Category Archives: Travel

Weekend in Whitstable by the seaside..

Last weekend I had a perfect little escape to the seaside. I’d heard a few stories about this cute fisherman’s town called Whitstable in Kent, so I thought it was about time I checked it out for myself! Because it is only about 1 hour 30min drive (1 hr 20min by train) from central London it makes Whitstable a great day or overnight trip location.

Situated on the north coast of Kent, Whitstable is such a lovely little laid-back place with many great restaurants, shops – and of course the sea! Everywhere are many stalls, shops and restaurants selling all kinds of sea food from cockles to eels and crabs to of course Whitstable’s most famous export, oysters! Here are some iPhone snapshots from my weekend in Whitstable by the seaside..

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Walks exploring the Harbour // Enjoying Whitstable Brewery beers + compulsory fish & chips in sun loungers by the beach = happiness // Checking out the town, shops and galleries // People watching and drinks at The Old Neptune, a famous pub on the beach // Happy moments watching the sunset over the sea…

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Dinner at Wheelers Oyster Bar, the oldest restaurant in town (open since 1856!) and famous for – tada you guessed it – oysters! The restaurant is tiny and is usually booked up for months but I was lucky and managed to reserve us a table at the bar. It’s BYO so what better to bring than a bottle of bubbly to enjoy with the seafood. Or you can always run across the load to the local ‘Offie’ for some more drinks. We had a lovely night in this cute little authentic restaurant, the oysters and the rest of the seafood was delicious and it was nice to enjoy a very casual and laid back evening out. If Wheelers is booked up another great option for dinner would be The Whitstable Oyster Company.

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Where to stay in Whitstable? We stayed in a lovely little cottage called the Corner House (link) which was perfectly located just meters from the harbour. Loved the beach style feeling of the place and we had a great stay here. However next time I might try to book a Fisherman’s Hut (which were fully booked the weekend I went) because they are right on the water and look super cute (link)!

Sunday morning was the perfect laid-back day starting with home baked muffins (my winning recipe here) and tea at the cottage, followed by a long walk along the beach to the Tankerton Slopes. It was a quiet foggy morning which made for some peaceful and beautiful moments – with some pebble throwing for laughs.

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Can you tell I loved these little sea huts along Tankerton slopes? We had breakfast outside at Jojo’s – a great little cafe at the end of the beach Tankerton way (about a min walk from the harbour).

Before driving back to London we decided, that while in the area, we should check out the famous White cliffs of Dover. Such a beautiful national park!

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If you had the best weekend ever then JUMP! ;) I seriously recommend going away for a weekend in Whitstable – or even if for just the day. It was one of those weekends were I came back feeling so happy and relaxed, like I’d had a mini holiday. Think the seaside does this to me. It was the kind of weekend where I wished I had a time machine to stop time so that it didn’t have to end….

Thank you Whitstable for the happy memories. Think I will be back :)

  
6 Comments | Posted in Lifestyle, My life, Photography, Travel

Turkey Holiday Photo Diary

Warning, very picture heavy post coming up!  But as promised here are some photos from my holiday in Turkey back in July. We spent 3 days in Bozburun, which is a very quiet fishermen’s town in the Marmaris area and then we had 4 days of luxury at the Kempinski Hotel in Bodrum.

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Breakfast at our hotel in Bozburun, simple but waterside breakfast was fantastic way to start the day // The town of Bozburun is very simple and quiet but the water in the area is some of the bluest I’ve ever seen // One day we went on a day trip boat for about £15 which even included a boat BBQ lunch and we spent all day cruising around in the water and stopping every 30 minutes for the required cooling down swim. Absolute bliss!

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One day in Datca (before catching the ferry to Bodrum the next day). We did another boat trip there for the day and enjoyed a delicious fried squid dinner on the boat in the town. I always crave fried squid when on summer holiday, it’s one of my favourite foods.

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And then we arrived at the absolutely stunning 5 star Kempinski Barbaros Hotel in Bodrum. This hotel is nestled on the cliffs overlooking pristine Barbaros Bay, located on its own private bay towards the magnificent Aegean Sea offering you the most luxurious holiday escape. The hotel has everything you need -and more, like a stunning outdoor and indoor pool, a private beach, Turkish spa, a marina to moor your yacht (if only..) and four amazing restaurants. We pretty much spent our days here relaxing either by the pool, beach or marina and had the biggest buffet breakfasts and yummy dinners.

