travel

Flashback Friday – Luxembourg

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A few weeks ago we went to Luxembourg for three nights. The flights were ridiculously cheap, it was £39 each! And for the first time ever, I did hand luggage only!

The first evening was the usual of walking around and just seeing near your hotel. I also had an awful cold and cough, so I had no energy and we didn’t explore too far.

The next day, we took a bus into the centre. We wondered around and saw a kind of look out point, so we walked over. This was good views of the Adolphe Bridge (see top picture).

Before going I had read about a hot chocolate shop that I wanted to visit, and it was in the area we was in! Its called Chocolate House by Nathalie Bonn, and it was amazing! In the shop was lots of chocolate’s, and cakes, and also a wall of chocolate spoons! The lady suggested having our hot chocolate in the shop. So you choose a spoon, took it upstairs, they offer you milk (they had everything – lacto free, soya etc.), you are then given the mug of hot milk, which you stir your chosen spoon into, with a little tub of cream and a marshmallow each. It was delicious!

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On my list of things to do was the Casemates du Bock – these are underground tunnel’s from years ago which was built under a castle. The castle is no longer there, but the passages couldn’t be destroyed as part of the city would have been lost! So they have been kept open for visitors as a UNESCO world heritage site. It was super cold down there!

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We wondered and walked all round the old part (which is also the centre), this was definitely the prettiest part. We ended up going to a supermarket on the way back to the hotel and having a chill night.

The next day, we went back to the centre and I wanted to go to the new observational lift. Pfaffenthal lift takes you down to ‘the grund’. We expected queue or something – but was quiet. So we did that, and there was nothing open on the bottom! You could walk back up the long and winding steep hill, but I refused! So used the lift back up.

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We saw the statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte, we went to Notre Damn, and had more food out.

Then it was the last day, we checked out of the hotel and went back into the centre, only to discover all the shops were shut! (it was a Sunday), so we stopped outside the Grand Ducal palace so I could take a few photos. They also do tours inside, but only in the summer. So we took a slow walk (about 20 minute’s or so) to the bus garage so we could get a bus to the airport (it cost 2 euros!).

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I’m going to be honest in this post… I wouldn’t recommend Luxembourg. The flight was lovely and short, 50 minutes! But the cab to the hotel was fifty two euros, just because we wasn’t in the centre of luxeumbourg city (which I hadn’t booked as wanted a cheap break). Everything was expensive, and we did most of the tourist stuff in 1 day. It was also strange that it was such a mash up of other countries, it didn’t feel like it had its own identity. There are much nicer cities in Europe with more to do.

 

Outings · travel

Day out in Brighton!

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We had a voucher for Christmas for something we didn’t want to do, so we exchanged it!

I chose a tour for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, with a cream tea included.

So my boyfriend and I drove down, and spent an hour or two in there. I have been to Brighton plenty of times throughout my childhood and as an a adult but have never been to there or inside!

You get given a headset, which you click once inside each room, and then gives you information. It reminded me of a mini Buckingham Palace.

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The exterior has indian influences and the interior has Chinese influences. The palace was used as a pleasure palace for royals. So was essentially a getaway from London and other palaces! Some of them loved it, others hated it as too gaudy for them. its quite a big palace, bigger than I was expecting.

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It is now all been preserved, and some pieces are on loan from the Queen!

One of my favourite’s was in a bedroom, the bathroom door was disguised in the wall!

The cream tea you could have when you liked/preferred. We had in the middle of the tour as the tea room is in the middle of the tour! But you can have at the beginning or the end etc. Was the usual tea – scone with clotted cream and jam with a pot of tea.

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After our tour, we headed to Brighton Pier, I hadn’t walked along this in years! The wind and the salty air was so refreshing. Its such a cheesy place, but feels like a proper English tradition.

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I love being by the sea, living in a town, its always so nice to get away for a little bit. The sea always calms and relaxes me. I could watch it for hours!

We had a nice August day too, so the sun was out and we was in tshirts. We did some window shopping and browsed some of the smaller lanes.

I always find it mind boggling too, how much water there is on earth!

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What about you guys, what have you been up to? Do you love the sea?

