HannahSwancott

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⇻ Parco San Marco Lifestyle Beach Resort ⇺

This chic resort is perfectly nestled in-between Lake Como & Lake Lugano. It is just 12km from Menaggio in Italy & 14km from Lugano in Switzerland making it the perfect spot to explore two insanely beautiful Lakes!

I flew from London Luton to Milan MXP for £35.  You all know how much I love a bargain flight! You can find out how I find cheap flights quickly here: https://hannahswancott.co.uk/2016/09/10/weekend-escape/

The train links in Italy are so easy, we spent a couple of days in Como & Tremezzo before heading to Parco San Marco for two nights, It is really easy to reach via train or bus, the bus stop (Cima) Is directly outside the entrance to the resort.

Firstly, what an amazing greeting I had from the hotel staff! They are really friendly and nothing is too much trouble. I swiftly checked in, dropped my bags and prepared to explore…

From the minute I arrived I had a great sense of excitement, especially after seeing the incredible mountain views.  Each corner you turn, you will experience picturesque scenes which will truly take your breath away!

Without a doubt, the most amazing views can be found from the highest point in the resort, the Buddha Pavillion. It’s the perfect place to soak up the panoramic mountain views in the most peaceful and relaxing surroundings.

You can also arrange to have your dinner up here, sipping champagne by candlelight…Yes please!

 B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! The suites are so spacious with a luxury contemporary feel.  I was so lucky, my suite featured a huge balcony with the most perfect Lake Lugano views….Imagine waking up to this view every day!

SUITES: See more http://www.parco-san-marco.com/en/suites/

There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained too, there are hiking trails, adventure climbing, Nordic walking, cycle paths, watersports, paragliding, horse riding & so much more

…They even have their own zoo!

ACTIVITIES: See more http://www.parco-san-marco.com/en/sport-and-fun/reiten-2-en-gb/

Parco San Marco has 5 different elegant restaurants to choose from, which leaves you spoilt for choice!

They even offer Cookery Classes, which includes preparing a four-course Italian meal in a beautiful setting on the outdoor terrace of La Masseria.

I ate in ‘La Terrezza’ Restaurant, which is the adult’s only option. The food is absolutely incredible. They have so many different options and they are great at catering for dietry needs. I noticed on the menu they have great offerings for Vegetarians, Vegans and Gluten Free.

FOOD: See more http://www.parco-san-marco.com/en/restaurants-and-bars/

 One of the things that attracted me to Parco San Marco is the location.  It’s the perfect place to explore both Italy & Switzerland. There are so many places to explore with such easy transport links.

If you love to go on adventures as much as me, I would definitely recommend visiting Monte Brè in Switzerland, it’s easy to get to from Parco San Marco & it’s really close to Lugano town too.

It was a little misty when I climbed, but still the views are insane!

Cadenabbia in Italy is also a short bus ride away, I hiked to San Martino church which took around 1 hour to reach the top, It was pretty steep but totally worth it to see these views overlooking Bellagio! Lake Como has lots of hidden gems, it’s very easy to reach from Parco San Marco via bus and it’s cheap too, only around 4 Euros!

Any Questions? Let me know, I am happy to help!

See you soon

Hannah x

http://www.parco-san-marco.com/en/resort/

 

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Known for its beautiful alpine mountains, stunning lakes and (literally) the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted, Switzerland is one of the world’s most picturesque destinations!

You all know how much I love a spontaneous trip and this trip was no different!

Tuesday night I was sat in the lounge scrolling through my feed as usual, when I scrolled past Catherine’s unbeliavable photo, that was the point my research started and I knew it was time to head to Switzerland!

I mean, just look at that view…

@swissblisstravel https://www.swissblisstravel.com/

By Friday our bags were packed, Swiss map in hand and off to Folkestone we go to the Eurotunnel! It’s so quick, within 30 minutes we were in Calais. Let the fun begin!

Calais to Switzerland is then around a 8.5 hour drive (The not-so-fun part, although a ridiculously beautiful drive!)

After hours of research (and lots of helpful tips from Catherine) we decided the best place to head to was Kandersteg & Interlaken. We only had Saturday – Monday so we really needed to make sure we were in a good, central location.

We didn’t have any accomodation booked by the time we got into the car, so the search began whilst Quinn took the wheel!

Because it was so last minute, I was really struggling to find anywhere central & good value as most places were fully booked. I didn’t want to waste unnecessary money on  average accomodation knowing we would hardly be there, thats for the adventure funds!

So….This was our home for the weekend!

We camped, I’m so glad we did! It was totally glamorous as everything was clean and ready for our arrival.

The Manor Park Farm campsite in Interlaken is perfect, firstly it has the most scenic surroundings. It’s right between Lake Thun & Lake Brienz meaning the views are breathtaking. Each night we would watch the sunset over the lake whilst enjoying a BBQ in the great outdoors! (What more could you want?!)

Secondly, It’s only a 30 minute drive away from Kandersteg, which was absolutely perfect for what we wanted to do. Interlaken is a pretty central point to explore which was great for us and our limited time frame.

Thirdly, the facilities are better than a hotel! We had so much space, the tent was huge and really well equipped.

There is plenty to do there, you could easily stay at the campsite for the week and be totally entertained. They hire out kayaks, pedalos & canoes plus offer parasailing & paragliding which is an absolutely amazing way to soak up the views.

We booked Manor Park Farm, Interlaken via hoseasons holidays. It was £130 for a 3 night stay.  They do have caravan options too. http://www.hoseasons.co.uk/holiday-parks-in-europe/manor-farm-park-manf

Kandersteg

Picnic in hand, we drove to Kandersteg ready to hit the mountains!

There are so many amazing hikes in the area, ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours 30 minutes. The entire UNESCO site is beautiful. You could spend days exploring everything, but due to time, we decided to cheat and get the cable car half way up (18 CHF) and walk back down!

