Oh, Barcelona

La Sagrada Famillia, Barcelona

I was introduced to her a few years ago and was blown away by her beauty, she had a charisma I’d never experienced before, an effortlessly cool vibe.

She introduced me to architecture by Gaudi and paintings by Picasso, I spent days wandering the many cobbled streets, sun on my face, eyes open in awe. I felt in the strangest of ways that I was home.

Now I eagerly await my return, soaking up Spanish words and phrases; my tongue loves to twist its way through the different vowels and sounds.

I look forward to playing with her down Las Ramblas, and relaxing with a coffee in L’Eixample District, maybe in the afternoons I’d laze under the warm sun with her in Guell park.

I think I left my heart in Barcelona. xo

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A Birthday in Bath, Part 2

Good morning and happy Monday! {It’s happy as I’m writing this from the comfort of my living room, rather than being at work! The joy of an extended holiday.} Before I dive into sharing more pictures of my birthday weekend, here’s the link to part 1, in case you missed it.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather, just look at that beautiful blue sky, without a cloud in sight. It meant we were able to walk freely around the streets and enjoy lengthy stays in one of the many square grass courtyards, doing nothing but people watching.

I loved the architecture of the houses. Row upon row of elegant and expensive looking homes, all uniform in colour. Oh to live in a house like this…

It was as we were walking that we came across The Jane Austen Centre. I, like most English graduates studied quite a few of Austen’s novels and whilst I can’t claim to be a ‘huge fan,’ I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a nose around. To be honest I was a little disappointed. I thought {and this was my fault for not doing my homework,} that the centre was where Jane lived in Bath, {I was to find she lived a few doors up, in what is now a dentist practice} and would house some of her personal possessions. It’s actually an exhibition housing paraphernalia relating to the regency period in Bath. The gift shop however was very good and well worth a visit.

A picture of a man

A picture of afternoon tea

After a walk around the magnificent Bath Abbey, we filled our bellies with an afternoon tea for two and headed for home. I had the perfect birthday.

I suspect there was a lot of Bath that we didn’t experience. {The stuff that only locals and those in the know get to hear about.} I’m planning a return trip very soon. So if anyone has any recommendations for things to see and do, please leave me a comment. xo

A birthday in Bath, Part 1

Mat and I have a tradition where we try to go ‘away’ to celebrate our birthdays, last year we were in Madrid for mine and the year before that NYC for his. This year, for my 26th, we decided to stay closer to home and visit Bath, a sweet city full of Georgian architecture, about an hours train ride from home.

It’s a city I’d often been to in passing, but never really taken the time to walk along the streets and soak up the ambiance. It really is a beautiful place, full of history and charm and museums galore. I thought I’d share a few details about our trip with you today…

One of the things I liked about Bath was the fact that the train station {Bath Spa} quite literally drops you off in the heart of the city, within walking distance to everything, the shops, arcades, theatre, abbey and the Roman Baths Museum. This was where Mat and I found ourselves on Friday morning and decided to take a look.

It’s an awe-inspiring place where you get to literally walk where the Roman’s walked on 2000 year old pavements. The museum hands out these nifty ‘phone-like’ devices so that you can listen to commentaries by different historians as you move around the centre. I found it so interesting and was definitely one of the highlights of our stay.

I couldn’t stop looking at the skeleton of a man, wondering what life was like for him. His DNA shows that he was Mediterranean in descent which makes me wonder what he was doing in Bath, trading, or like us just visiting?

On our exit, we had the chance to sample some of the water. (The Bath, is the only natural hot spring in the UK,) it was a strangely sweet and warm, which just sums up exactly what we thought of this very lovely museum.

I took way to many pictures to squeeze into one post, part 2 of A Birthday in Bath coming tomorrow. Have a great weekend, xo

 

I heart NYC


I’ve decided that the husband and I need a holiday. It feels like ages since we went to Egypt back in April for our honeymoon.

As a couple we LOVE our city breaks, the hustle and bustle, trying to cram site-seeing into a couple of days.

