Browsing Tag

wanderlust

Belgium, Europe, Travel

24 (ish) Hours in Bruges

August 9, 2017

Before we went to Amsterdam the other week, we stayed in Bruges for 1 night so had a bit of time to explore the city and some of the surrounding area. This was very much a stopover on our way to our main destination so there is plenty more to see and see in Bruges but it was a good little introduction to this beautiful place.

This wasn’t my first trip to Belgium but I was quite young the first time and my overriding memory of my visit is getting horrifically seasick on the ferry over. So not the best memory to associate with Belgium. We did the ferry this time as well but I was armed with travel sickness tablets and felt absolutely fine. Phew! The weatherman had promised us a bit of sunshine so we decided to drive to a beach in Belgium on the way to Bruges.


The beach was in Niewpoort and we were all pleasantly surprised. With no idea what to expect, Niewport beach turned out to be a really pretty beach surrounded by sand dunes. Being able to feel the sand between my toes always makes me happy and this time was no different. One day I’d love to live close enough to the beach to be able to do this more often. Anyway, we found a sheltered area between the dunes and spread our towels out so we could have a sit down and look out to sea. Our friends who we were travelling with, Nath and Tash, are getting married later this month so there was plenty of wedding talk whilst we relaxed. The sun soon made its promised appearance and we decided to walk down to the shore. Nath decided to have a proper dip in the sea but the rest of us settled for rolling up our jeans and going in about ankle deep. The sea air soon made us thirsty and we walked a bit further along the beach and came across this cute little bar behind some sand dunes. We bagsied the swinging bed and made ourselves comfy with a pint. Stu and Tash went for a local 8% beer which actually turned out to be the weakest beer we’d try in Belgium. We love Belgium.


After our pint and swing session we got back in the car and drove to our accommodation in Bruges. We were staying within the city walls in the old town so were surrounded by picturesque bridges and buildings.


So, what is there to do in Bruges? I had done zero research but Tash was super organised and had lots of ideas of what we could see and do. When I think of Belgium I think of beer and chocolate but Bruges has a lot more to offer. We decided to head out and aim for some of the main sights and then just see how the day goes.


Our first stop was The Basilica of the Holy Blood which is a chapel which is home to a phial which apparently contains some of Jesus’ blood. Unfortunately it wasn’t on display when we were there but we’ve seen where it is kept which is practically the same thing right? The chapel itself was really impressive with huge stained glass windows and intricate displays. I love visiting religious buildings as you usually have to be silent and it’s nice to be able to take in your surroundings peacefully.


From the chapel we walked to the historic centre of Bruges which is surrounded by impressive buildings in the traditional architecture.  A lot of these buildings including the bell tower are in the film, In Bruges, which I haven’t seen but feel like I should now. We had a little mooch around a chocolate shop near here but didn’t buy anything. We must be one of the only people to visit Belgium and not try and chocolate. Next time!


However, what we lacked in chocolate, we definitely made up for in beer. The 8% beer on the beach was followed up by an 11% one called Garre Tripel served in a tiny pub called De Garre which is nestled down a tiny alley way off the main square. This beer is only available here and is well worth the visit. It may be strong but as a non-beer drinker, I can promise you that it’s nice. It came served with some cubes of local cheese and we ordered some chopped cured sausage as well. Perfection!


We wandered around the canals for the rest of the afternoon/evening, popping in to local pubs and sampling more Belgium beer. I never drink beer and surprised myself how much I enjoyed it. I quickly learnt that a strong blonde beer would be fine for me so I’ll have to keep an eye out for these in future. In one of these pubs we stopped for some food. The waitress recommended some simple Italian dishes which turned out to be huge portions covered in cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking of them again. Before long, we headed back to our accommodation feeling very content with our time in Bruges.

I think I now need to go and watch ‘In Bruges’ and get planning a longer trip to this great city.

Have you been to Bruges? What else would you recommend to see or do?

Travel

Where I Want To Visit In 2017

January 9, 2017

Last year I put a post together about where I wanted to visit in 2016 (Have a read here) so it’s only right that I do the same for 2017!

First of all, I need to point out that these lists are a bit ambitious when you’re working full time and have limited annual leave and money but I love looking at places for some wanderlust inspiration. Dublin was the only place that got ticked off last year’s list so here’s the revised ‘ Where I want to Visit’ list for 2017.

 A Greek Island… or two.