Directly at the top of the cable car route is the Summer Sleigh Run, which of course we did. We can officially say we have slid down a slide in the Swiss Alps. Such fun!

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/G8PEKc0qKxU

The walk to Oeschinensee is like a scene from the Sound of Music! The endless views of mountains & waterfalls make you never want to leave.

Keep a look out for these little cuties along the way. Listening to their bells ringing whilst walking through the mountains is something I’ll never forget!

Oeschinensee Lake is literally one of the most pristine mountain lakes I’ve ever seen! The water is so perfect for swimming.

It’s so tranquil and peaceful in the morning, there were only about 10 other people there when we arrived, although that quickly changed by the time we left!

Come well prepared with a picnic and you could happily sit and watch the world go by all day. There are plenty of spots for a BBQ too!

Walking back down is pretty steep, make sure you have good walking shoes on with good grips to reach the bottom comfortably.

Switzerland is definitely one of those places that leaves you wanting more…

Hannah xo

…Any questions, please feel free to ask! I’ll help with your upcoming trip as much as I can! The travel community is an amazing place, I wouldn’t of packed my bags as quickly if it wasn’t for Catherine’s help!

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“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

Memories are so important to look back on, which is why I absolutely love CHEERZ!

You can print your favourite photos from Facebook, Instagram or your phone and bring them to life in an instant – EASY!

Plus, you can get creative and design your very own personalised photo album or memory box too. They make great gifts and something the recipient is sure to cherish for years to come!

 Cheerz Box: The perfect way to keep all of your amazing memories in one, cute, snazzy little box!

See More: https://www.cheerz.com/en/categories/box

The Personalised Photo Album:  YAY! My Favourite! https://www.cheerz.com/en/categories/book 

Now is the perfect time to create your book of summer memories.  #cheerztosummer

https://www.instagram.com/travelthroughlifehannah

GET CREATIVE: Use code MLLAPC for 10% Discount (£20 minimum spend www.cheerz.com)

Enjoy

Hannah xo

 

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Are you planning a trip to Dublin? Make sure you don’t miss out on a beautiful little corner of Ireland called Howth! 

Who knew this little hideaway is only 30 minutes away from the city?

Not only does Larry Mullen have a house in Howth overlooking the beach (He’s the drummer from U2, pretty cool huh!?) It is also home to some of the best Fish and Chips in Dublin, Leo Burdocks is pretty famous for its crispy bits! What more could you want?!

I found it really easy to get to Howth from Dublin City centre, I caught the DART train from Connolly Station, O’Connell Street to Howth for €20. It is super easy to find the right train & it only takes 30 minutes!

Whilst on the train I passed through Sutton, which is so pretty I nearly jumped off the train early! It’s only one stop before Howth along the coast and the journey between the two stations is absolutely beautiful.

When I arrived in Howth I went straight to the pier where I sat and watched the fishermen along the bay, eating an Ice cream watching the world go by, it’s totally different to the city centre, yet so close!

Howth is so quiet and peaceful, it has the best views of Ireland’s Eye (a beautiful island that’s just a 15-minute boat ride away) and lovely views of the harbour and the lighthouse. There are lots of lovely restaurants with amazing fresh seafood.

It wouldn’t truly be a trip to Ireland without a traditional pub to visit. ‘The Dog House’ pub and tea rooms are conveniently located right next to the train station!

Howth Markets are also on every weekend. I was there on a Thursday so there were only a few stalls open. If you’re travelling over a weekend I’d definitely go and have a look! www.howthmarket.ie

I spotted a Seal bobbing its head in and out of the water too, but I was far too slow to get a picture. Although my lovely friend Veruska managed to snap this little beauty sunbathing the following day! How cute is he!

 Instagram: @Verucuochina

Enjoy

Hannah…xo

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No.4 Benissa is the perfect little boutique residence located in the heart of the Costa Blanca.

The hotel has been built and created by Charles & Aleks, Fashion Designers & Architects from London & Poland. Their passion for interiors and design is reflected throughout this totally unique hidden beauty – It really is one of a kind. I have never seen anything like it!

I flew here in just under 2.5 hours from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. You can read all about how easy my airport experience was here: https://hannahswancott.co.uk/2017/05/30/doncaster-sheffield-airport/

Charles kindly arranged to pick me up from Alicante Airport and we arrived at No.4 Benissa within the hour, as soon as I arrived I was completely blown away by the design and the decor in the reception area. How many hotels can you say you have been too, where you are greeted by two bronzed tigers!?

They really have created this boutique residence perfectly. From the luxurious marble staircase to the beautiful laid-back patio area to enjoy a coffee in the morning, they have it all just right.

There are 4 rooms here; The Blue Room, The Patio Room, The Arabesque Room & The Moroccan Suite. I stayed in the Moroccan Suite for 2 nights.  It is so beautiful, it has such a romantic and cosy feel, I didn’t want to leave the room! I was travelling alone on this trip so having the entire Moroccan Suite (with the comfiest king size bed!) to myself has certainly spoilt me.

The Moroccan Suite is super spacious, with an impressive bathroom featuring authentic Spanish tiles, walk in wet room, his and hers sinks and an incredible view overlooking Benissa’s quirky streets.

Charles is also an aspiring chef, meaning the breakfast offerings here are perfect! They have choices for everyone.

If you would like something cooked a certain way, Charles & Aleks will do everything they can for you! They source everything fresh and locally and they also make as much as they can by hand.

They offer a traditional Benissa breakfast; including tomato, salsa, manchego cheese, serrano ham, olive oil and roasted garlic paste. Alternatively, if you are feeling sweet you can opt for freshly baked mini pastries with homemade jam and local honey. I opted for the granola & yoghurt on my first morning and fresh avocado, feta cheese with onion chutney on my second morning. Both were so full of flavour and absolutely delicious! Who knew avocado and onion chutney would taste so good!

