Are you planning a short get-away before Christmas arrives? Why not fly across the pond to the UK for some last minute Christmas shopping?
thortful.com have compiled a list of the most Instagram-worthy Christmas hotspots in the UK and you definitely need to check them out if you’re visiting over the next few weeks.
Manchester Christmas Market has been crowned the top Christmas market in the UK, followed by Edinburgh, Bath and London’s Winter Wonderland.
Birmingham and York also made the top ten list.
Manchester hosts UK’s most Instagrammable Christmas market in the UK, with the hashtag #manchesterchristmasmarkets being used a staggering 41,507 times. With more than 300 wooden chalets spread across 10 locations in the city, be sure to grab a picture on Albert Square with a backdrop of the huge light up Santa.
If you’ve completed your Christmas shopping (we’re very jealous) then you need to head to one of the UK’s top ice-rinks for a festive evening.
The Natural History Museum hosts UK’s most Instagrammable Ice Skating Rink, with the hashtag #nhmicerink being used over 2,600 times. With the charming architecture of the museum as your backdrop, this outdoor ice rink is too beautiful.
Competing with the top spot are Somerset house Ice Rink, London, Bath on Ice, Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, Cardiff and the Christmas Village Ice Rink, Aberdeen.
We’ll certainly be squeezing in a trip to the UK before December is over.
Thank God, the designers have shared some needed answers.
According to Compass Pool’s technical director Alex Kemsley, there will be a spiral staircase that rotates and rises through the water to allow the swimmers to enter.
He explained in more detail to HuffPost UK, saying that the solution is basically the same as that of a submarine.
“Imagine it like a tube inside a tube,” he said. “A tube will rise from the floor in order to make an airlock. The water will then drain from it and the staircase will then rise up through that to allow you to get in and out.”
He said there will also be built-in anemometer to monitor wind speed in London's sky, while the water will be heated using waste energy from the building’s air conditioning system.
It does sound pretty cool, we must say, but highly over-the-top. One might even call it 'boujée'. However, one man online pointed out that if the staircase fails, pretty much everyone swimming is doomed:
There's no possible failure mode with this design. If the staircase fails for whatever reason, people will be stuck in the pool with no way to get out.
The cinema event of the century is scheduled to take place on August 31 from 6pm to 9pm, and we're contemplating booking our flights now, before Brexit goes and ruins everything for us.
Film fanatics will be able to strip and dip into relaxing hot water while enjoying whatever classic is playing on the big screen, with a cheeky bevvy. No skippy dipping allowed, sorry to disappoint you.
Tub Life wrote on the event page on Facebook: "Tub Life is coming to London and we’re bringing our hot tubs with us! Expect performers, hosts, BBQs, round-the-clock tub service and the biggest portable screen in the UK."
"Note: the scheduled date is preliminary as we’re currently finalising the few remaining details to this event. Click ‘Interested’ to be notified with more information," they concluded.
They'll confirm the exact location for London at a later date, and will also be visiting Maidstone, Liverpool, Chester, Brimingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Newcastle.
Who knows, they might even pop up in Dublin this summer if the demand is high enough, which it totally will be. Start the petition today lads, shall we?
Valentine's Day can put a LOT of pressure on our shoulders (or those of our boyfriends/husbands) when it comes to gifts.
Whether it's the classic present of roses, chocolates or more elaborate ideas like a hotel getaway; you're going to need some good offers because the holiday brings some expenses alongside it.
We've created a list of our top Valentine's Day gifts you can find at the moment, get them before they're gone.
1. Jo Malone London Valentine's Day Floral Box
What better treat to give than the iconic Jo Malone glamorous glass bottle, containing a scent inspired by "seven of the world's finest roses", with a hint of lemon and crushed violet leaves.
Positively dreamy, a little bit like everlasting love. The special floral box is available exclusively from February 7 until Valentine's Day, and we advise pre-ordering because these will absolutely fly out the door.
2. Absolut Vodka: A Drop of Love
Some of us need something stronger for Valentine's Day, and Absolut really is the perfect choice. They've created the Drop of Love bottle; an ink message fed from signs of hatred around the world and turned into a message of love. Pretty inspiring.
The action has been used by the company to show the ability to recycle hatred and create something better from it; for example some UNREAL vodka with natural ingredients and no added sugar.
The Swedish vodka brand love coming up with campaigns with artists, designers and aid organisations, and this Valentine's Day bottle is the best one yet.
