Category Archives: Travel

A Costa Blanca Vacation

I spent a week with my family on vacation in Calpe. Located  in the northern region of Alicante, Calpe a fishermans town that has two bays right on the water.

We were stayed in a large villa up in the mountains in an urbanisation called Maryvilla. Used mainly as holiday homes for the Spanish people and homes for many who have retired out in Spain, Maryvilla is a quiet place with only one bar, a couple of restaurants and a lovely beach at the bottom.

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Little did I know until I got there that Costa Blanca is actually the perfect place for sport climbing, water-sports and outdoor activities. Known to have some of the best beaches with clear water and plenty of sand and further out small coves and caves making the Costa Blanca perfect for rock climbing over the sea (water soloing).

There is a warm climate for most of the year and with many resorts, restaurants, bars and shops remaining open throughout the winter months, Calpe and surrounding towns have become  a popular destination for families and many couples looking for a weekend break.

If you love going for a swim then head down to the local beach or watersports centre where you can kayak, learn how to paddle board, snorkel or do I what did and have fun on a giant inflatable sea assault course.

Playa De La Fossa, Levante and Arenal-Bol are the main beaches in Calpe but are only just a few of the beautiful beaches across the region. Hire a boat or pedalo and explore the tiny beaches or sail down the coast to the larger resorts and towns.

beach.jpgAlongside the beaches and boat rides, wandering The Old Town was a highlight of the holiday as it features Mudejar-Gothic architecture and historic sites. If that isn’t enough for a history buff then the Calpe is also home to The Museum of Archaeology which has an array of artifacts and also has the ruins of a castle.

If you fancy a crazy night then head over to the Benidorm, in particular English Square, for a night of drinks, tribute bands and 24-hour fry ups. My one night in Benidorm was definitely an experience! Popular with stag and hen parties the cheap drinks, hilarious comedians, and the general atmosphere give Benidorm it’s British reputation but I can’t deny it was one of the funniest nights of my life!

Calpe has something for everyone, whether you are looking for a rock climbing weekend or a laid back beach week, Calpe and the rest of the Costa Blanca will not disappoint!

Things to do in Costa Blanca:

  • Visit the beaches
  • Explore the variety of water-sports
  • Climbing
  • Visit Benidorm for a wild night!
  • Go to the archaeological museum in Alicante
  • Aqualandia waterpark
  • Book a boat ride

Gee

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My Top 10 Hand Luggage Essentials

It’s that time of year where many go on their holidays and I am one of the few that loves packing a suitcase, and getting my hand luggage ready well ahead of time in order to have a stress free trip.

I have finally managed to take a minimalist attitude and pack only the necessities, here are my top 10 on-board luggage items (in no particular order)

  1. Face Wipes: Antibacterial, baby wipes or cosmetic wipes whichever you prefer they are a handy item for keeping refreshed during and after your flight.
  2.  iPod/iPad: I love downloading films onto my iPad for those long flights to keep me entertained. Some flights can be noisy so I love popping my headphones in and listening to some chilled music that I can nod off to.
  3. Book:You can’t go wrong with a good book! I have to travel with at least 2 books to keep me entertained and help calm my travel anxiety.
  4. Moisturiser: My skin tends to dry out when flying so I always carry a little bottle  of face cream to keep my hands and face hydrated. Just make sure it’s 50ml or under!
  5. Notebook and pen: I carry a notebook and pen everywhere I go to doodle and write lists or general ramblings. Inspiration can come at any time so I always like to have something to hand.
  6. Scarf: Planes can get cold, so I always pack an over sized scarf to keep me warm or to use as a pillow.
  7. Camera: I always take my SLR camera on board as I don’t like leaving it in my suitcase. It also means I can take a few snaps around the airport whilst waiting for my flight. Alongside this I take Jamie’s gopro, it is the perfect travel camera for catching those action shots and underwater moments.
  8. Deodorant/Lip balm/Hair ties: Take a little beauty bag onto your flight and fill it with a few essentials. My extremely thick, long wavy hair is always getting in the way so I love to have a few different hairbands tucked away or on my wrist. Lip balm prevents dry cracked lips on long-haul flights and if you want to feel a bit more glamorous when stepping into arrivals then take a little nude lipstick. Deodorant is an obvious one, planes are sweaty places so I always take a small spray or roll on.
  9. Bottle of water: Stay hydrated by purchasing a bottle water at the airport. Even if you want to have a nightcap while on board, taking a bottle or water will prevent dehydration. Sometimes I take vitamin C tablets or rehydralyte with me so if i’m feeling  a little nauseous or under the weather I can pop one of these into my water.
  10. Snacks: If you are like me and get a little peckish during a flight then pack a few snacks. I like to take a cereal bar, a small packet of crisps and then either some biscuits or a small pack of sweets to get a quick sugar boost.