No.4 Benissa is in a really good location. Benissa is a traditional Spanish town oozing charm, it will keep you entertained for a few hours for sure, especially if there is a fiesta in town!  I spent a couple of hours walking around exploring the narrow streets and turning corners to find beautifully decorated balconies and chalk drawings along the pavements. They have a real sense of community here, I totally fell in love with the place!

I would certainly recommend hiring a car as it means you can explore quickly and is much better value than local taxis. There are so many beaches to explore but also the mountains if you are more adventurous, all within an hour’s drive away!

I had 24 hours to explore as much of the surrounding area as I could and I think I did pretty well! Firstly, I took a taxi to Calpe (17 Euros, 20 minutes) which is a pretty little beach area with a nice walk way to explore. There are some lovely spots for some tapas and of course a rioja!

Close to Calpe you can also explore Cala Fuestera Beach which is a little quieter and less touristy, I also went to Moraira Beach and to Denia Town to have a look around – I managed to squeeze quite a bit in!

I would love to go back and take a trip to Valencia, which is only around an hour away too!

Have you ever been to Calpe, Moraira, Denia, Alicante or Benissa? Do you live close to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, would you love to travel here? Say Hello if so! Let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you!

Viajes Felices (Happy Travels!)

….Hannah xo

 

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Relaxing? An Airport? Surely not?….Flying from Doncaster Sheffield Airport is exactly that!

They really do take the hassle out of travelling, the entire airport experience is an absolute travellers dream!

They have everything just right, from start to finish.

Why choose Doncaster Sheffield Airport

1. Great Location

Doncaster Sheffield Airport is easy to reach from the UK’s major motorways including the M1, A1 & M62. The new motorway link road from junction 3 of the M18 means it is now super easy & quick to get to.

Sheffield 35 minutes / Barnsley 45 minutes / Wakefield 50 minutes / Leeds 52 minutes / Hull 58 minutes / York 1hr 5 minutes

2. Easy Car Parking Options

This isn’t the most glamorous subject, but they really do have it just right! The car parks are SO close to the terminal, it is literally a 60 second walk to the terminal building. How perfect is that?! You can choose from Short Stay, Long Stay, Premium Parking or Meet & Greet. I opted for Meet & Greet and I am so pleased I did, it is worth every penny! I was greeted by a really friendly staff member who directed me to the terminal. My favourite thing was upon return, I was greeted by the same staff member who welcomed me with a big smile on his face and a chirpy ‘Hello Miss Denton, how was your flight?’….Now that is personalised service! I was blown away! Not only that, my car was ready and waiting for me to jump in and drive home straight away, which is exactly what you want after a flight. Read more here: http://flydsa.co.uk/car-parking/car-park-options/

3. Quick & Easy Check in

Doncaster Sheffield Airport certainly win the award for the smoothest and quickest check-in experience! I used the self-check in machines in the terminal and then went straight to departures and through security. All within 5 minutes – I used the fast track service too, which is included in the price of the premium lounge.

4. Premium Lounge

Oh wow, now this is airport perfection! I was so chilled in here. I instantly felt at home and set myself up near the plug sockets (always a winner!) They offer complimentary drinks and snacks, along with breakfast, brunch and lunch options. I had a beautiful tuna salad, although I have heard the Fish Finger sandwich is a huge hit…Some even say it is the best in Yorkshire 😉 They have so many different drink options too, you can order Spirits, wines, beers and also a large range of ciders. It is totally worth it, especially to be able to benefit from the fast track service too! Read more here: http://flydsa.co.uk/at-the-airport/premium-lounge/

5. Friendly Staff

I have mentioned this a few times, but it is something I feel really strongly about! The staff are amazing in the airport, whether you speak to the team on check in, or the staff in the departure terminal, everyone has a smile on their face and are always happy to help. As Walt Disney would say…‘You can design, create and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality’

6. Destinations

The world is your oyster flying from Doncaster Sheffield Airport.  You can choose from various destinations in Spain, Ireland, France, Poland, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Latvia, Portugal, Turkey & Long Haul destinations too!

I flew into Alicante in less than 2.5 hours, there are so many places you can explore! I decided to explore Alicante, I stayed in such a beautiful boutique hotel called No.4 Benissa. It was perfect, you can read more here:  https://hannahswancott.co.uk/2017/05/30/no-4-benissa-alicante/

Reason’s why I love Doncaster Sheffield Airport VLOG over on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYx5xBs4JNM

Find great value Doncaster Sheffield Airport flights on Skyscanner: http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-8394176-10641620

Hannah

xo

 

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Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) has been named one of the most famous hikes in Norway & after completing the hike in April, I can completely see why…

It towers a whopping 604 metres above the beautiful Lysefjord, making the views absolutely INCREDIBLE!

I vlogged the entire hike & edited it down to a 3 minute video! See Preikestolen for yourself here: https://youtu.be/K8bgNgluwIg (it is my first vlog, be nice to me ha ha!)

Preikestolen, Lysefjord Norway:

In some ways we picked a great time to visit however in other ways we would have been much better visiting in the Summer. The positives were how quiet everything was, meaning we booked our ferry to Preikestolen on the same day, at the port without experiencing any difficulty with availabilty. It also meant the hike was extremely quiet, which made it so enjoyable!  When we reached the top of Pulpit Rock there were only around 40 people already there.  We were lucky enough to capture some great shots without other tourists in view.

On the other hand, traveling to Stavanger in the ‘winter’ months meant we were unable to reach Fløri 4444, Kjerag or Trolls Tongue easily. We were relying on public transport on a Saturday & Sunday which was impossible to get there in a short duration (we travelled Friday – Monday). The ferries don’t run as often in the winter months, therefore I would be sure to check the schedules before you book anything if these are the hikes you would like to do. (we were gutted we couldn’t make it to Fløri 4444, the view from the steps look incredible http://bit.ly/2p4LNHH!)

