The Travel Diaries| London August 2017 – Harry Potter, Speed Boats & Gin!

Tom and I have been together for over five years now and to say we I love travelling so much, you’d have thought we’d have at least spent a day together in London during that time! Sadly that wasn’t the case so this time we were determined to cram as much in together as we could! Neither of us have been down to do tourist things in London for years, instead going for work or a specific event, so we wanted to see the sights and treat it as a real holiday.

The sole purpose of the trip was actually to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child as we’d booked the tickets a year prior to the day of the first show. We took the train down on Thursday morning and our shows were Thursday & Friday Night. I think i’m going to go into more detail about the show in a separate post for those of you who are interested, but it’ll be mentioned a little later on don’t you worry!

If you’ve ever tried finding a hotel in London, you’ll know how flipping expensive they are! I booked ours a while ago through Booking.com (that link will give you £15 off your next trip if you’re interested!) and it was the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington Hotel. This was located really close to Paddington station which has 4 tube lines running through it I believe so it’s perfect for getting around! I found the hotel to be perfect for what we needed but we did get an upgrade after complaining about our original room so I would err on the side of caution if booking it. The room we ended up with was a club room which was brilliant but the ‘deluxe’ double we should have had was actually in the basement with next to no light and a shower cubicle the size of a postage stamp that also smelt of stagnant water. Be warned.

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Nelsons Column didn’t quite make it into this picture!

On the Thursday we arrived at our hotel at around half 2 and after a quick freshen up, we headed out to Trafalgar Square to see Nelsons column and then on to Covent Garden. It’s safe to say Covent Garden was entirely my choice and was purely to head to Ladurée, Deciem & Charlotte Tilbury! Macaroons eaten, I went to find my shade in The Ordinary foundations as I hadn’t wanted to guess online! I ended up going back to buy some for Lora & Sophie too on the Sunday!

After a bit of shopping, we had to grab an early dinner as the theatre recommends being at the show an hour in advance of the start time (7.30pm). Tom had found a place called Polpo online and it turned out it was directly opposite the theatre! It was a really cute place that served tapas that was delicious! If I was to be picky I’d say that the staff were too attentive and almost bothersome and I got my prosecco served in a IKEA tumbler! Not quite what I was hoping for but we had a delicious meal all the same!IMG_1501.JPG

From here we crossed the road to the palace theatre and queued to see the Cursed Child part 1! Our tickets were in the dress circle which I would say is always my favourite place to sit in the theatre. They do come with a bit of a price tag though as I think they cost us £70 each per show! In my opinion they were totally worth it though and if you’re going to go and see the show, you may as well do it properly and not scrimp! The acting and the special effects of the show were absolutely out of this world and I was on the edge of my seat at times! I’d actually read the book so I knew the story line but I was actually glad about that as I didn’t have to spend ages focussing on the plot and I could just sit back and enjoy it all! Part 1 does end on a bit of a cliffhanger though so I could imagine that if you’re new to the story, waiting 24 hours felt like a lifetime!

IMG_3633.JPGDay two started with a real bang for us as we’d actually arranged to go on one of the Thames Rocket Tours*. As someone that can get a bit sea sick I was a little nervous beforehand but I loved it! The trip runs from the London Eye Pier and lasts around an hour. On arrival we were given warm waterproof coats (very handy!) and life vests! Each boat takes about 12 visitors and has a tour guide and a skipper. Our tour guide was a lovely guy called Bill and our skipper was Andy! For the first 20 minutes of the ride we leisurely rode out towards Tower Bridge, taking in the sights at our leisure. Bill came round to take some pictures for us all and even took a sneaky selfie on Toms phone.

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Hey Bill, betcha didn’t think this picture would make it to the blog!

Once we’d hit Tower Bridge (not literally thankfully), the fun began and we sped off at around 30 knots. I’m not a speed demon but this was amazing and the hilariously dramatic soundtrack in the background was fantastic. Think James Bond, Don’t Stop Me Now and Rocket Man to name but a few! I was so so sad when this part of the journey ended as it was so much fun and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s safe to say I looked very windswept when we got back on dry land and Tom’s hair had taken on a mind of it’s own!

