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Europe is a continent full of beautiful countries that are visited by tourists all over the world. Yet, travellers often restrict themselves to a few select locations.

Most tourists will choose to visit London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, and other famous capitals, but these cities get more than enough visitors every year, and can be so crowded and cramped.

I’m all for discovering new places on my doorstep especially if they’re less popular as a tourist attraction. To me, popularity isn’t always an indicator of greatness, after all, and some of the best places I’ve visited have been because of an off the cuff flight booking.

Today I’ve rounded up some fascinating European places that you may never have thought to visit.

Nice, France

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France is an extremely popular tourist destination, but most people decide to visit Paris. Whilst the capital is a beautiful city to explore, you’re probably looking for a unique European adventure; and you’ll find that by visiting the splendid city of Nice.

It really is the city of glamour, paired with beautiful beaches and incredible shopping. If you visit, make sure to take a trip to the fantastic Promenade du Paillon that was opened in 2013; this huge 30-acre park runs through the city all the way to the sea. It’s a testament to the innovative modern minds at work in this refreshing city. You’ll also need to visit the old town (Vieille Ville) if you want to see some stunning old architecture.

 

Halkidiki, Greece

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Everybody favours Greece as a top summer destination, but you might not know where exactly to go when visiting this sprawling country with its many smaller islands (unless you’re a blogger in search of those gorgeous blue houses of course!) 

The peninsula of Halkidiki is definitely a good place to start, and you may not have even heard of it, but it is definitely a fascinating and beautiful destination.

Make sure to get a taxi from the Thessaloniki airport transfer straight to Halkidiki to begin your Greek excursion. Obviously, the city of Thessaloniki is also an interesting place to visit, but you might want to take a different type of adventure.

The Halkidiki region has so much to offer in terms of the stunning natural beauty of the Cholomontas mountains and the bustling town of Polygyros. This town serves as the capital of the Halkidiki region, and it’s a fascinating place to visit. That’s such a fascinating history to this Greek haven, and there’s also beautiful architecture in the town.

Manchester, England

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Hear me out on this one… Yes, I can be quite biased when it comes to my great city, but England really is such a brilliant place to visit. Although London is great, the number of people can really take its toll after a few days – so where better to go than the hub of the north?

The UK actually has a lot to offer for the traveller hoping for a fascinating experience and can be cheaper than going abroad. It might not be able to boast the same amount of sunshine as Greece or France, but this country can certainly boast its cultural influence (both ancient and modern) and Manchester is the prime example of this. 

Not only are their great food venues, the city is also steeped in history, and there are a number of different tours you can do ranging from the underground tunnel tour to one of the football stadiums.

There are also a number of theatres from large ‘West End’ style shows to independent performances as well as lots of music venues scattered around the city – definitely something for everyone!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some places that you ordinarily might not have thought to go, and if you have any other recommendations, send them my way!

xx

For today’s post, I’ll be sharing some of the places that we ate and drank during our time visiting Bath last month. In my opinion, one of the best things about being away from home is the fact that you have to eat out for almost every meal – which is a treat in itself – and not even having to worry about anything like washing up or making a mess.

With the wedding coming up next year, we knew that we didn’t want to go crazy on the restaurant front whilst we were in Bath, and I did a lot of research before we went to scope out the best places to go. We also decided to make food in our apartment on the first night in order to take advantage of having an actual kitchen – but more about that in the last instalment of my Bath City Guides.

This post is dedicated to all of the places that we managed to cram in for the 3 days that we were there.

EAT

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day!

Hunter & Sons

If you read my post on where to go in Bath, I mentioned a little square that we stumbled upon, Milsom Street, which was full of restaurant and bars but set away from the busy streets. We visited Hunter & Sons on the Saturday morning we were there, and although it was busy, we were seated and ordering within about 15 minutes. The food was all locally sourced and really tasty – I went for the poached eggs with smoked salmon and a side of avocado on sourdough (because obvs…) and the portion was huge!

