Saturday, 18 January 2020

Where to eat and drink in Szczecin

From what we could find, there aren't a huge amount of bars and restaurants in Szczecin. But that's absolutely fine, and we were (mostly) really happy with where we ate and drank in Szczecin. Here's the low down, in case you're planning a trip and want to know where to go!

Where we ate in Szczecin

Our first meal was breakfast at Orsola Coffee. A cute little nautical-themed coffee shop on our street, we headed here ravenous and slightly hungover. I had a ham, tomato & mozzarella baguette, while Holly had bacon and eggs with toast and a side of pickle, which she didn't eat. I chose water and Holly got a coffee - everything came to 39 zloty. This is just under £8, which isn't bad at all. We also got fro-yo here and it was just lovely.

a nautical themed restaurant with bare brick walls

my hand holding a stripy tub of fro yo in front of a beige wall

After walking some of the red route we were fairly peckish again, and had decided we wanted to try pierogi at some point during our trip. As we were heading back in the direction of the main town, I spotted 1 2 3 Pizza - and their sign which said they did pierogi. So we went in, and ordered some with spinach and mozzarella in it as well as a bottle of Pepsi each. Unfortunately, this place is just a bit grim - kind of like a Polish greasy spoon, if you will, and the pierogi was vile. Too much spinach, way too soggy and salty and just not that nice. For 10 pieces and the two drinks we paid just under 23 zloty, so around £4.50 - you get what you pay for! If you're looking for where to eat in Szczecin, this one might be best avoided...

a white plate of really soggy pierogi on a brown table

That night we both grabbed some Belgian fries from the Christmas market - which is obviously seasonal, but they were lovely and a large portion with sauce was around 13 zloty. This is £2.60 ish, so not dirt cheap but definitely worth it. They were steaming hot and absolutely delicious.

my hand holding up a cone of belgian fries with fairy lights in the background

On the Wednesday, before our trip to the Crooked Forest, we stopped at Pub Piwnica. This was recommended to me by a friend who had eaten pierogi there, so we decided we would give it another try. And I'm so glad we did! I had their house pierogi, which had sausage meat/bacon/onions inside and is actually deep fried - Holly opted for your classic pierogi with pork inside. Mine came with garlic sauce, and we got some chips to share too. We definitely didn't need them, as the pierogi is SO filling! For two portions of pierogi, the chips, an iced coffee and a coke it came to 55 zloty. This is around £11, which is more than reasonable for what we had. We actually went back here on our last day; I had a pasta dish with chicken and broccoli in a creamy sauce, while Holly had pork and chips or something similar. Again, we weren't disappointed! THIS is where to eat in Szczecin, for sure.

close up shot of a plate of beautifully fried pierogi with a tub of garlic sauce for dipping

Where we drank in Szczecin

The very first bar we went to was Cesky Film. It has old cinema seats, and a screen that plays films, and cool Polish film posters on the wall. I had a vodka and Holly had a beer - I can't remember how much it was, because I'm useless, but I remember thinking it was neither particularly cheap nor really expensive!

a brown table with two glasses and a bottle on, with red cinema style seats behind it

After that we made our way to an area recommended to us by a barman, where we found Bar Seta. There was karaoke going on upstairs, and they serve food (though we didn't try any), and you can sit outside under a sort of awning. For a large vodka with fizzy orange and a pint of lager, it came to 15 zloty - three quid!!! Incredible. We did actually witness a fight here between two local lads, and there was pepper spray involved, but if you want cheap booze and somewhere that's open late then this is where to drink in Szczecin...

me and my best friend smiling at the camera with tables behind us

EXP Pub & Games Room was our absolute favourite. Underground, it's almost like being in a little cave and they have every board game you could think of down there. For a pint of cherry beer and a bottle of cider it costs 19 zloty, just under £4, so also really cheap! There's plenty of seating, an indoor smoking area should you need it, and everyone was really friendly. Would highly recommend this as where to drink in Szczecin - it's the best.

me and three friends grinning at the camera, with empty glasses on a green table next to us

So that was everywhere we ate and drank in Szczecin, Poland. If you're planning a trip there, I hope this post has been somewhat helpful!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

(more) Beauty empties

I did a beauty empties post two months ago, and it went down really well. Kind of ridiculous to have another one so soon, right? But I use so many products simultaneously and I seem to have used loads of them up at the same time so here's some more empty beauty products, and what I thought of them...