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Don’t worry, he never smiles!

The final 20 minutes of the journey was at a leisurely pace again but this time, Bill pointed out major sights on route. His favourite things to point out were things that hadn’t perhaps gone to plan and gave Tom and I a tonne of facts to take away with us! My personal favourite is that Waterloo Bridge is also called Ladies Bridge as it’s the only one to be built by women. Its also the only one to come in under budget; get finished on time and it also cleans itself! Girl power at it’s best!

Once we had disembarked the boat, we decided to do a bit of wandering and looking at the sights. We crossed over Westminster bridge to take a look at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell, not the tower!) and made our way towards the Shard! We were going to go up the Shard but for around £55 for the pair of us just to go up in the lift we decided to give it a miss! We did have a spot of lunch on the ground floor though at Lang! It’s part of the Shangri-La hotel and offers amazing pastries! We had a toastie each and then it was on to the most fantastic cakes! I had a salted caramel tart and Tom had a raspberry and rose macaroon! They were delicious! One very random thing that was present at Lang was a heated toilet seat! If we had that at home, I honestly don’t think i’d ever see Tom ever again!IMG_3638.JPG

Feeling rather heavy, we decided to walk to Borough Market to take a look at what it had to offer. There is an amazing array of food stalls and all sorts of other goodies there and if I lived in London I would love to get my groceries from some of the stalls! It’s definitely an upmarket place though, selling truffles and caviar and other fantastic, yet very expensive, delicacies on every corner! We got the tube to Buckingham Palace from here as it’s just a must-see place for any London Tourist! We saw the beefeaters and took a good wander around the park and the lake, just enjoying being outside in the reasonably nice weather! We finally took a little gander at 10 Downing Street although since I was last there security has naturally been stepped up and you can barely see a thing. We also ended up walking by New Scotland Yard, where Tom took a little boomerang of the sign for his Insta Story!

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Oh Hey Your Majesty!

After heading back to the hotel for a quick freshen up, it was time to head back out to see part 2 of The Cursed Child. Having never seen a show in London, to see two on consecutive nights felt like a right treat! I found the second part to be very emotive, partly because I knew it was the final of something I’d be looking forward to for so long and also from how the story unfolded. I feel like the actors were incredibly emotive and the casting had been picked exceptionally well. My favourite character was definitely Scorpius but I would say 90% of the characters represented both their paper and film counter parts amazingly! It’s totally worth a visit if you can!

IMG_1599.JPG.jpegDay three was our final full day in London and being people that spend a lot of time on social media, we wanted to take a trip to Camden Market to try and find THOSE Halloumi fries from Oli Baba’s! I had no idea how big Camden was so it took us a while to find them. I may of perhaps tripped into a distillery shop and picked up yet another new bottle of gin, but this one, Half Hitch, is actually made at the market so I couldn’t not get some! We finally found the fries and oh my god they were amazing! Deep fried halloumi with mint yogurt, something that tasted a bit like balsamic glaze and fresh pomegranate seeds. Simply divine! IMG_3658

We wanted to do a spot of shopping from here so we of course went to Liberty’s, Carnaby Street and Harrods and Harvey Nic’s amongst others. I always love Liberty’s and Carnaby street has such a buzz about it. I actually hadn’t realised I’d never been to Harrods before so we whiled away plenty of time in there as it’s HUGE! They sell absolutely everything you could think of and I loved exploring it. It’s a crazy shop full of so many treats that I can’t even begin to list them! After a quick walk down Sloan Street to see if we could spot any super cars for Tom, we headed back home for a quick refresh before dinner.

Oh dinner,  how amazing it was! We went to the infamous Distillery on Portobello Road which specialises in gin, gin and more gin! We ate in one of the two restaurants they have there, Gin Tonica. This was yet another delicious tapas restaurant with a gin list a mile long. Weirdly, Tom dislikes gin so he chose a wine that was absolutely delicious! I thought ‘when in Rome’ and opted for the Portobello Road gin which was amazing! We shared numerous tapas dishes which were mouth watering and a pudding that still has me thinking about it! My only thing was that the gins were VERY pricey, the cheapest ones were around £10 a glass so I felt like I could only really have one for fear of racking up a huge bill! I would 100% go back though next time I was in London and I’d LOVE to stay in the hotel they have there! They also have a fantastic gin experience that I am totally putting on my birthday wishlist!

