Monthly Archives: February 2018

Stamp This

Stamp This! Travel bloggers’ Passport Stamp Stories Part VI

passport stamps

I must confess the last Stamp This post is so old that it included a Pokemon Go reference, so it was about time that I invited travel bloggers to share the special stories behind their favourite passport stamp.

Enjoy their more than stamp-worthy tales!

No Longer Native | Danielle

I’ve always loved traveling but on the other hand, I’ve always liked coming home too. I just wasn’t the kind of gal who loved living out of a backpack for weeks on end. It makes sense then that I married my opposite, someone who was always dreaming of an around the world trip.

That’s why this stamp—a two-year Colombian visa—is my favorite. It represents a leap we made together into the best of both worlds. We both got adventure and a life outside of our comfort zones, but we were able to put down some temporary roots as well.

The funny thing is that since moving abroad, I’ve learned that “home” isn’t a fixed place. I can feel at home in my apartment just as much as when I’m floating between hostels and traveling with no plans. For the next couple of years, we’ve settled in Madrid, Spain and I’m already getting excited about what is coming next.

Our Escape Clause | Jeremy & Kate

It’s hard to pick a favorite passport stamp–we tend to fall in love with each and every single new one we get (except for the boring EU style–wish they would step up their stamp game!).

One of the favorites we keep coming back to, though, is Thailand.

Not only was Thailand the first country in Asia we visited, making the stamp have sentimental value, it’s also objectively pretty: they used brightly colored blue and purple ink, the stamps are clear and vibrant, and best of all–they’re not rectangles!

I know it sounds silly, but there’s something about an unconventional stamp shape that really makes us smile–it adds something whimsical to the collage of passport stamps on a page.

For that reason, Belize and Cambodia are among some of our runner-up favorites.

All of us who collect passport stamps know the joy of seeing a new stamp on the page–and that when it’s a pretty, vibrant stamp that sticks out from the crowd, it’s the tiniest bit more fun to receive! | Dianna

August 29, 2017 at 7:00, I remember standing at passport control in the Reykjavik airport. With my heart beat racing, I was extremely nervous handing my passport over. This was my first time flying alone. All the way from Chicago, I was now in Iceland for a layover on my way to my final destination in Kalmar, Sweden. This brief meeting between the control officer and myself was quiet. I was preparing answers in my head to a range of questions about my travel, especially since I flew with a one way ticket. About a minute and a half later and zero questions, she handed my passport back to me. I walked away (with the biggest smile on my face) and opened it up to find my very first stamp. This moment changed my life.

This stamp is very dear to me because it symbolizes a turning point in my life. At 24 years old, I had just finalized a divorce, quit my job, sold all my belongings, and made the decision to live a life overseas. The entry stamp to the Schengen Area from Iceland allowed me to continue to pursue my dream of living in Europe. Do you understand why I was so nervous now? Without this specific stamp on this date, my life would have taken a turn I wasn’t prepared for. Looking at this page in my passport now reminds me of the endless memories I had in Sweden, some of the best times of my life.

Thanks for sharing your stories. 

What is your most precious passport stamp or visa and which one would you like to add?

Harry Potter - London

Day Trips From London: An Afternoon In Oxford

oxford harry potter filming location

Oxford is a go-to destination for visitors wanting to explore beyond the tube map, but until recently I haven’t had the urge to go. Despite its history and being the birthplace for incredible books like Alice in Wonderland, His Dark Materials and Harry Potter, it wasn’t reason enough for me to take the bus, tube and train to actually go there. But as a stop off on my way back from the Cotswolds, I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

oxford harry potter filming locationThe train station and high street could be any generic British town and it’s not until you reach the college grounds before it gets interesting. They are like little villages, each with their own characteristics and look like they are something out of a magic world.

oxford harry potter filming location oxford harry potter filming location

My first stop was the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library. Rather than going there to soak up its rich history (being the oldest surviving university building), most visitors were there to see the set for Hogwarts Infirmary in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, as well as where the students learned to dance ahead of the Yule Ball in the Goblet of Fire.

Next on everyone’s Potter tour was the nearby grand surrounds of Christ Church College. There’s a lot to see here, but let’s get the important wizarding stuff out of the way first.

oxford harry potter filming location

1.You’ve got staircases galore from The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.

oxford harry potter filming location

2. The cloisters where Hermione revealed to Harry that his father was a seeker during his time at Hogwarts.

oxford harry potter filming location

3. Last, but definitely not least, is the Dining Hall that inspired Hogwarts’ Great Hall. Sadly, they couldn’t actually film there as there weren’t enough rows of tables to represent the four houses and resorted to building a replica set in the Warner Bros Leavesden Studio.

oxford alice in wonderland

The Dining Hall didn’t only inspire JK Rowling, but also Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, who attended and taught at Christ College and was friends with the Dean. See those figures on each side of the fireplace? They inspired Alice with a long neck when she won’t stop growing.

oxford alice in wonderland

The Alice in Wonderland books started as tales told to Alice Liddell, one of the daughters of the dean and many locations in the books are based on parts of the college. Like the little door in the garden where Alice entered Wonderland. If you go to the Christ Church Cathedral they’ll be able to show you the garden. Also, the big tree on the far right is where their mischievous cat would climb up and pretend to be stuck…but when people would get a ladder to rescue it, it would climb down all by itself with a giant grin. Sound familiar?

