Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Seaside Getaway in St. Ives


After our Spanish Moroccan adventures, we made it back to London, and jetted off to St. Ives just in time for my birthday weekend. St. Ives is a picturesque coastal town in Cornwall on the southwest coast of England that's a bit reminiscent of the northern California coast with its rugged cliffs and surf. The train ride from London was about five hours, but we passed through some gorgeous countryside with cute little towns along with way so it wasn’t too bad. One of the best parts of the trip was our lovely boutique hotel, Boskerris, which overlooks Carbis Bay (about a 5-minute train ride or 20 minute walk from St. Ives). This little place really makes you feel so welcome – from the wonderfully decorated  beachy living room, to the cosy, posh rooms, to the delicious breakfast served each morning in the light, airy dining room. I felt so at home! 

After we settled in, we walked along the coastal path into St. Ives and explored the charming boating town. There’s plenty of cute boutiques, art galleries, ice cream parlours and of course, pasty shops. St. Ives, and Cornwall in general, is well known for its Cornish pasties – think golden crust folded with loads of delicious savoury fillings – so good! We browsed around until dinner time and then went to a seafood spot, The Alba, to celebrate my birthday overlooking the bay (complete with chocolate cake and trick candles)! Very romantic indeed.  

On Saturday, we explored the town a bit more, ate a few pasties and strolled back to our hotel for afternoon cream tea. Cream tea is definitely something you have to try when in Cornwall...it’s English breakfast tea served with fluffy, hot scones, clotted cream and jam – delicious! We were lucky the rain held out nearly all weekend, but we did get a few showers that evening while dining at the Porthminster Beach Cafe. Sometimes the rain can actually be nice though, since all you’ve got to do is stay inside, curl up and relax! Our trip ended on a high note with another amazing homemade breakfast at the hotel before we hopped back on the train to London. I highly recommend St. Ives for a weekend getaway and I can't wait to go back in the summer when the weather's even better!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Banana Nutella Pudding


I was craving something sweet the other night and stumbled across this delightful and surprisingly lowfat concoction. I usually always have Fage Zero yogurt in the fridge for my morning yogurt, fruit and granola combo, so thought I'd try it with a bit of nutella and banana. You just swirl a dollop or two of nutella in with about half cup of yogurt, and then top it with slices of banana. Although it's not quite a banana nutella crepe, this is a pretty yummy alternative. Enjoy!


[Images via Google]

Friday, 20 April 2012

Exotic Marrakech


When we were deciding where to go on our spring holiday, I thought Morocco would be an amazing destination, and I'd heard good things about Marrakech. Kind of mystical and enchanting, and definitely foreign. Well, I was right, and it was all of those things and more. 

On our first day, we lounged on our hotel terrace and soaked in the sun for a few hours while sipping on sweet mint tea. We stayed at Villa Makassar in the old part of town, which is a bit more cultural and traditional than the modern, built up new part of town. Like several of the hotels in Marrakech, our hotel was  a riad – a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard that’s been converted into a hotel. Makes for a very royal stay! At dusk on our first day, we headed out to La Medina (city centre square and open air market) and the Souk (an open air food market). It was absolute madness – loads of Moroccan food everywhere (grilled meats,teas, fresh orange juice and sweets), homemade pottery, scarves, jewellery and clothing of all sorts – literally everything you could imagine. And while the people were a bit aggressive with their sales pitches, it made for a very memorable experience topped off by a monkey jumping on Jim’s head! 

The next day, after a slightly treacherous walk through town, we went for a hammam spa day at the beautiful Les Bains de Marrakech, which included a scrub and body masque, an oriental side-by-side bath (our bath room was completely covered in rose petals and candles, how romantic!), and finally a massage. One thing I loved about this place was the gorgeous architecture and attention to detail, the lanterns and intricate artwork was so lovely. Highly recommend!

On our final day, we went on a guided city tour of the major sites. Although Marrakech’s city centre isn’t very large, it’s still too far to walk (and probably too dangerous!). We started on the inside of the city walls at El Bahia Palace, a beautiful 19th century structure, and then drove past the grand Koutoubia Mosque (you can't enter if you're not Muslim). Next, we saw the camels in the Palmeraie area, had lunch in the new part of town, walked through Yves Saint Laurent's luscious Majorelle Gardens, and toured the Saadian Tombs where many Moroccan royals have been laid to rest. 

Mystical Marrakech is a city of extremes as it can be amazingly relaxing but also chaotic. I don’t know if I’ll be back anytime soon, but I’m so glad we went!


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

All About Barcelona


Being back in Barcelona last week felt so comfortable, and luckily the city hasn’t changed much since I was last there. It's still as vibrant and inviting as ever, full of intricate art, bustling cafes and sunny skies. We had a leisurely stay at Hotel Condes de Barcelona on Passeig de Gracia in L’Eixample, a central area of town with loads of good shopping. And each day we drank cafe con leches at El Fornet and admired Gaudi’s incredible works of art, La Pedrera and Casa Batll├│.

My favourite parts were lounging by Barceloneta beach, exploring El Born, going to church at La Catedral on Easter (and then setting up a hunt for my cousin!), dancing at Opium, enjoying wine and paella at Pez Vela on the water, walking around Park Guell, visiting my old flatmate, admiring the fresh fruit at La Boqueria and eating pan con tomate everywhere we went. I hope we can make another trip to Barcelona while we're over here, because I simply adore it!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Birthday Girl


Yesterday I celebrated my birthday with my husband in St. Ives, a gorgeous beach town in the south west coast of England. It was such a relaxing day (with surprisingly good weather) filled with lots of love from family and friends, and a yummy dinner overlooking the bay. Oh, and I got a beautiful caramel coloured leather jacket from Jim...he knows me too well! Just looking back at this past year, it's hard to believe how much has changed. My  life has literally turned upside down and I love it...I don't know how this year can top it, but we'll see! Here's to many more birthday celebrations and adorable cakes (love the K!).


[Image via Zsazsabellagio]

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Jetsetting: Barcelona & Marrakech


Tomorrow we're off to Barcelona and Marrakech for what seems like a much needed holiday, and I couldn't be more excited! So looking forward to some culture, some sun, lots of relaxation at the Moroccan hammams, and of course, reliving my Barcelona life a bit. Can't wait to share photos soon!


[Image and recipe via besthoneymoonideas.org]

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ballerina Flats


These Massimo Dutti ballerina flats are my new obsession (I’ve already bought them in silver and tan!). I absolutely adore them and they fit so well. I tend to find that flats are always a bit too small or uncomfortable once you buy them, but these are very true to size. And they’ve also got a little silver line around the heel which adds a little pop of glamour. At £60, they’re a good deal for a cute pair of flats, and they're perfect for my upcoming holiday to Barcelona & Marrakech!

[Image and recipe via Massimo Dutti]

Monday, 2 April 2012

Saturday At Borough Market


On Saturday we went to Borough Market (otherwise known as foodie heaven) with our friends Patrick and Alexis and indulged in loads of delicious treats and pretty things: lavender bouquets at the wine stall, curry from a huge, steaming skillet, mini mozzarella cones that you can pop in one bite and colourful sangrias. The real highlight was the grilled halloumi sandwich which was overflowing with cheese!

Bon app├ętit and happy Monday! 

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