Travel: Snippets of Paris (+ Vlog!)

Travel: Snippets of Paris (+ Vlog!)

So this week we FINALLY went back to Paris and I couldn’t be more excited than to tell you all about it. After our disaster trip last year for my 30th birthday – this year, on my 31st we decided to head back to Paris for a second go, to do everything we missed out on the first time!

As we only had 3 days I decided I didn’t want to stress about getting the perfect blog photos or Instagram shots –  and we just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. It was a bit drizzly and my hair was frizzy but I was ok with that. I was just pleased to be there! I also found walking around a huge city with a giant pregnancy bump pretty hard, on a couple of the days where we walked a lot I had a lot of Braxton Hicks – I’m sure the local’s were wondering what I was doing as I was leaning on walls and lamp posts in the street to try and get them to go away, my pregnant body wasn’t a fan of Paris, sadly. But, I was determined not to let this get in the way!

So, of course even though I said I wasn’t going to blog – in an amazing city like Paris I still had my camera to hand and have taken a few shots and video clips of our weekend in Paris, which I’ve cobbled into a low-key post and vlog…. I can’t help myself.

Travel: Snippets of Paris (+ Vlog!)

Travel: Snippets of Paris (+ Vlog!)

Sightseeing: We spent a busy day seeing the main sights of Paris. Of course, we had to visit the Louvre Museum, although it was so huge I feel I have only just scratched the surface! I saw the highlights though, such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo, plus I loved the Egyptian section too. One day I need to spend a whole day there and see everything from top to bottom.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is take a trip up the Eiffel Tower! Even though Vee is scared of heights she said she’d come with me, although I had to do the top bit on my own and leave her on the second level. It was amazing and so worthwhile, you can see for miles from the top! It was a bit of a cloudy day but it didn’t spoil the views at all, it was a dream come true to finally all the way to top!

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Food:  One of my favourite things about France is the amazing food – mainly, all the sweet treats! On our first day we went for afternoon tea at my very favourite tearoom, Angelina. I ordered exactly the same as last year (and quite possibly my favourite combination in the world) – Tarte Au Citron with the famous rich Angelina Hot Chocolate. I then made it my mission to find the best Tarte Au Citron in Paris, and ate quite a few over the 3 days. Nothing beats Angelina though!

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Going Out: On our last night we got all dressed up for a night at the Moulin Rouge. Even though I love being pregnant and having a bump, I haven’t felt glamorous or stylish at all in months. I find maternity clothes so frumpy! So, I when when Tiffany Rose got in touch and sent me their beautiful Willow Gown in Eclipse Blue to wear for my birthday celebration I couldn’t have been more excited. I spent ages on my hair and makeup and honestly felt like a million dollars for the first time so long. It’s the most flattering dress I’ve ever worn, plus it was super comfortable too.

Our evening at the Moulin Rouge was fabulous! The show wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I was picturing burlesque, but I’d say it’s more of a cabaret, crossed with Cirque du Soleil – but it was crazy, colourful and fun nonetheless and a real experience. The only slight dampener of the evening was that they used live animals in the show (who didn’t look very happy to be there) – this made me feel a bit awkward and sorry for them, which is a  real shame.

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We also enjoyed eating out in our favourite district of Paris, Montmartre. Snuggling in blankets we sat outside and watched the world go by over French Onion Soup and a (very small) glass of wine.

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Lastly, here is a little video I made of the best bits to capture the moment too ….

 


Collaborative post with Tiffany Rose & Eiffel Tower, all words opinions are my own

Paris Attacks – One Year On

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Today marks the anniversary of the Paris Terrorist Attacks and a year since this picture was taken in a devastated, deserted city. It was also my 30th birthday weekend and one of the scariest experiences of our lives. Thankfully, we were safe and thats all that matters. Last year we didn’t really get to see much of the city, my birthday present of tickets to the Moulin Rouge were cancelled and we went into hiding until we could get home again. It was truly terrifying.

A year on, I refuse to let terrorists ruin a beautiful place and taint our memories. We’ve decided to go back and relive the moment that should have been. Tomorrow marks a new day and a new experience – we are going back to Paris and will hopefully I will finally get to see the city in all it’s glory, once and for all. Plus I get to turn 30, again!

May this post be a reminder to keep those who were lost on 13th November 2015 in our hearts and to be thankful we get to live and experience new things again. We have been given a second, third, or fourth chance at things, however there are so many on that day that weren’t so lucky……..

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A little update and my first travel vlog!

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So, you might have noticed it’s gone a little quiet around here. I’m so sorry about that! The last couple of weekends have been super stressful as my blog was hacked, repeatedly by an unknown person. I spent hours fixing it, only for the hackers to get back in within hours, I couldn’t have been more angry and suddenly quite scared as to how they were getting past all of the security I’d put in place. I’m not even 100% sure what happened, but I’ve had some super people looking after me and I’ve paid for it to be professionally cleaned up so I’m hoping – fingers crossed – that we are out of the woods with it all, but every time I type in my URL, I still hold my breath and hope for the best. All I can say is if you are a blogger, take care of your security, update EVERYTHING (plugins, themes etc) every day and change your password regularly. I did all of that and they still got me. RAGE.