 

 

What are your travel essential? Leave a comment below!

Thanks

Gee

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Adventures In Morocco

Its been a year since Jamie and I went to Morocco so here is my throwback post sharing our experience in Marrakesh

Marrakesh has two parts the old town (the medina) and the new town, we stayed in the Medina in a beautiful Riad we found on Air Bnb. Every morning we were greeted with a traditional Moroccan breakfast and our host would give us tips on surviving the souks and ideas of places we should visit.

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We visited Marrakesh during Ramadan a time considered to be low season, however it was the hottest time of the year, over 40 degrees and the souks were hot, crowded and humid. Getting lost in the mazes was both frustrating and tiring but walking through doorways and courtyards you could find yourself in a cool spot of shade being offered mint tea.

mint tea tower

The souks are the heart of the Medina and a must-see when you’re visiting the city. If you don’t plan on shopping for leather, tea or spices, the souks are still a crazy experience. There are motorbikes, people and cars trying to squeeze down the smallest alleyways and lots of cats! It is a unique atmosphere that heightens your sense; the smells of tea and donkeys, the sticky heat, and the loud motorbikes and stall owners shouting at nearby tourists.

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We decided to purchase a rug and we discovered that as well as haggling, Moroccans like to trade. So alongside a small amount of money we traded a pack of cigarettes and some sunglasses for a lovely berber rug. Both parties were extremely pleased with the trade, I even got a hug off the stall-owner because he was so grateful!

Navigating through the souks is tough challenge, it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of concrete walls as you cannot depend on the Moroccan signposts, and locals who want to “help” (ask for money for awful directions that then lead you to the wrong place)

“Follow this road , turn left, head towards the alleyway then walk past the tourism shop and you will be greeted with a road, turn right and you will be in Jemaa el Fna square”  

It took hours to reach the main square,even with a map! You almost feel like a real-life Hansel and Gretal, wanting to leave trails of breadcrumbs behind you to avoid becoming totally disorientated.

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The Marjorelle gardens were made famous by Yves St Laurent and without a doubt was my favourite place in Marrakesh. Tranquil, peaceful and visually stunning these gardens are picturesque. The bright colours and surrounding cacti took my breath away.

monkey  cascadefeeding a monkey

 

If you are going to Morocco it is definitely worth trekking up to the Atlas Mountains, we organised a car to take us and even though the trip was roughly two hours in the 40 degree heat, the Ouzoud falls are just stunning. We had the chance to go swimming in the pools, had lunch with the locals and even fed some monkeys! I think this was Jamie’s holiday highlight.

dinner in the grovechcolate labpoolside

 

Our last day was spent at a beautiful farmhouse just outside the towns not far from the airport. We relaxed by the pool, met this cute chocolate Labrador puppy and also had a private lunch (chicken tagine) in the olive gardens. The quiet poolside was a far cry from the craziness of the Medina and was definitely the best way to spend our last day.

Marrakesh is a beautiful place, the bright colours, the lush greenery and gardens that thriving in the souring heat. A truly fascinating place where you can find a tiny slice of peace in a Riad or courtyard among the craziness that is outside.

Things to do in Marrakesh:

  • Buy some tea, spices or leather handbags
  • Visit the Koutoubia Mosque, although it’s not open to those that are not Muslim, the building itself it magnificent.
  • Stay in a Riad,
  • Try Moroccan mint tea and eat a traditional tagine.
  • Visit Museum of Marrakech.
  • Visit the Atlas Mountains
  • There is plenty of temples and muesuems so you won’t be short of culture.
  • Go to a hammam and get scrubbed down
  • Go see an exhibition at the Maison de la Photographie.
  • Visit the Jardin Majorelle
  • Find a rooftop in the square to spot the storks

 

My Mykonos Retreat.

After spending eight days on the beautiful Cycladic island of Mykonos it is safe to say I have the post holiday blues after falling in love with such a visually breathtaking country.

We stayed in apartments overlooking Paraga beach, each day we had authentic homemade Greek food for breakfast and lunch made by our lovely host Anna.

 

We explored the island on a rented quad-bike and visited the many beaches Mykonos has to offer. In the evenings we headed into Chora and wandered down the narrow alleyways looking for places to eat and hunting for Pedro the famous pelican!