3. Jo Malone London Irresistible Pairs
Jo Malone have partnered up their most loved scents to curate the Jo Malone London Power Couples; layer the fragrant duos to create an irresistible pairing on your skin.
Trust us when we say…they smell AMAZING. The New Romantics feature peony and blush suede and wild bluebell for a softly sensual scent, The Sweethearts combine the English pear and freesia with nectarine blossom and honey for a golden pair.
Seaside Soulmates bring together zesty citrus nots with lime basil and mandarin and wood sage and sea salt for a dynamic duo. Lastly, Star-Crossed Lovers pair jasmine sambac and marigold with wood sage and sea salt for a heavenly experience.
We can't gush enough about these, what a beautiful Valentine's treat these would be.
4. Weir & Sons Valentine's Day jewellery collection
This Fabergé Palais Tsarskoye Selo turquoise heart locket pendant is exclusive to Weir & Sons of Grafton Street, Ireland.
It's absolutely stunning, and would certainly attract attention if your lover chose it for around your neck.
We'll be dropping hints left. right and centre for this one. Whoever picks it out for us would truly have our heart in a box.
5. Limited Edition Red Caps & Keepsake Heart-Shaped Box from Jo Malone London
Limited edition red caps are only €5 each along with a free heart-shaped box when you make a purchase between February 1 and February 14, and you can even add a free embossed message, date or initials to the box as an added extra.
It's the first time that the veteran brand are offering a romantic take on Jo Malone London’s signature cream and black packaging; you can acquire the gorgeous heart-shaped box when you buy two or more products in select boutiques in Ireland.
We're heading straight to the shop, we can't let this offer go.
6. L'Occitane Romantic Rose collection
For Valentine's Day, it's only too important to smell and feel your best. We've found the ideal scent for the eve: ROSE. French powerhouse brand L'Occitane have gifted us with a set, that we all both need and deserve.
The gorgeous and elegant fragrance set includes: Rose Eau de Toilette, Rose Shower Gel, Rose Body Lotion and Rose Hand Cream.
L'Occitane 'Romantic Rose' collection is priced at €69 from the L'Occitane website.
7. Bia Beauty facial oil
We are LUSTING after Bia Beauty at the moment; the emerging Irish brand use Mother Nature to deliver 100 percent natural, highly effective, ethically sourced and excellently-packaged products.
Owner Tracey Ryan is a herbal scientist based in Cork, so she has an abundance of fresh ingredients on her doorstep to use, which helped her to create their facial oil.
The nutritious skin product contains rose hip seed oil which is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids. Wear it at night to repair and soothe the skin or during the day to boost hydration and plump the skin.
Give it as a gift this Valentine's Day for a woman who desires reduced scarring and increased cell rejuvenation. Gorgeous, Irish and cruelty free: Award-winning Bia Beauty products are definitely made with love.
8. Solid Fragrance Combining Palette by Jo Malone London
A sleek, travel-ready palette is absolutely genius from Jo Malone; it effortlessly encases two solid perfumes for on-the-go scents.
Customers can fill their palette with their choice of two Jo Malone London scents from a selection of ten of the brand’s most-loved, to curate their own pair.
Choose from; Lime Basil & Mandarin, Basil & Neroli, Pomegranate Noir, English Pear & Freesia, Blackberry & Bay, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Peony & Blush Suede, Mimosa & Cardamom, Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Oud & Bergamot.
The Palette and Refills are available now at Brown Thomas Dublin, get your hands on a pair ASAP before they sell out for Valentine's Day. The cologne's are basically unisex, so they can be bought for man or woman.
9. The Clean Beauty Edit haircare essentials gift-set
Time to go clean and green in 2019; the Clean Beauty Edit are bringing cult, clean beauty brands to Ireland through their gorgeous online boutique.
Olio E Osso, Ilia Beauty, Evolve Organic Beauty, Warpaint, Lily Lolo, Ere Perez and Sun Potion are the brands which Clean Beauty Edit are importing to Ireland,
All products are natural, cruelty-free, toxin-free and sustainably produced and packaged, and their haircare gift-set is GORGEOUS for Valentine's Day. The set includes luxury travel sizes of their Superfood Shine Shampoo, Superfood Shine Conditioner, and Nourishing Hair Elixir.
Their luscious shampoo is formulated with natural cleansers from sugar and coconut which gently cleanse scalp and hair without stripping natural oils. The Baobab proteins boost the shine and organic pomegranate extract rehydrates and protect the hair; what a stunning, thoughtful gift.