I am in desperate need of a beach holiday. I want a sun lounger, a good book and an even better cocktail so I can relax in the sunshine for 1 or 2 weeks. The Greek Islands are still very appealing and Thomas Cook do a good island hopping holiday that I’ve got my eye on. If you want to escape to a different  world on your lunch break then have a look at the properties in Santorini available on AirBnB – you can live like a celeb for such little money! Those infinity pools are calling my name…

Iceland

Iceland is still firmly on this list. Stu and I have spoken about maybe booking this for his birthday in December. We’d like to go when there’s a lot of snow and hopefully catch a glimpse on the Northern lights as well. Iceland has become really popular in the last couple of years but that doesn’t really bother me. They can fight me for the best spot at the Blue Lagoon!

Eastern Europe

I love a good city break so hopefully I can squeeze one in at some point this year. I love exploring a city for the first time and it always feels like such a treat because you’re only away for a few days. I’m thinking maybe somewhere in Eastern Europe as that’s somewhere I haven’t been before. Do you have any recommendations? Prague, Tallinn and Krakow all appeal to me.

A Long Haul Adventure? 

And to top off the list I need to mention that my Mum and Step Dad are heading off on a round the world trip in February. They’re going to be away for at least a year visiting amazing places such as Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia, South America, Central America and pretty much all the other exotic places you can think of! I’d love to visit them somewhere so need to start saving the pennies as pretty much every country is a long haul flight away. Hmm, 2018 trip?

Are you going anywhere exciting this year?

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, Travel, UK

Glastonbury Festival 2016

July 5, 2016

Anyone else still suffering from the Glastonbury blues? The long journey to get there, the horrendous mud and the toilets are now a distant memory and all we can remember is the great music, the fantastic array of food and the incredible atmosphere that surrounds Glastonbury festival.

glastonbury 2016 2glastonbury 2016 3

This year was my third Glastonbury and it honestly just gets better. Whether you’re there for the headliners or the smaller acts, there’s something for everyone. You could go to Glastonbury and not see a single performance and still have a good time. Each area is filled with the most random activities and stalls. Boredom is simply not possible at this amazing festival in Somerset.

These were my highlights for 2016:

glastonbury 2016 1

The food! I could dedicate a whole blog post to the food at Glasto. Every cuisine imaginable is available and it’s all amazing. I actually get sad that there isn’t enough time to try more.

glastonbury food

The tributes to Bowie, Prince and Lemmy. These were everywhere – from stage installations to toilet graffiti. A touching nod of respect to these great artists.

david bowie eavis tribute

Bowie tribute pyramid stagelemmy tribute other stage glastonbury 2016

Coldplay’s tribute to Viola Beach. A moving tribute to a band who never reached their full potential. This was the closest to tears I got all week.

coldplay glastonbury 2016

Adele’s accent. The contrast between her singing and speaking voice is crazy. I loved Adele’s anecdotes and jokes between songs. She was phenomenal.

glastonbury 2016 4

I always go through a stage after Glastonbury when I say that I won’t be going again. Then I forget how disgusting I felt and watch some of the performances again on Youtube and before long I can’t imagine spending the last weekend in June anywhere else… See you next year Glastonbury!

Glastonbury 2016

Asia, Thailand, Travel

Going to the Full Moon Party as a couple!

February 8, 2016

The Full Moon Party is one of Thailand’s main attractions for the hundreds of backpackers that visit the country each year. However it may not be top of your list if you’re travelling as a couple. I’ve been to Koh Phangan with friends and with Stu so I can tell you that it’s totally fine to go to the Full Moon Party with your partner!

going to the full moon party as a couple 3
I’ve written before about the Full Moon Party, it’s a mental night that you need to experience at least once. Thousands of people packed on to a beach is not everyone’s cup of tea but Stu and I had a really good night. The travelling community is really friendly so you find yourselves talking to anyone you’re stood by and swapping stories about backpacking. You might feel like people won’t approach a couple but we didn’t really find this a problem. Stu’s really good at starting a conversation with anyone and I just joined in. This is probably how we made most of our friends travelling!

going to the full moon party as a couple 2

Most of your time at the Full Moon Party will be spent drinking buckets of alcohol and dancing outside one of the many bars which line the beach. There’s also water slides from the tops of bars down to the beach and a sleeping zone for those that need a nap to last until sunrise. There’s so much going on that it doesn’t matter if you’re part of a big group or just with one other person. I’m sure plenty of people go on their own!