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The Distillery on Portobello Road

On our final day we had to head back just after lunch time so we decided to have a yummy breakfast instead to finish the holiday off in style! On recommendation from Lora and her husband Chris we joined the queue at The Breakfast Club in Soho and decided to wait in line no matter how long it took. As we were a two it was actually only around 35-40 minutes which I’m lead to believe is pretty good in there! Tom had a full english along with a tea and I had cold pressed orange juice with a veggie breakfast. The juice was some of the nicest i’ve ever tasted and the breakfasts were gigantic! I think next time I would opt for something a bit more specialist so I can try their take on things but the veggie breakfast was amazing! We were both so so full after we’d finished and didn’t need to eat anything again until dinner time!

Sadly that brought our trip to London to an end but we had an absolutely fantastic time full of action packed boat rides, amazing food and wonderful theatre! Let me know what your favourite thing to do in London is!

Much Love

xoxo

*Tickets provided for PR purposes. A huge thank you to the team at Thames Rockets for helping to make our trip so wonderful!

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Christmas Gift Guide 2016|£20 & Under -For a Fellow Beauty Lover!

I’ve been fancying doing a gift guide for a while now so I thought i’d go with the most obvious first incase I don’t get a chance to do anymore! Today is all about amazing beauty gifts that are £20 or under! I feel this bracket is where some of the most amazing little goodies can be found so today I’m going to share with you what I’ve found!

  • Becca Glow On The Go Kit in Moonstone |£20 – Oh how I want this set so badly myself! My Becca Opal highlight is one of my absolute favourites and this half size version of moonstone would just be fabulous! Not only that but you also get a little bottle of their highlighting liquid in moonstone too. Available from Space NK hereuk200018267_becca
  • Ole Henriksen Try Us Love Us Holiday Kit |£12 – I may have already purchased one of these intending it to be a gift and it may have accidentally fallen open and into my drawer. A great way to try the brand out if like me you’ve always been a bit curious about it! A lovely range of products inside and there’s also a 4 piece collection too that retails for £18 if you want to spend a bit more! These are available on Feel Unique and I have a 15% off sign up code if you want to use it: 15% off link. Here’s the links to the £12 set & the £18 setole_henriksen_try_us_love_us_holiday_kit_1476872316_main
  • Sebastian Professional Mini Gift Set |£12.50 – There’s something incredibly lovely about using salon products at home and the Sebastian Hydre range is something I have personally used in the past so this little try it set is perfect for this christmas and it’s such good value! You get 4 products that will help you lock your style down and they’re such good quality too! Available from Feel Unique here.  sebastian_professional_mini_gift_set_1478785795
  • Beauty Bay the Collection The New Neutrals Look |£18 – I’ve been desperate to get my hands on some Makeup Geek shadows for ages now and whilst looking I came across this amazing little set from Beauty Bay. They have created an eyeshadow look in a pouch for you with step by step instructions to make the most out of your new products! Perfect for new makeup lovers building their collection or even makeup addicts who can never get enough! Available from Beauty Bay herebbay4024f_10_l
  • L’Occitane Hands & Feet Duo |£16 – L’occitane hand creams are probably my favourite ever and at this time of the year we all need to keep our hands and feet nourished! This little set is from their Shea Butter range which is their most mositurising and is also quite neutral in scent so is guaranteed to be a hit with everyone! Available from L’Occitane herep-aspx

Five beauty gifts that are £20 and under to ensure you have something for everyone and maybe a little something for yourself too! Which would you be the most happy to receive?

Much Love

xoxo

The Travel Diaries: Tenerife September 2016!

I thought Sunday required a nice chilled out post so let me transport you to the Canary Islands for a few minutes for some sun, sea and relaxation. I got to spend 8 lovely days in Costa Adeje in southern Tenerife with Tom last month and I wanted to give you some hints and tips on where to go and what to do when you’re on the island even. We did nothing but lazing around in the days we were there but i’ve been going back to the same location in Tenerife for about 10 years now so I’ve got plenty of good things to share with you! (Sneaky little fact for you, but Costa Adeje is actually the ‘Isle of Fernando’s’ from Take Me Out for all you fans of the show!)

