The Hen Weekend

A while ago I created a post about my perfect hen weekend and last weekend it came along and it was a great surprise.

As my maid of honour, my sister and my other bridesmaid’s had the task of preparing my hen weekend, and that’s difficult due to my fussy nature. But, it was great and I am very happy with how it turned out.

car journey

 

On Friday after work, I headed off deeper into North Wales, and instantly I knew where we were off to. If you have read previous posts you will know that I do like many places in North Wales, especially the Llyn peninsular. This is due to the fact that the only holiday’s I had as a child was to Porthmadog and I have some great family memories there. And, that’s exactly where we were heading, to Greenacres in Porthmadog.

 

Greenacres is a Haven holiday park located just off Black Rock Sands beach. When we arrived we were pleased to find that our caravan for the weekend was very close to the beach and overlooking the sand dunes, so we had a lovely view. My sister and friends had gone to a lot of effort to make food, and stock up on drink as well as decorate the accommodation.

The night started well but went by quickly and soon became a blur, as we walked to the beach to listen to the waves and enjoy the fresh air.

The next morning we had other guests arriving and the sun was shining which I was extremely grateful for. We had to make the most of the sunshine so headed to the beach where we had Prosecco and played rounders! There is an ice cream van that drives up and down the beach in warm weather selling refreshments and ice cream so there’s little need to head back to the caravan.

jellyfish

 

 

Later in the afternoon, we went for a walk along the beach where there were several jellyfish guarding the shoreline, so we made sure we had some sandals on – this is a regular thing here so bear this in mind when visiting.

 

 

In the evening we went for a lovely meal at Ty mwg beer and brisket smokehouse. This restaurant has picturesque views and there’s also a campsite for campers and tourers. Once we had finished the meal we back to the accommodation for a bit of Prosecco ping pong before grabbing our change and going to the arcade! It’s not just for children.

After another night that turned into a blur, we woke up to a full English and rain 😦 But not for long as the sun came out and we enjoyed ice cream from Cadwalders in Criccieth. Located approximately 15 minutes from Porthmadog, Criccieth is a lovely beach town with a castle overlooking the sea.

Criccieth

Once we had taken some silly pictures and made the most of the sunshine (again)!

Borth y Gest

 

 

We stopped at Borth-y-Gest, a small fishing village. Taking a walk through the trees and grass to the small beach we had some fantastic picture opportunities.

 

 

 

That evening back at the caravan a good clear up and pamper night was in order before a delicious Indian take away from Passage to India.

Not your typical hen weekend, but one that was just right for me, good friends, delicious food, and sunshine.

The World at Your Fingertips

Recently I just moved into my own home and have noticed that my interior style is very minimalistic, so I have decided that I need to bring a little culture to the place. 

Most people have an idea of what their ideal decor would look like including the furniture, colour pallet, and layout. But why not take a while to research some different styles that you may not have seen before?

The world is full of individuals whose styles vary and culture, history, local trends, economics, and sociology all play a roll in our choices. For this reason every country, and in some cases region will have its own sense of style broadening our interior options, and nowadays we don’t have to even travel to be inspired (although that would be ideal) we can just research these styles using books, the internet, social media, and interior magazines.

Here are some styles that caught my eye:

Moroccan Style

MARRAKESH

When travelling to Marrakech I noticed a lot of the interiors and exteriors used patterned tiles for decoration, this would be a relatively simple way of incorporating a different style in my home but as we are DIYing it could take a while.

Alternatively taking inspiration from the red city of Morocco we could incorporate this paint in our interiors. Perhaps this would look nice as presented in the above image pairing the paint with tiling.

Scandinavian Style

I recently came across this blog –  http://www.myscandinavianhome.com/ and felt very inspired by the fresh finish of and well-polished style. This is something I aspire to have in my home but realise it will take a while to get this point.

The Scandinavian style seems to use white as a base point along with quirky shaped furniture and the odd pop of colour. This is the style I’d like for my kitchen and dining room.

The French Way

Having been to France a few times you would think I would have taken some images of places I have stayed but it would appear not. The French style I refer to is the Parisian style with large antique mirrors and rustic shabby chic furniture, I imagine this style would sit well in my bedroom.

Large chandelier’s and a fabric covered chair would look good in the hallway when entering the home.

