Saturday, 18 March 2017


It's #traveltuesday once again here on Insanity 103.2FM and today we are getting on a plane and heading towards the wonderful city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is known across the world as a city of hedonism, partying and good times, but there is more to do in Amsterdam that just party (although it is pretty great here too). Spending a long weekend in the city is a must for any traveller and it is a perfect starting or ending point for your Europe interrailing journey too. Enjoy a stroll down the by the canals in the summer, pop into one of the many museums that scatter the city or browse one of the markets in one of Amsterdam's many parks.

  • STA: offers '72 Hours in Amsterdam' Tour which includes 2 nights at St Christopher's at the Winston hostel with breakfast, the Amerstdam Combi ticket - one-hour Canal Cruise and Heineken Experience, Amsterdam city bike tour OR the Amsterdam pub crawl and the Red Light District Walking Tour. 

Easiest way to get there:

  • Fly: from London, it is only a 40-minute flight to Amsterdam Schipol airport for as little as £60 with EasyJet from Gatwick or British Airways or KLM from Heathrow 
  • Coach: with National Express from London Victoria to Amsterdam for as little as £15 one way although it will take you close to 20 hours to get there!
Where to Stay:

  • Airbnb: You can find some great and interesting places to stay on Airbnb - from eco houses to houseboats, Amsterdam has it all!
  • St Christopher's at the Winston: centrally located hostel with free breakfast, a place in a dorm room costs £21 per night. The hostel also has a nightclub which is located right next to the hostel so this place is not for the light sleeper!
  • Hotel Vondel: for those who would like to splash out this hotel is a small, boutique hotel set in the heart of the city with a beautiful breakfast patio, this place is £73 per night for one person or £37 per night for a twin room between two.

What to do:
  • Head to one of Amsterdam's famous 'Coffee Shops' and see what they have to offer, not like your average Starbucks, similarly, Smart shops in Amsterdam aren't that smart...but you'll have to go there to find out yourself to know what I mean
  • Go to the Flower Market and buy some of Amsterdam's famous tulips
  • Join the masses queueing at Anne Frank's House for a peek at where the Frank family hid out 
  • Wander around the museum quarter, and especially check out the Van Gough and Rijks Museums and take a photo with the famous 'I Amsterdam' sign 
  • Go to the Heineken Experience and taste the world famous beer
  • Visit Dam Square where all the shops and clubs are, visit the sex museum here or take a boat tour around Amsterdam from here. Admire the architecture of the churches. 
  • Meet in Dam Square for the Free Walking Tour of Amsterdam. Book here in advance. I would highly recommend these tours as they show you all of Amsterdam in a couple of hours, they will show you all the sights and the guides are knowledgeable and fun. The guides rely on tips, so tip at your discretion, but great on a student budget!
  • Wander around the Red Light District - enough said! 

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Tuesday, 14 March 2017


So as I am pre-recording for my summer show which is to be aired 12-2pm on 7th July I thought, considering I have 2 hours to fill, that I would tackle the travelling beast that is the USA. There is no way that I am ever going to be able to recommend and cover every place in the USA, mainly because that would take all day and I haven't been to half the places in the States to adequately cover it. Therefore, today's show is going to focus on the North East corner of the USA, mainly because that is the part of the USA that I have been to, I will dedicate other shows to the South and the West Coast, mainly because there is so much to cover here and they are places on my bucket list too!

Places to Visit in North East:

  • New York, duh! 
  • New Haven, Connecticut 
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Chicago, Illinois 
These are all the places in the States that I have been to and although it is just a tiny portion, and some of the places you wouldn't normally pick to go, I would highly recommend them all. 

Easiest way to get there:
  • Each of these cities has its own airport (except New Haven) have their own airports so direct flights are readily available from the UK. Peak time is August and Christmas when flights can be up to £900 but at the cheapest time of year which is January you can get flights into New York for as little as £300 return. 
  • Airlines to look at are: BA (don't forget those airmiles!), American Air, Delta and Norwegian Air have started doing some really sick deals. Keep a look out for the airline sales after Christmas as this is prime time to book, flights to the USA are often some of the most discounted ones.
  • Flights leave Heathrow for BA to New York up to 6 times a day.
New York
Realistically New York should have its own show as this place is like no other. I have been there twice for a few days each time and hit up all the tourist places, which of course you have to do the first time you're there.
  • Stay in the Doubletree by Hilton for about £100 per night each for a shared room for a luxurious and affordable place to stay, in the area of Chelsea you are right in the heart of Manhattan, in perfect position to see and do everything easily. 
Where to go in New York:
  • Empire State Building
  • Rockefeller Centre
  • Times Square
  • Ground Zero
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Take in a Show on Broadway
  • Walk down Wall Street
  • Central Park - and Central Park Zoo
  • Shopping on Fifth Avenue
  • Grand Central Station - head to the red-fronted cafe opposite for a cheaper meal and a famous film spot.
TOP TIP: Get the New York City Pass it is quite pricey at $200 for 3 days, (although you can get it for 1, 3, 7, 9 etc. days) but it really does save money for over 90 attractions in New York and fast-tracks you for many of them too!