Where to stay?

We always stay at my Auntie & Uncle’s apartment in the El Beril Complex, however, there are numerous hotels and other aparthotels right near by if that’s more your thing! Just up the road are two lovely hotels from the Riu brand called the Palace and the Arecas. The palace is 5* and the Arecas is 4 so there is some price variation there. There are also some really luxurious hotels in the area such as the Grand Hotel El Mirador which is rumoured to have had Michael Jackson stay in it in the past!

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The view from our apartment complex!

What to do?

Playa Del Duque beach is the gorgeous beach in the area and is a really great place to sunbathe, swim or even go crabbing as there are plenty or rocks to scramble over. There is also a little bay where lots of people pop on their snorkel to see what they can see under the waves! You can also hire jet skis or go paragliding from this beach so theres plenty to keep you busy. There are also tonnes of cafe’s and restaurants along here to grab a drink and a bite to eat to avoid the midday sun! If you are more of a thrill seeker then head to Siam Park which has been voted the best waterpark in the world! It has one infamous water slide that is so steep it is almost vertical and takes you through a tunnel where sharks swim above your head through a few mm of glass! If you fancy something tamer or are taking children with you then there is another water park called Aqua Land or you could venture a bit further and go to Loro Parque which is full of animals and birds for you to see. I went here quite a few years ago and absolutely loved it, I will definitely be going here again next time I go!

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Off out for a lovely meal! 

Where to eat?

Tom and I enjoyed so many lovely meals just walking distance from our apartment. If you are looking for a quick and cheap bite to eat in the day then head to Taberna Lorenzo they do lovely pizzas and some of the nicest omelettes i’ve ever tasted for something stupid like €5! This place defines cheap and cheerful! If you want a mid-priced meal then try Trattoria Portifino which does gorgeous pizza and pasta and is located just off the end of the beach so it’s really easy to find! The waiters are so friendly and the food was so tasty! If you want to celebrate; have a slightly larger budget or just want to indulge then head to either La Nonna or Rosso Sul Mare. These were amazing restaurants, both with stunning scenery to witness from your table! La Nonna is right by the beach and set on a terrace that allows you watch the sun set from your table. The food was pricier and had smaller portions than other places but it was absolutely delicious! Tom has roast pancetta and I had gorgonzola pasta and they were really high quality! My personal favourite restaurant is Rosso Sul Mare which translates to ‘Red Sea’. It is set in the nearby area of La Caleta and is easily reachable on foot by a 10 minute walk along the beach! It serves gorgeous food and delicious wine and you can enjoy all of this whilst looking out at the waves crashing against the cliffs and the sun setting. It’s beautiful and somewhere I have visited every time I’ve gone over the last 10 or so years.

Fancy a little excursion?

If you want to see another beautiful area then jump in a car and head to Los Gigantes! It is an absolutely beautiful town by the sea that is incredibly picturesque and is great for walks or even hikes as it is quite hilly! This is quite apt seeing as Los Gigantes translates to ‘The Giants’ in english, referring to the mountainous back drop for the resort! There is a lovely marina so make sure you get to visit that if you head that way!

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Lizards, and sadly cockroaches, are a very common occurrence in Tenerife, especially in the summer so don’t be concerned if you see them! Tom and I found this little guy on the wall of our apartment, he is now known as Ricky. 

I hope you like my little travel guide to help you out if you decide to head to Tenerife. I don’t know whether it’s because i’ve been going there for so long but it really does feel like a home from home for me and I just relax as soon as I step out of the plane. If you are heading to Tenerife and want any more ideas then just drop me an email. Where’s your foreign ‘home away from home’?

Much Love

xoxo

 

My Favourite Tanning Product Ever?