Whilst we were there, we looked at loads of different timetables/websites and it seemed June – September is the best time to go for ease of public transport around the hikes, although I am sure that will also mean it will be super busy!  If you are thinking of just hiking Preikestolen, I would definitely recommend late April.

We used a company called ‘Tide’ to book our Ferry & Bus tickets together, they were 350 NOK each when booking at the terminal on the same day.  I have since looked online and it is displaying at 320 NOK each, therefore it is cheaper to pre-book! Another bonus, is their website is really clear unlike alot of the other Norwegian websites > http://bit.ly/2qISkF2 <

We would definitely use Tide again, they offer some great tours in the summer, including trips to Troll’s Tongue & Kjerag.

The Hike

We caught the 11:15am ferry from Stavanger which meant we arrived at the bottom of Preikestolen around 12:30pm. It took 1.5 hours to reach the top of Preikestolen and boy, was the hike worth it! It was a moderate hike, the start was pretty steep however after the first 10 minutes it flattened off slightly and became much easier. I would recommend having good quality walking boots and lots of layers. We were cold at the bottom, hot in the middle and freezing at the top! It was also extremely windy at the top therefore bring a woolly hat and gloves to keep warm – I forgot my gloves and couldn’t feel my fingers! Saying that, we saw lots of people walking their dogs along the way and we even saw someone wearing a suit and brogues, they were sliding everywhere on the ice, but it shows it can be done in casual gear!

We were so suprised how quiet it was at the top, We spent around 40 minutes taking photos and then started to hike back down to escape the wind. There are some lovely little spots along the route too, which are perfect for a picnic.

In total, we were 3 hours 40 minutes. We started to hike at 12:30pm, reached the top in 1 hour 30 minutes and then we got back down to the bottom at 4:10pm, our bus left at 5pm – We made it in good timing!

The Lysefjord is absolutely beautiful and I would happily book a flight to Stavanger, to simply complete the Preikestolen hike. Our flights were so cheap too, find out how on this link > https://hannahswancott.co.uk/2016/09/10/weekend-escape/

We also did a cruise along the Lysefjord the next day, can you believe this is Pulpit Rock from down below? You can hardly believe that tiny little ledge is so famous!

Stavanger itself is really pretty too. We spent lots of our time in Ovre Holmegate, which is the most colourful street in the city centre. There are loads of cute little bars and restaurants, our personal favourite was Boker og Borst, it was so cosy! They had an entire bookshelf full of games and books….We were entertained for hours whilst we waited for our flight!

We stayed for 3 nights in the Thon Hotel Stavanger, which was great as it is so central. They included breakfast and also an evening meal, which was really helpful as Norway isn’t the cheapest country I have ever been too!

Take a look at the hike over on YouTube  https://youtu.be/K8bgNgluwIg

Any questions, let me know!

Happy Hiking – Hannah xo

 

 

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Sustainable boutique hotel, set alongside one of Sri Lanka’s finest lakes, Lake Koggala.

Nos Da Ty (meaning ‘Good Night Hotel’ in Welsh) is a stylish, magnificently restored seven-room residence in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka.

This unique, intimate lakeside property is ideally placed for visiting the south coast of Sri Lanka. Nos Da Ty is just footsteps away from Koggala Beach and within easy reach of many of the region’s favourite landmarks, including Galle Fort.

This beautifully restored residence has been lovingly built and created by co-owners Peter & Indra. Peter brings lots of Welsh charm to the residence, whilst Indra brings his culinary expertise and expert knowledge of the Island. Together, they have created a wonderful residence oozing charm and sophistication.


This exclusive island retreat boasts a stunning open-air restaurant, which serves up fresh, organic produce directly picked from the lush gardens on-site.  Their in-house chef creates a selection of fabulous Sri Lankan dishes as well as contemporary options for lunch and dinner every day.

Behind Nos Da Ty’s entrance gates you will find spacious, airy interiors with high ceilings and a comfortable lounge area to enjoy a drink in the evening. Behind each hand-crafted doorway, you will find large, generous bedrooms. Each of the deluxe ensuite bedrooms have substantial amounts of space, natural light and offer beautiful views of the estate, each featuring a spectacular mahogany king-size four poster bed.



A 20-Minute Tuk Tuk Journey will lead you to the hip, boho-chic Fortress of Galle, where you can find locally designed artwork, exquisite linens & super healthy & laid back eateries. I was totally taken by suprise by this utterly magical city.  You can wander through the streets all day soaking up the culture and strolling through the shops, here are some of my favourites…

Shop: The Barefoot brand is famous in Sri Lanka for their eccentric designs and quirky pieces.

Shop: Stick No Bills is famous for its classic Sri Lankan posters, postcards & prints.

Shop: Exotic Roots is a family run business, selling colouful prints with unique and authentic designs.

Shop: LUV SL Galle. Must visit, just to see the pool and Tuk Tuk inside!

Eat: The Calorie Counter offers authentic Sri Lankan cuisine with a healthy twist.

Find more details and rates online at: http://www.nosdahotel.com/

For UK booking details contact Laurie Tilley Phone: 01273 961810 or Mobile:07900825123.

Email: laurie.tilley@travelcounsellors.com Website: www.travelcounsellors.com/laurie.tilley

Hannah

xoxo

 

 

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Friendship Beach Bar & Restaurant is one of the coolest places to hangout along Tangalle Beach.

You can grab a drink at the bar, pull up a chair on the beachfront or swing in the hammock & watch the world go by as the sun goes down. The atmosphere here is so chilled, you will never want to leave!

It’s a Family Thing: The owner, Dami has started up the business from scratch with a little help from his friends & family. They’re a talented bunch – They can sing, dance, play guitar, beat on the bongos, not to mention their surfing skills make for great entertainment!

     

The Location: This is one of the best locations in Tangalle. The sea is really calm here compared to other parts of the beach making it a great spot for swimmers & surfers! We sat here all day, with the occasional dip in the sea in-between drinks of course!