New Haven, Connecticut

So I've only included New Haven as a stop off along the way to Boston from New York. I would not recommend staying overnight, however, do make it part of your journey if you can. The beautiful campus of Yale university is a must see and the leafy surroundings are worth taking a break to see. Grab a coffee in one of the independent coffee shops that line the streets and wander round the town at leisure.


Boston, Mass

Boston has so much to offer so take at least a few days to explore Boston as much as possible. On the coast, Boston harbour is the place to find the famous New England Clam Chowder that you have to try whilst in the heart of New England. 


  • Stay in the Ramada Inn, although it is not in the centre of the city, it is only a short walk away from the end of the line of the subway and it is worth staying there for the price, £100 per night between two. It is basic but has a pool and is a good bolt hole whilst exploring Boston.
What to do in Boston:
  • Get the Boston Trolley around town
  • Visit the 'Cheers' Bar
  • Get a boat around the harbour and learn about the Boston Tea Party
  • Visit Quincey Market and hit the shops
  • Catch a Red Soxs game at the oldest baseball stadium in the US, Fenway Park
  • Get a tour of Harvard University


Cleveland, Ohio

I only stayed in Ohio for one night but this place is worth a stop on the way to Chicago. Cleveland is a strange place, it is a bit like a wasteland, there are not many people around. However, it is worth stopping off there just for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the biggest collection of Rock and Roll memorabilia in the USA outside of the South. 
  • Stay in the Comfort Inn Downtown for a comfortable and cheap stay for £90 a room
Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has to be one of my favourite places in the States. There is so much to do here and the city itself is just beautiful. In the summer it is warm but in the winter it is below freezing as the winds coming in from Lake Michigan make it bitterly cold. 

Home of the Cubs
  • Stay: Grant Park Best Western - at £100 a night this place is comfortable and very central whilst also being on the edge of the beautiful Grant Park.
Chicago at Night

What to do in Chicago:
  • Visit a working Amish Community just outside the city
  • Eat a deep pan Chicago pizza
  • Catch the Cubs at Wrigley Field - now the champions of the league 
  • Head up the Willis tower for the most amazing views of the city 
  • Visit the Bean
  • Grab Cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory
  • Get caught in a Chicago Downpour
  • Bike around Lake Michigan
  • Take a tour of the old Mafia hotspots of Chicago and learn about Al Capone
  • And so much more...!

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Thursday, 9 March 2017


This #traveltuesday on Insanity 103.2FM in 'Around the World in 80 Shows,' the spotlight was on the wonderful country of New Zealand.
New Zealand is probably one of the most naturally visually stunning places in the world and the Kiwis know how to show it off. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in this part of the world, visiting both the North and South Islands are a must. The North Island features beaches at the Bay of Islands and smelly mud baths in Rotorua while the South Island has skiing in Queenstown and some of the most stunning landscapes at Mount Cook and Wanaka. If you can, head to the most southern point of New Zealand, a place called Dunedin, in the Winter it is as cold as the arctic - it is the closest you can get to the Arctic without actually going there.
In the summer weather in New Zealand is warmer than the UK but in the winter it is colder, however, the weather is very similar to what we experience. Don't forget when you decide to travel that the seasons, as everything else in New Zealand, is back to front. So winter time runs from June-September and summer is over Christmas. Although there is always plenty to do in New Zealand whatever time of year you go. 

Whales of Kaikoura

Easiest way to get there:
  • Obviously flying is the only way to New Zealand, and because it is at least a 24-hour flight away, it is going to be pricey. Depending on what time of year you go flights can be anywhere from £900 upwards. As it is such a long way you will have to do at least one stopover, either via Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong or LA which is why I would recommend making it part of another trip. I flew with Qantas which meant I also had to change in Sydney but it was much cheaper, other airlines that fly are Singapore Air, New Zealand Air, British Airways and Cathay Pacific
Yes, this is actually my photo

Where to go:
  • Auckland: City of Sail - hit up the shops and go up the sky tower and see the lights of the city
  • Bay of Islands: head to the beaches of Pauanui in the warm sunshine and collect Pauna shells
  • Rotorua: Find the mud baths and geysers 
  • Wellington: Dance the night away in the clubs of Wellington before getting the ferry over to the South Island from Picton
  • Christchurch: observe the devastation left by the 2011 earthquake and pay your respects by shopping in the shipping crate shopping centre and put some money back into the Garden City to help it get back on its feet
  • Kaikoura: visit the coast and take the chance to go whale watching, a once in a lifetime experience
  • Queenstown: an amazing party town and high point for skiing in the winter, head up the cable car to catch a glimpse at the top of the city, don't forget to try a Fergburger, infamous in New Zealand for being the best burger. 
  • Wanaka: another great ski town, and while you are here be sure to head to Cinema Paradiso, an amazingly cute find of a cinema that is composed of many sofas and armchairs showing the latest films with homemade cookies served in the interval and pre-order your dinner for a lush lasagne
  • Mount Cook: take in some amazing sights and go hiking if weather permits.    
  • Abel Tasman: National Park that looks like somewhere out of a picture book. Hike through the park or have fun on the water 
  • Franz Josef: explore the ice glacier while you still can!
  • Hobbiton: well, duh!
Where could this be?

