A Parisian Getaway

At the start of the year, the hubby and I booked a two-night stay in Paris. I was so excited because it would be my first time going to the city of love.

We stayed at a four-star hotel called La Bourdannais situated close to the Eiffel Tower. I picked it because I purposefully wanted to be near to one of the main attractions of Paris. I have a bone to pick with hotels because everywhere that I have been on holiday so far, there has always been something wrong with the room, from getting two single beds instead of the requested double bed, having ants in the room (yes! On our anniversary trip to Alicante, there were ants in the room. I don’t think I mentioned that in the Alicante Photo Diary post), no english TV channels and so on. However, I loved our room from the minute we walked in. I’d heard that hotel rooms in Paris are small and this one was, but it was also cozy. We had a gorgeous double bed, an amazing en suite, a mini bar, english channels on the TV, and a view of the Eiffel Tower as requested.

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On our first night, we went to see the Eiffel Tower, which is amazing in the dark, and other monuments including the Monument des Droits de l’Homme and the Wall of Peace. Then, we had dinner at La Terrasse restaurant. I recently saw that Aimee Song took pictures outside this restaurant during Paris Fashion Week.

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I took this picture the next day

Whilst having dinner, I remembered that a friend had moved to Paris with her husband, so I reached out to her and we were able to meet the next day. They took us to one of their favourite restaurant called Hippopotamus. The food was delicious and you could choose as many sides as you wanted!

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Before meeting up with them, the hubby and I did a little sightseeing and went to see the Louvre Museum and Palace. The weather was so good. The sun was out and it wasn’t too cold. Everything in Paris is beautiful and I love the architecture.

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For our last morning in Paris, we decided to be adventurous and find somewhere to have breakfast. We’d had breakfast in the hotel the morning before, but there was a lack of variety and it was overpriced. I really wanted pancakes, so I did a Google search the night before and found Holybelly Cafe. After checking out their menu, we gave it a thumbs up, and set out the next morning.

I usually don’t venture out of the area I’m in when I go to other countries due to a fear of getting lost, but the Metro is very easy to use and we found our way around with no problem at all. Tickets are even cheaper than a one-way journey on a London tube. Anyway, our decision to go somewhere different was so worth it! The food was amazing! We both got the pancakes, bacon and maple syrup and my hubby kept raving about their bacon. Even as I’m writing this now and reminded him about it, he said we have to go back for the bacon haha.

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The staff spoke perfect english and the vibe of the cafe even reminded me of brunch in London on a Saturday morning. But what really took it home for me was that I could order my coffee with oat milk and if you check out their Instagram, they use the exact same Oatly Barista Drink that I use at home! Even though I’m not supposed to eat pancakes because of the dairy products involved in making it, I didn’t care because it was so good. I drank so much water to compensate, so I didn’t react much apart from a minor itchy throat.

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I enjoyed every moment in Paris. Out of all the places I’ve been to, which isn’t many, it’s the only destination that I want to go back to. Now when asked what my favourite city is, I can finally say Paris, oui?

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Have you ever been to Paris?

Mich x

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An Alicante Photo Diary

It’s finally here – the post about the time my hubby and I spent in Alicante, Spain for our 3-year wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it has been three years already. It has flown by, and yet, we have been through so much. These three years have definitely built us.

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Arriving in Alicante was amazing. The very first pics that I took were of the sun above the clouds. This one was taken in the taxi on the way to our hotel. It’s my favourite.

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Our hotel was right by the coast, so we could walk around the back of it and along the edge of Alicante.

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We arrived in Alicante in the morning and our room wasn’t ready until the afternoon, which was annoying, but we took the opportunity to do a little exploring. Where we were situated meant that there wasn’t much to see – it was a quiet area, but we did find Albufereta beach, which was only a 10-minute walk away.

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This right here is exactly the reason why my favourite colour is blue. I just couldn’t get over how clear the sea and sky was.

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We actually didn’t get up to that much, but that was good. My husband is a workaholic, so he needed a break, and I was becoming fidgety and frustrated with routine, so I just needed a holiday where I did nothing. My anniversary was the perfect excuse.

We stayed in Alicante for three days, spending most of it at the beach and at our hotel’s swimming pool.

