Barcelona part two, La Sagrada Familia and beach fun…

We were so lucky with the weather during our time in Barcelona. Travelling in Europe during January is always a risk in terms of weather but we lucked out and had sunshine with blue skies everyday during our time in Barcelona. Having good weather meant that we could make the most of being outside and were able to walk everywhere without resembling a soggy raccoon upon reaching our destination.

With the sunshine smothering us, we decided to walk to the beach from our hotel near Eixample. I’m at my happiest at the beach and I just feel so grounded and chilled out whenever I’m near the sea.

We meandered down to the marina which was such a lovely surprise. I didn’t realise that the marina would be so lovely, laced with palm trees and pretty views. There is also a shopping centre which is open 365 days a year and is home to a variety of shops and some great restaurants too.

I wasn’t expecting a particularly special beach in Barcelona. I’d been told that it wasn’t that great, so I was thrilled when we arrived at the beach and were greeted with golden sand and clear blue sea. In all honesty, the beach was much more desirable than many of the beaches here in the U.K., so I’m so glad that we weren’t put off and still popped along for some salty air and a stroll along the sea front.

I love gazing out at the ocean and seeing absolutely nothing connected to human life. Just the waves meeting the Earth, the ocean filled with life and the sky above. It makes me feel so chilled out and grounded. Exactly what you need on a birthday!

After we had embraced beach life, we decided to head on over to a cafe for coffee and cake. Unfortunately my Spanish is not so great and we actually found ourselves in a gluten free cafe where I had the weirdest crepe I’ve ever seen. It looked like a prawn cracker and had a spongy consistency. Anyway, I’ve decided I need to work on my Spanish before our next trip!

Following on from our gluten free cafe experience, we walked over to La Sagrada Familia because have you even been to Barcelona if you haven’t gawped at Gaudi’s masterpiece in the flesh?!

What a beauty! Such sumptuous architecture bathed In Mediterranean sunshine. Phil said that it was the most beautiful building he has ever seen and I am inclined to agree (although Italy has some real treasures).

We then walked back over to Eixample where we stumbled upon a traditional Spanish restaurant and had a glass of Sangria with our seafood paella. Not going to lie, the paella was a bit too fishy for my liking, but I was instantly hooked on the Sangria. It was divine!

Have you visited La Sagrada Familia?

L x

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A birthday in Barcelona part 1…

I’m a big fan of a birthday holiday and this year for the big day itself, we decided to hop over to Barcelona for a few days. We had never been before and it seemed like a good place to get away from the grey days of London.

I can honestly say that we were pleasantly surprised the from the moment we arrived, we were overwhelmed with friendly people, gorgeous architecture and sunshine. What more could a girl want?

We drank Sangria (I’m now a HUGE fan), ate nice food and shopped all whilst taking in the beautiful city.

We were staying in between Las Ramblas and Eixample. I think it’s a great location for exploring and we had so much convenience on our doorstep.

Have you traveled to Barcelona?

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 Two: Christmas Markets

On our second full day in Budapest, we had planned to mooch around the Christmas markets and perhaps do a spot of sale shopping, however, turns out shopping isn’t a thing in Budapest on Boxing Day- who knew?!

Luckily the Christmas markets were in full swing and were absolutely gorgeous. So cute and festive. I loved looking around at all of the handmade delights on offer.

We also stopped for cake and just enjoyed existing in such a pretty city.

It was much colder on Boxing Day, and a little cloudy but that didn’t stop us walking along the river and around the town. Even on a grey day Budapest is beautiful.

How did you spend Boxing Day?

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

A look back at 2017 and to 2018…

I know it’s a terrible cliche, but the end of a year just draws out a reflective side of me and so I thought that I would take a look back over what memories 2017 created.

January

January was a big month for me as I turned thirty. I decided to spend my actual birthday in Hong Kong at Disneyland because why not?

I had a really great day up until the evening when I vomited the most I have in my entire life. It was legit awful. I basically didn’t eat for the rest of our trip which is a shame because Chinese food is my favourite.

When we returned I had a Hawaiian themed party at Moor Park Mansion. It was so, so fun and literally everybody dressed up in Hawaiian shirts, flip flops (two of my buddies were a pair!) and leis absolutely everywhere. It was so colourful and brightened up the dull days that January brings.

My amazing cake was from Bluebell Bakes, which is where I get all of my cakes from. They are delish!

February

In February, we had the best trip to LA with our buddies. We had so, so much fun. We went to Disneyland (again), Knott’s Berry Farm, Malibu, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Long Beach… oh it was brilliant. We were blessed with good weather which really lifted us from the depths of grey winter back home. Kate and I went whale watching and saw four grey whales!!! It was incredible.

