Where to eat in Cinque Terre

Eating Our Way Around The Cinque Terre

Following on from our adventures Eating Our Way Around Florence, I thought it only right that I make you drool over our foodie finds in the Cinque Terre too.

Before we left for this trip, I was a little worried about eating in this region on the Italian Riviera as it’s hugely popular for seafood and pesto, neither of which I eat (I’m not a fan of seafood at all and I’m allergic to nuts).  I knew I’d be so disappointed if I couldn’t try the local delicacies and so my rumbling stomach thanks the food gods that there was plenty for me to eat and the Cinque Terre very quickly became one of my very favourite foodie destinations from all of our travels.

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Addicted to blogging

The Crazy Wonderful Things We Do in the Name of Blogging

That feeling of pure excitement when you arrive in a new destination cannot be compared to anything else.  Stepping off the plane into the humidity of a different country; flicking through your passport to find that new stamp; eagerly awaiting your suitcase so you can rush off to your luxurious hotel, where you stare wide-eyed at the panoramic view from your balcony and flop down on top of the ginormous comfy bed, before going out to explore the city.  So exciting.  So thrilling.  So blissful.

Right?  Well, our trips usually go something a little more like this…

Stepping off the plane into the humidity of a different country; posing for a photo in front of the plane once we’ve waited for everyone else to get off and get out of the shot; flicking through our passports to find that new stamp and, if there isn’t one, holding up the line until we get one; eagerly awaiting our suitcases so we can rush off to our hotel, where Mr Ayla is very nicely told to either wait outside or stand behind the door so I can take an appropriate amount of photos of the room before he messes up the bed or the contents of our suitcases start spilling out everywhere; then finally checking what’s on my huge long list of things to do first and heading straight in that direction.

No Alex, you can’t sit down and relax, we have places to go and things to see.  What do you think this is?  A holiday?!  Tut.

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sunset in jersey

Dreaming of a Romantic Escape to Jersey

With full time jobs, mortgages and all those other sorts of responsibilities that grown ups have to deal with, it can sometimes be hard to find enough time to jet off to all these different destinations that we’d love to.  But I’m not the sort of person who lets a few tedious responsibilities get in my way and so I try to make the most of every single holiday and weekend that I have.  We take full advantage of every bank holiday weekend as they’re perfect for taking a short weekend break somewhere a bit closer to home.

We’ve discovered some gorgeous places on these weekends, all within easy reach of our doorstep.  Trips to Bath, the Cotswolds, Oxford and most recently Cornwall, where it was often hard to imagine that we were still in the UK with the picturesque coastline and bright blue sea.

The Channel Islands are somewhere that I’d love to explore on one of these short breaks.  Jersey is only a quick one hour flight from London and yet it looks like it should be somewhere far more exotic. I’ve been eager to take a trip there recently, so when Visit Jersey asked me to put together my own little idea of the perfect romantic break, I thought it would be a great excuse to start planning our trip.

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Bedruthan Steps Cornwall

Exploring North Cornwall’s Beautiful Coastline

When I think of a relaxing beach trip, I automatically think of some far off exotic destination with white sandy beaches and a deep blue sea, palm trees swaying in the cool breeze and a cocktail in my hand (there’s always a cocktail).  The main thought though is that it’s far away from home.

This daydream is never, ever, set anywhere in the UK because, well, because it’s England where most of the beaches are full of pebbles and the sky is more likely to be grey and cloudy rather than bright blue.  I also usually picture myself soaking up the sun’s rays on the beach, so getting drizzled on by the UK’s wet rain isn’t exactly an idyllic fantasy.

So imagine how stunned I was when we arrived in Cornwall to find some of the most gorgeous beaches that I would never have imagined were only a few hours drive from our home in London.

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Cottage in Cornwall

A Cottage Getaway in Cornwall

When we first visited Cornwall shortly after our wedding eight years ago, we stayed in the bustling town of Newquay, in a luxurious hotel up on the headland overlooking Fistral Beach and the blue sea.  Maybe this shows how travel tastes change as you get older, but this time around we wanted to stay out of the centre for a more relaxing and peaceful weekend, so when I came across Hendra Paul Farm which is home to a group of four adorably cute cottages, I just couldn’t resist.  The Wild Flower Cottage, the smallest of the four, was perfect for us with one bedroom suitable for a couple, out in the countryside surrounded by the rolling green fields yet only a short drive from the main towns and beaches of North Cornwall.

Driving down the narrow winding country lanes, passing trundling tractors, horses in the fields and little bunnies hopping across our path (that I totally wanted to jump out of the car and take home with me), we finally found our way to the farm and as soon as I spotted our home for the weekend I completely fell in love.  I mean look how utterly adorable…!!

