My first time skiing! …

Phil has been desperate to try his hand at skiing for years but to be honest, it’s never really been high on my wanderlust list. However, when we realised that we could incorporate skiing into our Canadian trip, we booked a lodge at the Blue Mountain resort and off we went.

I’m not a very athletic person and whilst I enjoy dancing and *some* exercise, I’m more of a creative kinda girl and things like skiing don’t come naturally to me. I know that it’s due to a block installed by my mind because physically I can do adrenaline junkie activities as well as high energy stuff but in my mind I get scared and won’t allow myself to fall out of my comfort zone.

Phil on the other hand, is literally amazing at anything he sets his mind on. I went ice skating with him once and he said he had been a couple of times as child but there he was skating backwards and spinning in circles like a figure skater in training whilst I clung to the railing for dear life.

Let’s just say that I knew before we arrived in the Blue Mountains that Phil was going to excel at skiing and I would be going at a much slower pace.

We signed up for skiing lessons and were fortunate to have an amazing instructor called Sean. He really took the time and patience (especially with me) but also challenged us when we needed challenging. It played out exactly as I thought it would with Phil morphing into Eddie Eagle within minutes and me taking an hour to grasp stopping (pizza shape for the win).

I was fine putting the skis on and balancing around on them. I was also fine climbing the nursery slope sideways. The problem came when I slipped at the top and whizzed past Phil and Sean shouting ‘it was an accident’ before Sean saving me from a near death fall into an icy pond (literally two inches from the edge!). From then on my progress was stunted and I must have climbed up that slope sideways fifty million times before I felt like I had good control stopping. Anyway, after that it felt good and I began to enjoy it a little more and felt confident.

We spent quite a bit of time in the village that day and enjoyed Italian food, s’mores hot chocolate and poutine. It was great.

We were also lucky with the weather, we had heavy snow the night before and heavy snow all day. Whilst it made visibility a bit pants (at one point I could barely see three metres ahead), it did make for great skiing conditions.

After our first day, we returned knackered but optimistic about our next trip on the slopes.

Have you tried skiing?

L x

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Miami South Beach…

I really enjoyed our stay in Miami, everything from the warm sunshine kissing our ghostly pale winter skin to the gorgeous pastel painted Art Deco buildings lining the streets. Miami was a real treat.

I feel like you can’t visit Miami without having a day at the beach. The beaches are just divine with powdery sand and ‘water so clear you can see to the bottom’ (thanks Will Smith). So on a sunny Sunday in February we hit up the infamous South Beach.

The atmosphere was great – everyone was out from families to girl gangs and people who looked like they were taking a break from a Men’s Health photo shoot. People were having picnics, playing music and generally just frolicking. I love a beach day and couldn’t wait to slip into my new Seafolly swimsuit, however, there wasn’t a changing facility in sight! So I landed up hiding behind a little shed with Phil holding a towel whilst I shimmied my starkers body into the new cozzie. I can assure you it wasn’t my finest moment, but completely worth it for a swim in that turquoise sea.

I must also mention that somehow I got fried despite wearing factor 50! Although luckily it turned to tan, which almost never happens. I’m not sure if the sun was extra strong that day or my winter skin so pale after a few months of cloud, either way I definitely returned home with a holiday glow!

I also introduced Phil and his Dad to Texas Roadhouse where we had amazing bread (seriously it’s so good), drank sangria and generally stuffed our faces whilst watching birthday go-ers mount a wooden horse. It was grand.

In the evening we went to a bar along the water which was a really nice end to a really nice day.

Have you visited South Beach?

L x

Travelling alone for the first time and visiting Boston…

Just before Christmas I received a lovely letter from one of my uni pals suggesting that we have a reunion with another friend of ours who lives in Boston. The three of us were super close during our time at university and despite each of us living on a different continent, we’ve managed to stay in touch. I last saw Cindy in January 2017 whilst we were visiting Hong Kong, and the last time we were all together was at my wedding in the summer of 2015.

