.: Syon Park Christmas Lights :.

I know it’s February and probably everyone is thinking about Valentine’s day, on how to celebrate it or ignore it completely (I’m the 2nd) but since it’s still winter, Christmas still comes to my memory. Truth is I’m just massively late editing my photos.

If there’s one thing I love about Christmas it’s the decorations and lights. London is absolutely brilliant for the Christmas Lights lovers. Last year I went to Kew Gardens this year I went to Syon Park which is really close by anyway and I have to say I was really impressed.

What is your favourite place for Christmas Lights?

Advertisements

.: My sister adventures – Morocco :.

As I can’t travel as much this days, because of little Emily, my sister has been exploring more than I am. The last trip was an unplanned one, as she happened to won a competition and with it a trip to Morocco. You can see all the tour details here. So I couldn’t resist but to share her experience 🙂

img_20170112_080036188_hdr

#1 Which expectations did you had before you went?
Honestly not many, but that’s because I’ve stopped creating expectations in order not to get disappointed. You need to go with an open mind. But anyway, this time I felt it was going to be a great trip and it was! I can say it was the best trip ever! A big part of that was because we had a really good travel group.

#2 What did you knew about Morocco?
On the 1st day of the year I took the chance to do some research about Morocco and the places I was going to visit. I was completely excited and in love with Morocco. Really anxious to be able to see everything myself live. Regarding what I knew about Morocco, well I knew the language was arabic and french. I knew the typical food was tajines and cuscus. I knew that as a muslim country I wouldn’t be able to drink alchohol and eat pork and that the currency is Dirham.
#3 What was the best moment of your trip?
There were lots of good moments that is really hard to point just one. But I would say 2 highlights were the camel trip and the trip on moto 4 on the dunes. The sunrise over Erg Chebbi was also really incredible and unforgettable.
20170110_091259
20170111_112009
20170111_122044
#4 Any surprises?
There were 2 things that really surprised me. I didn’t had much expectation about the moto 4 tour and I even considered not doing it, but it was absolutely amazing! Driving on the dunes was dream-like. The feeling of freedom and total autonomy was amazing. Just us, the moto 4, the pedals and that amazing landscape around us.
The 2nd one was our guide Mbarek. He was really amazing! He always followed our silly ideas and he even invited us to his sister’s house. He was so welcoming and gave us an amazing tea with dried fruits and traditional sweets. And every time the car would stop he would come and open the door for me like a real gentlemen!
#5 I know you love food as much as I do, so tell me about the food?
Don’t even talk about the food! I think my souvenir from the trip was extra 2kg. I loved everything! From the tajines (vegetable and meet ones), to cuscus, the chicken, the bread with olive oil, the pizzas…. oh the pizzas are so good!
And then the breakfast crepes with jam. Everything was delicious! The dish that surprised me the most was the Tajine Meatballs which comes with poached eggs. Loved it! Then you had the amazing oranges… there’s no better oranges, even better than those in south portugal.
img_20170108_133359843
img_20170109_131709164
#6 Would you go back?
I would go back right now! As soon as I’ve landed home I wanted to go back. I’m sure I’ll be back at some stage. I can say I was really happy in Morocco.
#7 What would you like people had told you before you went?
I wish Cajuda (our tour guide) hadn’t wrote on the travel book that we should take a backpacking as opposed to a trolley. In the end everyone had a trolley and I was restricted by the space in the bagpack so I couldn’t pack enough warm clothing, such as my polar PJ. In the end I was shivering the whole time in the tent.
#8 Any final tips?
Also I would say you that, for this tours you should pack something more dressy for the scenario where you’ll end up in a nice restaurant, such as we did. Also, even though it might sound obvious, you don’t need sun cream, it’s winter there too so not needed. If you’re travelling in winter time take some gloves and a really warm jacket and a scarf. It’s really cold at night especially in the desert. If you want to drink alchool take it with you, as very few places will sell it. Not all hotels have it.
Don’t forget your camera and lots of free space as you’ll take lots of photos
As for souvenirs, well I had the idea it was cheap and it’s not! They take advantage of tourists and increase the prices a lot. I haven’t seen anything cheap there. It’s all European prices. In the airport the prices are absurd!
img_20170107_183723331

