Espana

January 15, 2014

We have just booked a holiday and I couldn’t be more excited.

It will be our first family holiday but we are going with a ton of friends, some with kiddo’s and some without. Jessica will not even be the youngest.

We are going to Andalucia in Spain, near Granada to this ridiculously gorgeous villa…

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I am already excited about big chaotic dinner with some of our closet friends in one of the many al fresco dining areas… I mean how beautiful is this?

Some local wine, cheese, bread and charcuterie. Heaven!

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I really want to chill, we are only going for a week and we have a big pool so I will msotly be lying in the sunshine and swimming with Jessica. But I would also love get out and explore a little, I do hope the little one is up for it. Having done the tiniest bit of research it just looks to good not to.

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Reeeeeally want to check this place out!

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And walk through pretty little white washed houses…

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And see views like this!

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Like I said SO EXCITED.

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House in the Sea

January 2, 2014

How beautiful is this place?

This house is in North Carolina, and was rescued from ruin….

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Spotted on exPress-O

Paris

July 18, 2013

A few weeks ago I took a trip to Paris with my Mama, shamefully I am only just getting around to writing it up !

The trip was planned last year to come at the start of my Mum’s retirement, a great celebration, then I found out I was going to be about 6 months pregnant at the time so we tried to take it easy… and I got to drink far less Champagne that I had planned (i.e. none) but it was still a lovely few days in a beautiful city.

This was my fourth trip to the city, although I hadn’t been since I was 16, so we mostly stayed away from all the usual tourist sites and mostly mooched about dreamy Parisian neighbourhoods, ate delicious food and shopped till we dropped.

We stayed in an apartment, knowing that by the evening we would probably just be resting the thought of a depressing twin room was just not going to excite us, and with the fabulous Air BnB we didn’t have to. The bonus being that our beautiful apartment cost us les per night than a generic chain hotel.

We stayed in Arnaud’s huge beautiful apartment on the 4th floor in La Marais… it was in an old building (with a lift) so had a large sitting and dining room with amazing windows and balconies…

We picked it because of the space and the lift, not many apartments had this much room at this price, or a lift and when you are on the 4th floor and have been wandering the streets of Paris all day you will be grateful!

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This was our view…

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We arrived at about 6pm and when to a nearby restaurant our host had recommended for dinner in the evening sunshine… we ate a ton of cheese and sipped on some of my favourite Chablis…

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We were about a 20 minutes walk from the Seine so on our way to catch a boat we walked past Note Dame, which was heaving with tourists and as I had seen all the sites a few times before made us think twice about visiting anymore this time…

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Then we visited a brilliant mall which has all the wonderful French shops you might want to visit, so I went wild in Sephora stocking up on the Lanvin – Lancome collab, and lots of little presents for friends, perfume and more presents for me and baby at Fragonard and some delicious caramels and biscuits at the cutest sweet shop.

Then we stopped for lunch, I had the biggest portion of mussels… and the favourite drink of my childhood French holidays Orangina!

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One things I really wanted to do given that we had a kitchen was shop for food like a Parisian, Oh Happy Day had recommended this street for food shopping so we took a few trips here to buy cheese, meat, veggies, bread and beautiful pastries too, to take home and enjoy there…

The street is – rue Rambuteau and it’s amazing.

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There were also wonderful cafes (like one called ChouChou – 63 rue Rambuteau) where we breakfasted on juice, hot chocolate and croissants for 4 euros…

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My favourite thing about this trip was just sitting in cafes with coffee and people watching, they are made for it, with their awnings and all the chairs always all face the street…

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and boat trips along the Seine… I love how old Paris is, and how spacious it feels…

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We did hit the Champs Elysees for a quick visit, but soon realised our mistake when we couldn’t find anything decent to eat… unless you go high-end or have a rubbish sandwich on the street and are prepared to pay way more than you should be don’t eat here…. we headed back to a less touristy stomping ground in the end.

The shopping isn’t anything you can’t get anywhere else either…

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I did have fun looking at the beautiful Louis Vuitton windows displays though, always amazing, and visiting Laudree for a sweet treat!

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Always look up in Paris, and dream of living in a beautiful apartment above a cafe…

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I stuck to the classics, this cheese omelette in a cafe just off of the rue du Bac was amazing, with the simplest salad ever. This street is another great shopping area – just lots of little boutiques. I found the cutest shop called Petit Pan (another recommendation from Oh Happy Day) and got the sweetest quilt for the baby.

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Followed by the biggest, richest mousse I have ever had, definitely a stand out meal from the trip.

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Flower shops and stands are everywhere and in peony season I was dying!

