Wanderlust: European Cities I Want to Visit

Current mood: Wanderlust

Now that things are starting to get a bit steadier around here, I’ve found myself dreaming of doing things I’ve always wanted to do but never really had the money for. Travelling. I’m not talking about backpacking around Thailand or spending a couple of months in Australia or South America but about some short and sweet European destinations.

Travel is in my blood. Until just after I started this blog I had hit 32 countries. But since 2012 I haven’t been anywhere new. That’s mainly due to not having money and when Topher and I did have money we would always go to Disney World, Florida. I freaking love Disney but my feet are getting itchy. I want to start seeing the world again.

We’re making a good start with our honeymoon. It may not be a new country but it’s one new city to me (San Francisco) and three new cities for Topher. When we met, Topher didn’t consider himself into travel at all but now he’s really come round to the idea…as long as we can still go to Disney!

We decided that 2018 would be the year that we try to do some small European trips to new places and I’m already dreaming of where I want to go. Here are 4 at the top of my list.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Wanderlust - Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Nothing to do with Game of Thrones I’m afraid – I want to visit Dubrovnik to see the sites! It looks gorgeous and I like the idea of going to a sunny city that’s filled with old and new.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

Wanderlust - Reykjavik, Iceland

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I know so many people who have gone here and I really want to go too. The chance to see the Northern Lights, the Blue Lagoon and all the amazing street art I keep seeing Instagrammed in the city itself.

Even though I prefer warmer holidays, I would definitely find a massive jacket and go to Iceland. Though I don’t think this will be one of our 2018 destinations due to the price!

 

Tallinn, Estonia

Wanderlust - Tallinn, Estonia

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Estonia generally looks beautiful and the capital city of Tallinn is no exception. It’s on the coast and all packed in so everything appears easy to get to. Though looking at the other regions of Estonia, it looks pretty tempting to rent a car and see them all!

 

Lisbon, Portugal

Wanderlust - Lisbon, Portugal

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Is it just me or is everyone and their mother going to Portugal this year? I read somewhere that Faro, Portugal is the hottest destination for 2017. It sure seems like it.

Well, I want to go to Lisbon. I’ve always been a city break kind of person and luckily Topher hates beach holidays too. Even though I’ve been to Lisbon before, I want to go back. I loved the architecture, the vibe and also the food! I’m a big fan of seafood, sangria and pastel de nata.

What’s on your travel bucket list at the moment?

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Mini-moon at The Mere

Topher and I spent our wedding night and remaining weekend at The Mere Resort

Topher’s mum very generously gifted us a two night stay at The Mere; a gorgeous hotel in the Cheshire countryside. We arrived about 2 in the morning and in our room we were surrounded by just married decorations! I’ll say now that my photos in this post are pretty terrible so sorry in advance!

The Mere - hotel room

The next morning we got up early to partake in the breakfast buffet. Have I mentioned how much I love hotel breakfast buffets? They are the best and this one was no exception! Afterwards we headed back to the room to open up all our cards, presents and read the guest book. I definitely recommend bringing all this stuff to the hotel with you as it is such a great way to start your marriage – knowing how loved you are by your friends and family.

The Mere - rings

Btw how cool is this key holder Topher’s auntie and uncle gave us?!

The Mere - presents

I had grand plans of using The Mere’s spa facilities but I’ll be honest and say we slept a good chunk of the day! The combo of dancing all night and adrenaline rush from the day equaled a hangover like feeling even though I barely drank anything all day. In fact, after the wedding breakfast I was downing water all night. So the sleep was much appreciated.

The Mere - outside

How gorgeous is this hotel? I love the combo of the old building with the newer extensions. Lots of exposed brick is something I’m a fan of. The Mere is a golf and spa resort which has two restaurants and beautiful grounds.

The Mere - lobby

The Mere - glass roof

I booked an afternoon tea at Browns on groupon which was delicious. It was the perfect amount of cakes and I liked that they did mini scones as the regular sized ones tend to finish me off.

The Mere - prosecco

The orange cake on the right tasted just like a solero!

The Mere - afternoon tea

So serious!

The Mere - topher

Cue awkward holding of my glass so I could show off my rings!

The Mere - diane

Then it was back to the room for another sleep and we also watched a film on the TV. Zoolander 2 if you must know.

The Mere - corridor

The Mere - hallway

Then we had dinner at The Club Lounge so we could take advantage of the lake view. We had baked camembert to start and then Topher had fish and chips and I had a smoked haddock pasta dish. It was nice but very filling!

The Mere - dinner

Afterwards we headed outside to take some photos.

The Mere - lake

The Mere - golf course

The Mere - outside back

Selfie!

The Mere - topher & diane

Then back to the room for MOAR sleep. All our families were meeting up on the Sunday but we decided to spend our first day of marriage together just the two of us. I’m so glad we did. Especially since we had to get up early on the Monday to get Topher back to work.

Here’s hoping we get to revisit The Mere one day and spend the majority of our time actually being conscious. I want to try out the spa!

If you haven’t seen it, here’s my post on our wedding day and the video.

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Jordan 2017 – Cousin’s Wedding

So without a doubt, this was by far the shortest trip to Jordan I’ve ever taken!