10. CraicPack Valentine's Day box for Irish Expats
CraicPack bring some chocolate Irish goodness to everyone at home and abroad. This year they're making a new Valentine's Day box with up to 50 sweets that Irish people living far away miss the most; such nostalgia.
Items included in the adorable box are 10 different types of Dairy Milk, 15 other Cadbury items, Butlers and Love Hearts. Oh, and they even add a box of tea to every pack, because what else would you pair with a chocolate bar? Nothing, that's what.
To help the local community, CraicPack donate up to €5 from every box sold to Focus Ireland to aid the on-going homeless crisis in Ireland. Hon the lads.
11. ÉminenceChocolate Mousse Hydration Masque, Apricot Body Oil and Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel.
Éminence organic skincare is a luxury spa brand that you NEED to hear about, especially for the romance of Valentine's Day. They plant a tree for every product sold; over 10 MILLION to date, and use wind and solar energy for production.
Their peanut inner packing is even made from cornstarch, so it can be composted and is water dissolvable; they really do care about the environment, and their skincare range reflects that.
Not only are they ethical, their newest Valentine's Day products are the perfect present to treat a loved one with.
The Chocolate Mousse Hydration Masque fights the visible signs of ageing. Containing a healthy dose of antioxidant-rich cocoa, which is great for your skin, it's macadamia, almond and jojoba oils also provide deep hydration.
The luxurious Apricot Body Oil is blended with an assortment of essential oils, such as grape seed and jojoba, to create a luscious massage oil that leaves skin feeling irresistibly soft.
Last but not least, the Éminence Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel is an at-home peel that can easily be done before a romantic meal.
12. The Westbury's indulgent romance experience
Valentine's Day always brings an onslaught of great hotel offers, but how can you choose the best one for the most practical price? The Westbury has been voted Ireland's number one hotel by Condé Nast Traveler Readers, and for a good reason.
Enjoy some lavish indulgence in the heart of Dublin by retreating to The Westbury's romance experience. This includes an overnight stay for couples with a romantic rose petal turndown, bottle of chilled champagne, strawberries and delicious chocolates, and a delicious full Irish breakfast in bed in the morning.
‘Romance at the Heart of the Dublin’ with The Westbury is available to book from €450 per room; a great offer considering the prestigious location. Treat yourselves to a trip, you deserve it.
13. Aldi's Valentine's Day alcohol offers: G-in Love
Aldi are offering us something MAJORLY special this Valentine's Day, whether you're waking up to champagne in bed, or heading on a dinner date with gin in mind.
They're giving us the exclusive Boyle’s Alchemy Colour Changing Gin, infused with petals of the Asian butterfly flower, which shifts colour from blue to pale pink with the addition of tonic. Yep, actual. real-life COLOUR-CHANGING GIN.
It’s all to do with the movements in pH, but we can guarantee that this is some magical science.
That's not all they've got up their sleeve; Aldi's DV8 Pink Gin Cream Liqueur is BY FAR the perfect gift. Made by the Irish producers of multi-award-winning Brennan’s Old House Gin, this gorgeous liquor will make anyone's day special.
Aldi have some unique sale offers especially for the most loving day of the year; Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut NV, the best-selling and award-winning wine from Philizot and Fils is reduced to only €19.99.
Giotti Spumante Rosé, Sparkling Rosé Blosson, Beaujolais Rosé 2018, Fairtrade Moscato Rosé 2018 have each had their prices cut so that love can blossom with a bit of alcohol to help. Even if it's self-love…
14. CND nails Valentine's range
CND are changing the GAME when it comes to nails. For Valentine's Day, why not treat yourself or your significant other to some gorgeous new shades from the iconic brand.
Their new range has stunning pinks, dark berry, ravishing reds and blush tones; show off your romantic side.
Mambo Beat, Rose Bud, Hot Pop Pink, Tinted Love, Wildfire and Dark Lava are ideal for a hot date, or pretty much anything the night has in store. There's a colour for every kind of date.
All of these romantic shades are available in both CND SHELLAC and CND VINYLUX, for longer-lasting looks.
15. 'Hex Your Ex' Galentines book from ASOS
We couldn't forget to include a present for that gal-pal of yours who really needs a humorous Valentine's pick-me-up.
The Hex Your Ex book contains over 100 spells,potions and rituals for getting some petty revenge on that douchebag ex of theirs.
Treat yourself or your BFF, it looks pure gas.