SONY DSC

fb_img_1484477497964  img_20170108_105728625_hdr img_20170108_113610413 img_20170108_121950891_hdr img_20170108_122554344_hdr  img_20170108_145438661_hdr img_20170108_150608762 img_20170108_151216347 img_20170108_153550599_hdr img_20170108_160340185_hdr img_20170108_164213230 img_20170108_164719765 img_20170108_171429367_hdr img_20170108_171817292_hdr img_20170109_080912939_hdr img_20170109_081937275  img_20170109_163138367 img_20170109_163857035 img_20170109_170955164_hdr img_20170110_065449641_hdr img_20170110_065557215_hdr img_20170110_071546225_hdr img_20170110_085149902 img_20170110_160106902_hdr img_20170111_112530082 img_20170111_135934998  img_20170112_085959274 img_20170112_145755163_hdr img_20170112_165229075_hdr img_20170112_165420921_hdr img_20170112_180611227 img_20170113_084504656_hdr img_20170113_084543925 img_20170113_161823358_hdr img_20170114_094007722

img-20170115-wa0085

Any Dragon Ball fans out there, you’ll probably recognise this photo.

img-20170115-wa0098

Has anyone been in Morocco? Any experiences you would like to share?

 

.: 5 things I’ve learnt while travelling :.

Once you start travelling on a regular basis you’re bond to have things that start to go wrong. Either missing a flight or losing luggage.

From my end, although I’m proud to say that even when I was flying more than once a week I never lost a flight, not even when I was stuck in traffic, I have a few lessons myself.

#1 – Get to know basic travel sentences from the country you’re going to

11194453_10205475760588208_2051539453415839053_o

On my first flight to Germany, I checked on how to get from the airport to the office and I knew I had to go from the airport to the train terminal, and then get a train to my destination. I assumed that the trains would have as much information as in UK where you can clearly see all the stops so you know exactly which train to take. Not the case in Germany… I’ve asked the ticket office which platform I had to go, but once there, even knowing the time I wasn’t sure which train to take. On the platform it had the following information:

10:28 Ankunft

10:30 Abfahrt

So guess what I did… I didn’t got into the train because I thought it was 2 different trains and only the 10:30 was the one I was supposed to take. Well, for those of you that know German you’re already having a giggle, for those that don’t, it means 10:28 – time of arrival at the station and 10:30 time of departure. It was just one train! Result, had to wait extra 30m and was late in the office

#2 – Get to know the nearest embassy or consulate from where you’re travelling to in case something happens

Once, also in Germany, I lost my wallet. I was so tired I didn’t even notice it had fallen (probably in the taxi while I was paying) and with it, I lost my ID card (in Europe that’s all you need to travel). As I had a flight back to UK next day I had to go to the consulate to get an emergency passport done. Fortunately I knew where the consulate was, so I’ve managed to get it sorted otherwise would be stuck in the country until I could get a passport back.

In this case, I had to go to the police to report the loss of my wallet and with it my travel documents. Also, as soon as I’ve noticed about the missing wallet, I’ve cancelled all my cards immediately. It was quite a stressful evening and day, but in the end managed to get back home with a temporary passport. The UK border control hated me for a month until I had my documents back again (it really looked dodgy!)

#3 – Always keep clothing in your hand-luggage

In case your main luggage gets lost. To be honest I’ve started to try to fly mostly with hand-luggage as possible as I can. The last thing you want is to arrive to your destination and they’ve lost your clothing! This happened to my other half while he was travelling to Switzerland. The luggage was delivered to him only a few days latter, so fortunately he had some clothing in the flat.