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We also shopped for chocolates at a teeny tiny chocolate shop, Chapon was an experience, with the old chocolate moulds all over the wall, and a very sweet Frenchmen serving us we picked each chocolate out and he filled the cutest boxes and tied them with ribbon for us. Loved it.

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We had to visit Bon Marche, the stunning Art Deco beauty hall is worth the trip alone, then we spent a good hour hiding from a rain shower lusting over the beautiful French home-wares and baby clothes, and I swooned over the lingerie department and vowed to return next year when I can actually wear nice things again!

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We saw the love lock bridges, I would love to return with my Mr and lock our love here, so cute.

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And although we didn’t visit the Eiffel Tower site we did see her on a boat trip, I couldn’t leave Paris without seeing it, it just wouldn’t be right .

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A visit to Montmartre on our last, very wet day, was funny. I remembered this as my favourite part of Paris, probably because I didn’t see any real Paris before and this was the closest I got to the cafes and shops. The Sacre Cour side is so very touristy but there is a wonderful real-life Paris side, if you go over the hill and down past the windmills you can find beautiful stylish cafes and restaurants, boutiques and little cheese shops. We found it too late! Next time.

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A last night-time view from our little balcony.

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Eating well in Paris is easy, just stay away from the main tourist sites at meal times, head to cafes with lots of French eating there and order the classics and you can’t go wrong. Same as any holiday really! Also we found on this trip the cheaper more traditional spots did the best food.

Chouchou on the rue Rambuteau – where there are also a ton of other real Parisian cafes and L’Abinthe Cafe on rue de Turbigo were good.

One last tip, start your trip off right by having lunch at the Booking Office at the St Pancras Hotel, it’s not cheap but it’s a beautiful room and I really loved having a nice lunch before the train meaning we started with the right frame of mind – relaxed and ready.

I really want to go back there for a more decadent champagne lunch!

Our little trip to Greece was a little while ago now but I still wanted to share the hotel details with you, it was such a great little place…

We started off quite badly by missing our flights  so missed our first night, the hotel couldn’t have been nicer about the whole thing and reassured me via email that our booking would be unaffected and we could be picked up the next day.

We were met at the airport by a driver (despite our flight landing a little late) who refreshed us with bottles of iced tea and told us about the island’s places of interest as we drove and a short ride later we arrived…

I loved the lobby!

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If, unlike my Husband and I, you don’t travel with laptop’s then they have some for you to use here… we also had free wi-fi at the hotel for our stay, I really dislike hotels that charge especially as it only seems to be the bigger chain that do so.

It means my Husband can stay on top of his work (being self-employed) which means we are both more relaxed… also I can get my instagram fix.

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The hotel is such a calming place, it felt like a spa with all the whites and muted colours…

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We were then shown to our huge room… that bed, man I miss that bed…

There was also a seat and a sofa-bed plus a long bench and a table. So much room to spread out.

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The bathroom was, as most hotels have now, a basin and shower in the room and a separate toilet.

I loved the brushed concrete walls and the mood lighting in the shower…

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Most of all I loved our view, we were overlooking the pool, although not huge this was the bigger of the two pools… and waking up to this every morning was heaven, for the first time in a long time my Husband slept in and I was the early riser getting in little swims before he woke…

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The practicalities…  the pool is fairly small but we never found it overcrowded, and we always managed to get one of the six sun loungers when we wanted one, this might not be the case in high-season but we never found it an issue and liked that it was a quieter place to go when we didn’t want to be on the beach.

They also provided towels free of charge for the pool and beach leaving your fluffy white ones in the room.

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I loved the little fairy lights in the pool at night too, magical.

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And so the beach…

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This hotel is smack bang on the beach, the restaurant where you eat breakfast everyday spills out onto the sand, and has a number of sun beds and day beds, sofas and tables with and without shade to choose from…

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This is what I long-looked forward to in the run up to getting away… sitting in the sun with a glass of wine…

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The hotel plays music from early until late so although the beach rooms had an even better view than us they had a lot more noise to contend with, and the beach was a lot busier.

The beach was pretty much full of sun loungers, which I didn’t mind at all but then it wasn’t too busy. I imagine in high season this might not be my favourite place to be… as I like smaller, less busy beaches. 

Breakfast here was wonderful as well, they had the most amazing Greek yogurt and honey, which I could not get enough of, as well as juices and coffee etc.

They had an omelette chef ready and waiting if that was your desire… as well as a number of breads and baked treats and Greek pies…

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…and the view, couldn’t have been better.

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We didn’t eat at the hotel much purely because we were only there for such a short time and we love to explore but I did have to enjoy some sunlounger food action one afternoon and I loved that all I had to do was press a button on our umbrella and one of the wonderful staff members came to take my order… and the burger was everything a burger should be… huge and so tasty.