So, while my blog was down I got busy and created something a bit different this time – it’s my first proper vlog! I made the first part on our holiday to Malta. We spent 5 nights on the island of Gozo, so this is all about that, part two will be coming soon too. I absolutely loved vlogging and think I might do a couple a month now –  this was a first attempt (apart from a dodgy one I made in 2014 that is 80% photos) so be kind and please do let me know what you think!

After a dramatic couple of weeks, I’ll be back to normal posting now things are back on track –  so until next time!

 

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

A few weeks ago, I joined one of my besties Rachael for her hen do in a surprise location. She eagerly boarded the flight with no idea of where we were going, with a gaggle of giggling girls behind her. I’m not sure how far she got before she realised where we were going, but we soon found out our destination was going to be Krakow, Poland. As we landed we excitedly jumped into our awaiting stretch hummer to take us to our accommodation –  eager to discover what the weekend ahead would bring and to see the sights of Krakow.

I had never visited Poland either so I was completely intrigued by Krakow as a city break destination. I have to say it completely lived up to my expectations and more, it’s such a beautiful city with so much to see and do. It was absolutely perfect for a hen party, only two hours flight from the UK, cheap accommodation and cost of living, plenty of nightlife and lots of historical sights too. It really had everything we needed.

So, after an amazing weekend in Krakow, I’ve written my top 5 things to do when visiting Krakow – enjoy!

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

1. MOOCH AROUND THE MAIN MARKET SQUARE

The main area you’ll come across will be the huge Main Market Square, lined with bars, restaurants and coffee shops this is the perfect location to start your trip. Dating back to the 13th century, the Main Square in Krakow is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe. Surrounded by the most beautiful historic townhouses and churches, the main building dominating the skyline is the Cloth Hall and the gothic towers of St Mary’s Basilica. It was a photographers paradise! I spent a good 2 hours just mooching about, with a sorbet in one hand, my camera in the other, capturing the main square and watching the world go by.

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

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5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

2. Take a Walking Tour around the Old Town and visit the Castle

As Krakow is a relatively small city, a walking tour is the perfect way to see everything. Also, having a guide in tow means you’ll find out all of the hidden gems and won’t miss anything along the way. We had a lovely guide from Free Walking Tours who knew just about every detail of Krakow’s history and explained everything in perfect English, as well as being in a fun and informal style too. The Old Town and Castle are just stunning and not to be missed! 5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

3. EXPERIENCE KRAKOW’S NIGHTLIFE

It was such a shame, but on the hen do I was too poorly to visit any of the bars or nightclubs (I know, on a hen party too – what a loser!) but the girls had the night of their lives and stumbled in at 5am with many a tale to tell. We were only there a couple of nights, so the girls wanted to experience as many of the coolest bars and clubs in the city, so they hired the services of a Krakow Nightlife Private Guide, who took them to all of the swankiest bars in the city, some quite off the beaten track – they’d have never have found them without a guide. Great idea, sounds like the guides were great fun too. I’m still sulking I didn’t get to go!

4. Try Traditional Polish Food

I might have missed out on the night out, but I certainly didn’t miss out on the food! Eating out in Krakow is just amazing, I was SO surprised by the food, it was utterly delicious. The first thing I wanted to try was dumplings – I managed to find a great place that did a vegetarian option filled with potatoes and cottage cheese, served with golden fried onions. They were better than I imagined and I could have eaten about 5 plates of them – SO GOOD. I also had an amazing meal which was fresh mountain river trout served with a baked apple and cranberries – an unusual combination but it went together perfectly.

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

OUR TOP 3 RESTAURANTS IN KRAKOW

  1. Pod Aniolami – Fine dining in the most beautiful indoor garden, this has got to be my favourite restaurant in Krakow.
  2. Morskie Oko – Traditional Polish food, served whilst live musicians play and dancers dance, by the end of the night the whole restaurant was up, you just couldn’t help but join in.
  3. Cafe Oranzeria – Hardly a cafe, this beautiful rooftop bar and restaurant is had the best views in town. With views over the castle and river this a truly special space.

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

Lastly, on the food front  (can you tell this is my favourite part of any city break!) there are so many amazing ice cream parlours and chocolate shops around the city. Just head to the Main Market Square, you can’t miss them. For the true chocoholics, you have got to visit the Wedel Chocolate Lounge – where you can indulge in all the chocolate you can eat, pretty much in every form. A-MAZING.

5. Visit Auschwitz and Schindler’s Factory

Unfortunately we didn’t get the time to visit either, but Auschwitz and Shindler’s Factory are two very important sights when it comes to history in Krakow. It wasn’t quite right to visit on a hen party, but one day I know I’ll come back and visit. You can take a tour from the centre of Krakow, you’ll see lots of golf buggies buzzing around, just ask one of those and they’ll be able to advise you on the next available tour.

