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Just Back From: The Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh's Royal Mile

Helen is just back from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the biggest celebration of arts and culture in the world.

Held every August in Scotland’s capital, the three week festival showcases creative energy from across the globe. With over 50,000 performances of over 3,000 shows, at nearly 300 venues across the city, there really is something for everyone.

My Highlights

The buzz is electric and with so many nationalities represented both amongst the visitors and the performers, this is a time to move out of your comfort zone and try new things. It
feels like a party all the time.

My Top 5 Things To Do

1. Free walking tour of the Royal Mile organised by the local council – it really is free!

2. Wander and take in the street performances and leave plenty of time to be spontaneous.

Street performers

3. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is on at the same time (or at least most of it) and is an amazing experience with its firework display, marching, music, dancing etc.

4. Pop into the Virgin Money Half Price Booth and get tickets for something you wouldn’t normally go to.

5. Walk up Arthur’s Seat and great views of the city, it’s just a short walk from the centre.

Edinburgh castle

Good To Know Before You Go

Weather wise, you will get every season in one day so pack accordingly. Layering is the key to be comfortable throughout the day and night. Avoid umbrellas as with so many people around they are impractical; opt instead for a waterproof jacket with hood.

If you want to eat anywhere in particular make a reservation, or you will be disappointed.

A Word Of Caution

The Fringe programme is huge and takes some digesting. If you are really keen to see someone or something, book before you go. However, there is lots available on the day and often at a lower price, so it’s worth being flexible. The venues are spread across the city so factor that into your schedule or you could find yourself arriving late and being refused

Helen, and a Scottish piper

Anything Else?

Wear really comfortable shoes as you will be walking a lot.

What I Wore And Packed

To travel in I wore:

  • Capri pants
  • Lightweight top
  • Jumper
  • Shoes
  • Jacket

And I packed:

  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • 3 shirts
  • Shoes
  • Pashmina

When it comes to a bag I used my RedDog BagPod. I love it for travel; it’s great, light, lots of
pockets make it easy to find everything, and looks smart too. I love the key ring and added to my bunjee for my mobile phone it was perfect.


Posted by Helen –

My Top Tips For Getting The Best From Wilderness Festival

Wilderness Festival

I’d been to plenty of festivals before, so thought I would know what to expect. But the UK’s Wilderness festival (held at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire in August) was definitely different, and a bit of prior knowledge really helps.

If this is your first time going to Wilderness then these tips will help you make the most of your experience:

1. Book anything you really want to see or do well before you get there, as they get booked up so far in advance of the festival. This is especially true for the Banquet lunches and dinners, and Neals Yard treatments.

Food and drink demos

2. The Sanctuary is where all of the therapies, meditation, yoga etc take place. If you don’t manage to get bookings for the Neals Yard treatments, you can book directly at the tents of the alternative therapies – BUT – get there early. My advice would be to book them as soon as you arrive.

3. You pay for all bookings when you make them and not when you go along, so be prepared for a large layout of cash up front. Some do take cards.

4. There are lots of cash machines around the site.

5. The site is vast, and there is so much to see it can be overwhelming. It’s not helped by the fact you can’t buy the programme until you get there. The programme is like a small book, there is so much going on. Take time out to sit and figure out what you want to see and do.

6. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you see the big Saturday Night Spectacle… and the Sunday morning cricket match.

The Saturday Spectacle and Sunday morning cricket match

7. Even if free events are ticketed and full, it’s worth pitching up just in case people don’t show.

8. Take advantage of the eclectic mix at the forum to experience new thoughts and ideas. These are all free and if you get there early enough you may even get to sit on a sofa.

9. The general campsites are a very long walk from the festival and it’s hilly, so be prepared.

10. The car parking for the general camping is also a long walk from the campsite. Maybe invest in a trolley to minimise the number of trips you need to make.

11. Security is tight, and you are scanned in each time. They enforce the ‘no glass’ and ‘limited alcohol’ rules tightly and patrol the campsites, so be sure everything is plastic.

12. Expect the ‘organisation’ to be disorganised – especially on day one when the staff are all getting used to their roles… and just chill; they manage to get it right in the end!

