Anniversary Trip to South Wales | Crickhowell & Abergavenny

At the beginning of September myself and my boyfriend celebrated our fourth anniversary. Whilst last year we really treated ourselves and visited Rome and Florence, this year we stayed closer to home and decided to go across the border to Wales, and I had such a wonderful time. We only spent two days and one night there but I really enjoyed myself and found the whole trip really relaxing. I always find being in the countryside soothing and, being a quarter Welsh, maybe the Welsh air did me good. 🙂

I wanted to share the gorgeous hotel we stayed in, Glangrwyney Court, it was so old-worldly and grand, I felt like I could be living in a Jane Austen novel. Which is fine with me, Pride and Prejudice is my favourite novel! We stayed in the ‘Toile Room’. On their website you can book a specific room and see images of it.

The countryside and towns were really beautiful too. We climbed a mountain called the Sugar Loaf which was tiring but amazing. Unfortunately it was cloudy as heck at the summit so we couldn’t see anything! For our one evening meal in Wales we ate out at The Dragon Inn in Crickhowell which turned out to be a great choice, the food, service and surroundings were brilliant and it felt intimate and romantic.

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I look forward to visiting Wales again in future and climbing another mountain! If you have any questions about the trip or accommodation etc, please do ask in the comments.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Edinburgh Photo Diary

Last week I went on a family trip to Edinburgh. We spent 4 days there and it was the furthest north I’d ever been and my first time in Scotland. It is a beautiful city! I didn’t really know what to expect but the architecture is beautiful and the city had a really good feel. It was also pretty great for Pokemon if you are a fellow addict of Pokemon Go 😉

Accommodation-wise we stayed in Novotel Edinburgh Centre which was very nice; a good breakfast buffet too. We went to The Edinburgh Dungeon attraction which was good I suppose… But not really my cup of tea tbh, it was quite scary and made me uncomfortable at possibly being picked on to get involved. Great acting from the employees there though and luckily I didn’t get picked on! We also visited the Castle which is obviously beautiful but I found the outside more interesting than the inside xD Getting some great shots of it from afar would have been enough for me!

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Edinburgh Zoo was a really nice zoo with lots of lovely animals! I was excited at seeing the koalas and pandas as it’s the only place in the UK you can see them. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the best view of the pandas, we managed to see the male’s bottom as he lay sleeping, but I guess we were lucky to even see that as it’s entirely up to the pandas whether they come into sight or not! However, we did get to see the koalas and they were adorable 🙂

I would definitely go back to beautiful Edinburgh! A local said however that everyone always carries a pair of sunglasses and an umbrella as the weather is so all over the place! And boy is that true, it went from hot to cold, raining to sun… You must be prepared for it all haha.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Longleat Safari Park

I recently went to Longleat Safari Park, near Warminster in Wiltshire, for the day with my boyfriend. As we live very closeby, I usually visit every year but my boyfriend actually hadn’t been in a long time! It’s a great day out and always very enjoyable with lots to do 🙂 The weather was pretty crap the day we went unfortunately but we still got lucky seeing most of the animals. I’d definitely recommend going around the safari again before you leave as it’s usually much quieter towards the end of the day. We went around for the second time at 6pm and there was barely any other cars in there and the animals were moving about more which was great 😀

 

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Longleat is well worth a visit and although we didn’t go in there this time, Longleat House is very impressive and the grounds would make for some lovely blog fashion photography/backgrounds I reckon. It really wasn’t the weather for it the day we went though 🙁

Love Nicole xxxx

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Kefalonia, Greece | Photo Diary

Last week I arrived back from a week long holiday on the Greek Island of Kefalonia. It’s a beautiful island and I was delighted to be able to see some turtles 🙂 They lived in Argostoli’s harbour, which is the Capital of the island. It was definitely worthwhile hiring a car to explore the island, which is very mountainous but has some beautiful beaches.

