Travel reminiscing (including some seriously old/embarrassing holiday snaps!)

When your life is going to change in a big way, I guess it’s only natural to start thinking about past experiences and how things are going to change for the future. Obviously, I’m over the moon that baby peaches is on the way, but sometimes I can’t help but think about how one of my biggest passions is going to change in a big way. That passion is, adventure travel! Travel has always been something deeply etched into my being, I travelled as a baby, a child and a teenager and continued to travel into my adult life. I then turned my passion into a career as I worked as cabin crew for 2 years, then as a travel agent for 8 years. So, my passion for travelling the world really has been with me a long time.  I’m sure we will travel with baby peaches, however, I know from experience of booking family holidays that things will change as a party of 3! My love for travelling doesn’t have to stop, it’s just going to be different that’s all. Instead of trekking in South America, I’ll be going on a luxury Iglu Cruise or booking an all-inclusive beach holiday – however, I know it’ll still be amazing and I can’t wait to show our little girl the world. So, while I’m reminiscing, I thought I’d share some of my favourite travel destinations, some funny stories and a few dodgy old holiday snaps. Here are my best bits:

INDIA

india

I was lucky enough to visit Delhi in India in 2007 for a work trip. Yes, that’s me with the brown hair (not sure what I was thinking there!) I remember it was an amazingly overwhelming culture shock, the sights, the smells, the endless heat, but I loved every moment of it. India will always be one of my favourite places in the world, it is absolutely crazy, busy and smelly at times but it’s so beautiful. We were lucky enough to visit places like the Taj Mahal, although I remember being torn by the fact there was a 5 star hotel (in the bottom right picture) that was right next to a slum. As well as visiting the posh hotel we also played with the children of the slums, and as I was so young, this gave me so much to think about to see such poverty. This was one of my big life lessons that totally put my life into perspective and made me realise how lucky I am. The heat was also incredible, it reached 46 degrees during our trip, crazy! I think if I went back, I’d be a little older and wiser now and I’d be a little more prepared!

RIO DE JANEIRO

rio

In 2008, I was lucky enough to travel for work to Rio De Janeiro. The trip feels like an utter blur, I remember being so tired from the flight I can barely remember half of it! We were lucky enough to see some of the top sights, like Copacabana Beach and the Corcovado. After seeing Rio in so many pictures I had to pinch myself I was actually there! We then went into the Amazon where we got to meet a tribe that still live within the rainforest, I remember being horrified when a man just wearing nothing but a very skimpy leaf pulled me up to dance with him. I flew all over the dance floor to the sound of their panpipes and drums as he spun me round!

AUSTRALIA

australia

My next adventure was to Australia. Look how young I look in these pictures! It was a whirlwind tour, visiting 3 different places, Melbourne, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Sydney, all within the space of 10 days. I’m not sure I’d have coped with that sort of itinerary these days, but back then I was in my element! (Remember those days when we didn’t need sleep!?). I remember worrying about all the creepy crawlies and checking my shoes/bedding/toilet seat for spiders at every opportunity. We slept one night under the stars by Ayers Rock and I was such I was going to be eaten by something! My favourite memory was watching the sunrise come up over Ayers Rock, as the light changed, so did the colour of the rock, it was magical!

BORNEO

borneo

A couple of years later, I travelled to Borneo and got the once in a lifetime change to meet the orangutans of Sepilok Rescue Centre, which was an absolute dream! We also stayed in a really lovely hotel and somehow I managed to get upgraded into a room with a huge jacuzzi on the balcony, which I had all to myself, I couldn’t believe it! My favourite moment from Borneo was getting up in the middle of the night to watch a turtle laying her eggs on the beach, I can still remember our guide running through the ‘hotel’ (which was just basic beach huts to be honest) shouting ‘it’s turtle time!!‘ to wake everyone up for the moment.

PERU

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My most recent adventure and if you’ve been reading my blog for a few years, you’ll have read all about this already! Both V and I travelled to Peru a couple of years ago and it was one of the most amazing but hardest trips I’ve ever done. I was really affected by the altitude, but we managed to do the Inca Trail, even though my lips went blue and I was out of breath with every step. It really was a spiritual, life changing experience, with a lot of funny moments along the way, such as when V drunk a frog milkshake (that literally had a frog blended into it) and don’t even get me started on the quest for a clean toilet on the Inca Trail (spoiler: it doesn’t exist). Peru was just so amazing, I’d go back again in a second!

