What to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The Magic of Christmas All Year Round in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Christmas is my very favourite time of the year and, yes, I am one of those people who gets extremely excited for the festivities before December has even arrived.  Maybe a little too excited.  Because who can really resist singing joyful Christmas tunes at the top of their voice or having a merry smile on their face in the run up to Christmas Day?  I certainly can’t so why wait until 1st December!

However, I wasn’t quite expecting to be feeling all Christmassy during Springtime.  That’s a little early even for me.  But when we visited Germany’s most picturesque fairytale town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, back in May there really was nothing I could do to stop the festive cheer when one of the town’s main tourist attractions is the Christmas Museum.

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Prague Christmas markets with a baby

Getting Festive at Prague’s Christmas Markets

Christmas has always been my very favourite time of year. I love everything about the festive season from the cosy winter nights and possibility of snow to mince pies and mulled wine, but mostly just that happy magic feeling that’s always in the air this time of year. Christmas markets have this in abundance so some of the European markets have always been on my travel wish list as they look even more festive and are just a tad more traditional than the likes of Winter Wonderland – which spending one hour at costs pretty much the same as three nights in Prague. So we went with Prague

Being Evie’s first Christmas we had an actual valid reason to go this year. She adores the twinkling Christmas lights, her whole face lights up when she hears the singing of Christmas carols and I knew it would make our first Christmas with her even more magical. This trip wasn’t for me in the slightest. In fact I didn’t even want to go at all. It’s all totally for her. Yup.

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Essentials for travelling with a baby

Gift Ideas for Travelling Mamas and Babies

I won’t claim to be an expert but I’ve travelled with Evie a fair few times in her 8 months on earth so I like to think I’m at least a little bit of a pro when it comes to travelling with a baby. We’ve been on all sorts of adventures from train and plane rides to road trips and cruises and now we sail through customs (mostly) stress free!

With Christmas coming up I thought it was a good time to share some things I’ve found super useful when travelling. I’ve included a whole different range of ideas from the essentials and the practicals to some that are just plain cute and simply needed.

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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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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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The Book of Everyone

The Book of Everyone

While I wouldn’t call myself spoilt, I do like being treated to a gift or two.  Something as simple as a little box of chocolates or something more extravagant (hint hint) will always make my day. Everyone loves receiving gifts; even those people who say they don’t want anything for their birthday, we all know you’re lying and would be secretly devastated if you ended up with no presents.

I also love giving gifts – not the standard body wash or socks present – that’s not my kind of style. I tend to go on the hunt for something more quirky and individual which I know the person I’m buying for will love. Watching them tear open the shiny wrapping paper, eagerly looking inside, and the look of glee (I hope!) on their face as they find out what they’ve got.

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Passport stamp heart print

New Year Adventures…

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and social media front lately as, to put it simply, I was just having too much fun over the holidays. Relaxing, playing board games, eating way too many pigs in blankets and chocolate Roses, and enjoying some time just switching off. Seeing as we pretty much skipped Christmas last year as we were travelling around India, I wanted to make the most of this one with my family and friends, and the last couple of weeks couldn’t have been better if they’d tried!

Wherever you were in the world, I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year too!

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Ice skating at Somerset House London

Getting Festive in London

I will admit that up until now I have been a bit of a Scrooge.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Christmas, and not having a proper Christmas last year as we were travelling around India, means I’m looking forward to it a whole lot more than usual this year.  But seeing Christmas gifts starting to be sold in shops, hearing Christmas songs on the radio, walking past houses twinkling with lights, and being asked about my plans for Christmas in October and November, well that is just way too far in advance for my liking.

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A Christmas In India

When I think of Christmas, white snow and twinkly fairy lights come to mind; Christmas crackers with ridiculous jokes; stuffing myself full with my nan and grandad’s yummy roast dinner; opening presents from under the Christmas tree; and getting into arguments over games with the family. But I had none of that this year.

This year Alex and I spent our Christmas in India. Instead of white snow we had hot sunshine, and the roast turkey was substituted with curry.

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Christmas…? What Christmas?!

What with my upcoming trip to India, I’ve been struggling to find time to fit in writing around all the planning.  And when I plan a trip, I really plan a trip.  No bars spared, I will put all my energy, concentration and every waking minute into making it as incredible an adventure as it can possibly be.  I may end up completely drained and about to pass out from exhaustion but it will all have been worth it in the end!

For this trip, as well as getting an extortionate amount of tips from other bloggers and twitterers (the #travelindia hashtag by Poonam has been super helpful), I have been reading up on India from my stack of books.  This is something I always do when I go away and I think it’s a great way to research.

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