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The Greek Islands are a fail-safe option for a break in the sunshine, with beautiful views and lovely people! I stayed at the White Rocks Hotel and Bungalows in Lassi which was AMAZING.

Love Nicole xxx

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A Jurassic Coastal Walk

I love going for walks to explore new places and this last weekend we set off for Durdle Door all wrapped up braced for the sea air. It was somewhere I’m not quite sure why I hadn’t visited before having lived in the South West all my life and going to university in Bournemouth!

The whole area is so beautiful and I couldn’t believe how blue the sea looked. On a nice day it’s as nice as anywhere else in the world. We walked along the coast from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove which was equally beautiful. The little village of West Lulworth which is home to the Cove was one of the prettiest villages I’ve ever seen! Very idyllic and everything you’d imagine a quaint English countryside village to be.

I also got to test out my new coat from ASOS which I bought solely to be a reliable, warm winter coat as somehow I’d got to March without a practical, warm coat! It indeed did the job well. My ensemble on the day was not my most stylish of moments but the aim of the game was comfort and warmth! xD

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Love Nicole xxx

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Italy Photo Diary: Florence

Here is the Florence installment of my Italy Photo Diary. You can view my Rome installment by clicking here.
I’m so glad we got to experience both of these cities; after visiting them both I could not pick them apart or say I preferred one over the other. They are both fairly different from one another but I love and appreciated both equally for different reasons. Florence had more relaxed vibes than Rome but was far busier than I expected. It’s uniform of terracotta roofs and Tuscan colour scheme made it endearing, and the Duomo truly is a stunning thing to look upon everyday. Unlike Rome where we walked a hell of a lot, Florence was refreshingly compact and it was easy to walk everywhere with minimal exhaustion. The only thing that challenged us was the walk to Piazzale Michelangelo, which for the stunning view was 100% worth it!
We stayed in a B&B called Locanda dei Guelfi which was lovely. It was in a beautiful old townhouse on the top floor. It was very near the train station so we were able to walk straight there on our arrival. The breakfast was nice, a buffet style with plenty of choice. It seem Italians don’t do cooked breakfast, instead a light, sweet one.
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As I said before, Florence is a very walkable city, so exploring is easy without getting (too) lost! We of course visited the Santa Maria del’Fiore aka Florence Cathedral or Duomo, which was much more impressive outside than it was inside, but a must see because of the amazing architecture. The Piazza di Santa Maria Novella was a lovely place also, we went back to it many times. One time a man was busking to a large audience and the atmosphere was so lovely; he sung some real classics 🙂 We didn’t actually go into any of the art galleries as we felt there were other things we wanted to do more, and the idea of queuing and being packed into small galleries was not appealing… Especially after our experience in the Vatican Museums where I think I probably could have passed out at any moment. The Ponte Vecchio was a novel sight, the whole bridge is lined with jewellers which I didn’t know before! I’ve never seen so much gold lol. The Piazzale Michelangelo is a must-visit as the view of Florence and the surrounding mountains was spectacular.
Going through all these pictures again has made me miss it! I would love to go back to both Rome and Florence, but would also love to visit the other great Italian cities like Venice, Milan and Verona. As a country it has so much to offer!

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through my holiday snaps and maybe they’ve inspired a visit to Rome or Florence in future.