My chocolate shake was awesome too.

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I would like to mention I did eat mostly Greek food the rest of the time!

And this is the water… the final amazing detail I have to share.

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It was my kind of beach… not too busy (we were there early June, I am told it gets super busy), plenty of sun loungers, which by the way are free when you stay at the hotel, the water was cool and salty so I could float away to my heart’s content, and it was still and clear… which means I don’t get knocked about or scared.

It was the perfect place for a relaxing Babymoon.

Mykonos Ammos Hotel

Our Babymoon…

June 7, 2013

I don’t care if the word Babymoon sounds silly, I love it.

My husband and I took a trip to Mykonos last week. I have wanted to visit the Greek islands for a long time and a little chance to rest and relax together before the preparations for the little one start in earnest was very much-needed.

Our hotel was simply amazing (I will recommend this as well as our favourite restaurants) and the setting just perfect…

The views from the beach were just what I had pictured… blue skies and little white houses.

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The colours of our trip were turquoise and coral pink…

The water was my favourite kind, bright blue and clear, with hardly any waves and a high salt content… which meant I could float away to my heart’s content.

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I paddled… (check out my big bump)

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We ate our breakfast on the beach every morning… I miss that so much.

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I was so excited when they had fresh watermelon juice, it my favourite thing to drink when I am somewhere hot.

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We ate gelato and ice creams as big as our heads… literally.

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We enjoyed lunches on the beach… without moving from our sunloungers.

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I ditched my favourite cappuccino to indulge in ice coffees, another holiday must.

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The corals and pinks… from flowers that were literally everywhere I looked…

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We had drinks and dinner outside on the beach and in Mykonos Town at dusk watching hazy sunsets…

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All of the food was amazing, we stuck mostly to Greek food, I ate the best Greek salads (sun ripened tomatoes rule)and moussaka of my life, and we ate a lot of calamari, as we always do when it’s readily available.

I definitely want to have a Greek night at home soon, with lots of delicious dips.

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My favourite meal of the trip was at Familia in Mykonos town, it was in a gorgeous little courtyard full of pretty restaurants and covered in pink flowers… the food was amazing.

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The lightest (best) moussaka I have ever eaten.

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We also ate at M-eating, which was good, but not traditional Greek food and wasn’t the best food of the trip by a long way. I mention this because it is highly rated on trip advisor and we had to book… For what we ate it wasn’t worth it (maybe we picked badly) 

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My pear salad was delicious though… 

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We also ate at Aperanto Galazio which is right the beach at Ornos, really delicious halloumi and pitta and calamari, and Porto Ornos, which was right next door to our hotel where we had a feast of different dips and bread… all of the bread we ate was so good. And our last night we ate at Ithaki; amazing Greek kebab and dips and salads… I need to eat like this more!

Mostly I just enjoyed staying horizontal, on the beach or by the pool, having the sunshine on my face and ploughing my ways through a couple of books

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A complete recharge! 

A little trip…

May 31, 2013

Today my Husband and I are flying away for a little break just the two of us before the last trimester of my pregnancy tires me out again!

Remember this blog?

Well my dreams are coming true, we are headed to Mykonos for a few nights, I cannot wait to feel the sun on my skin.

Church in OIa on Island of Santorini with bay view of Volcano

I have a book I cannot wait to read, a sunlounger on the beach with my name on it and a brand new sun hat… so excited!

I’ll be back next week

xx

A little recommendation today… we stayed in this hotel back in November but I just found these photos.

The main reason why this is such a great find was the price, we paid £115 for a room in London in a cool hotel. The rooms are small, granted, but most in London are and you still pay a premium.

The lobby is very cool…

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There are lots of little areas to sit and relax in, in the huge lobby. Spots that you actually want to. I think this is a great attention to detail as the rooms are small this lobby area is quite important. 

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When we returned from our evening out we very much enjoyed having cocktails by the fire (again good prices, expensive but in the London bracket not the hotel bracket)… 

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The bar is open 24 hours, which again is good as the location in the South Bank is not bustling late at night… 

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The rooms are small but comfortable, a little like pods. The bed takes up the whole of the end of the room and the bathroom is another small pod within the room.

We loved the toiletries,  the fact you can control everything in the room from the tablet as well as go on the internet, the mood lighting was very fun as well.

The beds are pretty awesome.

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So next time you need to stay in London you can’t really go wrong with Citizen M, I think the prices may have gone up a little as we visited when it was brand new.

They have other locations too… I for one cannot wait for Paris to open!