     

The Food: They have a really unique menu offering a modern, healthy twist on the traditional Sri Lankan favourites. They have some amazing Seafood options that are all freshly caught along with a full range of Vegetarian options.  The owners wife is Vegetarian, which is why they have such varied options to choose from on the menu. (Try the Guacamole, it’s the BEST!) They have loads suitable for Vegans too – Which is always a big hit!

We came here for a quick lunch one day and ended up staying all afternoon for lunch, drinks & dinner. The food is that good! We had quite a selection between us – Fresh Lobster, Crab, Prawns, Mahi Mahi & Red Snapper. Not forgetting, they make an amazing Mojito too! (The best one we tasted in Sri Lanka!)

Such a cute little find, a secret gem on the beach!

Enjoy – Hannah x

Website: http://bit.ly/2odPLss

Address: Friendship Beach Restaurant. Meadilla Road, Meadakeatiya. Tangalle. Sri Lanka

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We love nothing more than a cosy little winter getaway in the UK, therefore when Citystay got in touch offering the chance to visit the beautiful city of Cambridge, we jumped at the chance to visit!

Citystay Vesta are in the perfect location, just 2 minutes’ walk from Cambridge Train Station and a further 10 minutes into the Historical city centre. See more: http://bit.ly/2lHwa3i

From the second we booked we were made to feel super welcome. The entire booking process is really personal, which I love! We dealt with Aimee who is Citystay’s Guest Services Co-ordinator. She was incredible from start to finish!

Aimee text in the morning to find out our ETA, which was a nice touch as we knew she would be there to greet us. We ended up getting a little bit lost trying to find the apartment, but Aimee was on hand to get us back on track!

Aimee guided us into the car park, then up to our apartment. She explained how everything worked in detail, showing us the washing machine, cooker, heating, key controls etc plus a little bit about the local area. The location by the station is great, as it means right outside the apartment is a Sainsburys Local, Pret-a-manger and Wasabi, therefore if you did need to grab something quickly, you can do!

Aimee gave us her contact details & left us to explore…Explore being the key word, as the apartment is massive! We had apartment 73, which is a 2-bedroom Vesta apartment. They offer 1,2 or 3 bedroom Vesta apartments too.

First things first….FOOD! You don’t get this kind of welcome in a hotel! It’s so nice to have the essentials in the cupboards to make it feel like home. The welcome pack is completely complimentary. Plus if you are travelling for a special occasion you can request additional items such as wine or chocolates for your arrival. Check out ‘enhance your stay’ on the website. http://bit.ly/2lHwa3i

Also, just a note that the kitchen cupboards are really well equipped with all the cookware you need, making it super easy to cook a big dinner if there are a few of you.

The bathrooms are really well equipped too with huge white fluffy towels & The White Company toiletries. We had a full range of toiletries in each of the bathrooms, we had an ensuite with a shower plus a main bathroom which had a shower over the bath too!

My favourite thing about the bathrooms though is the heated floor….It was freezing this weekend & the under floor heating was amazing & massively appreciated. It was all these little things that make these apartments perfect, I am not surprised they win so many awards!

The entire apartment space felt like home. They have thought of every little detail to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Each bedroom has a TV, Sony Radio, Slippers (My unicorn slippers come everywhere with me, I didn’t need to bring them after all though as they have slippers here!) They even have separate heating controls per bedroom which I thought was pretty nifty. Most importantly though, the beds are ridiculously comfortable. They are so cosy and soft….I could’ve stayed there all day! Another thing to note, they have plug sockets by the bed….Which is something so simple, yet so annoying when there is no plug near to you!

 

Exploring Cambridge

Something completely unique to Citystay is that when you book with them you can Punt for FREE! Which is such a big benefit.

Citystay work with Scudamore which is Cambridge’s original punting company founded in 1901. You can choose from a selection of self-hire punts, kayaks, canoes and rowboats….All with the compliments of Citystay!

More details here: http://bit.ly/2kZA3R8

Cambridge University:

The best word to describe the different colleges of Cambridge University is MAGICAL…It felt like we were wandering around in a fairy-tale, or in Hogwarts! I was in awe of the students who get to call this home. There are so many passageways, alleyways and doorway’s to explore – I was scared to wander through half of them, although I’m sure I could pass for a student right?! 😉 To know that Hawking, Byron, Newton & Darwin have wandered these exact same paths is something pretty special!

Christ’s College is right in the heart of the city. We were just doing a spot of shopping and stumbled across the beautiful grounds of the college.

Lunch Stop: No Valentines is complete without Crepes right?! We stopped at Benet’s Café which overlooks Kings College, the perfect location for a little afternoon sugar craving!

They do hot food too, along with some of the best cakes and ice cream flavours I have ever seen!

Location: 21 King’s Parade, City Centre, Cambridge CB2 1SP

Here he is….The only photo I managed to get of him all weekend!

What a great weekend for Valentines….We can’t wait to come back again in the summer!

Post in collaboration with Citystay Apartments, Cambridge.

See you soon.

Hannah. x

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Oman has been voted 8th in the Lonely Planet’s best in Travel for 2017 – It’s a destination not to missed!

When telling people I was travelling to Oman, I generally had the response of ‘where is that?’ It is a fairly unique destination which made me love it even more! My biggest regret, would be that I only spent 2 days here over the weekend, which really wasn’t enough to experience everything Oman has to offer.

To answer the question, Oman is right on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. I don’t like to compare countries, but Oman really reminded me of Dubai and Marrakesh mixed together! The design of the buildings, patterns & colours really reminded me of Marrakesh. The beaches, people & food offerings really reminded me of Dubai.

The people are really what makes Oman special. Everyone I know who has visited says the same thing, I felt so welcome and safe from the second we arrived. Another thing to note, is how clean and neat it is there, It is the cleanest country I have ever been too! Everywhere we went there was a cleaner or a gardener, trimming the trees or washing the floor. Even the roads were spotless! It is the little things like that, which adds to the countries beauty.