16. PrettyLittleThing Valentines body in red striped lace
This jaw-dropping body from PLT is the perfect treat to yourself or your girlfriend this Valentine's Day.
The red lace and plunge neck will have you feeling sexier than ever, why not give yourself the romantic day you deserve? Spicy AF.
There you have it, our top picks for Valentine's Day gifts this year.
Between perfume, flower arrangements, lavish hotel getaways, skincare and lingerie; it's set to be a GREAT day.
We'd appreciate if someone who adores us can buy us each and every one of these, pretty please?
Let the love rain down this year, if you're single or taken. Like this adorable teddy bear here:
January is really a month for the winter blues. Christmas is a hazy memory, you can't quite shake that cold that's been bothering you, and summer seems like an eternity away.
Why not escape for a weekend to see some of Europe's most incredible sights, and stay in the best Airbnb's you can find. Treat yo'self, gowan.
Luckily for you, we've curated a list of some of the continent's best apartment finds.
We've already booked our flights straight out of Dublin airport, ASAP….
1. Zagreb, Croatia
This new stylish apartment is in the perfect location in the centre of the beautiful Zagreb, on Križanićeva street.
For a quiet and safe space which is still central, this is one of the best areas to stay in. Close to the main city square, central bus and train station, everything is easily within walking distance.
A modern, contemporary apartment with a monochromatic décor theme, yet still so comfortable, this apartment is perfect. It can host three guests, and has two beds and a bath.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is an incredible city to visit, the Old Town is stunning and has a huge amount of history, and most of the town is within walking distance.
It also is home to some of the best pub crawls in the world, just sayin'. This gorgeous boutique apartment has us DROOLING.
The spacious design, the window panels allowing light to stream in, we just need to stay here ASAP.
The boutique apartment is located in the Bohemian Zizkov district, packed with unreal cafés, bars, restaurants and bars with some amazing views of Prague.
3. Paris, France
We have found a sunny, cosy studio apartment LITERALLY just down the road from the Eiffel Tower. What more would you need?
The charming apartment is ideal for an escape to the Parisian life; it's both residential and family-oriented.
There are windows throughout the apartment to let in the French sun, and the location is absolutely perfect; the seventh district of Les Invalides
Just picture yourself having a coffee and croissant downstairs, looking out the window at the Parisian aesthetic. We can.
4. Berlin, Germany
A 'superhost' owns this GORGEOUS Berlin apartment, which can house four guests and his also an absolute bargain of an offer for what you're getting.
The apartment is a short walking distance away from some of Berlin's top spots, with restaurants, shops and bars surrounding the area.
The subway station is only a seven minute walk away, and the location is both safe and central. You'll be prancing around Alexanderplatz in no time…
5. Barcelona, Spain
This spacious loft is on Airbnb Plus, and for a good reason.
The stunning studio apartment has an actual JETTED TUB. Be still my beating travel heart. The location is extremely central; with the city's main sights within walking distance.
The New York-style space has exposed brick walls, high ceilings of rustic Catalan wood and bold modern art.
Catch some rays on the balcony and make use of the space's incredible amenities.
6. Rome, Italy
This 'superhost' certified apartment in the centre of one of Europe's most renowned cities is GOALS.
The apartment can house up to four guests, and is located on the first floor of a beautiful palatial residence just minutes from the Piazza Della Repubblica.
The studio home is freshly renovated, filled with light and more luxurious than our future. We LOVE.
7. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
This stunning Georgian apartment in Edinburgh's New Town is one of the best Airbnb's on the market.
The loft is a ground floor flat in the famous area, with absolutely every part of the city within walking distance. The apartment is spacious, has fantastic amenities such as a bath, and even an indoor fireplace for those cold January months.
The beautiful home as Wi-Fi, free parking down the road and houses two guests easily, with comfort being the essential promise.
8. Vienna, Austria
This sunny apartment is extremely sought after, for it's dedication to space and light.
It can house four guests, and they can each experience the unique, warm decor of the apartment while being close to the most famous parts of Vienna.
The metro station at Ober-St. Veit is only a seven minute walk away, with the home featuring a spacious living room with a kitchen, one bedroom and a bathroom.
The terrace can be used in summer to soak in that European sun that we Irish can never seem to get.
9. Krakow, Poland
Poland is a great country to escape to, especially because of how affordable it is.
This chic loft apartment in central Krakow is only €18 PER NIGHT, we cannot believe how great it is.
