Author: Katya

Amiens: Hortillonnages and Art Festival

Amiens: Hortillonnages and Art Festival

During our recent weekend in France, we used the opportunity to explore fishing villages of the Opal Coast and  culture in Amiens. Have you ever been to Amiens? It is a delightful city right in the middle of Somme region in France, and it is […]

Sofia with Kids: Muzeiko

Sofia with Kids: Muzeiko

For Easter holiday break we choose Bulgaria and it did not dissapoint. I have done an itinerary which included a bit of nature, city life and relaxation. Sofia is a great starting point as it is very well connected and availability of public transport is […]

Saint Petersburg with kids: Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

Saint Petersburg with kids: Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

USSR is now left in memories, old maps and nostalgia style cafes one can find in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you want to experience what it was like to be a kid in USSR, then you should visit “15 Kopeek”, museum of Soviet arcade machines and old-fashioned fun.

We visited on a gloomy day in the middle of winter, but the space inside was inviting and cosy. Letitia said that it was the best museum we visited in a space of a week and, believe me, there were a lot of museums, I dragged the whole family to.

I can vouch for authenticity of this place, as I grew up at the tail end of USSR collapse.  Just across the street there was “Igroteka”, a building filled with arcade machines. My parents would give me some change and I would go and play there until the money is finished. Unlike other arcade machines that I see now,you did not win any money or prizes in these arcade machines, but you were able to perfect your table football skills, shooting a target or driving the cars. Maximum you could win was an extra game!

The museum is full to the brim with different types of playing devices and there are helpful explanation notes next to each machine on its history and background and how to play it. The museum also has free tour, where you would be able to learn about all there is to know about Soviet ways to have fun. 

One of my personal highlights was the lemonade dispenser. When I was a child, for a mere 1 pence (1 kopejka in Russian money) you could buy a glass of carbonated water , but if you were feeling particularly rich that day, for another 2 pence you could put syrup there. Oh my god, they had exactly the same machines with exactly the same tasting syrup as in my childhood! I would go to this museum for this taste alone! 

The variety of arcade machines is astonishing and I could not believe how bad the design was. When you are a kid, you don’t really  care about things like design and whether it looks pretty, but when I saw them with my Instagram spoiled eye, I realised that design was not high on the priority list. However , now it looks like proper stuff and one can be appreciate its vintage features. 

You can easily spend here a couple of hours, if not more. The name of the museum refers to the coin denomination of 15 pence (kopeek). We used  to put this coin into the slot to make machines run. When you buy museum ticket you are given a matchstick box full of coins, so you can easily try playing all the machines in the museum. 

Apart from the machines, there is also table tennis, chess and a big screen showing old cartoons, or you can have a drink/meal in the cafe. If you like Soviet souvenirs, there is a great  shop with nostalgia items and old Nokia phones. I think I used to possess the one for 4,500 rubles pictured below.

For the smallest members of the family there are also couple of stationary planes, which they will absolutely love!

Good news is that there is a similar museum in Moscow, so if you are there, I am pretty sure you can get a similar experience. I recommend the museum especially if you are with kids, as all family can play together in such a special environment. if you grew up in USSR, it is even better, nostalgia is all around you. 

Our visit to the museum was kindly hosted, but all opinions are my own. 

Culinary Backstreets Istanbul Food Tour

Culinary Backstreets Istanbul Food Tour

Istanbul is many things: mosques, Islamic art, sprawling bazaars, East and West in the same city- you name it. For me, Istanbul was definitely about food. This was largely due to the food tour I went on with Culinary Backstreets, which showed me a different […]

Istanbul with Kids: Basilica Cistern

Istanbul with Kids: Basilica Cistern

Istanbul is full of sights and quite a few of them are located around Aya Sofia: Topkapi Palace, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern. You can comfortably just stay in the area for a couple of days exploring these treasures. […]

JulieMay Lingerie: Review

JulieMay Lingerie: Review

If you have had kids , when did you feel you were back into your pre-kids shape? For some people it might be a matter of months, for me it is more like two years mark. The weight goes, but it is the shape of the body and certain parts which take longer to come back to their usual contours. 

While I am waiting for things to get back to normal, I do not shy away from shaping lingerie, especially when I am going out or attending special events.  I have been sent a beautiful piece of shapewear lingerie from JulieMay and I am happy to say I am very pleased with the product. I was trialing out SunKiss Back Support Silk Bodysuit Shaper.

 

The look is luxurious and JulieMay range varies from classical pieces to sportswear and more unusual designs. I went for the classic one, as it is neutral in colour and can be worn under a dress or a top. The pieces are made with the use of natural materials, like silk,  and the lace pattern is very delicate.