Anyway, it worked out that the three of us would be Stateside at the same time (during our trip to Florida), so it made sense for me to leave the boys down south and hop on a flight to see my buddies for a couple of days.

I had never flown alone before simply because the occasion hadn’t arisen. I always go on holiday with Phil and as we met so young, I had only been on holiday with family beforehand.

I wasn’t nervous or worried about flying alone, I love travelling and am used to the flight experience. I thought that it might feel weird, but it was absolutely fine. I was sat with a nice lady who lived in Fort Lauderdale and was also travelling to see friends. I had a little nap, read an issue of Vogue and before I knew it, I was in Boston.

As we descended into Boston, the pilot announced that the temperature was 26. I thought it was odd that it appeared to be as warm as southern Florida before realising he had meant 26 Fahrenheit. It was actually minus 3. It’s so crazy to think that just a three hour flight can take you somewhere so different.

Luckily for me, my kind friend Heidi met me at the airport with her super cute little boy Jasper. We went shopping and ate lots of food with her husband Ian and then returned to the airport to meet Cindy.

It was so lovely to be reunited and we immediately went to a dessert lounge in Quincy for a catch up before turning in at Heidi’s for the night.

Have you travelled alone before?

L x

The Everglades, Keys and Fort Lauderdale…

Of all the times that we have travelled to Florida, we have never quite managed to make it to the Everglades or The Keys. We always seem to become swept up in the lights of Orlando and the beaches in North Florida. I think that there’s just so much to do and explore that we always seem to run out of time. Anyway, on this occasion, we decided to fly to Miami and explore the southern part of the sunshine state.

Our first stop was The Everglades, a gorgeous national park oozing with wildlife and greenery. We went on an airboat tour from The Everglades Holiday Park . The airboat was super fun and our host very knowledgeable. I loved feeling the wind in my hair and looking out for gators. Luckily we managed to spot quite a few on our trip. They are such majestic creatures and I feel like I learnt a lot about them from our trip. The only downside to the airboat tour was the part at the end where you have the option to hold a baby gator. It had its mouth tied shut and I just felt like it was completely unnecessary. Nobody needs to hold an alligator and the poor little thing must have felt terribly vulnerable. That being said, I would still highly recommend the boat tour and I think that overall they have good intentions with the wildlife.

Next stop was a trip to Key Largo. I had heard how dreamy the Keys are, but I didn’t imagine that they would be quite so lush. I immediately fell in love with the chilled atmosphere, crystal clear sea and how genuinely beautiful they are. The sea was warm and inviting. Possibly the clearest sea I have ever seen and still as a Polaroid. I could see fish everywhere and it was just so, so lovely. We found a little hidden beach tucked away behind some (also dreamy) houses and just existed there for a while. The winter has felt terribly long (and appears to be never ending – snow over Easter, say what?!), it was so, so nice to soak up the sun and feel it on my skin. I loved walking around in flip flops and a sundress. The temperatures were 27/28 degrees every day and it was absolutely divine. What a treat.

Continuing our beach theme, we headed over to Fort Lauderdale for a sunset stroll on the beach followed by dinner at a restaurant with live music that kisses the coastline. We also had a look around the shops. Fort Lauderdale is quite lively in the evenings, so I would definitely recommend a visit.

Have you visited Southern Florida?

L x

Barcelona Part Four – Relaxing by the Marina…

On our fourth and final day in Barcelona, I was only interested in doing two things. Firstly, soaking up the sunshine before I’m smothered in grey cloud back home, and secondly, eating good food.

There was one place that I had grown to really love whilst in Barcelona and that was the marina. I could sit there for hours watching the ripples in the water and the boats floating along. There is also a little stall (or a few stalls if you walk along), where you can buy crepes and waffles. I opted for a chocolate crepe with whipped cream and did not regret it.

We also walked along Las Ramblas and ate more Japanese food (such a sucker for Asian food!) and it was the perfect end to a perfect trip.

Have you travelled to Barcelona?