Speaking of the cathedral, its stained glass windows are a piece of art, with intricate details and such vivid colours you’d expect more in a graphic novel than in a church. This one featured here tells the impressive story of St. Frideswide, Oxford’s patron saint and for some reason it includes a modern looking toilet in the last panel. Toilet humor never gets old, right?

The Radcliffe Camera – which by the way has nothing to do with Daniel Radcliffe – has to be one of the coolest libraries and a lovely piece of architecture to boot. Something Tolkien noticed too and he based Sauron’s temple to Morgoth on this very building. If you have more time, you can go on the hunt for Oxford’s many other precious Tolkien sites, such as Merton College, the Bodleian Library, Addison’s Walk, the Botanical Gardens, The Eagle and Child pub and Tolkien’s home.

Which locations from your favourite books have you seen or really want to see in real life?


by(e) CHLOE

Having taken New York by storm (with 9 locations so far) vegan celeb magnet extravaganza by CHLOE. has finally rocked up in London’s Covent Garden (with another coming to Tower Bridge soon).

As always I am desperate to walk in the footsteps of Miley Cyrus and Anna Kendrick so my (vegan) friend and (not so vegan) me ditched Veggie Pret and dashed to Covent Garden to see what the fuss was all about. by CHLOE. looks beautiful and sounds good, but when you break it down, it’s simply boringly bland – a bit like that dull pretty thing who has a lot of IG followers.

Speaking of, more people were IGing than eating … but I don’t blame them, orders are called out and everyone is too busy snapping and feeling to special to hear them, so the poor staff end up giving table service while shouting people’s names. If I hear Pandora shouted in my ear one more time, the menu is going to have some real blood and meat added to it.

The guac burger was a bit of a miss in terms of texture and I’d almost want to say it was a hate crime against Mexico, the fries were nice and the cakes not too bad. And in their defence my friend’s hotdog went down much smoother, but it didn’t blow his mind. To quote my friend: ” It’s 2018, we really should be doing better vegan by now.”

For me it’s bye CHLOE, but I applaude the attempt at trying to make vegan food more accessible.


T-Shirt: Cult – Culture – Subversion @ the Fashion and Textile Museum

Spring is so close you guys! It isn’t warm enough for a sit in park or a rooftop bar, but there’s always an exhibition or two to check out in London.

On this weekend’s programme was the Fashion and Textile Museum’s T-Shirt: Cult – Culture – Subversion exhibition. If you are in doubt of going ask yourself if during your teens you’ve owned at least five band T-shirts or shirts with a funny quotes to express yourself. If the answer is yes, then you should go.

This exhibition isn’t huge, but makes good use of the space and interesting story telling.  After a quick history lesson (where I learned that the famous Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt was first released in London in mid 70s and that the famous I Heart NY followed a few years later) you’ll learn more about how the T-shirt has played an important part in all subcultures.
The exhibit also includes Vivienne Westwood’s take on the T-shirt as well as how the T made it’s way to haute couture … including the “We Should All Be Feminists” T-shirt from the 2016 Dior show.
While you won’t see Seth Cohen’s ‘Now Start A Band’ T-shirt, or the offerings from Napoleon Dynamite, Rocky or the Big Leboswki, there is the Unknown Pleasures, the infamous USC and a more tie dye than you shake a stick at.
The exhibition runs until 6 May 2018 and tickets are £9.80. If you find yourself in the area, why not go for a coffee and banana bread at Fuckoffee, check out Maltby Street Market or – once Spring gets here – head to Leathermarket Gardens.


Lost In Translation – Dutch Words We Could Use in English

amsterdam polaroid

Last week I bizarrely bumped into #TeamNL at Schiphol Airport, those brave orange jacketed souls heading to South Korea for the Winter Olympics. It filled me with Dutch pride, and as the events kick off in Pyeongchang here’s some Dutch words we should all hear more of.

To wish something for someone because you think they deserve it. Probably my favourite Dutch word and it makes me sad that I can’t say it as often as I’d like. I ‘gun’ Team NL 50 gold medals.

IJsberen – literally ‘polar bearing’
It’s the Dutch word for walking back and forth in a room when one is nervous or in deep thought. Just like me when I’m trying to come up with a suitable pun for the next post.

Voorpret – literally ‘pre fun’ or ‘anticipatory pleasure’
This is the excitement and pleasure you get before an event or trip, or whatever floats your boat.

Uitzieken – literally ‘sickening it out’
The recovery process of getting rest to get the illness out of you. Preferably not creating a giant mess.

Often translated a cosy, but it’s so much more. It’s the feeling of satisfaction, happiness and comfort when with people close to you. It’s like getting a cuddle from a giant teddybear who serves you hot chocolate.

Someone who gets cold quickly and is always suffering from the cold. A modern day White Walker.

Uitwaaien – literally ‘wind blowing out’
When you go for a walk to let the wind blow away your problems. Not recommended in hurricane season.

Beleg – literally ‘spreads’
We Dutchies love our sandwich toppings so much we have a special word dedicated to them! Beleg covers everything you want to shove on your humble piece of bread – not limited to only spreads but also chocolate sprinkles and sliced meat – anything goes!

Natafelen – literally ‘after table-ing’
Once dinner is over, but you continue your conversations around the table until the late hours. Sadly this word might die out with all the hip restaurant pressuring you to leave to free up a table.

What’s your favourite untranslatable gem?