#4 – Always keep a charger in your hand-luggage and remember the country you’re travelling to

To be honest there’s two parts on this one. It’s always good to keep chargers in your hand-luggage. You don’t want to find you’ll run out of battery as well as any connector plugs you need for the country you’re travelling to. There’s some universal chargers which are brilliant and cater for a lot of countries. The other aspect is, always check how you’ll connect to the internet while you’re at your destination. Roaming can be very expensive and to be honest I can’t survive without google maps anymore!!! For instance, when we went to Japan we had to order a special data card, as foreigners can’t get a sim card. So don’t forget to check what’s available and what suits your needs. You might want to disconnect from any social media and travel simple, that’s an option too.

#5 – Travel Insurance, because you never really know!

This is even far more important if you are flying to an unsafe place. Fortunately I never had to use travel insurance but was pretty close. In the first case, I had a boat accident in Angola and I still don’t know how we’ve managed to survive without major bruises! Pretty much it was a small boat with an engine on the back. Normally the boats would have 2 people, one next to the engine and another at the front that would ensure there were no other boats at sight, as the guy back there won’t be able to see it. I was sitting at the back and suddenly just saw a bigger boat in front of us. Just closed my eyes and then bang. The other boat was damaged and so was ours (our little wooden sits broke). We were all pretty shocked. I thought I was going to die in those long seconds. Fortunately the other boat was not the same model as ours, it managed to cover for most of the impact so we didn’t turn into the water or were projected I don’t know where!

If I had ended up in the hospital (well… hospital is quite a major statement there) I would want to fly back home as soon as possible to get proper care and that can be pretty expensive!

Case number 2, I went to Japan while I was pregnant, so if anything would happen to me I would like to know I would have protection that would cover for the costs. It’s really important to check before-hand what the travel insurance would or would not cover. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s worth it!

I’m sure if I would dig out from my brain I would find loads more examples, like double check which hotel you’ve booked when there are several from the same brand in the same city (yap done that!). Any stories you would like to share?

.: Hatfield House :.

Ah don’t even remember when I’ve started writing this post! I would say a couple of weeks back. Anyway, one of our last breaks before baby’s arrival was a visit into the Hatfield House. I have to say I had no expectations whatsoever, but loved it! It’s one of the most beautiful houses I’ve visited in UK.

Hatfield House is part of the Treasure Houses of England. All of them are so beautiful, still have loads to explore.

Tip: Did you know that in any treasure house you can transform your ticket in an annual pass for free?

 

The first room you see is this one, absolutely stunning

 

And the most amazing queen on the frame. Gotta love gingers!

I just loved the quietness of the house and the different corners, like this one. Can imagine myself sitting here and just enjoying the view outside, reading a book or maybe if inspiration would come, write a book

 

My newish minimalistic side says this is too much decoration, as the room itself needs no further adorning, but hey, this is how it used to be

This room, with the golden room reminded me of the Vatican, with corridors full of gold

Couldn’t resist a bw photo!

Another impressive room

 

This was certainly a fav and transported me all the way to Downton Abbey

This is such an amazing floor, the tiles really work here

The estate includes it’s own chapel

Then we moved to the kitchen area

 

Beautiful isn’t it? Then we went outside to explore the gardens. We didn’t explore much as it was really quite hot and pregnant me was just boiling

Here’s a bit of Game of Thrones moment or maybe Lord of the Rings

Beautiful house don’t you think? What’s your favourite English House? Any favourite?

 

.: Hanbury Manor @ Marriott Country Club :.

As you probably have noticed, I’ve really enjoy spending a weekend in a Country Club. You will find mostly golfers or people attending a wedding there, but I really enjoy all the greenery and the peace and quiet. Our last weekend away was in Hanbury Manor by Marriott.

Photo from Marriott

Photo from Marriott

Loved the Oak Hall

Photo from Marriott

Photo from Marriott

The room was a classic Marriott style, nothing fancy but comfortable. Our room was similar to this one

Photo from Marriott

Photo from Marriott

As soon as I arrived to my room, had some chocolates waiting for me

13754386_10207809332086037_1982254458223836370_n

I’ve really enjoyed exploring the different rooms.