 

Ahh, so many amazing memories. I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me! I’d love to hear some of your travel stories, either before or after babies, please do tweet me, or share them in the comments below! 

 

Post contains some collaborative links, however all words, opinions and travel stories are my own

 

A Foodies Guide to New York

A Foodies Guide to New York

Everyone is talking about one place at the moment, The Big Apple. It seems  like every blogger I follow has visited New York over the last couple of months (Lady Writes, Devoted to Pink, London Beauty Queen to name a few) and I have serious travel blogger envy! I absolutely love reading their posts; lusting after their amazing photographs of panoramic city skylines and piles of pancakes as taller than your head. Plus of course, eagerly awaiting to see their ‘New York Haul‘ as everyone knows when you visit New York, you’ll need an extra case to get home. However, it wasn’t until I recently watched The Elle Next Door’s Travel Vlog from her recent trip to New York, I realised we had one thing in common – EATING ALL OF THE FOOD. New York really is the city for eating and has got to be one of the only places in the world where every single cuisine is available – whether you are fancy a plate of Mexican Street Food at 9am or a slab of cheesecake at 4am, New York will have you covered. And being the foodie I am (well, thats the posh name for a little piglet) thats why, deep down, I really can’t wait to visit.

 

A Foodies Guide to New York

So, while scouring the Internet to plan my (imaginary) trip (that will take a while to happen with little on on the way) I saw the perfect guide for all foodies alike – The Sunday Times has created this amazingly handy New York Food Map, with all the best places to eat highlighted by local bloggers and foodies with all the insider tips of the best places to eat. The map is also totally interactive and gives connects straight to Google Maps to direct you straight to your food. This is just a dream to me – all the foodie places in one place, you could literally start from the top and try them all…….

A Foodies Guide to New York

A Foodies Guide to New York

So, I thought I’d share this little gem with you, as this has now been safely bookmarked, pinned and stored ready for some serious travel planning when the time comes for my visit. I’ll also keep my maternity jeans once I’ve had the baby, as I think I’m going to need them!

 

Have you visited New York? Where was your favourite place to eat? 

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A Foodies Guide to New York

Post written in collaboration with The Sunday Times, however all words, opinions and food cravings are my own

5 Unique Reasons to Visit Japan

5 Unique Reasons to Visit Japan

Just recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dream holiday to Japan, I know it’s a way off but I can’t stop planning every detail, so when the time comes I’ve got it all in hand. As you’ll know if you have been following me on snapchat or Instagram, we have been hosting foreign students in our home over the summer and I was excited to find out two of them were Japanese! So, naturally I couldn’t wait to ask them all about their homeland and the best things to see and do. Speaking to a local is the best way to do this, you can only get so much from the guide books! I’ve already worked out where all the main tourist sights are, so I wanted some advice about going off the beaten track – so I asked our students for a few unique suggestions of things I might like to do alongside all the ‘main bits’. Here are the top five suggestions:

Boat Ride during Sakura Season

I’ve seen hundreds of pictures of the cherry blossoms on Pinterest, so this has firmly been on my list for a long time. However, I didn’t actually realise you can hire out your own rowing boat and explore the cherry blossom by water. That just takes viewing the famous cherry blossom to a new level, how romantic would that be? I just love how the blossom has coloured the water pink too and as you glide along the water, the petals all part, leaving a trail behind you. There is also the option of stopping along the riverbank for a picnic along the way, sounds just beautiful!

Studio Ghibli Museum

Of course, for any Studio Ghibli fan, this is a MUST! I couldn’t believe it when our student, Aoi said she lives right by the museum, that is just so cool and I know where I’ll be staying when I go! 😉 I’ve seen every movie in the collection (numerous times!) and would love to get lost in a world of cute characters and stories. They describe the museum as a ‘portal to storyworld’ and due to their strict no-photo rules I can only guess what the inside must be like. In my opinion, Studio Ghibli have created some of the best movies ever made (forget Disney!) and it will be just magical. Don’t even get me started on visiting the gift shop…. obviously, I’ll want EVERYTHING!

5 Unique Reasons to Visit Japan

Explore the Geisha District of Kytoto

One of my must-do’s is to take a stroll around Gion, the only remaining geisha district left in Japan. A collection of streets defined by old wooden buildings, teahouses and Japanese restaurants, this is the best place to catch a glimpse a geisha or two shuffling between teahouses in their cumbersome sandals and elaborate kimonos. Ever since I read the book Memoirs of a Geisha I’ve dreamed about visiting one day and learning more about geisha life.