Courtyard Cafe

On our second morning in Bath, we were torn between a couple of places to go for breakfast but settled on the Courtyard Cafe because the sun was shining and they had a little sun trap with heaters (needed in February!) outside. I went for the veggie breakfast as it came with halloumi, and I wasn’t disappointed at all!

Lunch

Wild Cafe

We were drawn towards Wild Cafe because of the colours and fairy lights on the outside, and the welcoming vibe as soon as stepped in. We found out that the whole cafe is run on renewable electricity and they try and use as much recycled produce as possible, which is pretty cool!

I went for the olive and mozzarella focaccia, and Jordan opted for the cheddar and chutney sandwich, and they both were lovely. Wild Cafe use all local ingredients too, and you can really tell because everything is so tasty.

 

Dinner

Ole Tapas

As I mentioned, the first night we were in Bath, we wanted to make the most of the apartment and decided to nip to the supermarket. The second night, however, we made the most of being on a stay-cation (how much do you hate me for using that word…) and headed out for some tapas, which is hands-down one of my favourite cuisines: I’d been googling restaurants for a couple of weeks before we went and we nailed it down to two – Tapas Revolution and Ole Tapas.

We decided to go to Ole Tapas as it seemed much more quaint and traditional, and it did not disappoint at all – it was literally one of the best meals I have ever had. The restaurant itself was up a flight of stairs, and although it only fit 25 in, we were really lucky to grab a seat at the bar which meant that we could watch everything being prepared.

We shared 6 dishes between the two of us and had a couple of jugs of sangria to share, and it was one of my favourite memories of the whole trip! One you HAVE to visit if you’re ever in Bath.

The Sweet Stuff

San Francisco Fudge Factory

Those who know me well will know that I can rarely visit a new city without picking up a bag of fudge – I don’t know what it is, but it’s always my go-to souvenir. The San Francisco fudge factory was located opposite the abbey, so if you get the chance, I’d recommend having a coffee and sitting outside watching the world go by.

We initially saw this place on our first evening, but it was just closing so we made sure we went back the next day. The staff were really friendly and let us try a few different flavours before we settled on rocky road and chocolate orange.

Society Cafe

We stopped at Society Cafe for a bit of tea and cake but ended up spending over an hour here because it was so lovely and chilled and away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets.

There’s a couple of society cafes in Bath (and more in Oxford and Bristol) and their selection of cakes was amazing – I ended up going for a vegan salted caramel brownie which was delicious (and we may have shared a scone afterwards).

Drink

Canary Gin Bar

If there’s a gin bar in town, I’m there, and this one was no exception. We visited the bar after our meal at Ole Tapas, so we didn’t want much to drink, but still ended up having a couple each. I sampled their house gin with a strawberry tonic and mint, and also my favourite Edinburgh rhubarb and ginger gin with ginger beer – both delish!

Boston Tea Party

Although we didn’t get a chance to visit Boston Tea Party, I wanted to mention it on here as it looked lovely from what we did see. There are a couple in the city and are rated highly on Trip Advisor as a good place for a brew and the interiors are a dream!

Mokoko Coffee

Before we went to Bath, Mokoko Coffee was recommended by a few different people as a good place to stop and grab a drink. The one we visited was right next to the Roman baths, and although it was quite busy inside, we found a table overlooking the courtyard which was a lovely place to refuel.

And there you have my recommendations for the beautiful Bath. Writing all of them up has made me want to go back so much and sample all of the places that we didn’t get time to go to.

Have you been to Bath for food and drink? Where were your favourites? 

xx

 

Save for later

Does anyone else feel as though these weeks are whizzing by faster and faster? I can’t believe we’re at the end of March already!

This week has flown by because I spent the first three days in France on a work ski trip, so only having two days in the office has meant that the weekend came round even quicker, although I’ve mostly been catching up on sleep.

Here are the rest of the things I was loving last week too.