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Gelato in Florence Italy

Eating Our Way Around Florence

You have to believe me when I say that I didn’t originally plan our trip to Italy earlier this year purely for the food.  Honestly.  It just so happens that Italian food is, unquestionably, one of the best cuisines that we’ve ever have the pleasure of eating on our travels, and so our sightseeing trip very quickly turned into a foodie trip (with a little bit of sightseeing on the side of course).

I’ve always been a huge lover of pasta while Mr Ayla is a massive pizza fanatic, so Italy is the perfect place for us to travel together.  I’ve had a bit of a craving for some proper authentic Italian food recently which has had me thinking about our time in Italy and all our delicious foodie finds, so I thought it was about time I shared these with you.  We ate our way from the historic city of Florence to the gorgeous Cinque Terre and I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t done so much hiking and walking around sightseeing we would have come back twice the size!

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Reasons to visit New Orleans

Wanderlusting Over New Orleans

As someone who is ridiculously crazy about travel, it’s not surprising that I always have some far flung destination floating around my head, whether it’s thinking back on memories from somewhere I’ve fallen in love with or daydreaming about a new place I would love to explore. Reading so many other travel blogs about people’s adventures around the world is fascinating and infuriating in equal measure. Fascinating because oh my goodness I want to go there, and infuriating because oh my goodness I want to go there!!

The US has never really been high on my list of places to explore, mainly because I prefer countries with as different a culture and traditions to us as possible.  But lately I just can’t seem to get New Orleans out of my head.  This Louisiana city, known for its vibrant nightlife, live music scene and rich mix of cultures is like nowhere else in the US and the more I see and read about it, the more I desperately want to visit.  Writing about it really isn’t helping but what the hell!  These are just a few of the many reasons why I am wanderlusting so hard over this city right now.

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Holiday in Gibraltar

Reminiscing in Gibraltar

Five years had gone by since we last visited Gibraltar, somewhere extremely close to my whole family’s heart, and on our relaxing trip back last month, we realised how much it has changed in that time.  Modern complexes, plush hotels and fancy restaurants have been built up, turning what was once a quiet and unheard of place into a tourist haven. But despite the changes, as soon as we stepped off the plane I felt like I had come home.

After asking the friendly airport security for a stamp in our passports (because passport stamps are extremely important to us travellers!), we walked across the airport runway – one of the only runways in the world that cars and pedestrians can cross.  We made our way to our hotel knowing exactly which direction to take like we’d never even left. I recognised the flats where our family used to live, Casemates Square where we went for drinks at night, and the restaurants we used to eat at on the marina.

As we walked along the water towards our hotel, I remembered wandering along here 8 years ago, hand in hand with my new husband.

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Bob Bob Ricard

An Anniversary Celebration at Bob Bob Ricard

It was our 8 year wedding anniversary last weekend (yes that does make me feel very old!) and we wanted to celebrate the occasion somewhere special.  I had the perfect place in mind – Bob Bob Ricard, a glamorous restaurant in Soho serving up a luxury English and Russian menu.  Okay, in all honesty I really wanted to go here for the famous “Press for Champagne” button that every table has, making it the restaurant that pours the most champagne in the whole of the UK.  But silly me had left it till the last minute and being a Saturday night meant there were only super early or ridiculously late times still available for dinner.  Thankfully, with lots of patience and perseverance, I managed to grab ourselves a cancellation at a reasonable time.

Bob Bob Ricard is a far cry from the little quirky independent restaurants we usually eat at.  Mr Ayla’s reaction to the sparkly gold exterior and well dressed doormen as we walked past a couple of months ago was something along the lines of “That’s somewhere we would NEVER go”.  Clearly he had underestimated how much I wanted to press that button.

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Catalan Bay Gibraltar

Can Travel Bloggers Have “Normal” Holidays? My Non-Blogging Break to Gibraltar

Before I even started writing a travel blog, I always loved trips that involved jam-packed itineraries, fascinating tours and delicious foodie finds. I thrive on exploring new places, learning about different cultures and seeing new things, and writing this blog has only made me even more consumed when it comes to planning trips. But our recent break to Gibraltar included none of this. This was the first time I was going away with family since I started blogging, but this trip wasn’t going to be a blogging one; it was to celebrate my mum’s birthday and to unwind in a place that is close to all our hearts.

But, unable to shake my typical blogger ways, the obsessive trip planner in me started to panic a few days before we left. We had absolutely nothing planned and I really do mean nothing. I hadn’t organised a single tour because we’d pretty much seen all of Gibraltar already and I hadn’t even scouted out any new restaurants to try. What on earth were we going to do for 4 whole days?!

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