Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea

A Weird and Wonderful Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson

My sister loves Alice in Wonderland and I love cake, so it seemed only fitting that I take her to an Alice inspired afternoon tea for her birthday.  I’ve decided that this is the best possible gift to give someone.  Not only do they get the enjoyment of the afternoon tea but so do I, which is totally a win-win situation.

Themed afternoon teas are my favourite – there’s always something different to both fill you up and to entertain you and the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea didn’t disappoint.  Set in the Sanderson Hotel just off Oxford Street, from the outside it looks like a simple office building and nothing fancy at all.  Inside though, the reception and bar area is decked out with a random collection of various shaped chairs which we obviously both got comfy on straight away.  I guess it made sense that such a unique hotel would hold something as quirky as a Mad Hatter’s tea party!

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Reasons to travel with someone you love

10 Reasons To Travel With Someone You Love

As Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and love is in the air, I thought I would share some reasons why I love travelling with Mr Ayla so much.  I spend so many hours at home just staring at our giant world map on the wall, amazed at all the pins in the places we’ve been, wondering where we’re going to discover next, and I wouldn’t want to fill up my map with anyone else.

I applaud those people who travel solo but it’s just not for me.  I once took a flight from London to Edinburgh – yes, only an hour long – and it just felt so strange.  I had no one to excitedly make my way to the airport with, no one to point to things out of the plane window, and no one to help me lift my heavy hand luggage into the overhead compartment.  Sigh.

After 12 years of exploring the world together, Mr Ayla is my favourite travel companion.  I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without him and here’s 10 reasons why…

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Travel blog photos

30 Before 30

It’s no secret that I love a good list.  Whether it’s my bucket list that is constantly being added to, the list of destinations we’ve visited so far, or a meticulously detailed itinerary of our next adventure.  So, in honour of me turning 29 earlier this week (she says as she weeps quietly in the corner), I thought it was about time for another list!

Despite all the celebrating, cocktails and cake that have been involved in trying to forget I’m another year older, I can already feel the big 3-0 lurking just around the corner.  Maybe it’s because I’m soon to be leaving my wild(ish) 20’s behind or maybe it’s because being in your 30’s just seems a whole lot more grown up – even though we’ve been married for 8 years, have a mortgage, full time jobs and all those adult responsibilities already, both Mr Ayla and I still firmly put ourselves in the children’s category and bustle in with younger siblings and cousins at family parties. But I’m not so sure I’ll get that privilege when I’m no longer in my 20’s.

So, to take my woeful mind off my looming 30’s, and of course to make the last year of my 20’s pretty awesome, I’m taking some inspiration from others who have done this by making a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30.  What better way is there to forget that I’m another year older than to plan lots of new adventures?!

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A weekend in Le Havre

A Weekend Discovering Le Havre: Part 2

As I promised in my post last week all about our weekend discovering Le Havre, here is our second day exploring this lovely city on the coastline of France, just a short ferry ride from Portsmouth.  Not quite as hectic as the first day, today was spent wandering around the city and, best of all, sampling lots more delicious French food.

Despite all the wine the previous night, we were up bright and early in the morning for a stroll along the harbour just outside our hotel.  And what a glorious morning it was.  Even though it was winter, the skies were bright blue and the sun shone down on us as we got ready for a new day of adventures.

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Le Havre France

A Weekend Discovering Le Havre

Shortly before Christmas Mr Ayla and I set off for a weekend of discovery in Le Havre, along with Brittany Ferries, Le Havre Tourisme and a group of other keen adventurers.  Only a short ferry ride from Portsmouth (or a slightly longer ferry ride with a cosy little cabin to nap in), Le Havre was somewhere that I had admittedly never heard of.  I was expecting a small French town with not a massive amount to do and, extremely unusual for me, I hadn’t done a single bit of research before we left.  For once I was happy to let someone else do all the planning and Le Havre Tourisme had a fantastic weekend ahead organised for us.

Over the course of the 48 hours we spent in Le Havre, we had an itinerary packed full of sightseeing and adventures.  The quiet little French town that I was expecting to visit was nowhere in sight.  Instead, I was surprised to find a city rich in history, teeming with beautiful architecture, a mouth-watering cuisine and only a stone’s throw from the Normandy countryside.