13. If you like to dress up in the weird and wacky feel free to do it here. BUT, if you like your festival dress to be more conservative you won’t feel out of place either. Everything is fine.

Dress up... if you want to!

14. From young families to grandparents and every age in between, there is something for everyone at Wilderness.

I was so frustrated on the first day that things were so disorganised, and not at all what I expected compared to other festivals. But would I go again? Most definitely!


Posted by Helen –

Just Back From: Copenhagen, Denmark


Helen visited Copenhagen for a weekend in July, a friendly and charming destination with plenty to do.

My Highlights

We felt relaxed just being there, how does that work? The local people were delightful,
friendly, helpful and simply charming.

The smorgasbord is amazing; try as much as you can.

My Top 5 Things To Do

1. Paper Island – it may be no more after the end of 2017 when the lease expires, it may be a housing development soon so get there now if you can. Be prepared for it to be busy –
it’s very popular… and for very good reason.

2. The free walking tours – they were great. Taking in Christiania shows a complete
contrast to the rest of Copenhagen.

Walking tour

3. Lunch at Torvehallerne market in the centre of the city; it is a foodies’ heaven.

Torvehallerne market, Christianborg Palace

4. Christianborg Palace is stunning, and is now home to the Danish Parliament.

5. Take a boat trip – there are so many options.

Boat trip

My Top Tip

The Copenhagen Card can save you lots of money if you like visiting castles and
museums, including Tivoli Gardens and the Carlsberg brewery. We found it meant we went
into some venues a number of times because we didn’t have to pay again, Tivoli being a good example.

Good To Know Before You Go

Remember Denmark isn’t in the Euro, but they do take it along with credit cards everywhere and there are plenty of cash machines.

You really can get all weather seasons in one day – so pack accordingly. Take an umbrella and rainwear – they are expensive to buy there.

The easiest way to see the city is to walk, and the paths in the Old Town especially are
uneven and cobbled – wear comfortable walking shoes.

Old town cobbled streets, fabulous restaurants

There are so many great restaurants (food freshly prepared, homemade, organic, delicious) and bars that you don’t need to book; just see what takes your fancy.

4G is everywhere.

A Word Of Caution

Bicycles in the city are not for the faint hearted! They are cheap to hire and there are
plenty of dedicated cycle lanes, but pedestrians are the major hazard. The locals manage
this very well but if you are not used to this it could be scary.

Anything Else?

Check the likely weather before you go (but prepare for anything – see above). It’s easy to think if you’re moving around North West Europe that the temperatures are pretty similar. We left the UK at 28c and landed in Copenhagen at 17c.

Yes do Tivoli, it’s where Walt Disney got his idea for Disneyland from and the locals love it


We had thought to travel out of the city to Malmo in Sweden or down to the lovely
village of Dragor, but in the end there was so much to see in Copenhagen itself on our 3
day trip that we stayed in the city.

What I Wore And Packed

To travel in I wore:

  • Capri pants
  • ¾ sleeve top
  • Jumper
  • Shoes

And I packed:

  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • 3 shirts
  • Jacket
  • Shoes
  • Pashmina


Posted by Helen –

Vacation Footwear For Comfort And Style

Your feet cover a lot of ground during the busy summer months, from city sidewalks to country fields and the last thing you need is uncomfortable shoes slowing you down. This season, the Hotter designers have created a collection of irresistible shoes and sandals that celebrate the versatility of life and offer a diverse range of styling options, perfect for your summer vacation.

Here they tell us their top choices to match your travel style, whatever kind of trip you have planned.

Also read on for a great discount offer just for WhatToWear readers – in the US get 25% off plus free shipping, or for UK customers get 3 for 2 on all full price styles.


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To The Beach!

Maisie shoesVersatile, comfortable and ideal to wear all day every day, the Hotter range of comfortable women’s sandals will complement any warm weather wardrobe. Breathe life into your footwear collection with Maisie.

In an array of exquisite shades, Maisie is the cute and complementary sandal silhouette that is packed full of the hidden comfort features that you’ll love. Immerse your feet in the pillow soft underfoot cushioning, ultra-lightweight soles and beautifully soft and luxurious nubuck, leather and textile uppers.