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travel

Flashback Friday – Route 101 Road Trip, West Coast USA

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So this was the trip that kick started it all. Once I was back from this trip, I was hooked on travelling and holidays. I mean, I always was before – but this ignited some kind of fire!

This was one of my favourite holiday’s ever. It’s actually been 4 years next month that we did this amazing adventure.

Road trips and cruises are the way forward – you see so much!

We drove over 1000 miles, across 3 states and stayed in 7 hotels over 15 nights. We even got matching Route 101 signs tattooed during the trip!

I honestly don’t even know how it came about, one minute it was being discussed and joked about, then I got serious and started looking and planning!

I’m not going to lie, it was costly. The flights was about £750 each as we flew in and out of different airports. The car hire was also a big amount, they charge a flat non refundable fee of $300 just to drop the car off at a different state. That was on top of the car hire amount!

The hotels we stayed in, with the exception of one wasn’t too expensive or luxurious.

We flew into Seattle, and flew out of LAX. I did want to do the whole route of 101, but struggled to find a flight out of San Diego, so our trip ended in LA. I also booked all the hotels before we left, so I knew we always had a destination to put in the sat nav and a warm bed for the night.

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We did and saw and experienced too much for this one blog post, so I’m just going to stick to the highlights.

We stayed in Seattle 3 nights before moving on. We went to Pike Place Market, and went into the original Starbucks, (I bought a mug!), we went on the Seattle monorail and up the space needle. We walked all round the city and explored. It wasn’t my favourite place, and I probably wouldn’t go back here.

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We headed to a hotel on the coast for one night, still in the Washington State. We drove through the town where Kurt Cobain was from. After we drove to Oregon, we stayed at a few hotels along this state.

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I also ended up buying a jacket from Wal Mart as it was so chilly, windy and rainy! The weather was awful in parts, and we was driving metres from the water at some points. It really was scary, we missed a tree being blown down across a road by minutes.

We drove to and stayed in a cute little town called Seaside, and had a lunch in Tsunami café! There was signs everywhere pointing to safe sites, and with the weather the way it was – it was a bit worrying!

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We drove through the Red Forest, which was amazing. They are tallest trees in the world! We parked up the car, and got out to take photos. We didn’t see anyone else the whole time. We also stopped and paid to do the SkyTrail – which is a gondola ride through part of the forest. Its meant to offer amazing views, but sadly the weather stopped our views at the top! We also was now in California!

We stayed in a family run hotel where they put up a notice where people are from each evening, and we sat with a cool older couple who was doing a road trip on a motorbike.

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We then stayed 3 nights in San Francisco – I drove across the Golden Gate bridge! I felt a little let down by San fran, I know we didn’t have much time, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

The biggest disappointment  was at the time, there was polictical issues happening and all national parks was shut, this included Alcatraz! Which we had tickets for. So we swapped to a boat ride under the bridge, and around the Alcatraz island.

But we did ride a cable car, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf – saw the Seals (got the tattoo), had an ice cream at the original Ghiradelli’s and went to The Walt Disney Family Museum! I loved this place , and we spent a few hours one afternoon there. Any Walt / Disney fan should go see it.

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After San Francisco, I had a request to stay at The Madonna inn – I had wanted to for years since I read Belinda Jones book – The California Club.

Take a look at the rooms – each one is individual and themed! We stayed in one of the famous rock fall shower rooms – Bridal Falls. Its a very pink hotel – the exterior, all the finishing touches, even the sugar for your coffee!

http://www.madonnainn.com/features.php

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After our stay here, we headed further south in California, where we had 3 nights in Anaheim. That’s right we managed to squeeze in two days at Disneyland! I was desperate to see the newly opened Carsland, which fitted in perfectly with our road trip! I was not let down by that! Sheer genius and amazing Imagineering at work there.

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But the day before that we had a spare day in California with no plans. So an impromptu whale watching boat trip was booked up. And OH MY GOD we saw a blue whale! It was incredible, I got all choked up. Dolphins swam along and played with the boat. It was an amazing 2 hours. (I was also in t-shirt and shorts by this time in our trip!). Also later that night we had dinner at Medieval Times where our blue team won – woo!).

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I mean, just wow, there’s probably loads I’ve missed out, but honestly such an amazing eye opening experience. Being on the open road, not knowing what each day would bring.