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Night out in Bodrum town. Because the hotel is quite far out of the town we only really made it there one night for some shopping (some great fakes were very tempting!) and dinner. Bodrum greeted us with a stunning sunset as we walked around the pretty white old town. Dinner was outside in the courtyard at Kocadon Restaurant where the food was fantastic and the service lovely. We had a lovely night sitting outside drinking Turkish Rose and went back to the hotel  feeling very rosy and happy ;)

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The last day soaking up the sunshine! I actually got a pretty decent tan this holiday so was very happy about that :) All these photos were taken on my iPhone5 because I was travelling light and therefore didn’t have space for my DSLR in my hand luggage. More photos can be seen on my instagram @dutchessroz. I definitely loved Turkey and would love to go back again to explore more of the coast! Have you been to Turkey before?

  
3 Comments | Posted in Lifestyle, Photography, Travel

Escape life?

Hello or I should say ‘Merhaba’ from Turkey! I arrived in Turkey very late Sunday night and the last few days have been soaking up the sun and relaxing in the town of Bozburun with one of my best friends. Bozburun is a very quiet fisherman’s town near Marmaris on the Aegean Coast. It’s actually very nice to be in a quiet place for a bit to just relax and focus on not doing much at all. We’ve been sunbathing, swimming, reading, going out on the water & eating, and it feels wonderful to escape the hustle and bustle of London for a bit. Came across this quote the other day and thought it was appropriate for today’s midweek message!

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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us!”

I actually took this photo today on my iPhone while out on a boat trip! Incredibly beautiful blue water right? For more photos of my holiday follow me on Instagram @dutchessroz. I hope you all have a Happy Hump Day. Today we will be heading to Datca and then after that off to Bodrum for a few nights of luxury. Oh isn’t holiday bliss? :)

  
3 Comments | Posted in Happy Hump Day, Quotes, Travel

Tuscany Holiday Photo Diary

Hello! Had my first day back at the office today, after a week off, and was a bit of a shock to the system. Definitely wished I was still on holiday instead of working my way through hundreds of emails. Anyway as promised here a quick post with some snaps from my holiday in Tuscany with my parents last week. All photos were taken on my iPhone because silly me packed the wrong camera charger.Which was rather annoying since I had sacrificed about 2kg for my DSLR + lenses in my 10kg allowed bag and now wasn’t even able to use it all holiday. Anyway still got some good photos on my iPhone and this is a little selection (more can be seen on my Instagram account)

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Arrived in Pisa on Friday evening where my parents collected me from the airport. We walked around the city, saw the famous leaning tower, and grabbed a bite to eat while watching the Netherlands destroy Spain (5-1) in the World Cup. Olé, Olé, Olé!! // The next day we drove to Lucca which is a lovely small city just north of Pisa. Great little boutique shops, squares and the pretty Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.

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In Lucca we also climbed the Torre Guinigi, which is the most famous tower in Lucca because of its small garden on the top // Oh and also the view over Lucca is rather impressive! // From Lucca we drove through the stunning Tuscan country side to our apartment in Montaione // We’d booked a quaint 2 bedroom apartment in an old tuscan farmhouse (link) via AirBnB and when we arrived we celebrated our arrival by having a wine in the sun from their own vineyard!

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Sunday was Father’s day so I cooked breakfast for my dad (and mum) which we enjoyed outside in the terrace. I made italian ‘baked’ eggs – on the stove because the apartment didn’t have an oven – and it was delicious, if I may say so myself ;) Want to see the recipe on the blog? // Then we headed off to Siena and explored this city all day. The Siena Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Siena) is a medieval church in Siena, and even though I have seen many Cathedrals in my lifetime – this one is rather impressive! // The black & white marble stripes are so striking // We also climbed to the top of the Duomo Nuovo which gives you a breathtaking view over the city. A bit of a climb but very much worth it!

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Loved the mosaic floors in the Piccolomini Library in Siena //  Piazza del Campo is in the historic center of Siena and is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. This photo is looking up at the famous  Torre del Mangia near the square // We feasted on a late lunch of meats and cheese (with wine) at Antica Pizzicheria al Palazzo della Chigiana (Via di Citta 93) which is a super busy atmospheric deli with prosciutto haunches, sausages and hot peppers hanging from the ceiling. There’s no seating but you can order a selection of food and you can stand outside the deli drinking your wine and eating the absolutely delicious cheeses and meats. Definitely a foodie highlight of the trip // Driving past the little towns of Panzano and Greve one day in the Chianti region.

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Day trip to Volterra // Loved the black & white striped walls on the main Piazza  by the Cathedral // If you are a Twilight fan, you probably recognise this town as where the Volturi live. Interesting fact however is that for the film New Moon, the Volterra scenes were actually filmed in Montepulciano, Italy. The biggest problem the people of Volterra had with Stephenie’s book was the fact that Bella ran through a fountain to get to Edward when there isn’t one in the actual main square of city; the producers had to build one in the center of the filming location. // An italian dinner cooked at the apartment, fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli with basil pesto and fresh mozzarella. So simple but so delicious!