As we visited in May it is just before the party season picks up, however the beach clubs and bars are still open late and we definitely enjoyed some cocktails (mocktails for me) on the beach under the blazing sun.

Walking through the town was charming and everything I imagined this part of Greece would be. The square shaped buildings teamed with bright white and blue accents sit quaintly and make this scenic island a perfect backdrop for your holiday pictures.

Eat seafood on the port or try the greek speciality of gyros and then indulge in some shopping in the little boutiques.

I bought a platinum sterling silver necklace with the greek eye on and also purchased some local honey, olive oil and olive soap.

If you are fancy a splurge visit the Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger and Dsquared stores. Many of the small designer shops also hold collections of Chanel and Balmain for those of you that have been saving!

It is easy to see the whole island in five days by car, quad or bicycle and that is one of the things that attracted me to Mykonos. It is not often you can go on holiday and tour across the whole country!

Must see:

  • Little Venice
  • Windmills
  • Agio Sostis beach
  • Paradise beach
  • Delos (island of ancient ruins and birthplace of Apollo)
  • Mykonos Town (Chora)

 

 

A tiny island in the Aegean sea, Mykonos offers authentic traditional food, cultural landmarks, sandy beaches and stunning architecture. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation accompanied by incredible views and chic beach bars than Mykonos is the place for you.

See more of my pictures on Instagram and comment below and tell me all about your Greek adventures!


Gee

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Day out in London.

On Tuesday I went to London with my parents for the day, we all wrote down one thing we wanted to do and planned our day around those three things.

First we went to the British Library to see the Alice in Wonderland exhibition which celebrates the 150 year anniversary since its first publication back in 1865!

 

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Around the exhibition space there was mirrors displaying the illustrations from John Tenniel which told the story of Alice in Wonderland. They led you into the centre of the exhibition where the history of Lewis Carroll and his legendary story were displayed in all forms of art and media. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the main showcase so I got some pictures of the outside area and wrote down some notes whilst inside.

I have always been fascinated by the whimsical tale of Alice’s adventures even picking the story as my art GCSE concept and writing my own short stories based on the tale. Living close to Brighton I was amazed with what inspiration Lewis Carroll found when visiting the city many years ago and this exhibition taught me things I didn’t know including how Lewis Carroll chose his pseudonym (inverted his names and translated them into Latin and then back into English) Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

It was so interesting to see how many editions of Alice there has been over the past 150 years and how the story has been changed in certain ways throughout different eras. From Walt Disney to Salvador Dali and Ralph Steadman each person has put their stamp on the narrative and it’s illustrations. As a bibliophile I forget how much of an impact the tale has made on literature and it reminds me how a small story can become monumental. Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

After leaving the exhibition I took a peak into the pop up shop and of course I had to buy a book! There was so many editions of the book to chose from, different illustrations, different covers, different publishers it was incredible. I chose to buy a bookmark and a copy of the original manuscript which was published for British Library. It is something that it hard to purchase online and it will remind of my visit that day.

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The exhibition is open until Sunday 17th April and I would urge you to go if you can and it you are a fan of the story. Admission is free and well and who doesn’t want to be transported into a fantasy world of unusual characters and magical adventures.

alice boarder

After the exhibition it was time for an early dinner so we headed over to Bubba Gump Shrimp’s in Piccadilly.

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The restaurant is decorated as a tribute to the film Forrest Gump. My parents are really big fans of the film so it was on their list of places to go.

There is a few of these dotted around including one in New York and I believe there is one in Bali? I didn’t even realise this was in London until my parents told me.

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The menu is south american style cuisine with everything from fried chicken, bourbon gravy and mash to deep fried prawns and jambalaya. I chose to have the deep fried shrimp and spicy chips with coleslaw. I also had strawberry lemonade and garlic bread on the side (piggy). I love my food and this was one of the most unhealthiest meals I’ve had in a while but it was definitely worth the calories because the prawns were delicious and I enjoyed every minute of being in this restaurant. It was such a relaxed atmosphere and it was enjoyable to look around the restaurant at all the trinkets and ornaments hanging up.

I do recommend visiting especially if you know and love the film as it is such a novelty eatery.

bubba gump glass

Downstairs from the restaurant there is a shop where you can buy t shirts, hats and even a Forrest Gump box of chocolates. I bought a glass because Jamie and I have a small collection of glasses and mugs from places we have been and things we like so I thought it would be a nice addition.

bubba gump sign

Thanks for reading!

Gee

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