Soap & Glory Wonditioner*

This has the classic S&G scent, which I love, and it's soooo thick. Genuinely one of the best hair masks I've ever tried and I'd happily repurchase it. It leave your hair soft and manageable, and the scent lingers too. get it here

Make Up Revolution Conceal & Define Foundation

You may have seen this the blog before; I've written about it both HERE and HERE. It's a really good foundation, costs less than a tenner and has a decent shade range. Would definitely recommend! get it here 

Herbal Essences Ignite My Colour Conditioner

I like this, but it's nothing special. I didn't find it did anything to keep my colour lasting longer, but as a general conditioner it was fine. Would buy it again if it was on offer or whatever, but like I say it's nothing that special. get it here

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

This is definitely a dupe of Roller Lash from Benefit - it's not my favourite mascara ever, but it is really good and I'd absolutely buy it again. This is the waterproof one and it 100% is waterproof, so if you need something that won't run then this is a great option! get it here

iT Cosmetics CC+ Illumination*

When I first got sent this, I thought it was going to be really sheer like a BB cream - but it's not, it's as thick as other foundations and just looks sooooo nice. I have a mini one that I take travelling with me (hand luggage only, duh) and I'm just obsessed with it. Pricey, but worth it! get it here

Elizabeth Arden White Tea Perfume*

A really nice, proper grown up fragrance - I reviewed it HERE, and mentioned there that I wasn't totally in love with. I did grow to absolutely adore it though, and I'm missing it so I might see if I can get my hands on another bottle at some point this year, although I have soooo many perfumes. This one is perfect for spring, though. get it here

Schwarzkopf Gliss Colour Protect & Shine Shampoo

I picked this up in Poundland, and it's fine as shampoos go but it's not like,,,,, amazing. I wouldn't say it does wonders for protecting your colour, either, but it's alright. A shampoo is a shampoo really, isn't it?

Have you used up any cracking beauty products? Let me know!

Monday, 13 January 2020

A day trip from Szczecin to Berlin

When we were looking at things to do in Szczecin, we noticed how close the city was to Berlin - and as we had a few days away, we decided that a day trip was on the cards. We booked our coach tickets through FlixBus online and in advance, and then we were ready to go!

Our coach from Szczecin to Berlin was booked for 5am; this would see us arriving in the German capital at around 7.30am, with plenty of time for breakfast and getting our bearings. The coach leaves from the main railway station in Szczecin; if you're looking at the station face on, the coach station is to the left. We walked there from our apartment, which took around 20 minutes, but the trams in Szczecin were running at that time so that's worth knowing, I think.

We arrived in Berlin at the main coach station, and headed straight to Kaiserdamm - the nearest U-Bahn station, just a few minutes walk away and easily found on Google Maps. Here we bought ourselves an all-zone day ticket for the trains, as we had plans to be here, there and everywhere during our time in the city - these cost us around €7 each, and they were well worth it. Just remember to validate them when you get on the train!

Holly had found us a really cool place for breakfast, the Steel Vintage Bikes Cafe (Wilhelmstr 91). It wasn't the cheapest place ever, but it had such a nice vibe and the food was lovely. I had a Swiss Melt sandwich and some sort of homemade raspberry lemonade - Holly opted for scrambled eggs and an iced coffee, for the caffeine. We stayed here in the warmth until it was time to head to the Brandenburg Gate for our walking tour!

I had booked our free three-hour walking tour online with Sandemans Tours. We met at the iconic Brandenburg Gate where our guide was waiting, and then off we went. As walking tours go (I've done one before, and Holly has done loads) it wasn't amazing - I didn't feel as though I learnt anything, and all of the places we visited were places we could easily have gone on our own. The only exception to that is the site of Hitler's bunker, which we never would have found otherwise - it's now a car park with apartment buildings around it, and there's no signpost or anything because Germany don't want to glorify what Hitler did which is fair enough...

We decided to cut off from the walking tour at Checkpoint Charlie, as we wanted to take photos with the Christmas tree and the part of the Berlin Wall that's there but the tour was moving a bit quickly for our liking. As there was only a few stops left we decided to abandon it, and I think we made the right decision!

Our next stop was the German Spy Museum, recommended by my brother and Alice - we absolutely LOVED it. There was sooooo much information about spies and double agents throughout history, loads of interactive experiences and everything was just fascinating. Great for kids, too! We got in at the student price, despite "leaving our cards at home", but I'd definitely pay full price as it was so much fun.

The last thing on our list was to visit some Christmas markets. There are SO MANY Christmas markets in Berlin, so I let Holly choose - she really wanted to go to the Charlottenburg Palace markets, so we got an S-Bahn train there using our day tickets. The palace is about 10 minutes on foot from the station, and you really can't miss it. It was getting dark, and the palace was lit up beautifully - the markets were also full of fairy lights, and it was so pretty. The stalls had all your typical Christmas market items: baubles, knitted socks, honey, candles, ornaments etc. There was a brass band, parades of angels and plenty of food stalls too. We both had hot pork sandwiches and they were absolutely delicious. Then I had some churros and Holly got some roasted nuts - absolute winner.

We had an hour or so to spare until we had to get the train back to the coach station, so we found a little bar nearby to get a beer and sit down after all the walking we'd done so far. It was nice to chill and reflect on the day which had, until then, been incredibly successful. Then we got our train back to the coach station, and got on the coach, and had a lovely nap - only to be woken up by a man with a gun at border control. Asking for our passports. Which we had forgotten to bring with us... Everything was fine in the end, but it was easily the scariest 20 minutes of my life!