March

March was a bit of a quiet month for us, but we enjoyed walks with Holly and I got a new passport which I was quite excited about!

April

In April we headed over to Amsterdam over the Easter break. We fell in love with the city and had a great time doing all of the touristy things.

When we returned, we had a meal to celebrate Phil’s birthday and I surprised him with another awesome cake from Bluebell Bakes. It was a League of Legends themed cake. He loved it!

May

In May we enjoyed celebrating friends and family birthdays and walks in Marlow. We also had our annual Eurovision bbq party, but I didn’t take any photos!

June

In June, I ordered a really amazing outdoor dining set which I was super excited about and we took Phil’s Dad over to Brussels for Father’s Day weekend. We went on the Eurostar for the first time too. It was great!

July

July was a mammoth month with so much going on. My bestie turned thirty, so we went out to celebrate.

My gorgeous friends Sarah and Matt had an engagement party and I was asked to be Sarah’s bridesmaid!

We had a hen party for my lovely friend Kimberley and then we headed back over to LA for more whale watching (humpbacks this time!), Taking Back Sunday and Disneyland (again).

August

We spent most of August stateside which was incredible. We went to San Diego for the first time and it took my breath away. What a spectacular place!

We also went to Vegas and flew to the Grand Canyon. It was just as beautiful as when we visited on our honeymoon. I saw Britney for the last time (sob) and we saw Ed Sheeran at the Staples Center. It was a great trip.

We also squeezed in a British beach trip with our furball Holly.

September

September gave us the wedding of our two friends Kimberley and Simon. They got married at a gorgeous venue in the Cotswolds and it was such a pretty day.

October

In October we mostly focused on the house and our renovations. We had the whole of upstairs replastered and ordered new stuff. It was all very exciting.

November

In November we visited Waddesdon Manor and Warwick Castle.

Our new fur baby Ivy moved in!

December

In December we celebrated Christmas with friends, got to know Ivy a little more and headed off to Budapest before seeing in the New Year with our buddies.

2018…

This year I’m looking forward to having a pyjama party for my birthday (mostly so I don’t have to bother getting dressed).

We are also heading off to Barcelona, Center Parcs and Miami. I’m looking forward to planning more adventures, finally finishing off renovating the inside of the house and celebrating Phil’s thirtieth birthday. We’ve also got our friends wedding at the end of the year so I can tell that it’s going to be a good one!

What are you looking forward to this year?

L x

Beach fun with Holly…

I’m always my happiest when at the beach. It can pretty much be any beach, but there’s something about where the land meets the sea that just resonates with me (I’m the English Moana). I just feel super chilled and I love everything from the sand beneath my feet to the sound of the waves crashing and that salty sea air smell. 

Our little furball Holly also loves a beach day, so we scheduled in a date at the end of the summer to take her for some beach fun. 

Many beaches have restrictions throughout the summer as to whether or not you can take dogs, so we needed to find one that Holly would be welcome at. We found a little one near Southampton, which was certainly not the nicest, but served its purpose none the less.

Holly is a frisbee addict, so we were sure to bring one along for beach fun. Holly absolutely loved it. She had a ball paddling in the sea and digging in the sand. It’s funny because Holly literally only digs at the beach and she isn’t fond of water unless it’s her paddling pool or the hose. She isn’t one to swim in lakes or anything of the sort, but simply adores the sea!

Once we had grown tired of the beach, we drove over to Portsmouth for some food and shopping. Holly was so well behaved throughout and I loved how dog friendly Gunwharf Quays is. 

Soon it was time to head off back to London with sandy fur and shopping bags. We will no doubt be returning next year!

Have you visited Portsmouth?

L x

Venice Beach and Santa Monica…

When we visited LA in February this year, we decided to stay in Marina Del Rey so that we could explore Venice Beach and Santa Monica easily. We absolutely loved all three places along the beach and I knew that I categorically wanted to visit again when we were on the West Coast in the summer. Flash forward six months and Phil and I found ourselves in the exact spot that we spent Valentine’s Day at, eating cheesecake and taking in those gorgeous Marina views. What a treat!

The area is currently undergoing development and we were surprised to see just how far it had come in those six months. It’s such a lovely area with lots of outdoors activities going on – including paddle board yoga!!! Defo giving that one a go next time although I’m almost certain I’ll end up in the water.

When people ask me if I enjoy cycling, I reply with ‘only in LA’, which whilst I’m aware it sounds a bit ridiculous, it’s true! I just love cycling along the beach on the concrete paths adorned with skaters, Segways and fun. It’s just so effortless with gorgeous views of the sea. 

