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Top 10 things to do in Athens

Athens is so perfect for a city break and we spent 4 days in this eclectic, vibrant and cultural city which boasts ancient monuments that I promise will leave you in awe. It is also an European city you can visit all year round – we visited in January and had fabulous blue skies throughout our trip!

Here are a list of my top 7 suggestions to do in Athens based on our trip.

1. The Parthenon

You cannot visit Athens and not go to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. This site was dedicated to the goddess Athena and was completed in 436 BC and is generally considered to be the most important remaining building of Classical Greece as well as a symbol of western civilization.

It was top on my list of sites to visit, part of the reason we chose Athens as a destination, and it is truly spectacular to see. We spent a couple of hours here and it is a great place to kick off your sightseeing in Athens.

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2. Erechtheion

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On the north side of the Acropolis, on a slope, lies an ancient Greek temple which is made entirely of marble with stunning carvings. This is called there the Erechtheion, and was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The views from here are absolutely breathtaking.

3. Acropolis Museum

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the Acropolis museum, but we spent some time going through the various floors of this impressive museum.

It enables you to delve deeper into the history sounding Greece as well as the Acropolis and you can see various artefacts which paint a picture of what life in that era was like.

4. Plaka


Close to the Acropolis is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens which is fantastic to walk through. You will find a plethora of shops ranging from touristy ones to some superb artisan ones. There are also restaurants where you can sit alfresco and enjoy a variety of cuisines. You will come across ancient Greek and Roman ruins amongst your wanders as well as some beautiful old buildings with stunning architecture.

5. Eat Traditional Greek Food

Whilst in Athens, there is no excuse not to try some classic traditional Greek dishes such as the Greek Salad, Moussaka and Spinach pie. The feta cheese I tried was unlike no other I had had before and was just sensational. The olive oil is worth purchasing and taking home too once you have tasted it! You will never buy it from the supermarkets back home again.

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6. Enjoy Athens at night

At night, Athens sparkles with its various lights and lit up view of the Acropolis, no matter what side of the city you are in. There are various roof top bars and restaurants where you can relax while taking in the night views. Pictured below is the Galaxy Bar and Restaurant at the Hilton Athens, located in central Athens.

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7. Eat Greek Street Food – Koulouri

Whilst wandering the streets, you will find several stalls selling different food. Be sure to try some out! My personal favourite was Koulouri, which is a popular breakfast snack for Greeks to grab and eat on the go as they are not traditional breakfast eaters. It is a bread ring covered in toasted sesame seeds. Relatively simple but so good!

We came across this stand outside Zara on Ermou Street in Syntagma and the Koulouri was divine!

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8. Athens Central Market

A visit to the hectic,  lively and buzzing Central market on Athinas Street is a must to see the variety of fish, meat and vegetables on offer. This is a historical market and plays an important role in supplying homes and restaurants in Athens. What we learned was that the Greek favour fish over meat and have an incredibly healthy lifestyle.

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9. The Temple Of Poseidon at Sounion

On a hill overlooking the Aegean sea at the very tip of the Attiki Peninsula, just an hour’s drive from central Athens, lies the spectacular Temple of Poseidon. Whilst exploring, try and find the graffiti by Lord Byron too!


The views from here were superb and we visited on a breezy day in January, and were lucky to have had a lovely bright day. It can get chilly there so do take some warm clothing just in case! It is so worth it and there is a lovely coffee shop where you can chill after visiting the site.

10. Shopping and lunch in Glyfada

Get your shopping fix in Glyfada, where you can wander the streets and shop at places like Sephora (much to my excitement) and other high street and designer brands. Only around a 40 minute drive from central Athens and close to the seaside.

There are so many lovely cafes and restaurants in the area, and we ate at a lovely Greek restaurant called Mezze.

Have you visited Athens? What were your favourite things to do? I would love to know in the comments section below.

 

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5 Romantic Things to do in London

London is full of romance, whether you are dining at the city’s finest restaurants, taking in its seductive views from different sites, or trying out brand new experiences. Here are my 5 favourite romantic things to do in my favourite city.

Go sightseeing 

I can never tire of London and there is nothing more romantic than strolling hand in hand walking around the city marvelling at its grand sights.

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There are so many lovely vantage points for some of the finest views. You could even go for a ride on the London Eye or take a boat ride on the Thames Clipper.  I challenge you to find the best spots, whether at sunrise, sunset or in the middle of the day, and do let me know in the comments section below! I would recommend starting off at Southbank!

A Cheese and Wine Date

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Sharing an epic cheese board whilst sipping on wine and sherry in a gorgeous restaurant? Yes now you can have someone prepare the ultimate cheese board for you while you just relax and stare at each other lovingly at The Montagu restaurant at The Hyatt Regency – The Churchill.

The experience is fantastic and so interactive. You learn so much about the cheese, which are the finest from Alsop & Walker, and it is a truly unique and fun way to spend an evening.

Fun fact, Winston Churchill used to indulge in a cheese platter almost every day! A lovely fact to use as an ice breaker or to impress your date with!

I absolutely loved my experience and you can read about it in depth here.

To make a booking click here.