The Luxury Resort: We stayed in the Shang-ri-la Barr Al Jissah, which is absolutely stunning. There are 3 hotels making up the resort which are the Al Bandar, Al Husn & Al Waha. We stayed in a pool view room with a balcony in the Al Bandar. The Al Husn was definitely my favourite, I felt like an Arabian Princess strolling through a palace!

Shangrila Barr Al Jissah: http://bit.ly/2kkSSwA

The Endless Beaches: You will have direct access to the most beautiful views from the minute you arrive. The Mountains rise all around the resort, making for the perfect backdrop!

The Turtles: Each night we would head to Turtle Beach to try and catch a glimpse of the Turtles hatching, we sadly didn’t get to see any but we spoke to lots of guests who were lucky enough to see them. They have a Turtle Care Project at the resort too, they even have their very own Turtle Ranger (What a great job!)

Omani Food: There is so much choice! I opted for Asian Tapas on the terrace for the first night.  I had Crab & Potato Samosas with Peanut Oil & Mixed seafood paella. The second night I decided to dine in Bait Al Bar along the beach.  I opted for fish again, I had the Seafood Platter (Lobster, Sea Bream, Kingfish, Squid, Vegetables & Lemon Butter!) Try and book these when you arrive, as we struggled for a reservation on the first night. The menu’s are all loaded online on this link > http://bit.ly/2jj9R54 Have a good look at the menu’s before you arrive so you can pre-budget & pick your favourites!

The Tea: I must admit, I didn’t like the taste of Arabic Tea but I LOVED the Arabic Tea Pots!

The Grand Mosque: The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Islamic architecture at its best! I obsessed over the Islamic Geometric Patterns and Mosaic Tiles.

Oh these tiles!

 

Who gets excited to fly home? Not me, that is for sure! Unless these are the views….Keep your eyes peeled around 2 hours into your flight home, you will fly over these snowy mountains in Iran. Breathtaking!

 

 

There is so much more to do, I just didn’t have the time. Camping in the dessert is still top of my list. I guess it gives me another reason to go back! 😉

I am pleased to say I have experienced the Arabian magic in 2017!

Post in collaboration with Barr Al Jissah & Luxuria Lifestyle…Love for Arabian patterns all my own 😉

Enjoy, any questions get in touch!

Hannah x

 

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Hilton Sa Torre, Majorca is little piece of heaven in the Mediterranean, you won’t ever want to leave! It is located just 15 minutes away from Palma Airport, making it a perfect weekend escape to relax and unwind in the luxury of the Majorcan countryside.

5 Reasons to visit Hilton Sa Torre Majorca:

1. Experience the Luxury location: This Hilton is like no other Hilton in the world! It’s located in a beautifully restored Finca, it’s truly unique in every way, with a 14th century chapel on site and an iconic Majorcan windmill, everywhere you look is picture perfect.  This is our second visit to this stunning hotel, it certainly won’t be the last!

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2. Romance: This hotel oozes romance! It is quiet, peaceful and perfect for couples to spend quality time together. Ditch your phones/tablets and laptops and enjoy the stunning surroundings. Take a stroll around the magical hotel grounds, or wander towards the town of Llucmajor. You can also hop in a cab to Palma, the capital city for around 20 Euros.

3. Treat yourself in the Spa: The use of the spa is included in your stay, take advantage of the facilities and treat yourself! They offer lots of different treatment options, or you can just enjoy the sauna, steam room, indoor pool and gym.

4. 5* Food: They have 3 restaurants, The Pool Bar (They have the BEST pizza!) Sa Clastra & the Arxiduc restuarant. The Arxiduc is a firm favourite, as you can dine outside on the patio and enjoy fresh, local tapas. The menu is carefully created and updated every season by the on-site chefs to ensure the best food is on offer.

5. The Service Button: I’ll save the best until last! This button is the best invention EVER! If you are feeling super relaxed (or just being lazy) you can press a button for service at your sunbed…It doesn’t get much better than that right?!

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Enjoy this little hidden gem!

To Book: http://bit.ly/2ex56nC

Hannah x

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Experience the city life in Venice & Verona along with the tranquillity of Lake Garda. How we squeezed Venice, Verona & Desenzano into one unforgettable weekend break!

Day I: We flew from London Stansted into Milan Bergamo airport. The flight only cost £32pp: http://bit.ly/2jbQZWj.

Find out how, on this link: https://travelthroughlifehannah.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/weekend-escape/

Milan Airport (BGY) is around 80km away from Lake Garda, the train is by far the cheapest option to arrive into the Lakes, costing us 7 Euros each. Generally there is one change either in Breschia or Treviglio if you are heading towards Desenzano Del Garda. We chose to stay in Desenzano due to the transport links, making it really easy to use the trains to travel around Italy.

I booked our train tickets on my mobile using Go Euro (link: http://bit.ly/2en6xl2) The site is so easy to use, really mobile friendly, meaning as soon as you make a booking online you can download your tickets save them to your iBooks which allows the ticket inspector to scan your ticket straight from your phone using the QR code – It is as simple as that!  It is much easier and cheaper than paying for your tickets from the kiosk, I can’t recommend it enough! Some of the tickets we booked minutes before the train was due to arrive using the app.

We arrived at the Hotel Bonotto, which is located in Desenzano Del Garda. We booked a lake view room and the view from the balcony was worth every penny. We didnt think we could get a better view, we were in for a big suprise, the real show stopper is when you go for breakfast as there is a panoramic view over the lake, it is such a beautiful peaceful setting!

The hotel was in a perfect location, it’s a 1 minute walk to the lake, 2 minute walk to the town, 2 minute walk to the harbour and 10 minute walk to the train station. (approx. 8.50 Euros in a taxi to the train station if you have heavy bags!)

Hotel Bonotto: http://bit.ly/2elpXFU

We had a little wander into the town and we found the cutest little pizza place called Al Fattore, located in the main town of Desenzano. It was super cheap too, only 28 Euros for 2 pizza’s and a bottle of wine, which was a surprise for a popular tourist town.