13692584_10207809646733903_7235889066612899241_n 13731573_10207809646893907_410540411180781235_n 13697084_10207809648013935_3757432725164687696_n 13775988_10207809652774054_819118327857374111_n 13669220_10207809653214065_4089412613063853854_n 13754267_10207809658054186_2189296209810130959_n 13659037_10207809658774204_1981108926755812273_n 13775806_10207809658934208_8363089678990583025_n

13754271_10207814126205887_6446032938885529509_n13697160_10207810228628450_7259663998721692543_n

We’ve ended up our afternoon with tea & G&T for him

13697064_10207810228948458_6536336121786736358_n 13686522_10207810266589399_8474712397469981465_n

Next day we’ve spend a good part of the afternoon relaxing in the pool. For me it really felt amazing with my 7 months pregnancy

Photo from Marriott

Photo from Marriott

It really felt good to relax before baby arrival 🙂

.: Mum & Baby Yoga :.

One of the things I had on my to do list for 2017 was certainly Yoga. I did the pregnancy Yoga and I’ve really enjoyed it, so was really keen on trying the Mum & Baby yoga while I’m on mat leave. Had the first class on Thursday and really enjoyed having a bit of time for myself. Baby Em was quite quiet, which was certainly unusual. I think she really enjoyed looking into other babies from her age. For me it was really amazing to stretch a bit!

Some of the exercises we did together

Photo from Chrysalis Yoga

Photo from Chrysalis Yoga

Photo from Phunukieuviet

Photo from Phunukieuviet

Photo from Yoga Bella Studio

Photo from Yoga Bella Studio

Benefits of Mother and Baby Yoga:

  • Strengthening and toning your muscles, especially abdominals, pelvic floor and back.
  • Encouraging you and your baby to find time and space for relaxation.
  • Using the breath to increase calm and confidence.
  • Improving your sleep.
  • Promoting understanding of your baby’s development.
  • Engaging and bonding with your baby.

Honestly, the main benefit I’ve seen was to be able to do an activity that made me feel I was having a bit of my old life back.

Need to find some classes on a Saturday so I can carry on some yoga once I’m back at work.

Do you like yoga? Any experiences you would like to share? Did you setup any health challenge for this year?

.: Looking ahead :.

First of all, happy new year! Hope everyone managed to make the most of the holidays.

I’ve started 2017 the best way possible, in bed! For the first time since baby was born had 5h sleep in a row, so was quite pleased. I’m already back to the same rubbish nights of not sleeping more than 3h in a row.

Anyway, even though I like to make goals along the way as opposed to wait for a new year, I also like to take advantage of the opportunity to look into the previous year (as I did here). and also to plan ahead what I’m planning to do.

I’m keeping it quite simple this year in terms of goals, pretty much just have 1 which is to win the reflux battle so baby and I can sleep more and enjoy more each other.

I’m also looking forward to travel again, as I did quite a big pause. Last time I went on a plane was April when we did our trip to Japan.

The first trip I’m going to do is an obvious choice, going to spend 3 weeks in Portugal so I can see my family and my friends. It’s been pretty much a year since I’ve managed to go back there. So really looking forward to the first trip. It will also be the first time I’m flying with baby Em, so if anyone has any tips about flying with babies please let me know!

You can check some tips here from Snotty Noses

You can check some tips here from Snotty Noses

Apart from going back to Portugal, planning a revisit to Barcelona. I really loved the city when I was there almost 10 years ago. Loved the food markets, the gothic side of the city, it’s just so unique!

Would also love to be back into Japan or maybe visit some friends in San Francisco

Picture from Lonely Planet

Picture from Lonely Planet

UK wise would also be nice to go back to Scotland and Lake District.

I won’t be travelling that much most likely, but will need to make the most of every single moment I manage.

Any plans for this year?