’ and now you are heading for your romantic getaway that you organised ages ago.  At that moment, you realise you actually have to pack something more special.  After all, it is an experience you are supposed to remember years and years on.  So we’ve made a little guide of your must haves for the honeymoon of a lifetime.

golden kimono

By Fleur of England

Of Silk and Lace

What we always associate with wedding lingerie is luxury, and what’s more luxurious than silk.  Silk nightwear (and lingerie) is a good investment which will boost your confidence and make you feel beautiful.  A good silk piece with lace detailing can actually help enhance your features and figure.

seduction body

By Fleur of England

Among the industry leaders for silk nightwear is Vivis, which has a beautiful selection that would answer even the fussiest buyer.  Fleur of England on the other hand is a creation of Fleur Turner, a British designer, famous for her silk and lace masterpieces, whereas Stella McCartney’s lingerie collection would be a perfect choice for fans of designer brands.

teddy

            By Eberjay

Naughty bits and pieces

If you ever wanted to try something a bit out of the ordinary, something more bold and sexy regarding lingerie, your honeymoon would be the perfect time to take the risk and wear that lace body.

There is, of course, a fine line and we like to keep things classy.  There are several brands that have managed to find the balance and incorporate the ultimate sensual boudoir experience.

robe

By Loveday London

Loveday London is an independent designer brand, famous for hand made pieces.   L’Agent, the sister brand of Agent Provocateur by Penelope and Monica Kruz, explores sensuality with its gentle lace designs.  Bluebella on the other hand has a naughty tone and a special collection for all the 50 Shades of Grey fans.

bluebella

         By Bluebella

Morning essentials

No matter whether you are spending a week in the South of France or visiting Thailand, you would need something made of soft cotton to just relax in while you have your room service breakfast.  You can choose from the gentle fabrics and designs of Eberjey, a Miami based brand that will make you fall in love over and over again.  Cyberjammies offers beautiful basics which everyone should have in their wardrobe as a staple.  You can always opt for its nightshirts or shorts and even if you go out in them, we will not judge you….they are really that pretty!  For those who want a bit more exclusivity, Yawn, a brand only available in the south of the UK, is winning hearts with its quirky prints and soft fabrics.

chemise

                              By Eberjay

To discover your honeymoon wardrobe, please take a peek at Sipsey and we will make sure you are dressed for the occasion.

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To Hull (& Europe) and Back: Part III

Read Parts I and II.

Day 7 – Luxembourg City

It’s a 3 hour drive to Luxembourg City today but this will be rewarded with stunning views of the old town and fortifications which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Board the fun Petrusse Express which will take you on an hour long audio guided tour of the city.  It will give you a good overview of the city’s past, a few ideas of what to explore during your visit and the best part is that it’s suitable for all age groups.

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Luxembourg City.  Photo by 55Laney69.

Stop for an ice-cream at arguably the best ice-cream shop in Luxembourg, Bonomeria, before heading to Luxembourg City History Museum to learn more about the city.  It is open from 10am until 6 pm and costs €5 pp to enter (free for under 21s) but it extends its opening hours on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm and it’s also free to get in at that time.

Stay at the Melia Luxembourg which offers modern accommodation with great views and is in easy walking distance to the main sites; it’s also budget friendly.  If you don’t mind spending just a little more, Le Place d’Armes Hotel is well worth it.  It is set in the beautiful historic square and minutes from the Palace of the Grand Dukes, ideal for exploring the city and experiencing a touch of luxury.

Day 8 – Luxembourg City

Start your day off with a walk along Chemin de la Corniche, a beutifully scenic promenade; this is the place to take your holiday photos.  Take in the Palace of the Grand Dukes (if you wish to visit, check beforehand that it will be open), the Barrio Grund and then finally, the Cathedrale Notre Dame.  Stop for lunch at AM14 nearby and enjoy the views once more.

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Chemin de la Corniche. Photo by Francisco Anzola.

If you want to relax this afternoon, try Les Thermes located slightly out of the city.  There is a pool, wave pool and water slides for those young at heart and if you want to build a bit of relaxation time into your break, there is also a spa.  There are a number of different steam rooms, our favourite is the Blummen which envelops you with the scent of herbs or fruits.  You can also enjoy the whirlpool, outdoor pool and ice fountain in addition to the usual treatments you can expect from a spa.

Treat yourself to dinner at Clairefontaine and your eyes and tastebuds will be rewarded in equal proportion.  An experienced and loyal chef cooks up various tasty treats every week night from 7:15pm until 9:30pm and so be sure to reserve a table if you intend on dining here.