Celebrating One Year In Our Home

This week it was exactly one year since we picked up the keys to our first home together. The last year has flown by, but it has been one of the most memorable of my life and I’ve been so happy in our little house.

Skiing

As I mentioned, the first half of this week was spent on the slopes in Val Thorens with my company, which was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Although I’ve come to the realisation that skiing may not be for me, I had the best time with everyone eating and drinking to my heart’s content surrounded by some gorgeous views.

19 Cafe Bar Cocktail Launch

On Friday evening, I met my friend Hannah for a few drinks to catch up. We were invited to try the new cocktail menu at 19 Cafe Bar, which I’ve been to a couple of times, but never had a drink in. The staff were incredibly helpful and gave us tips on which to pick depending on what we usually liked to drink and they got it right every time!

Sorting Out The House

Although we’ve been living here for a year now, there were still some bits in a couple of the rooms that we’ve been putting off for a few months, so this week we decided to get the odd jobs done. I managed to halve my makeup collection and get rid of some random things that were taking up too much room and I felt so much better for it.

Pizza Party

On Saturday evening, we had a few friends over for pizzas and gin and cards against humanity. We nipped out in the day to get some garnishes and mixers to make different types of G&T’s and they all turned out pretty well. It was such a lovely group of us that got together and the evening was so much fun (and the gin was good too!)

10k Walk

I’ve been trying to get back into exercising after being away, but yesterday morning I was not feeling going to the gym at all, so we opted for a walk instead. We walked to a local market and had some lunch there before heading to the pub and then getting an ice cream to eat on the way home. Altogether we walked 10k which I was really happy with.

Springtime

How much did this weekend get you excited for Spring? With the clocks going forward to and the rise in the temperature, I feel as though it’s just around the corner. We even visited a beer garden this weekend and sat outside taking in the sunshine – I can’t wait for more of that!

Memories

This week my Timehop has been reminding me that it was a year since I visited Brussels, Bruges and Berlin in a week and it’s been so fun to relive the memories made there. I love going away so much that I spent most of the evening researching where to go later in the year (sorry bank balance!)

What have you been loving this week? 

xx

I mentioned on my social media a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to start doing a Manchester series on my blog and today I’m sharing the first of my many recommendations to you for my great city.

As an avid tea drinker and a proud Mancunian, I spend a lot of time in the city getting my caffeine fix and I thought it was about time that I round up my favourite places to visit.

Manchester has so many good places and there are new ones popping up all the time, but these are the ones I go back to again and again and I hope you enjoy if you get the chance to go.

Foundation Coffee House (Lever Street, Manchester)

I love FCH because it is big enough that you’re always guaranteed to get a seat and it’s the perfect place to people watch. They do cocktails, coffees, teas and food and is located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. It’s the ultimate Insta goals with subway tiles, wooden tables and filament lights everywhere.

Tip – FCH is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours with your laptop and you won’t feel as though you’re being watched for a table because it’s so big.

Takk (Tariff Street, Manchester)

Takk is one of my favourite places to go when I have work to do as it has a much more slower pace than some of the other coffee shops around this area. It is inspired by the owner’s travels around Scandinavia and Iceland and there are nods to that in the decor of the cafe.

Tip – if you want a quieter place to have a relaxed coffee, Takk is definitely your place.

Chapter One (Lever Street, Manchester)

I first went to Chapter One with my good friend Hannah, and since then it has been one of my favourite places to go for a catch-up or to work for a couple of hours. It is actually an independent bookshop first and foremost and they always have really good cakes, which is the perfect reason for a visit.

Tip – Cosy up by the fires and watch the world go by out of the floor to ceiling windows.

Proper Tea (Cathedral Yard, Manchester)

Proper Tea is located next to Manchester Cathedral and has the most spectacular views across some gorgeous architecture. It isn’t the biggest cafe in the world, so be prepared to wait, but the scones and cakes are totally worth it.

Tip – if you find yourself over on the Deansgate side of Manchester, then you won’t be far from Proper Tea.