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

We had an absolutely amazing time in Krakow, it’s the perfect city for a break away, whether it be a hen/stag party or a romantic break away, Krakow has something for everybody and I can’t wait to go back one day and explore the city further.

Have you been to Poland? What are your top travel tips?

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5 Top Things to do in Krakow Poland

Christmas on the Nile – Part 2 – Nile Cruising and Karnak

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Oh, to be back floating along the Nile. It was just bliss and one of the most beautiful places in the world. I just long to feel the warm sun on my skin again and that sense of freedom. Our trip was only 6 weeks ago, but it feels like a lifetime in the bleak February lull we seem to have found ourselves in. I’ve finally got round to taking the photos off the camera, and have spent the morning flicking through over a thousand pictures of such happy memories, amazing places and good times.

So, I thought I would write part 2 of our Egypt Travel Diaries. If you are just reading this for the first time, we visited Egypt in December and spent Christmas Day in quite an unusual setting! In my first post we visited Cairo and the Pyramids, we then flew down to Luxor where we visited Karnak Temple and then we board our Cruise ship and set sail along the Nile.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Ram-headed Sphinx Avenue

Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple dates back to 2500 BC, it’s amazing to think some of these structures, statues and obelisks are over 4000 years old and are still standing. It is just breathtaking and also so much bigger than I expected (in terms of area, rather than height). Walking around the temple, there is something to see around every corner. I don’t think any of our photographs do it justice, it has to be seen to be believed. From ornate pylons, pillars and statues, to one of the tallest obelisks in Egypt. Made from a single piece of stone, you just can’t image this was made all by hand and still looks unbelievable today.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Hidden from the sun, the underside of the structure still shows the original bright colours of red, blue and gold 

We spent quite some time exploring the enormous area that Karnak Temple covers. In Egyptian times, Karnak was one of the most religious sites in Egypt for over 2000 years, so at the time was a highly important place of pilgrimage. It also meant, each Pharaoh in power wanted to leave their mark and add to the temple in ways bigger and better than the previous, so this is a site that has grown and changed over many many years and it’s interesting to see some of the changes that had gone on at the time, and the ‘fashions’ at the time. There are even parts where Pharaohs and God’s have been erased from the wall, leaving large silhouettes of uneven chippings in human shape, where there was obviously a falling out or two and the Pharaoh would have instructed the architects to chip the said-person from the wall. I guess thats the Egyptian way of deleting photos of an ex or friend you’ve now fallen out with.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Standing next to this Statue of Rameses II just to show the sheer size | Original colours and hieroglyphics | Obelisk made from one piece of rock, stands at 97 feet tall

It wasn’t just the history that made visiting Karnak fun. There were also groups of local school children on school trips around every corner. Many of them come from areas where they don’t see tourists or people with blonde hair, blue eyes and lighter skin. I didn’t expect this, but many of the children approached us, wanting to practice their English and shouting ‘Selfie, selfie’ – they all wanted photos of us, it was quite bizarre. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many photos taken of me, they were like mini-paparazzi. We obliged and posed for photos with them, speaking basic English to them to help them practice, until their teacher came racing over and shouted at them for all surrounding us, but we of course, didn’t mind at all.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

We can’t go anywhere without finding cuttteee puppies 

Nile Cruise

I was absolutely stunned by the beauty of Karnak. It is such a fascinating place and I could have spent all day there. However by mid-morning we were due to set sail down the Nile, so we headed to our cruise ship by horse and carriage and boarded the ship.

Having never been on a cruise, I was more than excited to get onboard. Our ship, the Mirage was just the right size, with three floors and an upper deck it was big enough but still felt quite intimate and had a low-key relaxed vibe. Our cabin had a large double bed and panoramic window so we could take in all the sites without even leaving the comfort of our bed. It was just perfect and such a fun and different place to wake up on Christmas Day!

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Afternoon Tea on the Top Deck | Swimming Pool and Sun loungers | Waiting to set sail 

The afternoon was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a long time. We set sail from Luxor with a few toots of our horn, we were off. Relaxing music drifted from the speakers and the Egyptian scenery began to pass by. We sat on the top deck, basking in the sunshine, but as the sun began to cool, afternoon tea was served and we sat looking out as the sun set over the horizon.

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Locals making rafts from reeds

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

Washing and drying rugs in the sunshine

Christmas on the Nile - Part 2 - Nile Cruising and Karnak

As the sun sets, the moon appears

Evenings on the cruise ship were just as relaxing. Dinner was served in the main restaurant, with drinks in the bar afterwards. Most evenings we went to bed early and I slept so well, with the gentle movement of the ship beneath us, thinking of what might be waiting for us outside the window when we woke up.

 

Next time, join me as we visit Aswan Dam, Abu Simbel and eat our Christmas Dinner sitting on the floor with the Nubians….