Best wishes,
Nicole
xxxx

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Italy Photo Diary: Rome

Two months ago today I was on my way to Rome with my boyfriend on our first ever holiday together on our 3 year anniversary. And shamefully it has taken me this long to cobble together some posts of the photos I took over there. However I did throw together a holiday outfit diary of sorts (click here for that).
I took hundreds of photos so it’s been hard selecting the best ones. I’m going to split this into two posts and dedicate one to Rome and one to Florence as I simply have too many photos! So I hope you enjoy scrolling through these and I’ll leave a passage at the end with information of what we did/where we stayed etc. I definitely don’t know enough to collate any kind of ‘Guide to’ Rome or Florence but I can share my experience if anyone is interested. So without further ado…
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Rome was a delight. Every corner you take, everywhere you look there is history and beautiful architecture. As with all great cities, you could live there your whole life and never see and appreciate everything it has to offer, so the four nights we spent there were jam packed.
We stayed in a B&B called 111 B&B, which we found via booking.com. It was located in the Prati district so very near the Vatican; this location was brilliant as we could walk to everything. The only time we used public transport was when we used the metro to get to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The metro was a doddle as it’s very small compared to London, so if you know your way around the underground Rome’s metro will be no problem. The self service ticket machines have an option to translate to English so buying a ticket was easy. Two single tickets (one for each way) was the best option for us and was so cheap! The B&B was lovely, I loved the room. The only real problem was actually getting into the place on our arrival to Rome. It’s basically on the second floor of an apartment block and the buzzer didn’t seem to work so we were stuck outside for ages with no clue what to do. The owner suddenly seemed to appear from no where and knew exactly who we were. It was all rather bizarre and his English was not fantastic but we muddled through.
During our time we managed to see most of the famous landmarks. The Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountation (which unfortunately was undergoing maintenance), Vatican Museums & St Peter’s Basilica, a bit of Villa Borghese, Castel Sant’Angelo, Colosseum and the Roman Forum were all ticked off our list. Aside from these more famous places, we stumbled across a church near the Pantheon – Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola – which was a real hidden gem, absolutely beautiful and lavish inside.
I didn’t find Rome as expensive as I’d dreaded actually. Obviously the main expense is food, but as we had our breakfast provided every day, lunch and dinner were our only concerns. Lunch was usually a pizza slice or sandwich from one of the abundance of cafe style establishments. Eating and food culture is rather different (I found) to what I’m used to here in the UK, so its worth reading up on or watching some YouTube videos on Italian culture, where to eat, what signage to look for, key words etc, as I did this and found it helpful. For evening meals there is so much choice its overwhelming; I did find it amusing how the majority of menus were made up of pasta and pizza as the stereotype suggests, and by day 3 I was craving some meat and veg with minimal carbs!

Make sure to stock up on bottled water when you can and buy in bulk for your hotel room and take some with you for every trip. They are sold individually all over the place of course but if you only did this every time you would spend an absolute fortune on the stuff. Supermarket type places where we could stock up were few and far between near our hotel unfortunately, but we did eventually find one not too far away called Pam Local.
One thing I was not prepared for was all the ‘salesman’, or should I say Tourist Hunters, on the streets EVERYWHERE around the tourist spots. Men dressed as gladiators who impose themselves upon you and encourage pictures with them then demand payment for this imposition, men selling roses, men selling selfie sticks… At first it was kind of funny, then it was intimidating and annoying, then it was just damn right irritating. If you are not interested then my suggestion is do not smile or look friendly, just a simple and firm ‘no’ and keep walking, do not show any hesitation or weakness because boy are they persistent. They obviously prey on tourists who feel too polite to walk away or end up giving them money just to leave them alone. Act like a local and just ignore them and be firm.

The day came where we would be leaving Rome to move onto Florence. We caught a high speed train from Rome’s Termini Station, buying the tickets there. Again, Rome’s prices surprised me on the taxi front; a taxi from our hotel to the train station was very reasonable, as was the train ticket compared with the prices we pay in the UK for abysmal service and at a massively slower speed! The TreinItalia experience was a good one.

