Windfalls Boutique Hotel

Pre-Holiday Luxury at Windfalls Boutique Hotel

Staying at an airport hotel seems to have become my favourite way to start off a holiday, especially when we have to get up at a ridiculously early hour for our flight. Not only does it make the start of a trip so much less stressful but it also means we can technically start the trip a day early!

As soon as I came across Windfalls Boutique Hotel, a small luxury guest house just a short drive from Gatwick Airport, I knew this was where I wanted to stay the night before our trip to Gibraltar. Each of the five rooms looked like pure luxury decorated in calming colours with huge four poster beds. It looked like the perfect place to start off our relaxing break.

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Cocktails in the City

Delectable Cocktails, Fun and Games at Cocktails in the City

If you noticed me going slightly bonkers over National Piña Colada Day a couple of weeks ago then you’ll know how strong my desire of a good cocktail is. Whether I’m sipping one on an exotic beach somewhere in the world or dressed up to the nines in a fancy London cocktail bar, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have a cocktail in my hand.  Or even both hands on some occasions.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to win a pair of tickets to Cocktails in the City, a mini cocktail festival where a selection of London’s best bars serve up this season’s most delectable drinks along with some mouth-watering street food, funky music, and fun and games.

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Afternoon tea bus tour London

An Afternoon Tea Bus Tour of London

I’m a born and bred Londoner so it’s only natural that I should love the quintessentially English occasion of afternoon tea. Afternoon teas with a twist especially take my fancy like the burgerlicious tea we demolished at BRGR.CO or the fun cocktail making afternoon tea at Hush. So when I heard about the tea by BB Bakery that is set on an old double-decker red bus and takes guests on a sightseeing tour of London while they eat, well you can only imagine how excited I was.

I boarded the bus with fellow blogger ladies Shikha and Char and we took our seats on the top deck where the tables were beautifully laid out with tiered trays of finger sandwiches, mini turkey salad rolls and mini quiches. After the obligatory foodie snaps, we delved straight into the savoury tier which went down a treat.  I loved that they provided something different to just the normal sandwiches that most afternoon teas serve.

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48 hours in Dublin

48 Hours in Dublin

After a flight from London that was so quick I hardly had time for a power nap, we arrived in Dublin, somewhere we have lived so close to our whole lives but were only just getting around to visiting.  Knowing we only had 48 hours in this small but fascinating city we headed straight out to the main strip of Temple Bar to see what all the fuss was about.

As it was late evening by the time we set out, crowds of people already lined the street, spilling out the doors of every pub and restaurant, drinking and chatting away, listening to the street music that was being played on each corner.  For fear of being crushed in the stampede of whiskey induced tourists, we headed to Bad Bobs which was slightly less packed but still had a lively atmosphere.  We just about managed to find a seat, ordered some drinks and a huge plate of spicy chicken wings, sang along to the entertaining live band and giggled at the drunken groups of friends (and a policeman who looked suspiciously like a stripper) enjoying the weekend.

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Summer reads

My Summer Reads

Sitting on the beach, my toes nestled in the hot sand, the sound of the sea lapping against the shore, and a bright blue sky above me. With a fruity cocktail in one hand, a book in the other, and Mr Ayla sitting next to me – this is my paradise. My blissful moment that I imagine myself in every time I want to get away or just relax.

Thankfully we seem to have been blessed with some sunny days in London recently – it is now July after all – and this means that the colourful summer dresses, flip flops and sunglasses have made their way back into my life. And while books are always in my life whatever the weather, summer is the perfect time to sink into those more light hearted happy reads to match the season. For chilling in the garden, picnicking in the park, or catching some sun on the beach in an exotic destination, all with a good book in hand.

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The Medieval Banquet review

An Evening of Festivities at the Medieval Banquet

Feasting with Henry VIII and his royal subjects was not how I ever envisioned spending an evening. But a couple of weeks ago, in the historic area of St Katharine Docks , we did just that. A four course meal, unlimited red wine and ale, and entertainment fit for a king awaited us at the Medieval Banquet.

We were led underground, past coats of armour and a wall lined with swords, into the depths of the Banquet, where rows upon rows of long tables were waiting to be filled. We took our seats next to where all the action would be, hoping that the other people joining our table were in the mood for a fun evening.

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Trying Guinness in Dublin

My First Taste of Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

Cocktails are always my drink of choice. A sweet and fruity concoction, filled with syrupy spirits and colourful juices. A classy daiquiri, an ice cold mojito, or a fun woo woo with umbrellas, straws and fruit perched on top.  But on our recent trip to Dublin cocktails were far from my mind.

Ireland is the home to Guinness but this dry stout, one of the world’s biggest beer brands, is nothing like the sugary cocktails I usually go for.  Unsurprisingly, a big part of the Irish culture is drinking and in every single pub we visited pints of Guinness were being sold like the city was about to run dry.  I had never tasted a single drop of the black stuff and, while I could easily have stuck to drinking Baileys all weekend, I just couldn’t visit Dublin without trying something that is such a huge part of the Irish culture.

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Victoria Falls Zambia

Be More Adventurous

Last month I wrote about Things I’d Never Do Again When Travelling and I was genuinely surprised by a lot of the responses I got. Comments like “I would never do that” and “you’re much braver than me” had me thinking…me? Brave? Really?!

Apart from the time I was almost mugged in Namibia, I have never thought of myself as a brave person. I’m just a reserved little lady who likes experiencing new things! Whether it’s visiting somewhere I’ve never been before or an adrenaline-pumping activity, I always jump at the chance to do something I’ve never done before. The name of the blog is, after all, Mrs Ayla’s Adventures, so it’s only right that Mr Ayla and I give you lots of adventures to read about!

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Gadventures Inca Trail

The Challenge of a Lifetime: Hiking the Inca Trail

Exactly a year ago today I was sitting in our hotel in Cusco, exhausted and aching all over, never wanting to move another muscle again, except to lie down for the massage I had booked later that day. I had just completed the toughest challenge of my life – an incredible journey along the Inca Trail, one of the world’s most renowned and most awe-inspiring treks. The 4 day hike through Peru’s Andes Mountains took us past ancient Inca ruins, over steep peaks and breathtaking vistas, and finally lead us to the world wonder of Machu Picchu.

I cannot believe that a year has already gone by since the trek; I remember it like it was just a few days ago.  I originally wrote this post shortly after returning from South America but I think the trek, along with getting ill in Brazil afterwards, exhausted me out too much to actually finish it. So even though it’s taken me a whole year to actually tell you of our adventures on the Inca Trail, these are not just vague memories.  This my honest, fresh and slightly gruelling experience at the time!

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Hiking in the Cinque Terre

A Hiking Adventure in the Cinque Terre

I awoke with a start on our first day in the Cinque Terre to what sounded like thunder and torrential rain. This could not be happening. We had only arrived the afternoon before to a glorious sunny day, people relaxing on the rocks and eating gelato by the harbour, and we were all prepared to go off on a hike on our first morning to explore the villages. I jumped out of bed, threw open the Italian shutters of our cute little bed and breakfast, and stuck my head out the window to find that, yes, it was indeed raining. The pastel coloured rooftops were being hammered with water and people on the street below were hurriedly rushing by attempting to cover their soaking heads. Perfect. Our day of hiking suddenly looked rather bleak.

But despite the hiking paths being closed thanks to the stormy weather, we didn’t want to spend the day sat inside hiding from the rain, so we hopped on the train to explore instead and discovered that this part of the Italian Riviera is still a little piece of heaven even in the rain.

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