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On the third day, we decided to make an effort and venture into the Centro Comercial Gran Vía Alicante (Alicante’s shopping centre). Our purpose wasn’t to shop, but explore and get touristy gifts, of course.

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The Monumento a Canalejas

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I was fascinated by this ugly tree. I can only imagine how long it has been alive with branches and roots as thick as it had.

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I had really wanted to go on a tour of some sort, but we didn’t have enough euros to do so. I knew that the Explanada de España was part of the walking tour, so to find it all by ourselves made me really happy. I loved the tile pattern all over the floor, and the palm trees.

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that I managed to catch the most impressive sunrise on our last morning in Alicante. We had to have breakfast early and as we were eating, I could see the sun rising. I took a picture through the window, but it didn’t do justice, so as soon as we had finished, I raced the hubby outside, right to the water’s edge to film it close up. It is a memory I will never forget.

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I took this last picture from our hotel room balcony. It was a perfect way to end our anniversary treat.

Mich x

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Frankie & Benny’s

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This post is so out of date – 2 months to be exact. I’m currently doing bridesmaid duties for a wedding on Saturday so, my posts have been a little out of sync. I haven’t been able to blog twice a week, but once the wedding is over, I will be able to get back into the swing of things.

When in Bournemouth, I took the hubby to Frankie & Benny’s for his birthday meal. I secretly chose it because I’ve never been and had always wanted to try it.

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For starters, I had the calamari. Calamari is my favourite starter ever! Frankie & Benny’s dish was the perfect combination of crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside.

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For the main, I chose the spicy meat pasta. And boy, is this exactly what it says on the label: spicy and meaty! I’m usually not fazed by spice because it is a staple in my mother’s cooking, but they really overdid it with the heat. There were so many green chillies. They could have toned it down a little, but the fact that there was just so much meat in my meal, made up for my burning tongue. I feel like Vapiano’s should take a note out of Frankie & Benny’s book. Don’t tell them I said that.

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I chose the Amalfi Sunrise – orange, mango and lemon juice and grenadine. Deliciously sweet, but I probably should have gone for good ol’ government juice (water) to help with the fire in my mouth.

I enjoyed my birthday dinner as much as the hubby did. I will definitely be going back. Have you ever been to Frankie & Benny’s?

Mich x

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A Bournemouth photo diary

Last Thursday, I took my hubby to Bournemouth for a weekend staycation for his birthday. I seized the opportunity to use it as a break away from my routine too. It was very much needed.

We left on Thursday morning and upon arriving in Bournemouth, we settled into our room at the Hampton by Hilton.

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Our view from our room.

That afternoon, we went to Nando’s and watched Spiderman: Homecoming in the cinema.

The next day (my hubby’s birthday) is when we really got to explore. We went to the beach and discovered beautiful gardens. Even though it wasn’t as warm as we hoped it would be, and though the waves were quite rough, I loved feeling the cold water on my feet. It was so refreshing. My hubby ran away from it. He said it was too cold for him. I laughed so much. I just loved being there, unable to see where the waters ended. It was fascinating.

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Bournemouth Pier

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I loved these ombre coloured huts. I couldn’t resist snapping pictures of them.

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I loved the view of the pier from above.
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I thought that this hotel was so pretty.
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This was a museum, but we didn’t go in, so I just took a quick pic instead.

Fortunately, we got hungry and took McDonald’s back to our room before the torrential rains began to pour down. We fell asleep in the comfy beds, and managed to make it out again for the hubby’s birthday dinner at Frankie & Benny’s. Unfortunately, it was still raining, but the restaurant was just round the corner, so we didn’t get too wet.

We had to leave on the Saturday, but not before a delicious breakfast. Breakfast at this hotel is just the best. Full english, is there any other way?

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I loved being in Bournemouth. I only wish that that the weather had been warmer, but who could have known. It’s July for crying out loud! But I believe that the hubby and I will be back.

Mich x

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P.S This post is not sponsored.

 

From Selfie to Self-Expression

On 20 May, Mr. Sun decided to come out to play. It was a perfect day to visit the From Selfie to Self-Expression Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, which I discovered on The Londonder. Unfortunately, the exhibition ended on 28 May. That’s the great thing about blogs. You can discover all these awesome places to go, places that you wouldn’t have usually known about until you do a little reading.