I’m back from holiday and suitably sad that summer is now officially over! Despite the fact I love Autumn and my birthday is just over a week away the end of summer is always a bit or a horrible marker as it just feels so long until the next spell of summer happiness is cast! After eight days in beautiful 29 degree heat it’s safe to say the Midlands is a bit of a lack lustre place to be right now. The one plus side is that for once I am really nice and tanned and I put it down to the help of one product which is now being bought for every single holiday I ever go on and that is the Clarin’s Self Tanning After Sun.img_1828_fotor

If you remember my Spa Haul post you’ll know that I picked this up then to take on holiday. Of course I forgot to pack it so a quick dash through Duty Free lead to me purchasing another bottle with the aim to get brown or spend a lot of cash on tanning products trying. This lotion claims to enhance a tan and keep your skin moisturised to avoid any flaky or peeling skin or that horrible stiff dry feeling you can sometimes get. It is aimed at lighter skin tones, I presume this is because it’s only meant to enhance a tan rather than be an all out self tanner. It retails for £21 but I picked it up for £17.50 at the airport. Score!

I applied this nearly every night of my holiday and a full 150ml of lotion lasted a weeks worth of entire body applications so I thought that was pretty good actually! It’s a nice light lotion that doesn’t feel sticky or heavy and soaks in at a nice speed so you feel like it’s done something but isn’t lingering! In the bottle this has quite a nice scent but in truth, after a while it has that standard fake tan ‘biscuit’ smell, albeit much less pungent than normal tan. But for me that really is the only downside. My skin is so soft and there is not one skin peel in sight whereas normally my shoulders start to go before I even get on the plane home! I also get really dry flakey shins (Ewww) but nope none of that either, they look beautifully smooth and even!

In terms of the tan it gives I honestly couldn’t be happier! It’s a lovely golden shade that looks so natural and did what it said on the tube and enhanced the tan I was already getting. Apparently one of the herbal ingredients used enhances a tan and whether that’s true or not, it really worked on my skin. I had no problem with build up around my knees or elbows but I do feel you need to be careful ever so slightly around your wrists and shins and give it a little extra scrub the next day if you do think it’s built up slightly. By no means was it obvious though, that was under intense scrutiny from me to come up with a review!

Overall I am so happy with this product and it will definitely be my holy grail after sun for the foreseeable future. My tan looks glowing and natural and my skin feels healthy, soft and smooth. What more could I want?! If you are off for some late summer sun then I would definitely recommend picking this up. You won’t regret it!

Much Love

xoxo

What’s In My Holiday Makeup Bag?

So I am currently writing this blog post in Tenerife, with the sound of the sea in the distance and basking in the 29 degree heat. Don’t hate me. I thought today I’d show you what I brought with me in my makeup bag to give me that ‘holiday glow’ that everyone’s desperate to get whilst away! It is less than I would normally take but it’s still not slimline by any means! Naturally, I went for a lot of bronze glow so I can look nice and fresh for meals out in the evenings!

Foundation: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua – I wanted something nice and lightweight to wear in the evenings when I went out for a meal and this is quite a good golden colour too that seems to adapt to my skin tone well. As i’m writing this (5 days into the holiday) I can safely say that bringing this on holiday with me has kind of made me fall in love with it all over again!

Concealer: LA Girl Pro Conceal – My current favourite and a lovely light shade to double up as some subtle highlight too!

Bronzer: Bourjois Bronzing Primer & Benefit Hoola – On holiday I love to go for a dewy finish so I decided to bring this bourjois bronzer as its a cream and a lovely light texture! I have really enjoyed using it but its also been nice to have hoola around just incase I couldn’t be bothered to blend it all in with my beauty blender!

Blush: MAC Crisp Whites – A favourite of mine when I only want a subtle blush. Also slightly enhances the appearance of a tan so it was a win win all round!

Highlight: MAC Soft & Gentle – This is one of my favourite highlights, I was going to bring my Becca Highlight but I’ve heard so many horrific incidences of them cracking that I decided not to risk it! This is still a beautifully shimmery golden highlight and looks amazing with a tan!

Brows: Benefit Ka Brow & High Brow Glow – nothing is beating this brow duo for me at the moment and seeing as they are both so travel friendly (Ka brow comes with a built in brush and high brow glow literally never needs sharpening) I had to bring them with me!

