Belle’s Top Internet Tips

For today’s post I’m going to give you all a break from the minutiae of my daily life and instead let you into a few of my best kept internet secrets. So if, like me, you’re partial to some fitness tips, like to be ‘in the know’ about great places to frequent in London and love a good bargain (especially if it helps people in need) I invite you to read on…

For aspiring health/fitness freaks

A lot of the emails that flood my inbox are deemed as junk and deleted without a moment’s hesitation. But the one I’ll never delete is from Real Buzz. Packed full of useful dietary and exercise tips, I find something of interest in almost every update – definitely one to sign up to.

For London socialites

You’ve probably already heard about The Nudge, London’s hottest newsletter updating city dwellers of the coolest places to hang out (also, incidentally, where I first heard of seasonal rooftop supperclub Forza Winter and the much acclaimed Hot Tub Cinema). But I’ll hazard a guess not many of you have heard of Great Little Place. Billed as “a guide to Planet Earth’s charming spots” and a mission statement of “death to dull chains,” this is the site where you’ll find all manner of quirky and interesting restaurants, bars and shops – perfect to impress on a first (or second, third or fourth) date.

For discerning fashionistas on a budget

If you’ve always hankered after a Mulberry bag or a pair of Celine boots but simply can’t afford to take the financial hit, then fashion redistribution business Chic and Seek is for you. The company was founded in 2009 by Tara Nash, whose aim was to make designer fashion affordable for the masses. She personally meets and selects “the chicest women in London” before bringing the wares back to her gorgeous mews house in Notting Hill and uploading them onto the website. She also hosts the occasional event at the house where customers can pop in and peruse the items in person. Not to be missed if you want to pick up a gorgeous designer bargain at a fraction of the cost!

For fashionistas with a conscience

A friend recently made me aware that Oxfam Shop, where you can purchase second-hand clothes, books and vintage items, along with charity gifts from Oxfam Unwrapped. Every penny spent helps to support Oxfam’s work around the world. You can browse through more than 100,000 donated and vintage items, happy in the knowledge that your money will be going to a good cause and not just into a high street retailer’s pocket. Now if that’s not a reason to get shopping I don’t know what is…

No need to thank me.

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Shoes glorious shoes…

 

Restoration

Apologies to anyone who is hoping for the next instalment of the story I’ve been writing over the past few days, but today I thought I’d mix things up a little and return to blogging. I am, after all, sitting in an ex-brothel in the centre of historic Prague, and it seems wrong not to acknowledge the effect this place has had on me over the past few days.

I’ve written a full feature on my experience of Prague which I will be posting tomorrow on the Bea blog, but what I would just like to say in this post is that coming here has reminded me how wonderful it is to step out of your life from time to time and experience another culture. As an aspiring writer I always feel particularly moved when I explore another part of the world, as it reminds me how much more there is to know and understand.

I defy anyone who is suffering from writer’s block not to find inspiration here, where every twist and turn in the maze of back streets brings a new surprise – whether architectural delights, performance artists, odd little museums or delightfully quaint restaurants serving traditional Czech fare such as goulash and dumplings (just like grandma used to make – yum).

Breaking out of normal life for a couple of days can be really beneficial – not least when ‘normal life’ is proving troublesome, as in my case with recent redundancy news and subsequent job searching and interviews. I arrived here feeling drained and stressed, but after three nights in my (free upgrade!) palatial suite in the Mamaison Pachtuv Palace hotel and time spent wandering by the river, drinking local beer and eating hearty traditional fare I’m leaving feeling inspired, rested and ready to resume my job search with renewed enthusiasm.

God bless Prague and all who sail in her.

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I took this last night whilst strolling around the old town square. It sums up just how wonderfully atmospheric this city is. I don’t want to leave!