Travel with baby

A New Year of Adventures

2018 was a bit of a mix for me. On the one hand it was a really tough year learning how to be a single mama, raising an extremely demanding (but also incredibly cute) toddler mostly alone, and being the most exhausted I have ever been in my entire life.  I also learnt that mums can in fact function on only a few hours’ sleep every night and that coffee is a very loyal friend.

But despite the low moments it was also an amazing year full of travel explorations and exciting adventures. We travelled 8 times during 2018 visiting Cape Verde, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Ibiza, Sardinia, a road trip in Kent, and the Edinburgh Christmas markets.  That’s 4 new countries for me and 6 new countries for Evie – making Evie’s total number of countries visited 13 before she’s even 2 years old.

But it’s not the country count that matters, it’s what we actually did and the memories we created that made the year so special. There are so many highlights but here are a few of my main ones:

Continue reading

Princess afternoon tea London

Feeling Like a Princess at Afternoon Tea at the Tea Terrace

I remember the days fondly when I used to get lost in a book on the train to work, carefully paint my nails with colours to match my outfits, and binge watch the latest Netflix series. My Friday and Saturday nights were spent trying different restaurants or sipping cocktails in bars and Sundays were always reserved for a new adventure.

But over the last eleven months or so, my me time has somewhat diminished. Or, to put it more aptly, completely disappeared. Unfinished cold cups of coffee can be found scattered around the house; I have no idea what the latest place is on the food scene (and even if I did I wouldn’t be able to get the dish that I actually wanted anyway because my choices now revolve around the new boss); I’m yet to get through the second series of Stranger Things; and I’m lucky if I’ve rinsed all the conditioner from my hair before I have to dash out of the bubble bath that I’d so lovingly dreamed of all day.

As much as I absolutely adore my little Evie, a baby leaves very little room for time to yourself which is why, when my sister told me she was taking me to a surprise afternoon tea treat for my birthday last month, I cried. Like literally burst into tears. The exhaustion of being a mama combined with the thought of all that cake was just too much for me to handle!

Continue reading

Blazing Saddles San Francisco

Biking the Bridge with Blazing Saddles San Francisco

Let me start off by saying that I may consider myself a feminist but, when it comes to all things sporty, I shamefully fit right into the typical girl stereotype.  Sports and me just do not go.  Give me a Zumba class or a nightclub dance floor and I can dance away for hours but anything else and I am a complete lost cause.  I duck in horror when a football comes my way; I embarrassingly swing a golf club several times before actually managing to hit the ball; and I haven’t been on a bike in so long that I would need stabilisers.

So when we arrived at Blazing Saddles’ offices in San Francisco all ready for a bike ride around the city, I was fully prepared to be a little rusty.  I didn’t think I’d be quite so bad that I would cycle just a few feet before crashing into a whole row of stationary bikes and almost toppling off into an embarrassing heap on the floor.  But yes, this really happened, and this was just on the practice run before we’d even left the warehouse!  Two minutes in and I was already wondering (as I’m sure Mr Ayla was too) what on earth I had gotten myself into.  They say you never forget how to ride a bike…not true.  I totally forgot.

Continue reading

What to do in London

Latest London Adventures

The desire to get on a plane and step foot in a different country is currently taking over my every thought.  I haven’t been away since our trip to France back in December and although I love a staycation, our weekend break in Brighton just does not count.  I know I may sound greedy but I’m sure most of you travellers out there will agree with me – travel is like a drug and right now I am having some massive withdrawal symptoms.

So the thought of our impending American adventure next week is like the light at the end of a very long very dark tunnel.

But I’m not one to sit around at home just waiting for something exciting to happen, so in the meantime I’ve kept myself busy by becoming a tourist in my own city and exploring more of London.  I often take for granted the fact that I live in such a fantastic city but it’s little adventures like these that make me remember how great London really is.

So I’ve put together a little itinerary of some of our latest explorations over the past few weeks that would make for a fun weekend in London.

Continue reading

A weekend in Brighton

A Valentine’s Weekend in Brighton

Apart from family trips when I was little, as well as the odd night out in my slightly wilder days of partying and actually being able to cope with a hangover, Brighton is somewhere that I haven’t really seen in years.  So when my mum gave us a Segway experience voucher for Christmas, we decided to spend Valentine’s weekend trying out this new adventure near Brighton and then spending the rest of the weekend exploring the city.

After an afternoon of fun whizzing our way through the woods on our Segways, with me desperately trying to avoid tree trunks while attempting to keep up with Mr Ayla, we made our way down to the seaside.  Thankfully we didn’t have too much mud to wash off ourselves before heading out for dinner where, for once, I didn’t take a single photo of our food.  Shock horror I know!  But it was Valentine’s weekend and we just wanted to enjoy our meal for a change.  (I think Mr Ayla was rather happy that he was able to eat his food while it was still hot without all my photo taking!) 

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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?!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Cocktail bar London

Cocktails and Canapés at the Polo Bar, Westbury Hotel

This week I’m taking an unexpected break from all my musings and posts on Marrakech to tell you about a wonderful evening we had last weekend when the Polo Bar at the Westbury Hotel invited us along for some cocktails and nibbles.  It’s not often that Mr Ayla and I get the chance to have an evening out together in London but when we do get the opportunity we always like to do something a bit different.  Heading to the Westbury Hotel in London’s plush Mayfair, with Christmas lights already twinkling in the streets around us, the evening was definitely one to remember despite all the cocktails that were to come!

As soon as we stepped into the warmth of the bar we felt so welcomed by both Elias the manager and Salvatore who would be our host for the evening.  It’s quite a classy and sophisticated place, yet it still had a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and we sank back into our cosy chairs in the corner and did some people watching while the Swarovski crystal decorations made the dimly lit room sparkle.

Continue reading

Where to eat in Marrakech

Romantic Fine Dining at Gastro MK, Marrakech

Morocco isn’t the sort of place you immediately think of for fine dining and I’d imagined that our few days exploring Marrakech would be spent sampling lots of cheap Moroccan delights in the street markets and in small restaurants.  But then I stumbled across Gastro MK, a beautiful restaurant set in the riad at Maison MK, that serves up a scrumptious sounding five course tasting menu.  I’d never had a tasting menu before (they’re so ridiculously expensive in London) but I loved the sound of their European cuisine with a Moroccan twist.  Although I don’t listen exclusively to TripAdvisor for my travel recommendations, the fact that the restaurant has been number 1 for four years running had to mean something, so we decided to book a table and make a special night of it.

We donned our best outfits (I had been waiting ages for the chance to wear this dress!) and arrived early for drinks before dinner.  After a fruity non-alcoholic shot we were shown up to the roof terrace where we had a view of the Marrakech skyline all lit up at night and the orange glow of Maison MK matched my dress perfectly.

Continue reading