I like to cycle from Venice Beach to Santa Monica pier, it’s not far at all and really enjoyable. Sometimes we make a couple of stops, for example on this occasion we stopped at Muscle Beach to have a nose (which resulted in a detour to Gold’s Gym after Phil saw someone wearing a hat that he liked!!).

P Diddy was super reluctant to go cycling, we almost literally had to drag him onto the bike and move his legs for him at first, but after a few minutes he loved it and was even singing whilst he cycled! We had to prize him off once we had finished.

On this occasion, Phil and I shared a tandem because we haven’t done that before and we thought that it would be fun. It was great! I sat on the back whilst Phil did all of the hard work. I would highly recommend it!

Once we reached Santa Monica, we hung out for a while on the beach enjoying the sumptuous sunshine that SoCal offers. I really, really love LA and the lifestyle.

On our cycle back, Phil spotted a pair of sunglasses that he’d been after for over a year on a stall (it was a good day for Phil), so we stopped in Venice Beach for a little shop. I love the atmosphere in Venice, so fun and colourful. No doubt without hidden dark sides, but mostly fun and bright.

Although we currently have no plans to travel back to the West Coast, I know that LA is somewhere we will definitely be visiting again. I just love it there so much!


Have you visited Santa Monica?

L x

Back to LA, oh and Ed Sheeran…

Before we knew it (and definitely before we were ready), it was time to leave Vegas and drive back through the desert to Los Angeles. I quite enjoy a road trip and loved taking in the sights of the Mojave desert. It’s just gorgeous.

I was also rather excited because that evening we were seeing Ed Sheeran at the Staples Center. 

I quite enjoy Ed Sheeran’s music and was also really looking forward to watching him play at such an iconic venue. 

But before all of that, we arrived at our hotel to find ourselves literally in the middle of a building site. We were staying at The Mayfair Hotel, which I had chosen based on the fact it was a ten minute walk to the Staples Center and was a traditional 1930’s hotel much like the one featured in American Horror Story (I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea). Anyway, after walking through the gigantic builders mess, we found ourselves back outside on the street and eventually in a part of the building which wasn’t under total renovation. I wouldn’t recommend staying there as we weren’t given a heads up about the building situation and also I just feel like it’s not quite up to the standard it should be. The location, however, was great as we could walk everywhere easily.

We headed over to a Greek restaurant for dinner before enjoying Ed Sheeran’s set. 

He put on a great show featuring all of his hits. I had never seen Ed play before (he sells out super fast!), and I loved how raw his performance was. It really is all about the music for him. I found it quite odd that I was sat in amongst thousands of people, thousands of miles from home watching a guy that knows a couple of people that I do and is also thousands of miles away. Anyway, it was a lovely evening.

We then did some late night shopping (yay for Target!) before heading back to our weird hotel.


Have you seen anyone play at the Staples Center?

L x

Seeing Britney and finding a hidden gem…

On our delightful Virgin flight over to Los Angeles, Phil and I landed up watching a little video that they had put together of things to do in Vegas. Of course the usual things were included, shows, hotels etc, but in between all of that up popped the Pinball Hall of Fame

The Pinball Hall of Fame is basically a museum filled with loads of Pinball machines and retro video games. Aka heaven to Phil. I grew up in the nineties and am certainly no stranger to a game of Pinball, so was quite excited to see what they had on offer. Trust me, it DIDN’T disappoint.

From Pacman, The Flintstones and Game of Thrones, this place has it all. You can stay as long as you like and play pretty much any machine. It was so fun, even P Diddy had a go on a couple of machines!

We spent an hour or two there pretty much playing solidly and only spent around 20$. The machines range from 25c upwards, so it’s a thrifty treat for the entire family. It’s located a few minutes’ drive from the strip and has a free car park too. Complete bargain!

After a morning at the museum, we headed over to Hooters for some lunch before having a nose around the shops on the strip. Before we knew it, it was time to see the queen of pop, Miss Britney Spears.

I’ve seen her Piece of Me show in Vegas before and was blown away by her performance. Britters really puts on a show complete with all of her hits and an elaborate set. I knew that we had to go again.

On our way over to Planet Hollywood, I asked Phil’s Dad which concerts he had been to. He replied that he hadn’t. Therefore Britney in Vegas was his first ever concert! This fact I found both highly amusing and completely amazing in equal capacities. I mean shouldn’t Britney be everyone’s first concert?!

We had a great time watching Britney and her dancers killing it although the evening wasn’t without drama as a guy from the audience cartwheeled onto the stage and took out a security guard before being wrestled to the floor and presumably arrested. Poor Britney was terrified and had to be evacuated from the stage, although being the pro that she is, she returned to finish off her set. Go Britney!


Have you seen any shows in Vegas?

L x