Where to Stay:
  • Depending on where you are going in New Zealand, but there is a chain of hostels in New Zealand called Nomads or Base which I would highly recommend, both are approx. £12-£13 per night for a bed in a dorm room and WIFI
  • To see the Islands I would advise hopping on a Stray Bus or Kiwi Experience Bus, both of these companies run a service by which you purchase a specific journey pass with different stops at which you can hop on and hop off. Accommodation is not included but you can book hostels with the driver each night you want to stay.   
Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


Today's show was all about the wonderful country of Iceland that has become a very popular holiday destination recently with more flights in and out of Reykjavik. With so much on offer, Iceland is a place that will leave you wanting more (according to the guidebook). Although I haven't been there yet, it is on my bucket list, but with nearly zero hours of light in the winter, I think a summer trip is on the cards.

The biggest problem with Iceland is that it is expensive, there is no getting away from it. Although it is only a 4-hour flight, it may as well cost the same as a budget trip to the States at the wrong time of year.
  • STA Tour: 48 Hours in Reykjavik: includes 1 night at Kex Hostel (with breakfast), Northern Lights Tour, Blue Lagoon Tour and Airport Transfers. Prices starting from £178pp

Easiest way to get there:
  • Flights with British Airways or Iceland Air direct from Heathrow, Iceland Air leaves twice a day while British Airways is 3 times a week. From £200pp
Where to Stay:
  • Kex Hostel: £20 per night for a dorm room or £45 per night for a double room
  • IcelandAir Downtown: Hotel from £115 per night for a single room or £64 for a twin/double. Great downtown location
Light Reading Material...No pun intended

What to do:
  • Northern Lights: Obviously the main attraction of Iceland and the reason you've saved up your pennies is the chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Tours run from Reykjavik most days but are more frequent in the winter. There are plenty of companies to choose from but I would recommend the STA one if you pre-book, otherwise ask at your hotel/hostel but get one with a guarantee. Most come with the promise that if you don't see the lights the first night, they will take you back again and again until you have seen them. Also, try to choose one that will pick you up from your hotel, many of them do it so why not make your life easier. 
  • Blue Lagoon: Another famous trip is to the Blue Lagoon, again there are different ways of doing this but it is on your way to the airport or to the city depending on where you come from so it might be easier to make this a stop off on the way home. Book tickets online and get the city bus over there for a relaxing experience.
  • Whale Watching: another once in a lifetime experience that would be worth spending the cash on, although you are better off going in the summer as you are more likely to see the whales then. I did this in New Zealand and although it is expensive, it is so totally worth it - not for those that get seasick though!        
Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

Monday, 6 March 2017

Writing about Writing

Last week I went to a careers seminar with a selection of alumni from the English department who came back to speak to us about careers in writing and the publishing industry. I went along because I wanted to see if they had an advice and top tips on how to land yourself a job in publishing because it can be really hard. I was so pleased with the work experience placement I managed to land myself at Scholastic last summer so I was hoping to see if these alumni could also help me decide if publishing would be something I would actually want to do full time.

Although it did not get me any closer to deciding what I want to do all it has slightly made me question my decision about doing a Masters degree straight out of university. My big news, that many of you already know, is that about a month ago I decided that I was going to accept my offer to study International Relations at ULIP in Paris for a year. This is still what I am planning to do. However, the prospect of applying for a job at Scholastic where I did my work experience is more than tempting. They currently have an Editorial Assistant's position available which would be ideal for me. Working in Children's books would be so much fun and it would be really great to not study anymore and actually earn some decent money for a change. So part of my wants to do this and sack off the Masters for a couple of years, but on the other hand I keep thinking that I can always work at some point and as I'm going to be most likely working for the next 50 years of my life why not take a year to do a Masters, live in Paris and travel a bit, I wouldn't do it otherwise, would I?

So you see, dear readers, I am in a bit of a pickle. Don't get me wrong, it is a lovely problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Although I am getting ahead of myself, I haven't even got the job yet! But is it worth applying... One thing is for sure, though, that the careers seminar did remind me is how much I like writing. I don't mean writing essays or stories or anything, I mean writing chatty blog posts and vaguely informative travel pieces. I mean that would be my ideal job, to be a travel journalist but I'm not sure I could deal with the lack of stability within my work, not knowing where the next pay cheque is going to come from. Anyway, it's food for thought...

Have a good week my loves!

Lots of Love, Kate xxx

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