Visit Harajuku

The colours, the kawaii cuteness, the crazy fashion and most importantly, all of the cute FOOD! Harajuku has got to be on my list of places to visit, and my first stop will be at the famous Santa Monica Crepes, for one of the prettiest crepes I’ve ever seen!

5 Unique Reasons to Visit Japan

Try out Japan’s themed cafes

I have a thing for themed cafes, I wish we had more in the UK. As soon as the Doggy Cafe opened in Brighton I took Robbie as I just love the concept, although I think Robbie found it a bit bizarre. However, Japan just blows us out the water when it comes to themed cafes! Did you know there is a cat cafe, and owl cafe, a vampire cafe, a moomin cafe, a rabbit cafe and a My Little Pony Pancake Cafe, just to name a few! There are LOADS more, if I went to Japan, I’d make it my mission to visit them ALL!

So, those are my top 5 unique things to do in Japan and with this, I feel I’m only scratching the surface with this wonderful country. Now I just need to start saving! This might be a while now little one is on the way, but I can still dream and I know I will go, one day.

Now, before I wrap this post up, I wanted to make mention of ANA airways as an option for travelling to Japan. Not only did they send me a lovely parcel of Japanese products to get me in the mood for wanderlusting over my dream trip to Japan, but when I mentioned ANA to my students they also personally recommended them as one of the very best you can travel with, which really speaks volumes. ANA focus on Japanese hospitality, so everything is thought of from the moment you board the plane, the food, the experience – they even stock Neal’s Yard products! I’m sold! So look them up if you are lucky enough to be booking a trip any time soon.

Have you been to Japan? I’d love to hear about your experiences! 

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Image Credit [1] [2] [3]

Post written in collaboration with ANA

5 Reasons to Visit Mauritius

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Right, it’s time to get our dreaming, wunderlust heads on. Today I’m in the mood for a spot of travel inspiration, so thought I’d chat about the next destination on my bucket list, Mauritius. Sadly, I haven’t managed to get there yet, although secretly I have been saving it for a special holiday, like a honeymoon or to celebrate a big birthday. So, as 2017 is going to be a big year for us, maybe it might be the right time to go….  We shall see!

That doesn’t stop me planning though. One of my favourite things to do is to loose myself on Pinterest on the travel boards. Pinning my top travel destinations, so when it comes to the day I book my dream holiday,  I know exactly what the best things are to see and do.

So after an avid pinning session over the weekend,  here are my top reasons you need to visit Mauritius…. NOW! (and take me in your suitcase, obviously.)

Beautiful Beaches

Whenever I think of Mauritius, my first thoughts are always the beautiful beaches. The soft, white sand with the tranquil turquoise lagoon waters makes Mauritius the perfect postcard destination. With over 160km of stunning coastline including a calm lagoon mainly encircled in colourful coral reef, Mauritius’ beaches  are often found on the ‘best beaches in the world’ lists across various publications.  However, there is so much more to this beautiful island… if just chilling on the beach for a week isn’t you thing, don’t worry, you’ll have so much more to see and do.

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Sugar, Rum and Tea

I love finding out about the history of a destination, so I would love to explore Mauritius’ rich cultural history.  In the 1700’s, the sugar cane industry began and became one of the main exports. Nowadays, although it’s not the main industry you can still see how sugar cane is grown and try some of the many by-products created, the most popular being Rum. Watch the sugar being crushed and distilled and of course, try the speciality Rum.

The tea route is also a popular route to take, I can’t wait to try Mauritian Vanilla Tea, it sounds delicious and is supposed to be one of the world’s best.

Hiking and Exploring

Mauritius being a volcanic island has some of the most breathtaking scenery, from mountains to rivers to forests and more. The best way to properly explore is on foot, or if it’s your thing zip wire is an option too. With several National Parks the island is a true wildlife sanctuary, with the parks and reserves filled with beautiful, colourful birds plus over 700 species of indigenous plants.

I would absolutely love to visit Tamarind Falls, the highest waterfall in Mauritius with a drop of over 300m, it looks just stunning!

