Bluebells at Emmetts Garden

Adventures in Kent’s Bluebell Woods

Springtime is just too damn pretty for words, and this year I wanted to visit some of the colourful bluebell woods that bloom in abundance around this time.  We live just on the outskirts of London, in Kent, so the “Garden of England” and its National Trust properties and gardens was the perfect place to go exploring.

With the promise of the little tea and cake shop that is always bound to be found at a National Trust property, I managed to persuade Mr Ayla to come along on this flowery outing of mine.  We headed to Emmett’s Garden where a cute little cottage (obviously Snow White’s home) greeted us.

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Kitchen Hijack at the Job Centre

A Street Food Extravaganza at Deptford’s Job Centre

An employment job centre isn’t usually somewhere I’d consider spending an evening, but Deptford’s Job Centre isn’t exactly what you’d expect. Having been turned into a quirky relaxed bar, it now attracts a whole host of people, not just those who are on benefits or looking for a job. Every Thursday to Saturday evenings, Kitchen Hijack takes over with a mouth-watering selection of street foods from some of London’s best pop-up vendors.

As soon as I heard about this place from Kasha I knew it was somewhere I just had to try out. Street food and cocktails in a quirky bar? It sounded like my perfect place to spend an evening!

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Skydiving in Namibia

Things I’d Never Do Again When Travelling

Free from the responsibilities of home life and wanting to experience as much as we can, we all lose our inhibitions a bit when we travel. We become more confident, more adventurous and a lot more courageous, doing things we would never usually do at home. I always try to avoid saying no to something new which makes the possibilities endless when travelling.  But it also means that in amongst all the fantastic experiences, there are bound to be a few not so fantastic experiences too.

Aside from the time we were almost mugged in Namibia , I have never really written about anything negative on the blog.  I’m generally a very positive and easily pleased girl and, to be honest, we’ve been amazingly lucky and haven’t really had many bad experiences on our travels.  But there are a few things that I can say I would never ever do again.

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View of Vernazza Cinque Terre

A Little Piece of Heaven in The Cinque Terre

After spending time away in a new destination no one ever wants to return home to the daily slog of work, responsibilities and the general drudgery of routine life. At the end of every trip I long to hear that our return flight has been cancelled or that work has given me an extra day off (extremely wishful thinking), just so we can spend a little bit more time away.

This was exactly how I felt when our adventures in Italy came to an end; we just did not want to leave. But it was more than that. We didn’t want to leave the Cinque Terre because it was so completely magical that it had swept us up and carried us onto a cloud of colourful pastel buildings, cute cafes filled with smiling locals, food and wine we would have been happy to dine on for the rest of our lives, all along the edge of a rugged coastline and turquoise sea so utterly gorgeous that I wanted to move there straight away.

I wasn’t expecting to love this place quite as much as I did, but we can both now say that the Cinque Terre is one of our favourite places in the world.

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Duomo Florence

The Best of Florence with Walks of Italy

The smaller and cuter version of me used to be a bit of a history and art buff, always eager to visit museums and learn as much as I could, devotedly listening to my nan’s history lessons whenever we explored anywhere new. Now, when I explore somewhere new, I prefer getting to know the place I’m in by trying the local food and meeting people, sitting and watching the city come to life and getting lost off the beaten track. Museums don’t interest me as much and there’s a limit to the amount of history, facts and figures my brain can take before my eyes start to droop with boredom.

But our trip to Florence threw us headfirst into a city bursting with a rich history, some of the world’s greatest art, more churches and cathedrals than we could possibly visit in 2 days, and all at the centre of the Italian Renaissance. Even though simply eating our way around Florence would have sufficed for the whole trip (seriously, the food is amazing), I didn’t want to leave without learning more about this beautiful city.

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Northern Lights

Win a Trip to see the Northern Lights by sharing your top bucket list destinations

Seeing the bright swirling spectacle of the Northern Lights is one of those bucket list items that everyone dreams they’ll have the chance to see just once in their lifetime.  Since I was a little girl I’ve always been fascinated with space, the stars and the unknown, so I can only imagine how spellbound I would be if I had the chance to see them myself.

So when I came across Transun’s competition to win a trip to see the Northern Lights it was too hard not to resist entering.  The prize sounds incredible with a trip for two people to the Arctic Circle to see the lights, go on a husky safari and plenty of other fabulous inclusions.  To enter all I had to do was share my own top 3 travel bucket list destinations in a blog post – so of course I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to talk about travel some more!

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Wine in the Cinque Terre

Becoming a Wino in Italy

The one and only time I’ve ever been a fan of wine was when I was in my early 20s, when it was too teenager-like to still be drinking Archers and lemonade or WKD, but wine gave you that more sophisticated grown up feeling.  But no matter how hard I tried (and I did try really hard) I never particularly enjoyed drinking wine so I very quickly reverted back to the sweet and fruity spirits and cocktails that I’ve always loved.

On the odd occasions when I do drink wine now, I end up embarrassingly tipsy after just one glass which kind of defeats the point of a grown up drink out with friends and rapidly turns into a drunken night reminiscent of my late teens.  The next morning is not kind to me either, leaving me with a horrid headache and the promise that I will never ever drink wine again.

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Mojito La Bodeguita del Medio Havana Cuba

A Foodie’s Guide to Food and Drink in Havana

Before we went jetting off to Cuba, I’d heard so much about how awful the food was, how bland and tasteless it would be, and that a foodie fanatic like myself would be hugely disappointed. I hung my head in sorrow before delving into tons of research on the food in Havana – what to eat, where to eat, which street food to try and the best cocktails in town (because of course cocktails had to be on the list when in the Caribbean).

I was so thrilled to find that the food in Cuba, especially Havana, is absolutely divine and anyone who tells you any different is a great big fibber.  Or maybe they just didn’t do their research.

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Pink mini orchid

Post-Holiday Blues

Today, I am feeling rather sorry for myself.  I’m sat at home, having a sick day off work, thinking of all the things I should be doing but not having the energy to actually get up and do them all.

I don’t know whether it’s post-holidays blues after our amazing time in Cuba that’s making me feel so rubbish or just my body not wanting to cooperate with my head.  I can imagine it screaming at me now “STOP DOING STUFF!! I can’t keep up!! No, not listening?  Fine then, I’ll make you ill instead”.  Cue evil laugh from my weary body.

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Bloc Hotel London Gatwick Airport

The Perfect Way To Start A Holiday: Bloc Hotel Gatwick

Ever since I was a little girl, the start of a holiday has always been getting up at stupid o’clock in the middle of the night, the sky still pitch black outside and not a sound to be heard as we pack up the car to head off to the airport. When I book holidays now I will always pick the earliest morning flight there is, not only because it means we get more time away, but also because my older self still loves starting holidays in this way.

Mr Ayla, on the other hand, isn’t such a massive fan of the early starts. He moans and groans about only getting a nap for a night’s sleep and he hates having to wake himself up properly if he’s the one to drive to the airport while I relax in the passenger seat.

So ahead of our long flight to Cuba I thought it only fair that he get a good night’s sleep and we decided to try out an airport hotel for the first time.

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