Teacup On Thomas Street (Thomas Street, Manchester)

Another one of my favourite places to spend a couple of hours is Teacup. They have such an array of teas available, and the staff are so knowledgeable to give a recommendation.

Tip – be prepared to queue for this firm favourite, but it’s totally worth it when you see the cakes on display.

North Tea Power (Tib Street, Manchester) 

North Tea Power is one you might have walked past without even realising in the Northern Quarter as it is raised off the ground and you have to walk up some stairs to get to it. It’s a lovely place to go when it’s sunny as they have a small outdoor area, and they have loads of vegan and gluten free cakes on offer.

Tip – the clue is in the name that they have an extensive list of teas to try; so go on, be adventurous!

Sugar Junction (Tib Street, Manchester)

I was really lucky that they opened another Sugar Junction in my home-town of Altrincham, but it is still a firm favourite when I venture into the city centre. The decor is shabby chic, and is a reason in itself to go in (plus the amazing food and drink on offer).

Tip – follow them on Instagram to see their amazing cakes which change daily.

Pot Kettle Black (Barton Arcade, Manchester) 

PKB is set in one of the most gorgeous buildings in Manchester, Barton Arcade. I first visited as part of a blogging event, and since then I have been back so many times because the food and drink offerings are amazing. If blueberry cheesecake French Toast isn’t enough to get you down, then I don’t know what will.

Tip – you can’t go to PKB without trying some of the brunch options, so make sure you go hungry.

And there you have my recommendations for the best places to get a brew in the city centre – let me know if you try any of them and what you think!

Where would you recommend for a tea or coffee in the centre? 

xx

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Jordan and I picking up the keys to our own little home. ONE WHOLE YEAR! I can’t quite believe how fast the year has gone and all the memories we’ve made in the past 12 months.

Buying a house was by no means a stress-free experience. There were tears, arguments and endless email chains where you feel as though you are going in circles, but the reality is, all those things are completely normal.

Although there are still bits and pieces I’d like to do with our little home, and furniture still to buy, I’ve absolutely loved every minute of the last year and the little pangs of excitement I get when I sit on the sofa thinking, this house is all ours.

Today I thought I would share all of the little tips I’ve found during the process of buying our house and afterwards to help any of you that might be going through the process yourselves.

1. Try not to worry if things take a little bit longer than expected. It’s easier said than done, and I always thought the worst when we were waiting to hear from solicitors, mortgage advisors and estate agents, but the reality is, buying a house does take time and there are lots of steps involved, some that you might not even know about, but try to relax as much as possible, because it’s completely normal.

2. Take all the advice you can get. Buying a house is a complete minefield, so much so that we used a mortgage advisor to buy ours and he helped us SO MUCH. I would highly recommend going to see one because they can give you a much better view of the different options out there and all the fees that come with getting a mortgage.

3. Take advantage of furniture sales, January sales and mid-season sales where you can as you can get yourself some much cheaper items. Also, sign up for newsletters galore as you might hear of the best deals first by doing so, no matter how annoying they might be. And don’t be afraid to pick bits up here and there along the way even before it’s gone through.

4. You’ll see kitchens, bathrooms and lounge inspiration all over Pinterest and think you could never do that – WRONG, you totally can have the house of your dreams, but it might just take a little bit longer than expected. Write yourself a realistic timeline of when you would want things done by and dedicate a few weekends here and there to do the jobs. And if it’s going to cost you a bit to get started then having a few months grace will let you save up the pennies.

5. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy. One of the first things I did when we picked up the keys was paint the lounge myself (one of my biggest achievements…) and take down a couple of curtain rails. We also put up all the IKEA furniture ourselves, and although there were cuts and bruises, it felt much better knowing that we hadn’t had to pay for anyone else to do it.

And there you have my five quick tips for buying your first home. It’s an incredible experience and one that I’m sure you’ll never forget!

What are your tips for buying a house? 

xx