Travel blogger planning a trip

A Surprise Adventure

It’s been five long torturous months of having to keep this secret to myself and now I can finally share it.  Mr Ayla turned 30 yesterday and I’d planned a little surprise for his birthday.  There may actually be a few of you (okay possibly a lot of you) who already know about this surprise – I may not have been able to share it with my husband but the excitement was too much not to share with anyone at all!

Mr Ayla woke up on his birthday morning to be greeted with a treasure hunt leading him to a selection of clues around the house and finally to his big surprise…

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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!) 

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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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Where to stay in New Forest

Rustic Charm in the New Forest at Cottage Lodge

As we pulled into the drive of our home for the night in the New Forest, we knew within seconds that we were going to love this place.  Set in the little village of Brockenhurst, surrounded by woodland and wildlife all around, the white building of Cottage Lodge with its bright yellow door looked adorably cute.

We even had our own reserved parking sign that had me feeling like Beyonce.  (Okay, so I wasn’t the only guest with my own little sign but it still made me feel pretty special anyway.)

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Fairy tale in Oxford

A Day Trip to Oxford

With only 24 hours in Oxford, we had a lot to squeeze in on our visit to one of the UK’s most popular cities. Only a couple of hours drive from London, Oxford is the perfect place for a short weekend getaway and has so much to offer both visitors and locals alike.

It was a chilly but sunny day when we arrived, the skies bright blue and the ground full of fallen leaves, making the city even more beautiful.

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The Cotswolds: A Photo Essay

After a lovely couple of days in Bath and Cheddar Gorge, the last stop on our mini road trip was the Cotswolds where we planned on seeing some of England’s greenest countryside and stopping off at several of its small villages before heading back home.  As is typical in England, it rained pretty much the whole time, but this didn’t make the area any less beautiful.  In fact, I took so many photos that I just had to share all the prettiness of the Cotswolds with you.

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Cheddar Gorge

Adventures (and Cheese) in Cheddar

In my quest to see more of my own country and to prove that there are all sorts of adventures to be had right on your own doorstep, our recent visit to Bath gave me a valid excuse to convince Mr Ayla into visiting somewhere else close by, and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at that.

Not far from Bath, the small town of Cheddar is home to one of the greatest natural wonders in Britain; the 450ft Cheddar Gorge towered over us as we drove our way through its winding roads.  Around every bend there was another stunning view with plenty of opportunities for me to shout at Alex to pull the car over for photos and to explore.

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48 hours in Bath

48 Hours in Bath

Bath was the first stop on our little road trip; somewhere we had heard so many good things about but had never had the chance to visit despite only living a couple of hours away.

From the moment we arrived both of us loved the city, its streets lined with Georgian buildings, with pretty courtyards and squares where people sat outside pavement cafes listening to buskers playing music and watching the sun set over the city. Bath is only small so walking around was easy and gave us a chance to stumble across little side streets full of cute tea houses (which there are lots of) and quirky independent shops.

We arrived in the evening and, after checking into our gorgeous hotel, headed straight out to explore the city.

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Sotto Sotto Bath review

Sotto Sotto, Bath: Restaurant Review

I don’t often write reviews on restaurants but, when I do, it’s because I’ve found somewhere too fabulous not to tell you about!

As we were celebrating our anniversary during our weekend trip to Bath, we decided to book a table at the Italian restaurant Sotto Sotto, as it seemed to be highly recommended as one of the best places to eat. While I may not have been to every restaurant in the city, I truly believe that it is THE best place to eat in Bath, as every single moment of our evening and every single mouthful of food was simply wonderful.

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Adventure is on your doorstep

I’ve never really been one to explore much of my own country; I tend to prefer jetting off to exotic locations with different cultures and cuisines, with people to meet who live completely different lives to us, and far away from all the responsibilities at home. But after big trips to India and South America over the last year, we decided to spend the bank holiday weekend exploring some of England for a change.

We made a little road trip of it, the beautiful city of Bath being our first stop, where we splashed out on a fancy meal and hotel to celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary (yes, that makes me feel old!).

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