Cape Winelands with kids

Child Friendly Wine Estates in the Cape Winelands

Yes, you read that title right!  There are a huge amount of wine estates in Cape Town and the surrounding Winelands, and clearly they know that parents want need the occasional glass of wine as the majority of them cater so well to children and families.  So of course we had to include several in our itinerary and our road trip through the Winelands became one of the best parts of our trip.

South Africa’s Winelands are just beautiful, all with spectacular mountain backdrops and lush green vineyards that fade off into the distance.  Even if you’re not a wine drinker I would still highly recommend visiting at least a couple – for the picture perfect views as well as the variety of other attractions that can often be found on the estates aside from the wine tasting.  I didn’t used to be much of a wine drinker but then I had a baby who turned into a toddler so now I am very fond of a glass (or two)!  Travelling with an almost two year old I did wonder how well she would fare while us girls were all enjoying our wine but everywhere was so completely child friendly that actually the wine was just one of many reasons to visit.  Each wine estate we stopped at had so much more to offer providing copious amounts of fun and activities for children, from playgrounds to animal parks and even non-alcoholic tastings for the little ones and those who don’t drink

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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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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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Cottage in Cornwall

A Cottage Getaway in Cornwall

When we first visited Cornwall shortly after our wedding eight years ago, we stayed in the bustling town of Newquay, in a luxurious hotel up on the headland overlooking Fistral Beach and the blue sea.  Maybe this shows how travel tastes change as you get older, but this time around we wanted to stay out of the centre for a more relaxing and peaceful weekend, so when I came across Hendra Paul Farm which is home to a group of four adorably cute cottages, I just couldn’t resist.  The Wild Flower Cottage, the smallest of the four, was perfect for us with one bedroom suitable for a couple, out in the countryside surrounded by the rolling green fields yet only a short drive from the main towns and beaches of North Cornwall.

Driving down the narrow winding country lanes, passing trundling tractors, horses in the fields and little bunnies hopping across our path (that I totally wanted to jump out of the car and take home with me), we finally found our way to the farm and as soon as I spotted our home for the weekend I completely fell in love.  I mean look how utterly adorable…!!

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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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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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African Pygmy Hedgehog

Happy National Hedgehog Day!

As it’s National Hedgehog Day today, I thought I would share some pictures of my own little hedgehog because, to put it simply, African Pygmy Hedgehogs are just too cute for words.

I’m usually greeted with a look of bafflement when I tell someone we’ve got a pet hedgehog.  I’ll admit that they’re not a typical animal to have as a pet but they do make a great little addition to the family and she suits us perfectly.  As soon as anyone sees her they immediately want one of their own!

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Paddington Bear Trail London

On the Search for Bears on the Paddington Trail

With my overly excitable and big kiddish personality, I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I love a fun children’s film, so when I saw the trailer for the new Paddington movie, of course I was massively thrilled. Alex usually gets dragged along to the cinema, packed full of screaming and giggling children, to watch these sorts of movies with me, but even this was one he actually wanted to see.

So when I came across the Paddington Trail, a fun adventure in London by the NSPCC and Studiocanal to celebrate the release of the film, my excitement tripled!  Paddington Bear statues popped up all over the city waiting to be found by curious children and eager adults.

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Giraffes in the Serengeti Tanzania

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Africa isn’t the sort of place that comes to mind when you think of the word minimalist.  The continent’s bright colours, pulsing music and lively people means there is always the buzz of something going on somewhere and this is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with the place.

But the national parks, with their huge expansive plains that reach as far as the horizon, feel like they’re in a whole other world.  You could drive for miles seeing nothing apart from another safari truck passing by, on the look out for some wildlife just as you are.

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