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.

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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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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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View of Vernazza Cinque Terre

A Little Piece of Heaven in The Cinque Terre

After spending time away in a new destination no one ever wants to return home to the daily slog of work, responsibilities and the general drudgery of routine life. At the end of every trip I long to hear that our return flight has been cancelled or that work has given me an extra day off (extremely wishful thinking), just so we can spend a little bit more time away.

This was exactly how I felt when our adventures in Italy came to an end; we just did not want to leave. But it was more than that. We didn’t want to leave the Cinque Terre because it was so completely magical that it had swept us up and carried us onto a cloud of colourful pastel buildings, cute cafes filled with smiling locals, food and wine we would have been happy to dine on for the rest of our lives, all along the edge of a rugged coastline and turquoise sea so utterly gorgeous that I wanted to move there straight away.

I wasn’t expecting to love this place quite as much as I did, but we can both now say that the Cinque Terre is one of our favourite places in the world.

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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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Travel World map cake

My Travelicious Birthday

The lead up to my birthday is usually full of excitement and fun, but this year I’ve not been feeling particularly happy about turning another year older.  (This is the part where I’m usually told off because “I’ve had a great life and done so much already”.  Yes, but there is still soooooo much more that I want to do!)

But Mr Ayla and my friends and family refused to let me mope around and so this weekend has been full of surprise celebrations for my birthday today.

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Sunset over Brooklyn Bridge New York

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle

Although we weren’t in New York around Christmas time, Central Park and the rest of the city was covered in snow, and with the bright lights and ecstatic atmosphere you can only find in somewhere like New York City, the whole place had a very magical feel to it.

The bitter weather didn’t stop us from going out and seeing all the sights though.  One of our favourite moments was walking along the Manhattan Bridge just as the sun started to go down, and seeing this stunning view of the sunset twinkling over the water, giving the Brooklyn Bridge and the heart of the city a warm winter glow.

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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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