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Scouring the food markets

Whenever I go on holiday, I always have to scour the local food market, trying as many different foods along the way as I can. It’s a sensory overload, with a blast of colours, tastes, smells and sounds which in every place are totally unique. Port-Louis has a large vegetable market. I also want to try the locals favourite street food choice, Dholl Puri.

Go Dolphin Spotting

One of my lifelong dreams is to go dolphin and whale spotting. I’m not keen on the dolphin ‘experiences’ where you can swim with dolphins in captivity, so I’d rather get out on a boat and see the dolphins in their natural habitat. Mauritius is one of the best place to do just this, the crystal clear waters are just the perfect place to do it, remind me to pack the seasickness tablets though, I heard it can get a bit choppy!

Aaah, Mauritius. Doesn’t it just sound perfect! I’ll visit one day, I’m sure. 

Post written in collaboration with Mauritius 365

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5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

As you know, I love to travel. However, one of the tricky bits is all in the planning. In my working life I’ve been both Cabin Crew and a Travel Agent so I like to think I’ve got a bit of experience when it comes to hotel booking, although even being a ‘pro’ I’ve still had some crazy experiences! When I’m planning a holiday, the first step is the best flights and transport, then the next step is always to find the right hotel for our stay. There is always so much to consider, so it’s not an easy one and usually the bit that takes me the most time when I’m holiday planning. After all, you’re choosing your home away from home during the time of the trip, so it’s a big decision. So if you are thinking of booking a trip away this summer, look no further, here are a few tips to help you on your way….

5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

Our hotel in Cape Verde – We wanted a relaxing, luxurious break so we chose our hotel based on it’s five star rating and excellent reviews.

1. RATINGS

The key is to strike a balance between a hotel that is right for your needs and selecting the hotel with the highest star rating, if you can. For example, a person who is going on a business trip and will not be spending a great deal of time in their room may decide that they are fine with two star accommodation, whilst families traveling together usually require more amenities and a central location. Of course, you can always shop around for the best deal too,  check out Discountrue coupons for Hotels.com that will allow you to book accommodation with special discounts.

5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

Our hotel in Turkey – We wanted to get away from everything so chose this beautiful boutique property, hidden within the mountains.

2. LOCATION

If you focus solely on the price of your hotel, often the convenience of a central location will fall by the wayside. The key here is to ask yourself what you want from a location or how much the local transportation will be to get around. Be sure to avoid this common mistake by planning ahead and doing a bit of research. Are you someone who enjoys the nightlife or are you wanting go sightseeing everyday? If so, you’ll want to choose a hotel that places you in the centre of the action. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful stay will benefit from choosing a hotel that is located in a more rural area, like when we travelled to Turkey last year.

5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

This is me arriving at one of the hotels we stayed at in Peru, we were on an action adventure holiday, so the quality of the accommodation didn’t matter too much as we moved around every night. I was quite worried when they told me not to fall through the ceiling though (those gaps above are holes!). It turned out our room was actually really nice they were just renovating the stairway!

3. REVIEWS

Ratings can be misleading, but thanks to the Internet, we can read real reviews that have been written by real people. These reviews provide us with the information that we need to make a truly informed decision and allow us to find out more about the ins and outs of the hotels we are considering. Just be sure to avoid any reviews that have been written and posted on the hotel’s official website as often many of these are constructed by paid employees, as opposed to impartial observers like you or I.

5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

Sunset in our hotel in Cape Verde – this hotel had everything under one roof, so we just relaxed and enjoyed being waited on and pampered for a week.

4. SERVICES

How much are you going to be in your hotel? If you are on a city break, chances are there won’t be much need for extra services (well, apart from WIFI to post those all important Instagrams!) So, when planning a more relaxing hotel stay – are you looking for a hotel that provides you with a variety of restaurants to eat in? Would the presence of a pool end up swaying your decision making process? Make sure you have a good idea of the services you need for your trip before you decide on a hotel.

5 Tips On Choosing The Best Hotel For You

Our hotel in Turkey was locally owned and traditional in design, I loved exploring the beautiful grounds and taking in all of the traditional Turkish and Arabic design.

5. CHAIN OR INDEPENDENT?

While chain hotels offer their guests a certain level of reliability and convenience, some travellers are looking for a more unique and personal experience. For those who would rather have a unique experience, family and locally run hotels are able to provide the best option for you.

Overall, follow the above advice and take some time to chose your hotel, do your research and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely trip.

Happy Travels! 

Collaborative post with Discountrue

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