Brazilian Interiors

I think that Brazilian interiors resemble a ski chalet for the summertime using polished smooth wood or stone with colourfully patterned furniture to accompany. The lack of paint and wallpaper brings the outdoors in and is a lovely feel when the sunshine is out.

This style would work well in a living room especially one with large windows that let in lots of natural light.

I am sure there are many more styles but these are the ones that really stand out to me. If you have any styles that stand out let me know because I am in search of inspiration.

Discovering Craft Chocolate

Travelling the world is a dream of mine and chocolate is one of my favourite treats, so why wouldn’t I want to mix the two? This magical idea come to mind during Easter when I was tucking into my regular chocolate eggs and wondered what other types of chocolate were out there and where could I get my hands on them.

Recently I discovered craft chocolate bars, which are on the rise in the UK you will be pleased to know. This luxury chocolate is a completely new experience that differs from the chocolate you may find in the local shop. The product is created from only the finest ingredients and is more of an art form than a mass-produced product. So, where in the world can you find some of the best craft chocolate?

Craft Chocolate in Switzerland

Okay, this may be the most obvious place to start but for good reason, this really is some of the most delicious. From Geneva to Zurich you could easily do a tour of chocolatiers here, discovering the history of the process.

What is nice about Switzerland is that there is a long history of crafting chocolate and many families still own their original businesses today. The earliest story I have heard of is of the Favarger family who began making chocolate in 1826, now they present the process from their location on Quai des Bergues in Geneva.

If you are not in Geneva then perhaps Zurich is a simpler stop for you with 170 years of chocolate making history, there’s a lot of chocolate to be enjoyed. Here you can taste this delicate chocolate in luxury surrounded by chandeliers and tapestries at Peclard.

Switzerland isn’t the only place with a history all chocolate lovers will enjoy, heading to Belgium there’s much more to be discovered.

Craft Chocolate in Belgium

More specifically, we are focusing on Brussels and the old part of the city, The Sablon neighbourhood. This area is a haven for art, chocolate, and antiques, many of the most famous chocolatiers have visited to taste the most popular brands: Godiva, Wittamer, and Marcolini to name a few.

But Europe isn’t the only place that craft chocolate can be indulged, let’s head somewhere that offers a slightly different chocolate experience.

Craft Chocolate in Vietnam

The UK isn’t the only place seeing a rise in craft chocolate, Vietnam has also seen an increase in demand. In 2011 two men from France created the brand Marou, these chocolate bars mix fruit, tobacco, spices and many more flavours to create the unusual tasting chocolate bars. Although this brand can be purchased internationally there’s nothing like a stop onsite at café Maison Marou.

Craft Chocolate in the USA

Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in small chocolatiers have begun redefining the chocolate industry in America, with small businesses revisiting their roots and turning to craft chocolate across America.

The most intriguing craft chocolate bars I have heard of from the USA is about Patric, based in Utah. The story here is an interesting read and the chocolate is made from scratch and is available in a variety of flavours. This is a good choice for lovers of organic food and those who shop Fair Trade.

This is only one example of the many, many chocolatiers that can be found in America, so travelling here and spending months touring the chocolate seen would be my dream.

Craft Chocolate in the UK

Finally, we mentioned earlier that there is an uplift in craft chocolate in the UK, but where exactly can we find it?

Known as bean-to-bar chocolate makers these artists bring the best cacao to the UK to produce the finest chocolate bars, and here is where you can taste this meticulously made chocolate:

Willie’s Cacao – a well-known craft chocolate producer, sourcing their beans from Africa, Asia, and America he has a lot to offer.

Duffy’s – since 2008 this brand has been producing small batches of bars, sourcing their beans across the globe and supporting the makers and growers of the cacao.

Chocolate Tree – with two locations in the UK, one being a chocolate factory this company offers the chance to taste the chocolate onsite and experience the flavours.

This is a definite future holiday for me. Well, 4 holidays, and some domestic travel. I have only had the chance to taste craft chocolate in France in the lovely Cap d’Antibes and think it is worth a taste.

Australia’s Most Unforgettable Adventures

Australia is a gigantic country with so many things to see and experiences to try out on land and at sea, which can make it tough for the average traveller to narrow down their itinerary and ensure that they pack in as much of the good stuff as possible.