 

My Florence post will go up on Friday!
Best wishes,
Nicole
xxxx

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Italy Outfit Diary

It has been way longer than I would have liked since I last wrote a post. I recently got back from a week long holiday in Italy with my boyfriend, which we spent in Rome and Florence. This marked 3 years together 🙂 It was a lovely holiday in a beautiful country with so much history! I would definitely love to go back and see more of Italy.
I’ll do a post with a selection of the best photos from the holiday showing what we visited and saw etc, but I thought I’d start off with a post on what I wore while I was there. They’re not all exactly perfect outfit photos… And we didn’t manage to get a picture of every outfit but oh well, here’s some I have to share!
asos vest top check primark shorts topshop satchel handbag birkenstock sandalsboohoo maxi dress slitcrochet primark top hm suede shortshm short primark top topshop handbag satchel birkenstock sandalsprimark blue tile print dress ruffle tiered topshop satchel grey handbag birkenstock sandals blackprimark white dress firenze duomorome colloseum topshop crop top stripe red blue miss selfridge button up denim skirt black rio birkenstock sandals

Best wishes,
Nicole
xxxx
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Barcelona Holiday 06/15

It already seems ages ago, but at the start of June I went to Barcelona for 4 nights with one of my best friends. We had a wonderful time and it was over too quickly, as holidays always are. There was lots to see and do and we could definitely have stayed longer and not got bored. Our days were pretty jam packed, it wasn’t a relaxing holiday as such, but the most stressful thing we had to worry about the whole time was what we wanted to eat that night/morning, and whether our transfer would arrive to take us to the airport on the last day (it did!)

 
To get around we walked a lot, or got the metro. I put my tube queen hat on and got us safely and fairly efficiently from A-B, a few mistakes but we did well, as my friend is a tube virgin. As with most tube/metro systems, once you know it, they’re all the same and you’re sorted. It is much smaller than London’s network so a lot quicker and easier to navigate! We got a T10 ticket which was available on the self-service machines in the stations, which was perfect as it is basically 10 single journeys, which was perfect for our 4 night stay.
The hotel we stayed in was Hotel Vilamari, and it was pretty perfect. Good location near the Plaza d’Espanya metro station, and right near the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, which was beautiful and definitely worth seeing! There was also a shopping centre nearby called Las Arenas which is in an old bullfighting arena which is pretty cool.

Some of the places/landmarks we saw throughout the trip included La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Zoo, Arc de Triomf, Parc Guell and Parc de la Ciutadella. We also spent what turned into basically a day, at the beach. There are men who walk around selling Mojitos on the beach which was funny, one came over and asked us if we wanted one about 4 times but personally we’re not fans of mojitos but if you are 😉 We didn’t experience any of the nightlife, but it was obvious it would be pretty cool in the coastal area as there were lots of clubs and bars.

The whole trip went so smoothly, as our first holiday independently without parents, we were very proud of ourselves! The language was not really an issue, most people we came across spoke English well enough that we could understand eachother. As for pickpocketing, we’d heard it was rife in the city, but no problems with that at all, you’ve just got to be vigilant I guess, as you should be in any city even in the UK.

Love Nicole
xxxx

War Horse and London

Last Friday I finally got to enjoy my 21st birthday present from my boyfriend, which was tickets to see War Horse at the New London Theatre, in London (obvs)!
We arrived midday so we could make a day of it and have a look around the city. I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before, there’s so many areas I want to see in London, but for this trip I chose to go and explore the Notting Hill area and I’m glad we did! I wanted to see all the pretty coloured houses and wander down Portobello Road. It was pretty cool there, so many unique and quirky shops and market stalls, plenty to cater to each of our interests; record stalls for him, clothing and accessories for me! I didn’t pick anything up but I definitely plan to if we go back there, there were some really good value pieces. My perception that London always had to be expensive was very wrong!

 

Late afternoon we headed to Covent Garden, one of my favourite areas of London, in preparation for the show. War Horse in the evening was amazing, the staging and design was so clever and I loved it. The film makes me sob and I shed a few tears at the show as well (I manage to hold it together more in public). Now I haven’t seen masses of theatre productions, but I would recommend particularly if you like the book or film, or if you just want to appreciate a clever and creative spectacle!

 

Nicole xxxx

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