Notre Dame

The Bloke and I watched in horror last night as the news reports of the devastating fire at Notre Dame were broadcast.

We were lucky to visit the cathedral in 2011 – I surprised him with a five-day visit to Paris and Notre Dame was at the top of the list of things that we wanted to see. It was truly a magnificent experience – neither of us follow a faith but couldn’t help be more than a little overwhelmed at the beauty, architecture and history of such an incredible building. Continue reading

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An Evening at The Club and Spa, Birmingham

I love a good spa day, so when I received an invite to go to the newly refurbished Club and Spa at the Cube I jumped at the chance to see what updates have been made to one of my favourite places to relax in the city.

Located in The Mailbox, one of the most exclusive areas of Birmingham, The Club and Spa is part of The Cube complex, and the spa area has recently undergone a £500,000 transformation. In addition to the pool (complete with a waterfall, jets and kelo sauna areas) and a gym with personal trainers, the half-million pound refurbishment means that spa now has an even more extensive range of treatments and relaxation areas. Continue reading

Things to See and Do at Witley Court, Worcestershire

The Bloke and I have taken to going out on day trips mid-week as of late, taking advantage of the general working day and term-time schedules to visit places that would be busier at the weekends. We’ve got Annual English Heritage passes which allows us unlimited free entry into English Heritage sites and discounts on other places like Blenheim Palace, and living in the West Midlands means that we are lucky enough to be a short drive away from some stunning stately homes, castles and historical places of interest.

One such place is Witley Court.

A hidden gem, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it before (despite living in Birmingham since 2001), and it is just a forty minute drive away from where I live.

Witley Court and Steps

Witley Court and Steps

Continue reading

Things to See and Do When Visiting Blenheim Palace

Things to See and Do When Visiting Blenheim Palace 1

The Bloke and I decided to spontaneously go out on a day trip the other day – we’ve both been feeling a little low and have cabin fever from being in the house for an extended period of time, so we both took the day off and went to Blenheim Palace. As you do. It is something that has been on my UK bucket list for a while, the weather was fairly reasonable and surprisingly, it’s only a 90 minute drive away from Birmingham. 

Most famously known as being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough and the only non-royal country house in England that holds the title of ‘palace.’ Built between 1705 and 1722, it was a gift to John Churchill – the 1st Duke of Marlborough – by Queen Anne in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  Continue reading

20 Travel and Money-Saving Tips When Visiting Barcelona

20 travel and money saving tips when visiting Barcelona 4

*First published in 2015 – updated for 2019

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

I love Barcelona. The Bloke and I were lucky enough to visit a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. However, like any popular tourist destination it can be expensive and difficult to navigate, so here are 20 travel and money-saving tips when traveling to Barcelona for the first time!

Choose your hotel wisely. When going on a city break, it’s more than likely that you will spend most of your time outside, but, for me at least, it’s important that the room is clean and you feel safe to leave possessions behind while you are out exploring. We did very little research on this, but were extremely lucky with what we booked. The Hotel Sant Augusti was exactly that – clean, safe and in a fabulous location, being right next to one of the main metro lines, La Bouquiera Market, the beach, The Gothic Quarter and La Rambla. It also served a buffet breakfast every morning from 7.30am – 11.00am and had free wi-fi, which was useful when keeping in contact with loved ones.

Work out in advance what it is that you really want to see, and where possible, book tickets online before you go as there are enormous queues and long waits for the main attractions. For example, we arrived at La Sagrada Familia early, but had to queue for about half an hour to buy a ticket and then waited a further three hours before we were allowed in as there were timed entrance spots. It may be also useful to take a guidebook and print off maps of the areas you wish to travel to in advance – we had to buy a map when we were there and soon discovered that it was poorly labelled and many of the sights and attractions were in the wrong place. Continue reading

2018: A Year in Review

My #Best9 of 2018 on Instagram

2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other. 

Here’s just some of the highlights…

The Bloke won a camera for a squirrel picture. That squirrel picture was more popular than our wedding photos.  Continue reading

Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

Visiting Peggy Porschen Cakes, London

Whenever I go to London I always research interesting ideas on Pinterest  for places to visit and experience as I find that tips from locals are always much more useful than some of the bigger travel guides. During every search there is always one thing that appears repeatedly: Peggy Porschen Cakes ‘Parlour’, an Instagram haven with a pastel pink frontage, adorned with gorgeous floral displays that change throughout the year. 

Opened in 2010 by award winning cake designer, author and Creative Director Peggy Porschen and her husband, the bakery is situated in Belgravia, and I discovered that it was in the vicinity of the station I was travelling from on Monday, so I decided to take a little detour and treat myself to a cupcake (for breakfast – why not!). Continue reading

A Visit to East Croydon and Crystal Palace

After my awesome afternoon experiencing a street art tour in Shoreditch with my bloggy friend, Tiffany, I headed on over to Victoria and caught a train to East Croydon to meet another bloggy friend: Donna, the creator of Jot to Jot. We connected a few years ago online and have met several times in person since (she even came to my wedding), and since the birth of her little girl last December I had been promising to visit.

It only took nearly a year. Better late than never I suppose! Continue reading

An Incredible Street Art Tour of Shoreditch, London

A Street Art Tour of Shoreditch

At the weekend I experienced a street art tour of Shoreditch with Tiffany, the creator of A Girl and Her Passport in London.

She was back in the UK for a little while, and it was the perfect opportunity to catch up as it’s been over a year since she was last here. I  still find it amazing that I get these sorts of opportunities – we connected via the blogging community a few years ago – and she is someone I would never have met otherwise as at the time she lived in Qatar and is from Texas.

She booked the tour through an Airbnb experience and it was something I had been really looking forward to – I’ve seen some of the street art in the Shoreditch area before when The Bloke and I had an inexpensive trip down to London – but I was really interested to find out a little more about the artists and see some of the things I had missed.  Continue reading

An Egg Sandwich and Train Hell

I’ve been lucky enough to have just spent another few days down in London, this time meeting up with several bloggy friends, experiencing a street art tour, Crystal Palace Park and slowly working my way round the awesome bakeries that the city has to offer (which of course, was breakfast). It was only a few days after The Bloke and I got back from his 50th birthday Wicked and Harry Potter extravaganza, and it felt like I had just about unpacked before I had to pack again so I could get a train back down south at ridiculous o’clock.  Continue reading