I would LOVE to do another road trip again, and definitely different states. I loved the planning and researching, and when it all came together so well, I felt so proud of myself.

Have you ever taken a road trip? Would you want to?

 

Disney World · walt disney world

My Favourite Disney Resort at Walt Disney World

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I’ve decided to write about my favourite Disney resort – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. I know everyone has their own preferences and beloved bases, and this is mine.

I have stayed here twice before. Years and years ago (aah the good old fountain lobby – which I still miss), I stayed with my family for two weeks! (I think this is before sky high rates!), and the second time was five of us in one room. Both times we had ground floor rooms. The first one we even had a view of the monorail.

I haven’t stayed since, as I’m on a quest to stay at ALL the Disney resorts! It’s top of my Disney Bucket List.

So many reasons I love this place.

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This resort is perfect to me because it’s chilled, and it never feels crowed – it’s got that  relaxed vibe going on.  All the cast members say Aloha to you, and wear great shirts.

The restaurants available are all great choices for all meals options – Kona cafe, Ohana, Captain Cooks. Kona Café used to be my favourite breakfast – but they took the Big Kahuna off the menu, I was not impressed. I do love the Kona coffee there.

The great bars/lounges – Tambu Lounge has unique drinks, and of course my favourite Trader Sam’s!

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There is a beach, which has chairs and hammocks, you can rest and observe the view – Cinderella’s Castle, and if you pop back to that same place at evening, you can watch the fireworks.

The new addition is the Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – which I think topped everyone’s bucket list as soon as they was announced! I doubt I will ever afford to stay in one – but a girl can dream.

I also love wondering the biggest shop – BouTiki. This year I even bought a kids Polynesian resort shirt!

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In the evening, all the tiki torches are lit, and as soon as you’re back from the parks and the crowds, you instantly relax, and get a second wind, and go and grab a coffee (or cocktail).

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Even when we don’t stay there, I make a point of booking a restaurant there, or just going to visit the resort. My holiday doesn’t feel complete without it!

So if you haven’t considered this resort before, or if costs are too much, maybe try for it a few nights, and maybe like me, your fall in love with the place?

What’s your favourite Disney resort?

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Outings · travel

Flashback Friday – Cumbria, UK

 

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A few years ago, my boyfriend and I stayed in one of the most unique hotels ever! We stayed three nights.

It was a castle! A couple had bought, and then converted an actual castle. They then converted into a hotel, and also live there. It’s located in Cumbria, which for us is quite a drive, but I’m glad we went.

Each room is completely different, when we stayed – there was only 12. They have added some addition’s / changed a few more rooms since. We stayed in the Middlesmoor – which they describe as ‘ Elegantly decorated in blue & gold with a leaded bay window extending the entire width of the room. The bed is dated the same year as the castle was built. The bathroom is delicately decorated in blue & white with an original nineteenth century corner basin’.

What I truly loved about this place was the open door policy. On your room key, is also the front door key to the castle. So you can come and go as you please, and let yourself in. They also had a honesty bar (I had never heard of this until this stay!). They had a whole bar with a big selection of drinks, you go helpful yourself, then just write in the book left in there – your room number and what you had! That then gets added to your bill, no miniatures here!

There was rooms – Drawing Room, Great Hall, Dining Room, Music Room and Library all over the castle in which you could explore, and just chill out in. The family also had their own dog and cat which roamed the castle.

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The food was lovely, we pre-booked a dinner one night, which is held with the rest of the guests in the dining hall and the breakfast was so good! So many different option’s.

Whilst we was in that area of UK, we drove to the Lake District, had an afternoon there – had an afternoon tea, went out on a boat ride, bought some fudge (one of my favourite’s is clotted cream fudge!).

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We also visited The World of Beatrix Potter attraction. That was a little cute hour!

 

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But the main attraction for me, was the Castle. I really loved it, and even though we stayed over four years ago, I still talk about it! They also offer afternoon tea and weddings now!

Sadly I don’t have many photos!

Highly recommended, here is the website link to have a nosey! http://stayinacastle.com/

 

 

 

Outings · travel

Flashback Friday – Hampshire, United Kingdom (Forest Holidays)

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A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I, his brother and girlfriend hired a cabin at Forest Holidays. we chose the Blackwood Forest location, as that is the nearest one to us. I have previously stayed here, and also been to another site.