One of our favourite holidays was New York City, we went with two friends and had the best time eating corn dogs and sipping Cosmo cocktails!

My strongest memory of New York was on St Patricks day in 2010, the four of us took one of those paddle boats out onto central park lake and took turns to steer. I thought for sure we we’re going to end up in with the turtles! It was one of the happiest days of my life, we all still talk about it now.

I love the sense of adventure holidays bring; exploring new territories, building new memories, the freedom and feeling really alive, seeing the world and making the most of it.

Where’s your favourite city break? xo, Hannah

Tenby, how I love you so!

Do you have a special place that you just love to visit? For me it’s Tenby, West Wales.

I used to spend weeks at a time there staying with family during the summer holidays. Everytime I go I feel happy, safe and connected to my grandparents who have sadly passed.

Each little area of Pembrokeshire evokes different memories and I love sharing those with Mat and hopefully one day our children too!

We’re off to Tenby again this weekend, but here’s some iphone snaps from our last visit…

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What are your weekend plans?

Xo, hannah

Madrid

A few weeks ago my very generous fiance treated me to a trip to Madrid for my birthday. It was also a great opportunity to spend some quality time together away from the wedding planning chaos that has taken over these past few months. We called it our ‘pre-moon’ holiday and it was every bit as lovely and romantic as I’m sure our actual honeymoon will be in just 5 months time. We’re thinking Edinburgh or Paris at the moment.

For anyone considering a trip to Madrid, I thought I’d post a few details about our experience there in an attempt to encourage you to visit such an interesting city…. all pictures taken by me on my phone so apologies in advance!

When to go and where to stay…

We got a good deal through the online travel company www.lastminute.com, where we booked at the end of July and flew out 5th September for 5 nights, costing just shy of £500 for the two of us. I think we hit the jackpot with our hotel, ME Madrid Reina Victoria a 5* hotel in the bustling square of the  Plaza de Santa Ana, a great area full of tapas bars and restaurants plus a theatre.  (When we were there, there was an incredible orchestra practicing outside for everyone to enjoy.)   The hotel was pretty much perfect, smack bang in the middle of the city, within walking distance to all the main tourist attractions and minutes from the nearest metro stop.

Me Madrid Reina Victoria, all lit up at night

 The hotel itself was gorgeous and very modern with excellent staff. Good customer service makes all the difference doesn’t it? There were some pretty nifty features in our room including a massage shower with water jets- a godsend after a long day sightseeing and a light feature called ‘sexy time’ which gave the room a purple glow.

The Reina Victoria also has an amazing restaurant called Midnight Rose and a rooftop bar called The Penthouse, which seems quite the place to be seen for the local residents judging by the queue to enter; they do a mean mohito for sure!

Things to do…

There was a lot to see and do here, so I’ll mention the highlights of the trip.

1. Museo De Prado – A fantastic museum housing one of the largest classical art collection I’ve seen. You could easily spend days wandering around to view it all. *Tip* If you visit after 6 on weeknights it’s free entry.

2. Reina Sofia – For me this was my favourite part of the trip. Reina Sofia is a contemporary arts museum housing the works of infamous artists such as Dali and Picasso. Currently it’s home to Picasso’s Guernica. A masterpiece of modern art and surprisingly moving when you stand before it.

3. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu– The home of the football club, Real Madrid. I did this tour mainly for my footie mad other half, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Especially the trophy room, all that pomp!

4. Retina park – This sprawling park was once owned by the Spanish Royal family. It has beautiful landscaped gardens, a lake where you can hire a boat and bob along peacefully under the bright blue sky and entertaining street performers. We visited the park frequently and spent our last day picnicking on the grass watching the world pass by.

I’ll return one day…

I loved the architecture, every building had its own history and they were beautiful.

Plus I loved the weather….

and the vibrant nightlife…

So whetted your appetite yet?

If anyone has any recommendations on Paris or Edinburgh to share, I’d be most grateful, may help me make up my mind on where to book next. X

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