Addicted to blogging

The Crazy Wonderful Things We Do in the Name of Blogging

That feeling of pure excitement when you arrive in a new destination cannot be compared to anything else.  Stepping off the plane into the humidity of a different country; flicking through your passport to find that new stamp; eagerly awaiting your suitcase so you can rush off to your luxurious hotel, where you stare wide-eyed at the panoramic view from your balcony and flop down on top of the ginormous comfy bed, before going out to explore the city.  So exciting.  So thrilling.  So blissful.

Right?  Well, our trips usually go something a little more like this…

Stepping off the plane into the humidity of a different country; posing for a photo in front of the plane once we’ve waited for everyone else to get off and get out of the shot; flicking through our passports to find that new stamp and, if there isn’t one, holding up the line until we get one; eagerly awaiting our suitcases so we can rush off to our hotel, where Mr Ayla is very nicely told to either wait outside or stand behind the door so I can take an appropriate amount of photos of the room before he messes up the bed or the contents of our suitcases start spilling out everywhere; then finally checking what’s on my huge long list of things to do first and heading straight in that direction.

No Alex, you can’t sit down and relax, we have places to go and things to see.  What do you think this is?  A holiday?!  Tut.

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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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Bob Bob Ricard

An Anniversary Celebration at Bob Bob Ricard

It was our 8 year wedding anniversary last weekend (yes that does make me feel very old!) and we wanted to celebrate the occasion somewhere special.  I had the perfect place in mind – Bob Bob Ricard, a glamorous restaurant in Soho serving up a luxury English and Russian menu.  Okay, in all honesty I really wanted to go here for the famous “Press for Champagne” button that every table has, making it the restaurant that pours the most champagne in the whole of the UK.  But silly me had left it till the last minute and being a Saturday night meant there were only super early or ridiculously late times still available for dinner.  Thankfully, with lots of patience and perseverance, I managed to grab ourselves a cancellation at a reasonable time.

Bob Bob Ricard is a far cry from the little quirky independent restaurants we usually eat at.  Mr Ayla’s reaction to the sparkly gold exterior and well dressed doormen as we walked past a couple of months ago was something along the lines of “That’s somewhere we would NEVER go”.  Clearly he had underestimated how much I wanted to press that button.

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Catalan Bay Gibraltar

Can Travel Bloggers Have “Normal” Holidays?

Before I even started writing a travel blog, I always loved trips that involved jam-packed itineraries, fascinating tours and delicious foodie finds. I thrive on exploring new places, learning about different cultures and seeing new things, and writing this blog has only made me even more consumed when it comes to planning trips. But our recent break to Gibraltar included none of this. This was the first time I was going away with family since I started blogging, but this trip wasn’t going to be a blogging one; it was to celebrate my mum’s birthday and to unwind in a place that is close to all our hearts.

But, unable to shake my typical blogger ways, the obsessive trip planner in me started to panic a few days before we left. We had absolutely nothing planned and I really do mean nothing. I hadn’t organised a single tour because we’d pretty much seen all of Gibraltar already and I hadn’t even scouted out any new restaurants to try. What on earth were we going to do for 4 whole days?!

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Mayfield Lavender

A Floral Fantasy at Mayfield Lavender

I have always been a self-confessed girly girl; I like pretty, pink, sparkly things, I always wear a bit of mascara, and everything Disney makes me happy.  But when it comes to flowers, supposedly one of the most romantic gifts for us gals, I am just not impressed.  Mr Ayla knows that I would rather be treated to a book over a bunch of roses because, while they may be beautiful, what’s the point when they just die?!

Lately however, I seem to have taken a liking for all sorts of beautiful bright flowers.  Not the ones that I can quickly kill off at home, but those I can visit in abundance and know that they will still be blossoming long after I’ve left.  We had some Adventures in Kent’s Bluebell Woods earlier in the year and this weekend we visited Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey where 25 acres of bright lavender blossom over the summer months.

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Cocktails in the City

Delectable Cocktails, Fun and Games at Cocktails in the City

If you noticed me going slightly bonkers over National Piña Colada Day a couple of weeks ago then you’ll know how strong my desire of a good cocktail is. Whether I’m sipping one on an exotic beach somewhere in the world or dressed up to the nines in a fancy London cocktail bar, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have a cocktail in my hand.  Or even both hands on some occasions.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to win a pair of tickets to Cocktails in the City, a mini cocktail festival where a selection of London’s best bars serve up this season’s most delectable drinks along with some mouth-watering street food, funky music, and fun and games.

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Afternoon tea bus tour London

An Afternoon Tea Bus Tour of London

I’m a born and bred Londoner so it’s only natural that I should love the quintessentially English occasion of afternoon tea. Afternoon teas with a twist especially take my fancy like the burgerlicious tea we demolished at BRGR.CO or the fun cocktail making afternoon tea at Hush. So when I heard about the tea by BB Bakery that is set on an old double-decker red bus and takes guests on a sightseeing tour of London while they eat, well you can only imagine how excited I was.

I boarded the bus with fellow blogger ladies Shikha and Char and we took our seats on the top deck where the tables were beautifully laid out with tiered trays of finger sandwiches, mini turkey salad rolls and mini quiches. After the obligatory foodie snaps, we delved straight into the savoury tier which went down a treat.  I loved that they provided something different to just the normal sandwiches that most afternoon teas serve.

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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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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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