Day II: Verona & Venice.

We did some research over dinner & decided to head to Verona in the morning, it is only 20 minutes away on the train also it only cost 3.60 Euros per ticket – Result! We caught the 09:00am train, meaning we arrived into Verona by 09:20. Verona Purto Nouva is the main station in the City, only a 15 – 20 minute walk straight down Corso Porta Nuova into Verona. We walked directly to the Piazza, which is absolutely beautiful, even on a rainy day!

Then we headed into Castelvecchio Castle, which has beauty around every corner.  Then we wandered around the Piazza’s including Piazza Bra & Piazza Dei Signori. Then we headed to Torre dei Lamberti, The Basilica, Santa Maria Antica & Arco Dei Gavi – Lovely morning spent wandering around the city!

Day II Afternoon

We walked back to Verona station to head for Venice, again we booked on the Go Euro app for 8 Euros each & is approx. a 1.5 hour train journey and we arrived into Venice for 3pm.

WOW what a STUNNING train journey, Venice station is right on the Grand Canal, pulling into the station was pretty impressive…….

This is our second time visiting Venice, the first time was back in 2014 when my Fiancée proposed in a restaurant called Riviera which is towards the end of the Grand Canal, it is a beautiful peaceful spot, which is sometimes hard to come across in such a busy city. The food in Riviera is unbelievable, the views are even better! More pics and menus can be found here: http://bit.ly/2dFGJC2

Gondola Rides: There is always time for a Gondola Ride! They are around 80 Euros for 40 minutes – Which is completely worth it in my eyes, as you get views like this! You can either prebook them beforehand, or flag down a Gondola man when you are in the City (They are round most corners, in their amazing stripy t-shirts and matching hats!)

Piazza St. Mark’s square is beautiful, BUT super busy. We tend to sprint through to get to the beautiful views over the Grand Canal at the water’s edge! There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the square, but they are really busy and the most expensive in Venice. You are much better walking through the square, towards the canal and take a stroll across the water front to find a much quieter, cheaper and much prettier spot to enjoy a refreshment break!

We love to slowly wander around, finding quiet little spots to admire the view with less people. With that in mind, we started a mission to find another favourite restaurant of ours, which is Luna Sentada. Luna Sentada is pretty hard to locate, as it is in a lovely quiet location, down a narrow side path. Both of our phones had lost signal meaning we couldn’t use google maps we had no choice but to get lost! The exact way how we found it last time!! We very nearly gave up as it was getting later and later, however at 6pm, we turned a corner which we both really recognised…..We both laughed and couldnt believe our eyes, we had been searching for ages, but sure enough when we turned that corner, there it was! Luna Sentada & 5000 wine bar. Two wines please!

If I give you one tip for Venice, it is to purposely get yourself lost, walk off the main streets & down the many side streets, where hidden gems await! ‘Take it all in, explore, adventure, turn corners and appreciate the most beautiful city in the world.’

Day II Evening:We caught the train from Venice back to our hotel in Desenzano del Garda. We caught the last train at 7:30pm from Venice (be sure to check Go Euro’s train timetable for the last train during your trip)

Desenzano: Lake Garda

Day III Morning: We went for breakfast in the Hotel Bonotto at 7:00am to catch the sunrise. (WOW) I would really recommend an early morning rise to catch these stunning views. We took a stroll around the lake as a final goodbye before we needed to leave for our flight at 10am. It didnt take long to find cute little spots along the way!

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Have you explored Italy by train? Let me know below! What are your top tips?

Hannah x

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Do you work Monday – Friday? Are you bored of doing the same thing every weekend? Are you sick of throwing money away and having nothing to show for it?

…..Now is the time to stop & make a change. There is so much more to life than Monday to Friday. Let’s start living, plan adventures and explore this wonderful world!

There are so many beautiful places in the world to explore, with such a short flight to European cities, why not go and explore a new destination, rather than blow £100 on a night out!?

Friday to Sunday flights are so easy to find, especially using Skyscanner: http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-8394176-10641620

The Skyscanner app is great, you can search for all UK flights on any dates, it will give you the cheapest fare option, cheapest airport, cheapest date, cheapest destination – They literally compare everything for you, saving so much time in finding a great value fare!

How do you search the worlds flights month by month? It’s easy! Simply select ‘whole month’ in the departures section. You can also search for the whole world, there is no need to enter a destination! You can type ‘UK’ in the from box and then add ‘everywhere’ in the destination box. If you are flexible with when/where you travel, It really helps to find the best price and start planning your getaway around the airline fares.

I have previously booked a flight to Sri Lanka for £320 flying with Virgin & Fly Dubai using the above technique. Milan for £32, Norway over the Bank Holiday weekend for £52. (I usually aim to book Bank Holiday dates around 4/5 months in advance, that tends to be the best priced fares!) Barcelona for £30, Dublin for £7 & Paris for £22 – Cheap fares are there to be had!

I have so many more #SkyscannerRoulettes left to play….Where too next?!

HIT LIST: Sweden, Iceland, Austria, Montenegro, Copenhagen & Italian cities – I’m aiming for all for under £40. Wish me luck!

You can download the Skyscanner app here: iTunes: http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-8394176-13019503 Google Play: http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-8394176-12960144

What has been your best value flight? Let me know below!

Scroll down to the bottom to search for your dream flight.

Hannah x

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Budapest was a whirlwind weekend adventure, full of great food, unforgettable sights, a few kooky characters and of course, amazing Hungarian wine!

…Kooky became my new favourite word in Budapest, but I’m pretty sure I was using it in completely the wrong context after looking up the dictionary meaning online…..When I say Kooky, I mean ‘unique, quirky, vibrant & different.’  Although the online meaning is ‘strange, eccentric & scary’ – That wasn’t my idea of kooky!