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Visiting San Gimignano which is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form “an unforgettable skyline” // We enjoyed a (must-have) gelato from Gelateria di Piazza” by Sergio Dondoli who is world famous for his award winning ice-cream. And it definitely was tasty and gone in seconds // What do to when sheltering from a massive rain and thunder storm while out exploring San Gimignano? Take a family selfie of course ;) We didn’t let the weather rain on our parade haha! // Another home cooked italian dinner – fresh linguine with sausages in tomato sauce – I will feature this easy recipe on the blog soon! 

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On our second to last days it was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to just have a lazy one and sit in the sun by the pool, read our books and eat delicious food // We had a long lunch in a little town nearby Montaione and cooked anther simple italian dinner at home. Dinner seen here was fresh tortellini with panfried courgette flowers, cherry tomatoes, spinach and lots of pecorino cheese. Yummm. I definitely overloaded on the carbs (and naughty food in general) while in Italy so it’s a bit of a carb and healthy detox for me the next few weeks to try and balance it out a little! // On our last way on way back to Pisa airport we stopped in a little town called San Miniato – how cute are these little umbrellas they had in the streets?

Overall I had such a lovely and relaxing time in Tuscany. The weather wasn’t quite as sunny or hot as I’d hoped but that meant instead of sunbathing by the pool we just did more exploring around the area which was also very fun. Think I can still do with a bit of a beach (tanning) holiday though this summer, so am now looking at booking a week in Turkey in July with one of my best friends. I can’t wait!

Have you been to Tuscany or any of these towns before?

  
1 Comment | Posted in Instagram, Lifestyle, Photography, Travel

My Easter weekend in the Cotswolds

Sorry for the radio silence on the blog at the moment. Work is so busy and have been spending a lot of hours at the office this week so unfortunately had no time to update the blog. Here quickly some photos from my long Easter weekend in the Cotswolds. There was 10 of us going so we rented two cars and drove to Thrupp (near Oxford) where we had rented a 5 bedroom cottage in the countryside.

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Pub lunch at the Royal Sun during the road trip. They had the most amazing freshly baked pies and curly fries // On arrival at the cottage we all got a little excited about the horses in the backyard! // Enjoying the spring sunshine in the garden over tea and homemade rocky road. // Tea soon escalated to prosecco and we feasted on lots of cheese into the night, catching up with each other.

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Saturday started with breakfast and a lovely walk along the canal near the house // After the walk it was tea time so I decided to whip up a big batch of my favourite (easy peasy) scones, recipe HERE. As always they went down a treat!

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The afternoon we chilled in the garden and then it was dinner prepping time // I was in charge of cooking a massive Easter Roast for everyone but luckily I had many little helpers in the kitchen which made it all good fun // Dinner was slow (5hrs) roasted leg of lamb (got this massive 3kg piece of meat from Provenance butchers in Notting Hill) – it was incredible with sweet potato gratin, beans and a kale salad. The sweet potato gratin is one of my new holy grail recipes at the moment – recipe to follow on the blog! It’s to die for, trust me! // It was my friend’s birthday on the Tuesday after Easter so we decided to surprise her with a birthday cake. Oh and yes she’s got the cake in her face because she dunked her face in it, why? Someone dared her to! Ha that’s why I love this girl :)

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 After dinner (and cake) we also had dessert which was my Hot Cross Bun Pudding (recipe HERE).  We actually didn’t eat that much of it because we were so full after our massive dinner, but we we re-heated some for breakfast and discovered it also makes a great breakfast pudding :) // After dinner the fun and games really begun with beer pong the boys vs the girls. It got very competitive! Who won? The girls of course…BOOM! That night we had our own little party at the cottage that went into the wee hours of the morning // After a long sleep in and some breakfast on Easter Sunday it was time for the Easter egg hunt. We had a huge amount of eggs and one of us was the Easter bunny and hid them all in the garden. It was such good fun and we all felt like little kids again running around like crazy to find them!

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Comparing our Easter Egg hunt finds!! I definitely ate WAY too much chocolate over this weekend. On a chocolate ban for May I think // I also made some nutella and hazelnut stuffed croissants (super easy cheat recipe here) which were delicious, love croissants fresh from the oven // Easter Sunday was mainly spent indoors (due to rain…and hangovers) and we watched DVD’s and continued to stuff our faces with chocolate. We managed to make it out of the house in the early evening, to the local pub for some drinks, food and a game of scrabble. Pub games are the best!

Monday morning it was time to head back to London and we all wish we could have stayed in the Cotswolds a bit longer. What a perfect Easter weekend. What did you get up to over Easter?

  
2 Comments | Posted in Instagram, Lifestyle, My life, Travel