L x

Barcelona Part Three – Park Guell and the Gothic Quarter…

On the our third day in beautiful Barcelona, we decided to walk from our hotel near Eixample to Park Guell. We Google mapped our route and discovered that it would take around an hour which was fine because we both quite like walking. What Google maps failed to mention was that the final leg of our walk to Park Guell was up a steep hill. I was melting by the time we reached the top (although towards Park Guell they provide you with the option of using an escalator which was like a drop of gold falling from heaven!).

Anyway, the uphill walk was worth it for those dreamy views. We could see all of the way to the sea which was rather lovely. Park Guell is super nice to walk around too, we loved it.

Once we had finished mooching around we decided to walk back towards our hotel (much more fun going downhill). We stopped for cake, a drink and a well deserved rest for a bit before heading over to the Gothic Quarter to enjoy the wonderful architecture.

There are so many cute little shops and restaurants lining the Gothic Quarter, so it’s easy to get swept up in an afternoon there.

We then headed over to see the Marina lit up at night, which was really nice and we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant in the shopping centre. I’m such a sucker for Asian food!

Have you visited Park Guell?

L x

Celebrating my birthday…

I absolutely adore a fun evening with my closest buddies and so for my birthday this year, I decided to invite a few people over for a pyjama party at our house. I also loved having a shower and throwing on pyjamas before people arrived, it was a no-fuss evening!

We’ve had a few bbq’s with around 20 or so people and we have an annual Eurovision shindig, but this was the first time that we’d had a few people hanging out and it was super fun!

The boys played Super Smash Bros and We all played a few ‘party’ games including beer pong. I added a few shots of vodka too, which I’m not sure I’d recommend!

I had an amazing Oreo flavoured cactus cake made by Bluebell Bakes. I always get our special occasions from Bluebell Bakes because they not only look incredible, but they taste divine all whilst helping out a small business. I feel really strongly about supporting small businesses and also about having a special occasion cake made fresh. You just can’t beat it!

We had a really fun evening and it was great to see my closest buddies. They are all wonderful.

How do you celebrate your birthday?

L x

Budapest Day 3: Buda Castle, Gellért Spa and Pinball…

We had a super jam packed Wednesday in Budapest following on from the Christmas break. The shops were finally open, the sun was shining and there was Life all over the city.

We started our day by having breakfast at Matthias Church. I’m such a sucker for Starbucks Pain Au Chocolats (or chocolate croissants as they like to call them Stateside!), so we decided to pop over to a Starbucks with a view for breakfast.

Unfortunately we had to walk up ten million stairs and Starbucks didn’t have any pains, so I had to settle for cake instead (certainly liveable!), but the views were incredible and it was such a treat to witness such a beautiful city smothered in golden sunshine.

It really was a glorious morning. I would highly recommend heading over to Matthias Church and walking along to Buda Castle. It was really lovely.

Budapest has so much history and culture sunken into its veins and each building has a story or a sight that it’s seen. Buda castle is no exception. There’s so much history there and it’s gorgeous too, so definitely worth a visit!

Following our visit to the castle, we made our way over to Gellért Spa. Gellért Spa resides in the most beautiful building and although it was smaller than Széchenyi, it was grander and felt cleaner. We had a relaxing afternoon there.

We then decided to walk to the Pinball museum. It took us over an hour as we stopped to breath in the sumptuous architecture that Budapest displays in abundance and although we were in need of a rest after our mammoth walking day (we had walked everywhere that day), I’m glad that we did because you simply miss out on the small things of you are whizzing by in a taxi.

We had lots of fun at the Pinball Museum, it was great to play on all of the different machines and they sell drinks there too, which is nice.

Soon it was time for us to stuff our faces, so we headed over to the Budapest BBQ for dinner and drinks. The food was great! We had a lovely evening.

I thoroughly enjoyed Budapest and I feel as though it’s a city that offers so much. I think we will definitely visit again one day.

Have you visited Budapest?

