Browsing Tag

city break

Europe, The Netherlands, Travel

Amsterdam – A Photo Diary

October 17, 2016

Hello everyone! So this is my first post since I’ve transitioned from a ‘Travel Blog’ to a more ‘Lifestyle Blog’ and ironically it’s actually a post about my recent trip to Amsterdam. Haha bad timing from me!

This trip to Amsterdam was a birthday present from Stu (the boy did real good!) and he announced the trip in a fantastic way. On the morning of my birthday Stu put a load of balloons in our living room and some of them had a letter on and I was told that the letters spelt out my present. At first I couldn’t believe Stu was making me do an anagram on my birthday but then I got really into it. Stu was worried that the letters would spell out something else and funnily enough the first letters I found were, M…A…R… and then …M…E. The next letter I found was a ‘D’ to which I said to Stu, “There isn’t a ‘D’ in ‘Marry me’ is there?!” Soon after I had Amsterdam spelt out in front of me and Stu started playing Blind Man in Amsterdam by George Ezra. I burst into happy tears straight away! I was so overcome with emotion that Stu had arranged such an incredible present. I’m very lucky!

I thought I would share with you some of the pictures we took in Amsterdam. It’s a really pretty city and we loved that we didn’t know much about it before we went. When we went to Paris last year, we knew what landmarks we should see but Amsterdam was totally different so our break felt much more relaxed. I hope you enjoy the photos and I’ll write a post soon about what we got up to!

Europe, Travel, UK

An Evening with Brooks Hotels Ltd

July 11, 2016

I was recently invited to Brooks Guesthouse Bristol to celebrate the launch of their newest hotel – Brooks Country House in Hereford. This will be the fourth for the Brooks Hotels Ltd brand, with the other two in Bath and Edinburgh.


Carla Brooks, who runs this fantastic chain with her husband, invited some local Bristol bloggers along for an evening of local wines and cheeses and to give us a chance to have a nosy around the Bristol Guesthouse. It’s always nice to meet other bloggers and we all fell in love with this hidden gem of a guesthouse. It definitely helped that we were all crazy about the free cheese on offer too!

The kitchen and dining area was furnished to a traditional country style and I liked the fact that the kitchen was all open so you’re able to see your food being prepared as you wait. It gives the whole place a very homely feel.


The dining area opens out to a lovely garden area with plenty of plants and places to sit. In keeping with Bristol style, Carla had some street art commissioned which gives the outside a very quirky feel.


The street art isn’t the only surprising aspect of this guesthouse though. Situated on the rooftop are these incredible retro rocket caravans! These must be the coolest place to sleep in Bristol! We had a sneak peak inside one and they’re fitted with colourful LED lights which make them even cooler in my opinion. They’re so big that they had to be lifted up from the street to the rooftop on a crane. Can you imagine how crazy that must have looked?!


The new Brooks Country House is going to have quite a different vibe but it still looks like somewhere amazing to stay. It’s a stunning Georgian Manor House and from the pictures, it looks like its been beautifully decorated. I asked Carla and the wallpaper is all from Cole and Son so no expense has been spared!


On the evening, Katharine from bristoletc won a free stay at the Country House so I’m looking forward to reading her blog post after her visit.

Thank you so much to everyone involved in making this evening happen. I had a lovely time and hope to stay in one of the Brooks Hotels soon!

Europe, France, Travel

Three Nights in Paris

January 21, 2015

Stu and I went to Paris earlier this month and we were there when the Charlie Hebdo attacks happened. It was obviously quite a scary time to be exploring the city but in all honestly our trip was not affected by the attacks at all. The public transport systems ran smoothly and all the main attractions remained open with extra security. On the actual day of the incident, we didn’t even know anything had happened until we got back to the hotel and checked BBC News on our phones. Anyway, here’s how our trip went.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Staying at – Mercure Eiffel Tower.

Duration – 3 nights.

To celebrate our 5 year anniversary in true clichรฉ style, Stu and I headed to Paris. We decided to stay in the Mercure hotel right next to the Eiffel Tower because of the amazing views it offered and for its accessibility. It is so easy to get to. From the Charles De Gaulle airport you can get a train to the Eiffel tower for under 10 euros each. I’d had a little search on Trip Advisor and this seemed the best way to get to anywhere in Paris as Taxis can be expensive.

We arrived late in the evening so checked in and went straight to bed but we’d already seen the Eiffel Tower all lit up as the hotel is ridiculously close to it. I always feel a bit surreal seeing famous monuments for the first time because it isn’t really the first time. My generation will never see anything for the first time, everything is over-shared on Facebook, Instagram etc. I think that’s the main reason anyone goes anywhere, just to take the same photo you’ve seen someone else take. Anyway, enough of me being cynical (I’ll save that for another blog post), let’s get back to Paris!