Beautiful, modern studio for one or two people has air conditioning for the hot summer months, and is located on Bonerowska Street in Krakow city centre.
The space is less than five minutes walking distance away from Krakow's main historical sights including main square, Wawel Castle, the Jewish Quarter and more.
10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The hosts don't call it the 'stairway to heaven' for no reason. Amsterdam is one of Europe's most interesting cities, with a huge amount to do and some immensely picturesque locations to visit.
Little loft apartments near the canals and boats are such a dream come true, and this luxury apartment with warm, modern décor is perfect for a weekend away with someone special.
The private trendy studio is built in the attic of an authentic 1880 Amsterdam house, and is located in the cool neighbourhood near the food hall and outdoor markets. I wouldn't book this if stairs aren't suitable for you, however, it's a steep climb up.
You all deserve a holiday, and January is the perfect time to escape the winter blues and catch the travel bug.
There are few things more dread-inducing than the prospect of staring down a packed tube platform full of stressed out and aggressive commuters at eight in the morning or, even worse, getting gridlocked in that notorious London traffic.
The intense crowds, frequent breakdowns and that wonderful quirk of the Tube wherein it has zero air conditioning or ventilation can make your morning commute feel like a battle march.
Not to worry, though; with a few simple steps you'll soon be bossing that commute like a pro and the stress will soon feel like a distant memory.
Here's how to survive London in rush hour.
Know the Rules of the Game
Anyone who has been in London for more than five seconds will know that there is a Byzantine etiquette system comprising of dozens of rules that must be followed in order to avoid the ire of your fellow passengers.
Most of these rules are honestly just a combination of noise, urban myths and personal preferences, so definitely don't spend too much time getting worked up over whether your platform posture in on point.
As long as you know the few simple essentials, your trip will go more smoothly.
These are; keep your Oyster card ready and in-hand the second you enter the station, stick to the right on the escalators, don't talk loudly and, most importantly, never make eye contact with your fellow commuters.
Come Prepared with Distractions
Chances are you'll be dealing with the same commute every day, to the point where you could travel the whole route with your eyes closed.
This kind of commuter autopilot is common, with the positive side being that you should be able to zone out and immerse yourself in less stressful activities during your journey – just remember to keep your wits about you on station platforms and road crossings!
A good online game is always the ideal way to get through the journey, ideally something engaging like a puzzle game or online escapade.
For example, there are now lots of roulette games online, from European to American, that you'll be able to play at any point during your commute when you need to zone out, thanks to that sweet and brand new Tube WiFi.
Your commute is also valuable time in your day that you can use to catch up on things you've been neglecting.
So, read that novel that has been gathering dust, finish that podcast, or simply burn through your emails.
Mix It Up
A morning commute doesn't have to be something to just get through, to be banished to the annals of memory and not thought about until 5 pm. You can actually enjoy it. The best way to do this is by occasionally mixing things up.
Explore your city by walking part of the journey, which might involve having to get out of bed a few minutes earlier but is definitely worthwhile in such a beautiful and varied city as London.
Even just going via a different bus route might feel like a refreshing and pleasant surprise, as seeing your city as new again will remind you why you moved here in the first place.
Is there anything better then a cheeky little afternoon tea, of a Saturday?
How about a potion themed afternoon tea, in jolly old London? (Harry Potter vibes!)
Yeah, I know, unbelievable.
Starting on May 3, wannabe wizards will be able to don their robes and take part in a potions class with a difference.
The difference being that there will be tiny sandwiches and booze involved. Hurray!
The event is held in The Potions Room of the Cutter & Squidge bakery in London.
The website gives a bit of detail surrounding these amazing events:
"You are invited to attend a Potions Class at the Cutter & Squidge secret School of Wizarding Alchemy, where delicious food and magical potions combine in our wonderful and exclusive world of fantasy."
As a wizard-in-the-making, you will be invited to join the Potion Master to learn some of his secrets in an immersive experience, whilst enjoying a feast for all senses.
During the experience, you will be treated to a delicious sweet and savoury Afternoon Tea inspired by classic British flavours and this, combined with the drinkable and edible potions you will be creating, will ensure that you are bubbling to the brim by the time your class ends!
The menu also looks delicious, and includes finger sandwiches, Yorkshire pudding, butterscotch biscuits and scones (obviously).
Tickets cost £49.50 (or £79.50 for a special VIP experience) and can be purchased online.
The whole event takes 2.5 hours, and is really something not worth missing!