Eye Shadow: Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette – I seem to always take this away with me as the warm golden hues really scream holiday to me! You can create so many different looks with this that you will never get bored and there’s a good mix of matte and shimmer shades too.

Eye Liner: Charlotte Tilbury Amber Moon Rock ‘N’ Kohl & Urban Decay Naked 3 Pencil – Amber moon is a lovely dark brown black with gold flecks in and the Naked 3 pencil is a double ended cooler toned pencil. It gives me three colours to choose from and all eventualities covered!

Mascara: Clarins Be Long, Lancôme Hypnose; Benefit They’re Real! – I like to have a few mascaras depending on how I feel on the day. Clarin’s is good for separation, Lancôme is good for volume and a deep colour and Benefit is good for length. They’re all minis so it didn’t take up too much room!

Lips: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Sampler & MAC Brave – This lipstick sampler is one of the most amazing freebies I’ve ever received! It has 24 different colours in ranging from nudes, metallics, brights and darks to ensure that every eventuality is covered. Each little capsule has multiple uses in it so you really can get a good try out of each shade. They all apply beautifully with a lip brush too! MAC Brave is my most used go-to lipstick and I can’t go anywhere without it!

Tool: Beauty Blender – Obviously I brought brushes too but this always comes with me everywhere. A complete necessity in my life!

Not the most slimline of holiday makeup bags I’m sure but i’ve found it to be completely sufficient for my trip and I’ve been able to create quite a few different looks. The lipstick sampler really helped to slim down my makeup bag as I normally carry about 10 lipsticks with me so this was rather handy! What do you have to take away with you?

Much Love

xoxo

The Travel Diaries: Brussels August 2016

So last week I headed off to Brussels for 3 days as part of the prize for my Undergraduate of the Year award! Brussels was somewhere that I had never visited before so I was looking forward to seeing what it was like. We also were travelling by Eurostar, again something that I had not done previously so I had no idea what to expect there either! I just wanted to say a quick thanks to everyone at ACCA (Association for Chartered & Certified Accountants) for organising this trip and making it as amazing as it was – especially Alicia (who I hope will be reading this!!).

It was an early start for me on the Tuesday morning as my train left Nottingham for London at 5:50 am. I wasn’t impressed!! However, I did get to see the sun rise, something that I don’t get to see very often so it made it more manageable! Once in London, I dashed through the station to catch my Eurostar to Brussels and thats where I met Alicia and Daniel. Alicia works for ACCA and coordinated the trip and Daniel is last years runner-up so he got to come along too. I was really really surprised as the Eurostar only took 2 hours to get from London to Brussels and did just feel like any other train but we were clearly going a lot faster!IMG_1650.JPG

Day one consisted of meeting members of staff from the ACCA office in Brussels and also hearing about the European parliament and how it effects the different businesses. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know all about Brexit so the trip really enlightened me as to the consequences of Britains exit from the European Union. After our lunch meeting and chats we headed off to check into our hotel which was the Thon Hotel set in the European Quarter. It was a great hotel that was lovely and modern and had the best buffet breakfast i’ve ever seen! You could even make your own Belgian waffles, which I did every single morning!20160831_100940.jpg

That evening, we headed off to Place Luxembourg for dinner and drinks with two lovely members of the ACCA Brussels office, Cecile and Vikte. This square is set just down from the EU parliament building so is a popular networking place for the professionals living and working in the city. Although I’m not a beer drinker, I was told I couldn’t leave Belgium without trying a Belgian beer! I opted for a Liefmans Fruitesse which was a light fruit beer so wasn’t too overpowering and was a good starter beer for beer haters!! It was very similar to fruit ciders like Rekorderlig or Kopperberg so it was really tasty! We stayed there for hours, soaking up the atmosphere and the sun and enjoying the food and drink until tiredness got the better of us all!