Day 9 – Amsterdam

Set off in good time for your 4 and a half hour drive to Amsterdam.  Arrive mid afternoon and if you can, take a canal trip (€13 for just over an hour) or rent a bike and spend the afternoon exploring Amsterdam’s Canal Ring.  Enjoy a well earned coffee break at Espressofabriek, a place that all coffee lovers will appreciate with its home roasted coffee beans.  If you’re more into cake than coffee, you won’t be disappointed with its homemade treats; our favourite is the apple cake, served warm!

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Amsterdam.  Photo by Sonny Abesamis.

For a family holiday, Conscious Hotel Museum Square may be the ideal spot as it’s tucked away from the expected nightlife of Amsterdam and close to the museums.  For a more centrally located hotel, try Hotel V Nesplein, surrounded by the canals and aesthetically pleasing.

If you enjoy a modern dining experience Café de Jaren is well suited; sit out on the terrace taking in the view of the Amstel whilst dining on pan-fried wolffish or the De Jaren’s hamburger.  If you’re not a fan of modern and prefer a more unique experience, try D’Vijff Vlieghen where you can enjoy Dutch dishes whilst sitting under four original Rembrandt etchings.  The options for evening entertainment in Amsterdam are vast.  There are wine bars, cocktail bars, bars, pubs, clubs, comedy and live music venues to name just some of the options.  We love the Alto Jazz Café, a dimly lit cosy venue with live music every night from 9pm.  Be warned, once you’re in you may well find it difficult to leave!

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Café de Jaren.  Photo by dutchgrub.

Day 10 Amsterdam and homeward bound

A visit to the Ann Frank Museum is a must if you have not done this before.  The house opens at 9am each day and costs €9 per adult.  The visit will stir a mix of emotions from admiration to sadness and will leave you with a life lasting memory.  If you are a fan of post-impressionist art, the Van Gogh Museum is an obvious choice for a visit.  You can admire the world’s largest collection of his works from his famous Sunflowers to our favourite and lesser known rural themed paintings.  If you are travelling with children who may not fancy too many museums, there are other fun activities to try including visiting one of the many petting zoos or Amstel Park.

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Wheatfield with Crows, Vincent van Gogh (1890). Photo by Niels.

After a busy day of sightseeing, take the overnight ferry back from Rotterdam to Hull.  As one adventure ends, the next is not far behind!

To Hull (& Europe) and Back: Part II

Don’t forget to read Parts I and III.

Day 4 – Dunkerque and Ypres

It’s only an hour’s drive to Dunkerque this morning where 2015 marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Dunkerque and Operation Dynamo and between 21 and 25 May, a number of events will be taking part to commemorate this historic marker.  Visit the War Memorial Museum for just €4 pp and learn about the Battle and evacuation of over 300,000 allied soldiers during Operation Dynamo.

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Sanctuary Wood, Ypres. Photo by Amanda Slater.

Make your way to Ypres, only a 45 minute journey away, and head straight to an early lunch at Den Olifant.  There is much to do in Ypres but we recommend the Grand Tour of Flanders which lasts for 4 hours and starts at 1pm costing €38 pp.  The tour gives a very real insight into Ypres 1914-1918 and you will visit a number of battlegrounds and the trenches, a deeply thought provoking experience.

Spend the night in Ypres at the Albion Hotel or Hotel Ariane (also great for food).

Day 5 – Lille

It’s a short drive to Lille this morning before having the remainder of the day to explore.  Try Tradi’Balade, a tour of the city in a 2CV, great for Bond fans and lovers of classic cars.  From €28 pp for an hour’s tour, this may be the perfect way to begin your stay in Lille before venturing out into the city on foot.  Head to the Grand Square, where the old stock exchange (Vieille Bourse) is located and admire the buildings and then stop at one of the many cafes around the Square for lunch.

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Vieille Bourse.  Photo by Yann Caradec.

Take a closer look at the Vieille Bourse and sneak a peak at its courtyard (free entry Tuesday afternoon until Sunday) and pop inside to its flea market where you could well pick up a bargain.  Also, every Sunday evening from July to September between 7-10pm, you can enjoy watching the Tango being performed here.

Spend the next 2 nights at either the modern Hotel Barrière Lille just 15 minutes from the centre or choose the beautifully historic L’Hermitage Gantois just 5 minutes from the centre, previously used as a hospital.

Day 6 – Lille

If you enjoy modern art and don’t mind a drive out of the city, make your way to Musee d’Art Moderne which has displays both inside and out, not too dissimilar to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  It’s open most of the year (but for 1 January, 1 May and 25 December) from Tuesday to Sunday 9am until 7pm and costs from €7 per adult.  We like the ‘Objets Perdus’…..a centrepiece which forms a map of France from lost objects; a rather lovely juxtaposition.

