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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PicMonkey Collage2

My Foodie Addiction

Hi. I’m Ayla. And I have a foodie addiction.

A completely out of control, amazingly delicious addiction, and I thought it was about time I shared it with you (in case you didn’t already know).

I don’t just mean that I like eating. There’s a difference between being a foodie and just being a plain and simple eater (or, in other words, a pig) and, although Mr Ayla may disagree, I like to think I fall into the former category.

Food is such an important part of a country’s culture, and so dishes to try and places to eat are always one of the first things I research whenever I travel. I love exploring local delicacies and I’m always on the hunt for great foodie finds.  And when I find it I savour every bite.

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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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