Day two started with a breakfast meeting back in the ACCA office and was swiftly followed by a trip to the European Commission office to find out more about how policies were set. I didn’t realise it can take years to make even a small change and that even then it might not be accepted! It was really interesting finding out more about what goes on behind the scenes as most of us only see what is directly in the public eye.20160831_111610.jpg After that we headed off to the European Parliament building which was perhaps one of my favourite things we did. The building is absolutely huge and has thousands of people from all over Europe working inside. We got to sit in one of the rooms where the meetings take place and I couldn’t get over how big it was! 20160831_130928.jpgThe main thing that struck me was how many translation booths there were inside that room. Obviously everything has to be translated into the many languages of the countries from the EU (I believe there are 24?!) so there are plenty of clever men and women working hard to ensure that happens! We also met a couple of lovely ladies who work for Members of the European Parliament (MEP’s) and found out more about what they do day-to-day. 20160831_132437.jpgPolitics is not a career path that I am particularly interested in but hearing abut their jobs did paint it in a completely new light for me! They are so busy and permanently running from one place to the next that it sounded quite exhilarating! Sadly, Brexit has had a negative effect on some of these roles and sadly means that some MEP’s and their colleagues will no longer have a job.20160831_151118 As someone who was a strong supporter to stay in the EU it did make me quite sad that the majority of the country had voted against this fantastic union! IMG_1718.JPG

After our trip to the parliament we headed off to do some more touristy things! We paid a visit to the Magritte museum which was full of the amazing art from René Magritte who was a Belgian artist specialising in surrealism. Now I am not really a lover of art so I was not sure how I would find an art museum, but it was amazing! The surrealism element made the paintings so intriguing and there were clear patterns in the style of his paintings at various stages of his life. I set myself a bit of a challenge to try and come up with an interpretation of each painting but some of them were very ‘surreal’! After the museum we had a wander round the older streets of Brussels in search for the Manneken Pis (Weeing Man) statue. We eventually found it on one of the street corners and couldn’t believe how small it was! It was such a funny little statue but one of the main things you have to see when you go to the city! We spent the next half an hour wandering in and out of chocolate shops being handed samples from the staff. I could definitely have got used to that!! IMG_1674.JPG

Finally it was time for cocktails and Alicia had received a recommendation from Vikte that we should go to La Pharmacie Anglaise, which describes itself as a ‘cocktails and curiosity’ bar but specialises in gin – something that I am incredibly fond of!! The bar itself is incredible. It has all sorts of knick-knacks and jars full of crazy things lining them walls and even a staircase full of Hendricks Gin bottles!IMG_1662.JPG There’s also a fantastic balcony level that overlooks the bar too. We all had different cocktails with Alicia opting for a Tropical themed cocktail, Daniel a rose flavoured one and me a berry and sage concoction! They were some of the best cocktails i’ve ever tried and really set the scene for the rest of the evening! We headed off to dinner after that at the delicious Les Petits Oignons which was a delicious french restaurant! I had a amazing truffle pasta dish and we drank some of the best wine I have ever tasted! It was a lovely meal and we all headed back to the hotel very full! IMG_1666.JPG

For our final day, we had no set plans so we decided to try and see as much as we could on foot to make the most of our time in Brussels. We headed straight for the palace as this was something we all wanted to visit. It is actually free to enter so we spent a while wandering the grand hallways and marvelling at the tapestries! It’s definitely worth a visit if you have a spare hour in Brussels!20160901_115328.jpg We spent the next couple of hours wandering round the shops and taking in the atmosphere. We had a bite to eat and then decided that we wanted to find the other famous statue in Brussels, the Jeanneke Pis (Weeing Girl). There was clearly a bit of a theme going on with these statues! This was even funnier than the first one and was set in an even more obscure place – down a small side street opposite a restaurant!!IMG_1677.JPG Sadly, we were fast running out of time so we started to make our way back to the hotel to grab our bags. On the way we did manage to fit in one more sight which was the beautiful Notre Dame De La Chappelle which is a gorgeous church in the centre of Brussels. It was as beautiful inside as outside and made a great end to our trip!20160901_141235.jpg

All good things come to an end and it was time for us to head home on the Eurostar! I was so pleased I got to see such a beautiful city and I would love to see more of Belgium in the future. One thing that did really stand out for me was the fact that there were a lot more women than men doing these kind of jobs. It was incredible to see so many fantastic ladies in such powerful jobs and was something I found incredibly inspiring! Thank you again to ACCA for making the trip possible and to Alicia and Daniel who put up with me for three days! Bits of this post may be distributed by ACCA so don’t panic if you see it somewhere else! Have you been to Brussels before?