It had been booked for a good few months as they go quick! We did the three night stay – Friday to Monday. You can also do the Monday to Friday, or week long stays etc.

It really is such a lovely cabin, there are spacious, we had a 2 bedroom one which also has two bathrooms, space for two cars and the hot tub!

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There is decking out the back with a table, and a rack for disposable BBQ’s. You have a TV, on which you can add a internet package – which would then include wifi and sky movies.

There was 62 cabins at this site, but it doesn’t feel like it! They are all spread out and you have your own space. They encourage you go to for walks, there is lots of activities you can book, and there is also dog friendly cabins.

At the centre is the Forest Retreat – which is reception, a restaurant, bar and shop! This has tables inside and out, and is open all day.

Whilst we there, I organised a trip to the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery, as we had booked with Forest Holidays, we actually got a discount on our ticket! This was a nice few hours out. It was quite a big site, and is actually one of the only distillery’s to win a BREAM award. You are given a map which has a chip in – this is then interactive with points all round where you listen to a spoken recording. You go inside the botanical gardens. A fun part was the Aroma card room – you smell lots of ingredients, whole punch a card and from that, it gives you an idea of what gin cocktail to choose at the end!

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I chose the orange and black peppercorn twist. Yum!

During the weekend, we ate lots (we did a foodshop before), drank and just relaxed. We chilled in the hot tub during the day and the evening.  There is scrabble and jenga left in the cabin for your use. we also went to the Forest retreat on the Sunday afternoon, and sat in the sun with a cider.

It was just a nice chilled out weekend, I highly recommend Forest Holidays if you ever wish to have a cabin getaway in the UK! They do have smaller cabins available for just two people, and there is also a treehouse with a cabin for up to twelve people!

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Disney World · walt disney world

World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered – Walt Disney World Tour

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On my last trip to the world, as I mentioned I did a few backstage tours. One of the ones I had been looking forward to was this Epcot one. This was the World Showcase one! I had done the Future World tour a few years previously so wanted to see the other side of the park.

The tour costs $109 plus tax. It starts at 8.15am, but you need to arrive fifteen minutes before. We chose to drive and park. You meet at Fountain View in Future World, you are given your name badge and head set, also strangely had to choose your lunch! (This tour includes a lunch at Rose and Crown).

The beginning of the tour, was the much known history of the Epcot Centre park and an introduction to the tour. Our tour guide was Christopher and very knowledgeable, He had worked there over 10 years.

There was so many facts and trivia you learnt along the way. One at the beginning, (which I think most people know) was that he pointed out the back of Tower of Terror, from some points you can view it, and it seems like its in the Morocco pavilion, So they changed the back of the Tower and chose a colour that blended it in to the landscape!

You start clockwise in Mexico, and work your way around. You stop at each pavilion, and the guide will share details / history of the country and the pavilion itself. You go backstage a few times, so they can show you example’s and describe facts.

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Also did you know most of the pavilions have a museum/ gallery dedicated to the country? For example in Norway – go inside the Stave Church!!

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One of the best parts was that the park was absolutely empty! (Well except for Norway – that was crazy!!) He encouraged us to take as many photos as we liked whilst there (not backstage!). We made it all the way to Morocco before World Showcase opened! Then I just got lucky with my photos, as it still wasn’t busy.

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I really don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone, as its so much fun to learn whilst you are there! And obviously ask and answer questions. At one point he asked a question, and I answered it – correctly! He was so shocked, he said in all the years he had done this tour no one had answered right! I was SOO proud of myself! (It was about illuminations and the torches – again, not spoiling for anyone).

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The only part to me, which was a not a let down, but seemed a waste of time was the lunch! As it was in the UK pavilion, you are almost at the end of the countries anyway. We was there an hour, and then only had Canada to see! We also got a sneaky ride on Soarin’ .

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I really did like the tour, but it was a long and tiring one. It’s 5 hours long, its an early start, its a lot of walking and the day we had it, it was absolutely roasting so it made it hard going!

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But overall, I suggest if you are a huge Disney World geek like me and love learning about the construction, process and other trivia about the parks – book it! I also hope you like the empty park photos, and get some good shots for yourself!

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