L x

Budapest Day One – Széchenyi Spa and a Christmas dinner cruise…

For Christmas 2017 we decided to head on over to Budapest to experience Christmas abroad for the first time. We’ve never been away for Christmas and felt like it was a good time as we don’t have children nor do we have giant families where Christmas is a big deal. We chose to visit Budapest because some of our friends have travelled there and our wonderful neighbours are Hungarian and they recommended it. Anyway, fast forward to Christmas Eve and we were riding high in the sky with Rudolph on our way to a festive adventure.

I had made some loose plans of things to do and had decided that on Christmas Day we would head on over to Széchenyi Spa for a relaxing afternoon. We walked to the Spa from our hotel through a pretty park with incredible architecture and an ice rink. The sun was shining and it was so lovely.

We stopped off at Vajdahunyad Castle on our way to the Spa, it’s so, so gorgeous and definitely worth a visit. It was when we were wandering around by the castle that we spotted a little restaurant that served burgers. Scrumptious burgers that were rather sizeable. We stopped for lunch and grabbed a hot chocolate to go. I would definitely recommend the little restaurant with the big burgers!

The spa was really fun although in all honesty I did find it a little dirty feeling. I just felt that it was a bit grimy in places and that I needed a good scrub after. It was a really fun place though with so much to do from your own private hot tub with a beer tap, through to saunas and massages. It’s a great place.

In the evening we took a dinner river cruise that I booked through Viator. It was amazing, the cruise was beautiful with all of the gorgeous buildings that line the river all lit up. Super pretty. The boat was really lovely and festive too. There was a band playing and it was a wonderful evening. I ate too much and others drank too much (seriously there was a 14 year old boy on our table that knocked back two glasses of champers and two glasses of rose in forty minutes) and it was a lovely end to our first Christmas away. Sadly I didn’t take many photographs, but I can assure you that pictures wouldn’t have done the lush views justice anyway. I would highly recommend the dinner river cruise!

Have you visited Budapest?

L x

Exploring Vegas and the weirdest dining experience ever…

Dress: Asos Sunglasses: Michael Kors Tabitha 

I’ve been to Vegas three times now and each time I’ve fallen deeper in love with this colourful world hidden in the desert. I just love all that it has to offer. I’m not a gambler or even remotely seedy, which is the reputation that precedes Vegas. I love having fun, seeing different things, eating delicious food, shopping and seeing shows. Vegas has all of this in abundance.

I think that it’s that ease of convenience that helps me adore the place so much. Everywhere is open late, you can walk along the strip (I’m a big fan of walking!). Basically the place is your oyster. You can go out pretty much anytime and always find something to do. 

Anyway, on our first full day in Vegas, we took Phil’s Dad Steve (or P Diddy as I like to call him), for a tour of the strip, weaving in and out of various hotels that are devoured in detail. We also went to the Fashion Show Mall which is one of my favourite places to shop in Vegas (they have a Topshop!). 

It was great to feel the warmth on my skin, which is something I’m really missing now that autumn has set in. We took in the sights of the strip before heading Downtown.

I really like going Downtown because I find it a little bit raw. It’s not quite as glitzy and it just oozes retro charm. It’s more humble and less crowded and I just love the neon.

There’s a fair bit to do Downtown too, including zip lining, which I really wanted to do, however, I was inappropriately dressed for it! Next time though…

We ate dinner Downtown at the Heart Attack Grill, which I can only describe as the weirdest place I have ever eaten. I still can’t quite work out whether or not I enjoyed myself.

The hospital theme is really immersive, so we all sat there wearing hospital gowns awaiting our giant burgers and full calorie drinks (the waitress was unimpressed when I ordered a Diet Coke and announced that they don’t do diet there). 

They also have a policy where if you don’t finish your meal you get spanked. Hard. I couldn’t finish my burger and spent at least fifteen minutes freaking out about the spanking, coming up with irrational solutions such as hiding it in Phil’s rucksack or sneaking to the bin myself before realising that as it turns out, spanking isn’t compulsory. Who knew?

We then chilled out for a bit before heading back to New York, New York where we found a bar that had games (Beer Haus) so we spent the rest of the evening drinking and playing games such as Jenga.

Have you eaten at the Heart Attack Grill?

L x