As this was our first time in Paris we wanted to be the typical tourist and go see all the main sites. As we were under 26 and EU citizens we also got into all museums and art galleries for free and to climb the Eiffel Tower for a reduced price. Just show your passport or driving licence and in you go! We headed straight to the Eiffel Tower on our first morning with the aim of climbing to the top. We were greeted with this.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Um, don’t think we’ll be seeing much if we climb it today! It actually looked a bit spooky in all the fog. We weren’t disappointed by the weather though as we still had a couple of days to climb the tower so we headed off in search of a croissant and a coffee.

We walked what seemed like miles for the rest of day and saw lots of the city. You can use the Metro system to get around but you get to see so much more if you take the time to walk. Paris is full of cute restaurants and boutiques that are tucked away down alleyways that are begging to be explored. We walked from the Arc de Triomphe to the Lourve and back to our hotel and saw lots of Paris this way. The Arc de Triomphe was really interesting with the tomb of the unnamed soldier. You can pay to go to the top of the Arc but we decided against it because of the fog. On the way to the Lourve we walked past the ‘Place de la Concorde’ where Mary Antoinette was famously executed. Best of all, once in the Lourve, I got a selfie with Mona Lisa!

10922708_10153142475874258_8254540293472101653_n

There are hundreds of restaurants in Paris so you really are spoilt for choice when choosing somewhere to eat in the evening. Stu and I went for our standard technique of walking around, reading the menu and choosing somewhere which looked reasonably busy and the food sounded nice. My GCSE French came in handy here as some of the menus didn’t have English translations. We found that waiters were happy to explain anything we couldn’t decipher so don’t worry if you can’t understand a word of French. We wanted to stick to the local cuisine so ended up eating a lot rich food with every course having some sort of cheese or bread. I’m pretty sure my blood was 3 parts brie and 1 part red wine by the time I came home. Stu ordered snails for one starter so we got to try some stereotypical French food. They weren’t too bad, a bit chewy and tasted mainly of the garlic sauce they were cooked in.

The second full day of our trip was the day after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. We were planning on visiting the Notre Dame today and we ended up there at midday when the bells of the cathedral rang out to start the minutes silence in respect to the victims. This was an extremely poignant moment with ‘Je Suis Charlie’ signs being held up along with pens to symbolise freedom of expression.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We walked around the Notre Dame afterwards and the cathedral is home to the most beautiful stained glass windows I have ever seen. I don’t seem to have the photos we took of them but I’ll upload them once Stu has sent them to me. I’m a massive Disney fan so I spent the whole time looking out for Quasimodo. Unfortunately he was nowhere to be seen but I did spot a few gargoyles!

We also climbed to the top of the Eiffel tower on this day. We waited until it was dark and got to see Paris all lit up which looked spectacular. There’s a little flat at the top of the tower where Mr Eiffel entertained guests – who knew?!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

On our last day I got to be a true history nerd and visit the Palace of Versailles which I have learnt about in so many lessons. The palace is so beautiful and extravagant, it’s crazy how much money each King and Queen spent on the place and the gardens are just as spectacular as the rooms. You can spend hours here, there is so much to see, from the King and Queen’s bedrooms to the ballrooms to the Hall of Mirrors where the Treaty of Versaille was signed to end WWI.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I loved Paris and I’m really happy I finally got to visit, it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a long time. Stu and I have no trips planned now so we’ll be job hunting and hopefully planning a few city breaks. I’ll still be writing though, there are places we visited in Australia that I never dedicated a full post to so expect to see some of that and some of me moaning about the job hunt, enjoy!

Australia, Travel

Brisbane

September 22, 2014

Staying at Base Central.

Back in April, Stu and I visited Brisbane for a week. I never made it to Brisbane on my last visit to Australia so I was excited to see another Aussie city. It’s a lot smaller to Sydney and Melbourne and I guess that appeals to a lot of people and it also suited our timeframe as we were only there for a week. A week is more than enough time to get a feel for the city and the surrounding areas.

Like all major cities it has a CBD with the standard shopping malls but the best parts of Brisbane are the outskirts. You have the Southbank area which is a man made beach next to the river with bars, restaurants and a cinema situated nearby. This is a perfect place to spend a sunny day. Stu and I were here for ANZAC day so the beach was rammed with families.

A relaxing alternative to Southbank is the Botanic Gardens where there are a number of relaxing walks to do or just sit down and enjoy the scenery. If you’re feeling up to a more challenging walk you can climb the nearby Mount Cootha. The top of the ‘mountain’ gives a brilliant view of the Brisbane skyline.

My favourite trip we did by far whilst in Brisbane was our trip to Australia Zoo, made famous by Steve Irwin. It was the most incredible day and I loved every second. All the zoo keepers are fantastic and have such enthusiasm for their jobs and for continuing Steve’s legacy. You learn so much about the work he did to help wildlife. The best of the day is the midday show at the Crocoseum. You get to see birds of prey racing around the stadium, crocs jumping out the water and much more. Don’t miss it!

We both enjoyed Brisbane but we felt like we couldn’t stay any longer here, unlike Melbourne where I could easily live long term.