Ideal for summer beach vacations or daily activities, this best-selling sandal will take your look from day to night with stylish ease.

Rural Retreats

Shake shoesIf you are escaping to the countryside this summer or heading for a tranquil rural retreat, the only shoe you need to consider packing is Shake. Comfortable enough to wear throughout the day but pretty enough to be dressed up for an evening out with the family.

A favorite from the Hotter Originals collection; Shake is handcrafted from premium leather and comes in a variety of new colors. Filled with extra comfort features such as a V-shaped opening for added flexibility, pillow soft cushioning and breathable leather insoles, this stylish shoe guarantees comfort with every step.

City Escapes

Dorset shoesIf you’re planning on ticking a capital city off your bucket list this summer you will need a pair of shoes that are hard-wearing, comfortable and look great for all occasions. Look no further than the Man Tailored classic Dorset! The perfect shoe for visiting museums or art galleries or simply taking in the sights in style.

The classic loafer silhouette is given a makeover with this must-have style from the Man Tailored collection. Easy to slip on and crafted from the softest leather uppers, together with the lightest soles, you can treat your feet to sophisticated style with every step.

Sail Away

Nirvana shoesIsland hopping, globetrotting or overseas exploring calls for clever and comfortable shoes that you can wear to a multitude of occasions. Lighten the load this vacation season with a host of clever footwear options that are suitable for all of life’s adventures. If you are hopping on board a much-needed cruise, look to Hotter Original Nirvana to be your ideal travel companion.

A new arrival to the Hotter Originals collection; Nirvana is the lightweight and sumptuously padded slip-on shoe that is designed to take you to a higher level of comfort. With its pretty feminine floral details and long lasting comfort, invest in this best-selling shoe for the new season.


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Just Back From: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The Roman amphitheatre

Helen visited Plovdiv for a weekend in May, a little-known gem which is Bulgaria’s second-largest city.

My Highlights

The Plovdiv free walking tour (no need to book); the guides are so infectiously enthusiastic. In fact we found the locals were all friendly and welcoming, and we felt safe even wandering around on our own at night.

The food and wine is excellent and very cheap by comparison to most of Europe.

Take the free walking tour

My Top 5 Things To Do

1. Free walking tour

2. The Roman Stadium is mind blowing – take a walk into H&M down the main street and check out their view of the stadium in the basement.

3. Nebet Tepe Hill – the views are stunning and there’s a great restaurant too (Rahat Tepe for local food).

4. The Roman Ampitheatre

5. Dzhumaya Mosque

My Top 5

My Top Tip

The Kapana district is the arty, funky part of town. Until recently it was a run-down area, but now it’s really vibrant with a great café culture and the best restaurants in the city. We loved this area so much we decided to stay there.

The Kapana District

Good To Know Before You Go

Cash is king here, with very few places taking credit cards. However there are cash machines in the city.

The easiest way to see the city is to walk, and the paths in the old town especially are uneven – wear comfortable walking shoes.

4G is everywhere, as is free WiFi.

The Old Town streets

A Word Of Caution

You need to be very careful when you get a taxi from the airport, it should be around 15 Euros. It’s easy to get taken advantage of when you’ve just arrived, and pay double. At the moment there is no Uber to fall back on.

Anything Else?

Plovdiv is going to be the European City of Culture in 2019, so get there now before this little-known gem really gets on the map.

We had amazing food and service and our favourites were:

  • Pavaj – very popular with locals and deservedly so; and
  • Smokini – very chic in an understated and delightful way

The buses are so cheap, safe and frequent you can get out into the countryside for less than a Euro. We took a 45 minute trip out to Bachkovo Monastery – well worth it for the scenery alone.

What We Wore And Packed

I wore:

  • Jeans
  • Shirt
  • Cardigan
  • Shoes
  • Wrap

And I packed:

  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • T-shirt & cardigan combo
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 top
  • Cashmere jumper
  • Shoes
  • Underwear, PJ’s, toiletries
  • Necklace
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight rainwear

Steve wore:

  • Jeans
  • Shirt
  • Jumper
  • Casual jacket
  • Shoes

And packed:

  • Trousers
  • 3 shirts
  • Underwear and toiletries


Posted by Helen –