If you’re the adventurous type, let us help you out by showing you some of the most unforgettable adventures you can have in Australia:

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef

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One of the Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef is an amazing attraction. So large it can be seen from space, you could easily spend your whole holiday exploring the reef, checking out the tropical fish, befriending any dolphins you come across and learning how to dive, but then you wouldn’t get to experience these other fine adventures, right?

Camp on Cockatoo Island

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Image from Flickr: Nicki Mannix

Cockatoo Island is located slap bang in the middle of Sydney Harbour, so it’s pretty easy to get to. Actually, it was the place where convicts would be placed in the past at one point, and later it was used as a place to repair ships damaged in World war II. Its history, which is very evident on the island, gives it a unique and slightly eerie atmosphere, which is perfect for telling tales around the campfire, and the views out around Sydney Harbour are pretty special too. If you do plan to camp, the Outdoor Supacentre is the best place to get yourself kitted out in Australia, and it’s a good idea to get your camping equipment over there. Why? Because the baggage charges could be quite high unless you’re going right back to basics.

Skydive Over Byron Bay

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Byron Bay in New South Wales is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. It is also one of the best places to surf, watch whales and snorkel, which you should do off Julian Rocks for the best experience, so camping there with Skydive.com makes a huge amount of sense. The exhilaration you feel will be like nothing else you’ve ever experienced!

White Water Rafting Along Franklin River

If you’re into your watersports and you want to try something that will give you a challenge and get your adrenaline pumping, you can’t beat a white water rafting adventure down the challenging Franklin River. Strap yourself in – it’ll be a bumpy ride.

Explore Nature at Karijini National Park

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Image from Flickr: Tehani Schroeder

Karijini National Park is one of the most incredible natural spaces on the planet – and Australia is home to a lot of them- what makes it so special is the fact that you get to visit a lot of remote stretched like Hancock Gorge (providing you have a guide) and the fact that you can swim, abseil and even sail over a waterfall when you’re done watching the wildlife do what they do in a totally natural environment.

Try out any of these unforgettable Australian adventures, and you won’t be disappointed – they will make your holiday even more special.

Why Wouldn’t You Walk On The Wild Side When In Australia?

When we think of Australia, most of us think the words ‘natural beauty.’. This country, with its diverse landscapes, offers some natural experiences you’d never get elsewhere. From sprawling desserts to budding rainforests; the Australian landscape has it all. And did we mention there’s some pretty cool wildlife? It’s no wonder so many people decide to walk on the wild side during a stay here.

In fact, it would be near enough criminal to spend an Australian trip by the swimming pool. The thought is enough to turn the stomach. So much wasted opportunity! And, because we don’t want you wasting your time, we’re going to look at a few of the ways you can really walk on the wild side during your Australian visit.

Sleep under the stars

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First, consider where you’re going to sleep. Lucky for you, it’s easy as anything to incorporate the natural aspect of Australia into your plans. All you need to do is sleep under the stars during your stay. The hot temperatures during summer make this entirely workable. What’s more, downloading something like the Spaceship App ensures you can find free or cheap campsites. This option is ideal because it allows you to move around. You’ll also get a real feel for natural beauty. Of course, camping isn’t for everyone. In that case, you might prefer to stay in a caravan which is one step removed. Or, you might still opt to stay in a hotel. In that case, turn to companies like Ovolo Hotels who can even help you find out how to book hotel in Canberra city which brings nature inside through furniture and design. That way, you won’t have to leave comfort to get the benefit of nature at all.

Know the natural icons

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It would be criminal to travel somewhere like Australia and not visit iconic natural icons. But, there’s no way you can do that unless you know what they are. As such, it’s essential you do your research beforehand. That way, you can be sure you don’t miss out on some of the most amazing natural landscapes in the world. Obviously, The Great Barrier Reef is of note. This is the largest living thing on Earth, and can even be seen from space. So, get over to see it! Other must-sees include sandstone monolith Uluru, and rainforests such as Daintree. Get researching, and make sure you don’t miss anything off that list.


Wherever there is wildlife

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Image from Flickr: source

It’s also worth noting that Australia has some iconic wildlife you won’t find anywhere else in the world. So, make sure to take time out for these, too. Obviously top of this list is kangaroos and koalas. Go home without seeing each of these, and you’ll get looks of scorn from everyone you meet. To make sure you don’t miss out, why not embrace Australian wildlife by volunteering at a koala sanctuary? That way, no one will be able to say that you didn’t make the most of the opportunity.