20140326-203809.jpg
People seem to have no inhibitions when they’re in another country so you’re bound to see some strange sights at the party. You just have to embrace the night and enjoy the experience as a whole. I found that there was a bit of a strange atmosphere because everyone is so determined to have a good time. It’s a bit like New Years Eve when you do something because you feel have to go out. If you try not to have too high expectations then you’ll enjoy the Full Moon Party whoever you go with. Just appreciate dancing on a beach until sunrise covered in UV paint!

going to the full moon party as a couple

Have you been to the Full Moon Party? How did you find it?

Going to the Full Moon Party as a couple

Travel, Travel Advice

Keeping in touch with friends you meet travelling

February 4, 2016

The people you meet when you’re travelling and the times you spend together will form some of the best memories of your life. It’s crazy how close you can become in such a short amount of time. The problem with travelling is that everyone is always moving on to another city, country or even heading home. So how do you keep in touch with these friends that you’ve met travelling?

Obviously Facebook makes it easy to see what your friends are up to. You can ‘like’ photos and send messages about how much you miss each other and how you ‘must’ meet up soon. Sound familiar? We’re all terrible for saying these kind of things and never actually arranging anything. I get it, life’s busy for everyone but we really should make more of an effort to see people again. Seeing travel friends again is such a good experience. You can reminisce about that time in Australia and then go make new memories in whatever country you’re meeting up in.

Stu and I have met up with friends that we spent months with in Australia and Bali and we always have a good time. We all miss travelling and when we’re together it feels like we’re back in that backpacker lifestyle. It definitely helps you get over that horrible feeling we all get when we’re home. So next time you think about much you’re missing your travel pals, make the effort and arrange to meet up!

Australia, Travel

Happy Australia Day!

January 26, 2016

I’ll let you in to a secret, I’ve never been in Australia for Australia Day. I’ve always arrived in the country just after! It doesn’t make me want to celebrate any less though. I love Australia and hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back there again. I hope all my friends Down Under have had a great day, I wish I was there to join you for a schooner or two!

388561_10151594390339258_1890421410_nSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESimage

Australia, Travel

Diving the Great Barrier Reef with Deep Sea Divers Den

January 18, 2016

If you’re thinking of doing a dive on the Great Barrier Reef as part of your East Coast trip, you should definitely use Deep Sea Divers Den. Diving the Great Barrier reef was one of my favourite experiences in Australia and I have Deep Sea Divers Den to thank for that (and Stu for paying for the dive for my birthday present!).

DSC_1131

This was my first Scuba dive in open water and there probably isn’t a better place to do a dive than the beautiful barrier reef. All of the marine life looked amazing and we saw so many different creatures, from sharks to turtles to Nemo! Our dive instructor made us all feel completely comfortable. We were all 100% happy with our equipment and knew all the signals if we ever got into trouble below the surface.

DSC_1095

Luckily the reef itself was quite healthy where we were diving as I’ve heard some dive companies take you to parts of the reef which are unhealthy and dying. Deep Sea Divers Den help care for the reef to ensure visitors can enjoy it for years to come.

DSC_3671

After a 20 minute dive, we put on our snorkel equipment and got straight back in the water. The four of us are all strong swimmers and can hold our breath for quite a while so could manage to dive quite deep and explore the reef some more. There’s plenty of fish to see from the surface if you’re not happy doing this though.

DSC_0201

Deep Sea Divers Den also put on a fantastic lunch buffet – and that’s coming from 4 very hungry backpackers. There’s more than enough food to go around and it’s really tasty as well. All the swimming makes you really hungry!

DSC_1109

I know a lot of people worry about the price of doing a Scuba dive but it really is worth every dollar. You’ve got to think that you may not ever have the chance to visit the Great Barrier Reef again. You only live once after all! Just go for it!

Have you dived the Great Barrier Reef? What company did you use?

 

Europe, Greece, Travel

Nothing beats a Sunset

January 4, 2016

I love a sunset shot and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? When I flick through other people’s holiday pictures I prefer to find the sunset snap than the bikini one. I now have a camera with a ‘sunset setting’ to really bring out all the colours in the sky.

DSCN1567

This picture is taken on the Greek island of Kalymnos. I like it because it isn’t like the usual sunset, it’s a bit gloomy but still manages to capture the beauty of this island. I love that you can see how close the neighboring islands are. This was taken back in 2014 during a bit of an island hopping holiday.

I’ve now been to a few of the Greek islands but as I mentioned in my last post, Mykonos is next on my list!

Do you love a sunset picture as well? If you do then you should do a post like this and enter it into Olympic Holidays #SnapASunset competition!