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Jarjeer Mules Marrakech

The Mules of Marrakech

It’s no secret that I have a massive love for animals and every time we travel I seem to make furry friends wherever we go.  In fact, my doctor always recommends that I get a rabies shot whenever we travel because, whether I’m living with lions in South Africa, saying hello to street dogs in India, cuddling flea ridden kittens in Fiji, or doing my usual job of volunteering at London Zoo, absolutely nothing can keep me away from animals.

So when I started my research on Marrakech and came across Jarjeer Mules, a retirement home and care centre for donkeys just a short drive out of the city, there was no doubt in my mind that we had to go.

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Hiking in the Cinque Terre

My Favourite Travel Memories from 2015

As 2015 comes to an end and we look back on a year of fabulous adventures, and onto 2016 which will hopefully be filled with many more, I know you’re already thinking “oh no, not another New Year round up post!”.  So okay, I may be doing a total cliche here but I figured that this year has been a pretty awesome one so I simply couldn’t resist.  Plus, Mr Ayla is adamantly refusing to go on as many trips next year (oops my finger must have accidently slipped and hit enter to book those flights!!) so all I can do is look back on some of my favourite memories from this year.

Despite having a full time job I’ve managed to squeeze in plenty of adventures, from long haul relaxing holidays to short city breaks closer to home; trips with both family and friends; sightseeing holidays, hiking trips, beach breaks and everything in between.  While we may not have anything planned for next year (yet) these are some of my favourite travel memories from 2015, and some of these places have very quickly worked their way to the top of my favourite ever destinations.

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Drinks around the world

Drinking Our Way Around The World

It’s no secret that I love a fruity cocktail. In fact most of my family and friends will forever relate the Piña Colada song to me because every time a cocktail, pineapple, or just a drink in general is mentioned, I start singing the tune – with Hawaiian style dance moves included of course. Yes, I like Piña Colada.

As it’s almost Christmas and I’m sure the celebrations are already in full swing, I thought I would add to the festivities by sharing some of the best and most popular drinks from around the world that we’ve come across on our travels. They’re not all cocktails – I promise – and they’re not all alcoholic. Unfortunately, Piña Colada isn’t on this list (sigh) because I’ve not yet been to Puerto Rico, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying what the rest of the world has to offer.

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A weekend in the New Forest

Weekend Adventures in the New Forest

Proving he can be a romantic when he wants to, Mr Ayla surprised me last month with a weekend in the New Forest, a beautiful area of natural woodland and wildlife and a part of the UK that we had not yet explored. An easy 2.5 hour drive from London, the busy roads gradually turned into quiet country lanes with high trees stretching into the distance and wild ponies munching grass by the side of the road.  Every now and then we would pass a quaint little village or country pub – the sort of place where you can imagine everyone knowing each other. It was so peaceful and serene and we knew straight away that we would love it here.

Our first night we stayed at Eastclose Country House Hotel, a beautiful place that is said to have been the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland. Waking up in the pretty white Georgian building and looking outside, I could just imagine the White Rabbit dashing behind the giant tree and down a hole in the grassy garden!

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Family christmas

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

I’m sure it was only a few months ago that the last festive season was here, but it’s come around again, and it’s safe to say that I’m just a little bit excited!  Twinkly lights are lining the streets, Christmas songs are being played everywhere, it’s already taking an unreasonable amount of time to find a car parking space within a mile of any shop, and X Factor is almost over, which definitely means that Christmas is on its way.

We’ve got our thick snowflake covered winter duvet keeping us warm every night and the cheesy but totally cool Christmas jumpers, socks and underwear have made their way back into our daily wardrobes.  I may not have bought a single present yet (unless you count picking out gifts for Mr Ayla to give me) but to me it already feels like Christmas.

If you’re not feeling quite so festive yet then hopefully my 5 favourite things about this wonderful season will have you feeling all twinkly and Christmassy too!  And I’ve made them all into Christmas song lyrics just to be extra festive!

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