I asked my friend to join me, and off we set the next free Saturday we had to view some art, which we are both a fan of.

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The From Selfie to Self-Expression Exhibition is a play on the selfie generation, and combines the old with the new. It plays on the concept that people have been taking selfies since back in the day, in the form of portraits.

The lined strokes in this portrait by ALO reminded me of pointillism, developed by Georges Seurat. He used small dots to create a bigger picture.

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A portrait by ALO

This was the CCTV room. As soon as you walk into this gallery, the cameras zoom in on your face, what you are doing, and your proximity to other people in the room, so that it can be seen by all on the walls. It’s a big reminder that we are constantly being watched.

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This room was so interesting. Portraits of famous artists were displayed on large screens with the same images on phones next to them in the form of Instagram posts. You were able to ‘like’ the post, and it tallied up to how many people had liked the image.

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Van Gogh
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Frieda Kahlo

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Some famous selfies.

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A random wax work of a man with a gun. There was actually no explanation as to why this was here.

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The first ever selfie. Look at that box camera!

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I love photography.

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This metal sculpture looks like a random blend of twigs, vines, skulls and rodents. But with the light shining on it, its shadow reveals…

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…this! A head with two faces.

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Time went by so quickly that we could hardly believe it when we were kicked out of the gallery at 6pm. We headed to Covent Garden to get a bite to eat.

After settling down to a greasy burger and crimped chips at the Shake Shack, we opted to get dessert at a cosy french cafe called Chez Antoinette. We both went for the homemade apple crumble, mine sans a dollop of cream. And still, it was delicioso. The crumble was crunchy, yet soft (is that even possible?) and the apple was moist; not too sour and not too sweet. It was just right, as Goldilocks would say.

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I really enjoyed myself and aim to plan more trips with my artsy-farsty friend, because she’s the only one who will go with me.

Have a fab day!

Mich x

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Shades of lilac

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Dress: ASOS

Sandals: Shoebou

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This is the dress I wore to my friend’s wedding in Portugal. Lilac is one of my favourite colours, but I don’t wear it often. The dress code for the wedding was elegant so, I thought I would take a chance with this cold-shoulder dress.

The material is light so, it was easy to keep cool in the Portuguese heat.

I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to have my picture taken underneath this wisteria tree, which I initially thought was lavender. Shows how much I know about flowers! It matched my dress so, that was all that mattered.

The wedding was stunning! It was my first one abroad and one of the best ones I have ever been to. It was the first time I travelled without my husband and although I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding, I would have loved for him to be there too.

I hope this won’t be my last wedding abroad.

Have you ever been to a wedding in another country?

Thank you for reading.

Mich x

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72 hours in Portugal – part 2

On day two of my time in Portugal, we spent it in Sintra. I had really wanted to come here, for one reason only, but we’ll get to that later. Sintra is full of colourful buildings, although these are popular throughout Portugal.

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It was wonderfully warm that day. We decided to fuel up and found a nice little restaurant, which I forgot the name of. I ordered the pork.

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The food in Portugal is delicious. This meal was only six euros. Everything is so cheap there. I came back home with 50 euros to spare!

After we had eaten, we were ready to go on our quest (the one I had been looking forward to)…

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…all the way up there! To the Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors). I love sightseeing and I had mentally prepared myself for the crazy feat we were about to pull off. While everyone paid for rides up, my friends and I had decided to walk.

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And walk we did. For a good two hours. Closer to the beginning of the climb up, we saw little handmade trinkets and pieces of art for sale on the side of the road…

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…sculptures…

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…gorgeous views…

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…and hidden gems.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the actual castle. We arrived five minutes before closing time, which we were annoyed about because we hadn’t been made aware of that. But I’m still proud of myself for that incredible walk all the way up. It was painful, but so worth it. I wonder how many calories I burnt?

Afterwards, we went to Centro Vasco da Gama in Oriente. Think of Stratford Westfield shopping centre. The architecture in Oriente station is beautiful, especially at night.

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I did no shopping and had another late night. The wedding was the following day, so that was all the sightseeing I got done on this trip, but I was very content. Like I said, it was the most fun and adventure I’d had in a long time.

Thank you Lisbon. It was fun while it lasted.

Mich x

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