We arrived into Budapest airport at 11am on 24th August 2016, we were instantly greeted by an illegal taxi driver in the main arrivals hall, hoping to take us to our hotel in Pest for 40 Euros….Luckily, I knew straight away the amount he had quoted was double the estimated amount, therefore we politely declined and headed to the official taxi rank outside. The queue took around 15 minutes, however it is much cheaper and safer, to await the official taxi company. Try and estimate your route online before you head to your destination, to ensure you aren’t being ripped off by taxi companies. It always pays to be in the know!

We reached our hotel within around 20 minutes from the airport, at a cost of 6,500 HUF (approx. £18) you can use Euros or Hungarian Forint in Budapest, generally everything is priced in both, however I would always recommend spending the local currency, you normally get a much better exchange rate this way.

The Boscolo Hotel

WOW – This hotel is STUNNING!

I just wanted to take a picture of everything as soon as we got inside. I have never seen anything like it on my travels, the entrance is a work of art, its contemporary design mixes with the historical architecture and creates such a mesmerizing first impression…

The Boscolo is also home to the New York Cafe – ‘The most beautiful cafe in the world.

We were super lucky, as we were staying in the Boscolo on a B&B basis, we had our breakfast included at the New York Cafe every day.

…Everyone starts there day with Champagne right?!

The Boscolo is in a great location, it is around a 12 minute walk away from St. Stephens Basilica, or you can take the bus! There is a bus stop directly outside the Boscolo, making it a great option for easy transport links.

We generally love walking and finding our own little hideaways away from the crowds when we visit cities, but this time we absolutely LOVED the open top buses, we had a fantastic time being chauffeured around Budapest, it has opened up a whole new world to us! We even managed to get a sun tan (ahem….or….erm….a burnt nose) in the process! We would use the bus to drop us off at the main attractions, then enjoy a walk around the area to find quiet little hidden spots. It is really affordable too, on average around 20 Euros for a 2-day ticket.

You can find more information and pre purchase your open top bus tickets here: http://bit.ly/2bW3ssR

Time to Explore….

We hopped on our favourite little bus and headed towards the Basilica to find somewhere for dinner, friends had recommended a few restaurants to us which were all around the Basilica area, so we thought that would be a good place to start! We jumped on the bus which took around 9 minutes, with some lovely views along the route.

Then, we stumbled across the annual Junibor Wine Festival. We totally didn’t know this was happening in Budapest over the weekend, therefore we were super pleased to find this little gem! In future, we will always check for kooky little events like this, as it was one of the best nights we have ever experienced on a city break.

It is so in-expensive too. We spent £30 which lasted us 2 evenings (we got a little bit over-excited when we arrived and bought 10,000 HUF in wine tokens….WAY too many!)

Good News! It is back for 2017…

Aug 25, 2017 – Aug 28, 2017 More Information here:

http://bit.ly/2cjeQQk  

Time to Explore….

We hopped onto the bus and headed over to BUDA.

Budapest is split into two cities, divided by the River Danube: Buda & Pest.

Pest is very flat, which is super easy to walk around, on the other side in Buda it is pretty hilly, with some really steep parts (where the bus comes in use) there are some stunning views from Buda, overlooking Pest.

We headed straight to the Castle District first of all, which is absolutely beautiful. We caught the bus to the top, we were wowed from the second we saw the beautiful view.

There is so much to explore inside the Palace too, we spent a good 3 hours taking a look around, finding all of the secret spots where it was less crowded to take in the beautiful views.

You can grab some lunch/coffee/ice-cream whilst inside too. It is also incredibly friendly for guests with pushchairs/wheelchairs. There is lift access to the top of the Palace, there is also an escalator inside too, to take you to the top. (Who would of thought it!?)

We started at the bottom in the Castle and explored our way to the top.

Then, we walked back down via Matthias Church, which is still located on Castle Hill right at the top, just outside of the main Buda Castle.

Walking back down took around 30 minutes……I don’t think it should of taken that long, we got a little bit lost (oops) Getting lost in such a beautiful city though is never bad, we found some really cute little side streets to explore!

They have music & wine festivals at certain times of the year around the Castle, plus you can hire Segway’s to ride around Castle District if you want to save your legs some work!

For more information on Buda Castle & the Castle district, see this link:

http://bit.ly/2c6xLdU  

Time to Explore….PEST

Parliament is breathtaking, more amazing views this time over-looking Buda!

Walking from Parliament, we headed towards the Danube River, to see the memorial along the promenade. It is so moving, even to this day there are visitors dropping fresh flowers in memory of all of the people who lost their lives.

Dinner & Drinks – Innio Wine Bar

I would highly reccomend Innio Wine Bar, even if you are just after a quick pit stop for a drink. (They know their wines!) They are located by St Stephens Basilica.

We ate at Innio, enjoying the 5-course taster menu, with additional wine pairing.

The service was brilliant – Food even better. Easily one of the best restaurants we have ever been too, at a fraction of the price! It cost us 26,100 HUF for our meal, which is around £75 each. Definitely a must do for a night of great food and wine!

More details: http://bit.ly/2cAEgqm  

The Donut Library

A trip to Budapest would’t be complete without a pit stop in the Donut Library!

If you stay near the Boscolo, you will walk past this little gem when you head towards the Basilica. It is on your right hand side….

St Stephens Basilica

The surrounding areas of St Stephens Basilica was one of our favourite places to hang out, night or day!

There is a paddling pool to dip your toes in to cool off just behind the Basilica, plus on a Sunday there is a market around the area to enjoy too, selling all sorts of souveniers.

It is a really vibrant city in the evening, we found some really cool bars and cafes along the way towards the Basilica.

Ruin Bars

Be sure to check to see if you have any ruin bars near to where you are staying, they are the perfect spot to meet some new people and socialise, plus, some of the drinks prices are as low as 340 HUF (0.90p) for a glass of house wine – Always a winner!

 

Enjoy Budapest – Hannah x

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