Apart from looks, the bodysuit does what it is supposed to do. When I put it on, I could feel that lingerie was definitely holding everything in place and was supporting my natural shape , rather than squeezing me to the last breath. The straps are adjustable and can be made to the desired length. There is also a very helpful feature of  crotch with buttons, which means that you don’t need to take the whole thing off when you go to the bathroom!

Last thing I want to mention is that pieces are true to UK sizing chart, so you can be confident when ordering your own set. 

Disclaimer: The set was provided by JulieMay for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own.

#MeatMatters Challenge: Italian-style Steak Salad Recipe

#MeatMatters Challenge: Italian-style Steak Salad Recipe

Summer is coming soon and I love making lighter meals when the weather is warmer. I like my meals to  have a nutritional value , but not being as  heavy as winter stews or soups. Salad is a great way to achieve this, you can […]

Why I love Bepanthen?

Why I love Bepanthen?

As parents, we all have our preferences when it comes to certain baby care products and Bepanthen is one of my favourites for nappy changing creams. Here are my 5 reasons why: 1. Product Quality The cream delivers on its promise and whenever I use […]

Best Turkish Bath in Istanbul: Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami

Best Turkish Bath in Istanbul: Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami

Every single holiday has moments, which stay with you forever. In Istanbul, for me, it was definitely a visit to the Turkish Bath Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami, which has recently undergone a multi-million refurbishment  and was brought back to its former glory. 

I have experienced everything here: fantastic service, sleek design, welcoming environment and ultimate relaxation. I have enjoyed it so much, I would not hesitate going there each and every time I am back to Istanbul. 

You need to book your visit in advance, so that they are ready for you and can provide relaxing environment. The minute you step in this oasis of calm, you never want to leave. Hamam is open for women in the morning 8am till 4pm, and then staff change from female to male and men can come and enjoy the bath as well from 4:30pm till 11.30pm. Children are also welcome.

I booked a session in the afternoon and immediately upon entering I was greeted by lovely Betul, who has checked my reservation and offered me a welcome drink, a refreshing sherbet.

She then explained how things work and provided the key to the dressing cabin and locker. When I came to my dressing cabin, there was already a package waiting for me with flip-flops, towel and a wrap, which you use to go to the bath.

Your washer will meet you in the first room and  you can visit the bathroom if you wish. Then your washer will take you through to the main room with big marble stone and she will ask you to lie on it and get warm.

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer beauty , which you are about to experience when you lie on the marble. It is very simple, but nonetheless beautiful, you will be lying on your back and staring at the massive cupola with stars staring back at you.

Once you are warm and relaxed, the fun starts. The washer will prepare the bucket with water and loads of foam to use later, but the first part is scrubbing with a special mitt. She will scrub you so well, you would not believe how dirty you are. Excuse me, but I take the shower every day, yet I could not believe how much dirt there was! When the washer saw my puzzled expression, we laughed together. The dirt will be washed off and then the foam applied , using muslin cloth, which seem to generate more foam in the hands of the washer. 

This is also combined with body massage and further cleansing, so you are left completely relaxed after this and ready for a lie down on the cushioned sofa. If like me, you don’t want to wash your hair, it is absolutely fine, they will give you a shower cap to protect your hair, but if you want your hair washed, then there are hair driers available to use when you go back to the dressing room.

I don’t know which part of the experience I enjoyed most: the washing or the relaxing afterwards. Once the washer is finished you are taken back to the main open area of the hamam, where there are cushions and low sofas, where you can linger as much as you want to. Water and Turkish tea is complimentary, but you can also order selected teas and cookies to keep you sustained. Majority of women who were there came with a friend, so they were all happily gossiping and chatting around, but it did not take away from the atmosphere, as  there was enough space for everyone.

You can make the booking on Hamam website , so you know in advance what time to visit. You might say that £40.00 for a wash is a bit much, but believe me, once you are inside, the atmosphere and the service worth every penny. You would be able to experience  what it was like to go in a hammam in the olden days and this is priceless. Also, as the number of visitors is limited and determined by bookings, you never feel rushed or pushed by other people, so again the price reflects the quality delivered.

If you want to take any items with you, they have a lovely shop. One is inside the hamam, where you can buy cosmetics, and the other shop, with accessories mostly, is just immediately beside the entrance to the hamam. 

My visit to the Hamam was hosted by Kilic Ali Pasha Hamami, but all opinions are my own. 

Budapest Guide: Hungarian National Museum

Budapest Guide: Hungarian National Museum

Hungarian National Museum was one of the places I visited, while in Budapest.  It provides a great introduction to Hungarian History and the museum is manageable enough, so you don’t have a headache at the end of your visit.  The museum is divided into defined […]