It's soooo easy to take a day trip form Szczecin to Berlin, and you can do so much in one day. Have you ever done a one-day trip to another city? Let me know!

Friday, 10 January 2020

Szczecin, Poland | day four

19 December 2019 - 14,232 steps

Our final day in Szczecin wasn't a full day - we were flying home that evening and due to the infrequent trains, only had until around half three. Exhausted from the busy few days we'd had and struggling to squeeze everything into our bags, we left the apartment at around 11am.

First stop: the train station. We would be getting the train to the airport later on and wanted to leave our heavy bags in a locker here, as well as buying a ticket so that we were absolutely ready to head off on time to catch our flight. So that's what we did, which was all very straightforward and easy - would definitely recommend.

the roof of a church and buildings from up high with a stretch of blue sky

We headed back to Pub Piwnica for lunch - you can find out more in my 'where we ate in Szczecin' post (coming soon) but it was lovely, and just what we needed. Then we decided to head to the cathedral, known as The Cathedral Basilica of St James the Apostle in Szczecin, to see a panoramic view of the city. It was around 10 zloty each, and you go up in two lifts to reach the top. Unlike other panoramic view points I've been to, you don't go outside onto a balcony or anything - it's floor to ceiling windows, which kind of distort the view but will definitely make you feel safer if you're scared of heights!

red and yellow buildings under a blue sky, shot from above

neon sign in polish

Our next stop was the Centre for Dialogue Breakthroughs, part of the National Museum in Szczecin. Starting with World War II and going right through the Solidarność movement, it has so much information about important talks and speeches and conversations throughout Szczecin's history. It's definitely one of the most informative museums I've ever been to, and I loved learning more about how Solidarność touched the city - I knew a lot about it from my trip to Gdańsk, and it was amazing to build on the knowledge I already had.

christmas tree and snowflake projections on the side of a castle

a man stood in front of a car holding a giant cardboard sign that says welcome home from prison holly and katy

We popped into Wedel, the chocolate shop/cafe, for a little sit down and a drink before we had to walk back to the station (via the castle for one last look at the lights, of course). And that was that, our trip to Szczecin had come to an end. We were both knackered, and just couldn't wait to get in our own beds, but I think I can safely say we had a fantastic time in this crazy little city!

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

La Roche-Posay Lipikar range | review

It's not something I've blogged about for a while, but I've always suffered from really problem skin. Between my eczema and acne, there's not a lot going for me really - you can read about my skin journey HERE, if you fancy it. Anyway, I'm always trying out new products to keep my eczema at bay and as we head into the winter months, I wanted to share my thoughts on the La Roche-Posay Lipikar range*.

What is the La Roche-Posay Lipikar range?

The range has been created to replenish the lipids within the skin, to ease dryness and discomfort. It is designed to soothe the skin, with a minimalist formula that makes it perfect for very sensitive skin. You can use it on your babies/small children if they suffer from dry, itchy skin - it's so gentle that it's suitable for anyone and everyone. The range aims to reduce itching, provide plenty of hydration and decrease the regularity of eczema flare-ups.

How did I get on with it?

La Roche-Posay sent me three of the products in the range, and I've been testing them out over the past month or so. A change in season always wreaks havoc with my skin - the cold makes it dry anyway, and central heating dehydrates it further. So what did I think of the products?

Lipikar AP+ Syndet is a body wash - it's so gentle, and my skin genuinely feels hydrated after a shower when I've used this. Generally my skin will be sore and tight after a bath or shower, but this has definitely relieved that. It has a somewhat medical smell to it, but it's not unpleasant. This retails for £11 for 200ml or £16.50 for 400ml; it's pricey but so worth it if you struggle with scented body products. Also, a little goes such a long way!

Lipikar AP+ Baume is a really thick body moisturiser - it has a weird almost milky smell, not gross but not pleasant either. It's not enough to put me off using it though because it is SO nice. It feels cooling on the skin, and despite being really thick it soaks it fairly quick. I've definitely found it to improve my dryness, and I genuinely do scratch less when I use this. I wish I'd had this when I was a kid because it's a product that actually works. Cheers, La Roche-Posay! It's £20 for 400ml, and you can pick it up online HERE.

Last but not least is the the Lipikar AP+ Stick - basically a solid form of the moisturiser, in a tiny 15ml stick. Perfect for travelling and on the go; it's a little bit greasy, because of the balm-like nature of it, but I don't really mind because it gives me extra hydration when I need it. Another absolute winner. It's £13 HERE and so worth it - pop it in your handbag, or your kid's school bag, and use it whenever you feel the need to!

Final thoughts

This whole range is brilliant and I would sooooo highly recommend it if you suffer from eczema or any other sensitive skin conditions. It's an absolute game changer and while it is pricier than some other products, for how well it works I would definitely go for it. If I had to pick one products of the three, the Lipikar AP+ Baume would be it for sure! Let me know if you have eczema and have tried this range...