Much Love

xoxo

The Travel Diaries: Italy June 2016

So this month Tom and I were lucky enough to jet off for 8 days in Italy to mark the end of my exams! We love Italy having visited Venice last year together and I visited Rome a couple of years ago. The food, the people an the scenery guarantee a beautiful and memorable trip. This time around we decided to try and visit a few places in the same trip and settled for Pisa, Florence & Milan. Thankfully the weather was on our side and I thought I’d share with you what we got up to!

We started our holiday in Pisa having both always wanted to see the Leaning Tower! The weather was absolutely beautiful for the first few days and we spent our time strolling the streets and taking in the atmosphere. The Leaning Tower itself is pretty impressive and is a hell of a lot more wonky than you would think! It is about 15 feet out of plumb and leans at an angle of approximately 4 degrees so its seriously leaning! Of course Tom and I had to do the stereotypical ‘holding up the tower’ pose so I’ll share mine with you below!13422316_10209857668548508_2247247816101997224_o.jpg

On our second day we headed over to Florence for a little sightseeing tour. Tom is a huge fan of vintage cars, having renovated his own Classic Mini so when we saw a driving tour of Tuscany in a Vintage Fiat 500, we knew that was the one for us! I absolutely adore driving but I’d never driven either abroad or a vintage car so it was quite exciting yet nerve wracking to give it a go! We had a fantastic tour guide Jimmy who chatted to us whilst we drove and told us all about the scenery that we were driving through. I was first to drive and I loved it! It was so weird to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and the double clutch took some getting used to! We stopped at some absolutely breath taking spots the provided gorgeous views over both Florence and the whole of Tuscany. It was beautiful! Tom, of course, loved it and was in his element driving down the narrow roads in an old car. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that loves driving or even if you just want to really see a lot of Tuscany in a short space of time. I think there was the option to have the guide drive the whole way if you weren’t too keen but that was one of our favourite parts! 13391448_10209857918034745_1976218114899642276_o13403110_10209857794871666_2583303341282123804_o

Our final day in Pisa was sadly very very rainy so we just took it easy and watched a film. It was still lovely though as we had both been incredibly busy leading up to the holiday and needed a break! The next day we headed back to the train station but this time to travel to Milan! We wanted to see a different side of Italy and Milan was definitely it. It is so chic and stylish and very different to anywhere else in Italy. We stayed at the LaGare Hotel near the central station and it was absolutely beautiful! It is reasonably new and no expense has been spared when creating it! Our favourite part was the incredible spa that took over the bottom floor and it was just the most relaxing way to spend an evening!13391521_10209857916834715_2301915322983212211_o.jpg

We spent our days in Milan wandering the streets, eating Gelato and exploring the beautiful shops. We took a long stroll round one of the parks in the city and were surprised to see turtles swimming in the ponds! Now that’s definitely something you don’t get to experience in the UK!! We of course took a wander down to the Duomo and took in all the beautiful historical sights. We actually walked all the way to the top of the Duomo and got fantastic views over Milan. 13415499_10209886409507014_8886484321943335573_o.jpgThe building itself is really very beautiful and a must see if you are in the area! We also walked through the main shopping centre marvelling at the expensive treats we could have picked up had we had the money! 13418602_10209886319624767_2312567515721407508_o

As ever, all good things have to come to an end and we had soon reached the end of our trip. Italy will always hold a large place in our hearts and we have plans to visit Lake Garda next year if possible as we have heard that that is stunning! That’s going to be it for the travel diaries for a while until I head to Belgium in August. There is potentially a trip to Amsterdam in the pipelines with my friend Emily again, however this is completely dependent on my funding situation!! I hope you have enjoyed this post! Have you been to any of these wonderful cities? What did you think of them?

Much Love

xoxo

P.s all photography credit goes to Tom who is a thousand times more talented with a camera than I will ever be! I’m grateful though as we get beautiful images that will last us a lifetime!