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Musee d’Art Moderne.  Photo by Olivier Bacquet.

If you are with younger travellers, spend the afternoon at Parc Zoologique which opens again on 2 May and has no entry fee.  A municipal park, similar to that in Amiens, Lille’s Parc Zoo is home to a plethora of animals you wouldn’t expect in the city including monkeys, rhino and tapirs.

Dine out at Le Potager des Demoiselles Cote Bistro, a cosy little restaurant which serves great wine, meals and desserts.  It’s a drive out of the centre and so if you’re feeling more inclined to relax at a restaurant which is central, try Autour de Vous which has been impressing food critics, locals and tourists and for something a little different, head to Delassic for a cheese and wine night.  Watch out for special evenings where you can taste 9 cheeses, 4 wines and finish with a dessert for €40 pp.

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Lille. Photo by Craig Morey.

To Hull (& Europe) and Back: Part I

This 10 night itinerary covering six cities in Europe begins in Hull and takes you over to Zeebrugge, returning via Rotterdam.  With Zeebrugge being such a wonderful gateway to Europe, the options are endless and so this itinerary is just one of the many adventures you could have.

Day 1 – Crossing the North Sea

The ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge leaves in the evening and so you can sleep on through the night ready for your city break adventure.  If you can, upgrade to the Club room which offers far more comfort.  If you don’t want to pay the price in advance, always check on the day immediately when boarding just in case there are any rooms available in Club…..you may get a steal!

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Bruges at night. Photo by artorusrex.

Day 2 – Bruges

Arrive early into Zeebrugge and head to Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage City, to explore the chocolate box centre.  As you will be arriving early, stop for breakfast at Prestige Patisserie where you can indulge in the Prestige breakfast which includes some very delicious pastries.  There is also a shop on site stocked full of delicious treat including breads, pastries, cakes and quiches that you may find it hard to leave without a little souvenir for later.

After breakfast head to Basilica of the Holy Blood, which looks to be a small and yet beautifully ornate church tucked away in the corner of a square.  It’s quite dark inside, giving away its 12th Century build.  It claims to have the blood of Christ in a vial which you can see between 11:30-12pm (or 2 – 4pm) and even better, if you are there in May, you can witness the procession around Bruges.  Whether religious or not, this is a lovely little church to see and entrance is free.

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Basilica of the Holy Blood.  Photo by Chris Brown.

For lunch, why not indulge in a compulsory Belgian Waffle at the Carpe-diem Tearoom.  You will then need to burn off at least part of that heavenly lunch stop and so we recommend you head to the Belfry……sadly not a golf course but gladly, a wonderful view over Bruges once you have climbed the 366 steps.

Spend the night at Martin’s Relais Oud Huis which overlooks the canal or the luxurious Grand Hotel Casselbergh.

Day 3 – Bruges

Begin your day with a trip on the canal.  Boats operate between March and November and the first trip sails at 10am.  Each boat company offers the same 30 minute tour and price (just shy of €8 pp) and so no need to shop around.

After this gentle start to the morning, it’s time to get moving and work up an appetite for your late lunch.  If you’re into your films, why not try a free 2 hour walking tour which will take you to filming locations spotted in the film ‘In Bruges’ (tours usually start at 12pm, 2:20pm and 3pm from various locations).  If you’re feeling more adventurous, try a segway tour of the city which lasts between 1 and 2 hours with prices starting from €35 pp.  For those of you who are feeling more active, skip the morning canal trip and take a cycling tour of the city which departs at 10am for 2.5 hours and costs €28 pp.  Upon your return, consider that restful canal trip before taking lunch.

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Segway on Bruges.  Photo by Michela Simoncini.

As you are in Belgium, build in a lunch stop at De Halve Mann brewery where you can enjoy 3 courses (including beer pate!) for €29 pp.  After lunch, take a tour lasting 40 minutes and be rewarded with a pint at the end, all for just €8 pp.

Make sure you stop at possibly the best chocolate shop in town, Dumon.  Set in a 400 year old brick building, you really will feel spoiled by the choice it offers.  If you have time and you really do love chocolate, visit the Chocolate Museum which will take about an hour.  If you want to take it a step further, take a workshop where you can make your own chocolates and take them home with you!

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Chocolate treats from Dumon. Photo by Cody & Maureen.

For evening drinks, we like Duvelorium for the views and for the beer, to Le Trappiste which is Bruges’ first international beer cafe.

Click to read Part II

Click HERE to read Part II