I wasn’t even planning on coming to Jordan this year what with everyone coming over for the wedding but in February my older cousin announced that he was getting married the week before us. So there was no way I was missing this wedding. I have always said I will attend every single one of my cousin’s weddings and I will not stumble at number 2!

So that’s how Topher and I ended up spending 3 full days in Jordan. And that’s pretty much why there’s only a few photos that aren’t the wedding.

Day 1 saw us heading to my auntie’s for a huge family lunch to celebrate both weddings. That cake was good!

Jordan 2017 - cutting the cake

Jordan 2017 - cake

And of course with everyone in attendance we had to get the first family photo in close to a decade.

Jordan 2017 - family

Then day 2 was the wedding. Arab weddings are pretty much evening affairs. Your hands get sore from all the clapping and there’s lots of dancing which I love. The wedding was at Amman Waves which is a water park and it was all very pretty.

Jordan 2017 - pool

I love outdoor night time weddings – sparkly lights!

Jordan 2017 - dance floor

Each table was named after a city and unsurprisingly we were on London.

Jordan 2017 - London table

Had to get a posed shot. I loved my dress. I bought it from ASOS* and it was so comfy. It was pretty long though so we got it shortened at a tailor’s in Amman. I got my hair done at the same salon I usually go to in Amman too.

Jordan 2017 - Diane and Topher

Cheeky selfie! Me, Topher, my cousin and my brother.

Jordan 2017 - selfie

The happy couple. My cousin is the groom.

Jordan 2017 - Kamal & Bhara'ah

These giant sparklers were everywhere!

Jordan 2017 - fire

Day 3 was spent at brunch with everyone and then a trip to the cinema before going to bed and getting up at 4am for the airport.

And breathe! Next year I’m planning a 2 week holiday there to make up some lost time from this year.

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A Day in London – V&A, Columbia Road and Liberty

So due to a booking fuck up of mine, I ended up solo in London for the day after Blogtacular. I say fuck up, it’s not much of a fuck up when you get a day to yourself in our nation’s capital is it?

A few years ago I managed to pack in Portobello Road, Old Spitalfields Market & Brick Lane, as well as Neal’s Yard and Covent Garden all in a day so I decided to do it again!

Here’s a little video of my day:

I started off the day with breakfast at The Breakfast Club in Hoxton where I had the most delicious waffles. Though I’m usually a pancake aficionado, the Elvis Waffle was calling my name. Atop a waffle sits caramelised banana, peanut butter, greek yoghurt and maple syrup. Nom.

London - The Breakdast Club waffles

Then it was off to the Columbia Road Flower Market where I may have spotted a celebrity. Check out the video to see who it was. It was my only celeb spotting of the day but a pretty good one, especially for a Potterhead such as myself.

I also finally got to go to the V&A museum which is something I’ve been wanting to do for about a decade. The building itself was gorgeous as was all the exhibits inside. The fashion section in particular reminded me how much I used to love fashion when I was a teen and in my early twenties. How times have changed.

London - V&A

Does my bum look big in this?

London - V&A dress

My final stop was Liberty – another place I’ve never been inside even though I’ve lived in London. What a gorgeous building! And it was fun to window shop too.

London - Liberty

I also paid a visit to Japan Centre to buy some treats. I don’t think we’ll be going to the real Japan until 2019 now so I thought it would be nice to get some snacks. And I finally tried something matcha flavoured. Topher wasn’t a fan but I loved it.

Where would you go if you had only one day in London?

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A Quick Trip to Nottingham – Bills and Street Art

This weekend I took a quick trip to Nottingham to stay with my brother who bought a flat there last year. Considering I spent my teen years in Nottinghamshire and would frequent the city quite regularly, it’s been years since I spent more than a few hours there.

Nottingham 1

As well as seeing my brothers new flat (makes my old London one look like a shoebox!) we took a wander around the city. Being a big fan of cool street art, I was happy to see some as we walked.

Nottingham 2

These sock puppets in particular are awesome!

Nottingham 3

Nottingham 4

There was a guy on this side street randomly with a piano. Locals, is he there all the time?

Nottingham 5

This one was on the side of an antique shop which I probably should have gone in but hunger won!

Nottingham 6

For dinner we headed to Bills which I can’t believe I was only visiting for the first time. To be fair, we don’t have one in Manchester so there is that. But I never got the chance to go when we lived in London and when Topher and I tried to in Birmingham, the wait was too long. So I was pleased to finally give it a go.

Nottingham 7

The decor is pretty quirky and shabby chic. This wall got instagramed right away!

Nottingham 8

I had the mac and cheese with mushrooms, leek and truffle. Yum! It was so filling that I didn’t have room for dessert. Shame, maybe next time?

Nottingham 9

The next day we went to Salt Box for lunch which is right next to the Motorpoint arena. Ideal if you’re going to a concert after! We both had the hoisin duck pizza which was really nice. Most people I know prefer their pizza thin but this one was really doughy which I’m personally a fan of. Another filler, leaving me with no room for dessert.

Nottingham 10

Short but sweet. Until next time Nottingham!

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