Cocktails with a view

Take your romance to new heights by sharing cocktails with a rather spectacular view of all the key landmarks in London from the 31st floor, at  Aqua Shard. Not only are the cocktails delicious, the restaurant and bar area are stunning and the view…doesn’t get better than this! No better way to spend time soaking up London’s sexy skyline with a cocktail in hand.

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The best bit is there is no need to book if you are going for drinks so go if you haven’t been!  They also have a brilliant breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea menu if you want to make it extra special but you will need to book for that.

For more information and to book click here.

Table for two at an Italian restaurant

For me every time I think of a romantic meal, the image of the kissing scene from the Lady and the Tramp comes to mind, where they are sharing spaghetti.

While I prefer pizza and tagliatelle or pappardelle, Italian food shouts romance to me and my current favourite and recommendation is Fucina.

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The food is marvellous, the ambience is lovely and very romantic, the restaurant is pretty and the service is excellent. For my review click here.

“Press for Champagne” at Bob Bob Ricard

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A restaurant where you can press a button to order more Champagne? Your date will definitely be suitably impressed. The food is fantastic but  please do save space for the dessert, especially the Signature Chocolate Glory! You won’t be disappointed.

For more information click here.

If you have any suggestions for romantic things to do in London would love to hear them in the comments section below.

 

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My Top 6 Travel Outtakes – funny moments and disasters

From my photos on Instagram, my tweets and my Facebook updates, everyone probably thinks my travels consist of me sipping mojitos, sun bathing on a beach or eating at lovely restaurants as well as trying to see as much of the destination as possible. A lot of that is true but there are also some behind the scene aspects that you never get to see.

This post contains some awful pictures so if you need a good laugh or are having a bad day hopefully this will produce some light humour.

The pictures that will NEVER EVER make it on Instagram

First of all, there are some photos that will NEVER make it on Instagram! Such as the food photos below – I am actually upset with myself because I went for lunch at the Hotel Chocolat restaurant in St Lucia and forgot my camera so had to use my phone (iPhone 5 at the time) to take these food photos.

Safe to say you will never find a review on this particular lunch either for this reason!

Then there is the result of TOO many Mojitos in Mauritius combined with a lack of straightener and voila you get me looking like a hungover and curly mess LOL

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And finally, the below was taken in Vienna, when I gave up on fashion because it was too darn cold and donned a hat to save my ears from frost bite. I don’t think anyone has seen me in a hat since.

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The original photo and the edited version

Ever find the most instagrammable spot (this one was in Lisbon) and then someone just annoyingly sits in the middle refusing to move and ruining your shot while you wait patiently for 20 minutes?

Take the photo……

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…And then crop them out!

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The before and after shots

Everyone has seen the picture of me kissing a giraffe in Nairobi, Kenya (repeatedly) and I love that photo…because well I am kissing a giraffe.

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However, the truth was different…

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I was actually freaked out by its raspy tongue LOL

The holiday flings

Much to my husband’s despair, a lot of our time on holiday is me running after goats, sheep and cats. Yes I am weird but you all knew that already.

Take Tom (yes I name them all too)…we met, fell in love and were pretty inseparable for around an hour. An hour which could have been spent looking at slightly more exotic animals like tigers or bears!

 

Not forgetting all my holiday cats! If I see a cat that’s it. Toby turned up on our last evening in Mauritius and not only did I ensure he slept in our verandah that night (and he actually did…the loyal sweety), I cancelled all my plans to go swimming, sunbathing and out for lunch on our last day to sit there with him right up until the time we had to leave for the airport.

I think I might need c0unselling!

The truth behind the photo

During the afternoon tea we had at the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya, the resident Warthog decided he wanted to join our party.

I don’t know what came over me that day because I am never scared of animals, but I totally freaked myself and my mum out to the point my mum ran inside the hotel and I climbed up on the chair thinking that it was going to eat me alive. The poor warthog just stood there bemused and not sure what to make of me!

After a while I realised he just wanted cake and let him be. Him and the other warthogs were actually cute and cheeky little chaps.

The golf wife

Finally, when you are married to a golfer you become the caddy and a whole day of your trip goes into you driving (with him constantly criticizing your driving) him and a golf kit around a golf course. The not so glamourous part of my holidays such as this day in St Lucia.

 

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So there you have some behind the scenes of what actually goes down on our holidays! Do you have any funny moments that have happened on your holidays or aspects you will never reveal on social media? I would love to know in the comments section below.

How to link up your post
 
Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th February), add it to the link up widget – found on either Polly’sAngie‘s, Emma’s or on Eppie’s blogs – from the 1st of the month.
As ever, there are no rules – all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; make a few comments here and there and tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love. It’s always a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!

 

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Lunch at the Kitchen – Lux Le Morne

While we were staying in Mauritius, we took a stroll down the beach from our hotel, the St Regis, and came across the 5 star Lux Le Morne hotel, which also had a dramatic view of the majestic Le Morne.

Le Morne is an UNESCO World Heritage site and the location of the hotel is highly privileged as the beach surrounding it has white, powder soft sand and is spectacular.

We were feeling peckish so we wandered in and asked if we could have lunch there, as there was a beautiful decking area with a gorgeous view of Le Morne. The restaurant was called the Kitchen and is the hotel’s central restaurant.

While we decided what to eat, we nibbled on bread that arrived with a choice of dips.

For drinks I went for a Mojito and Amit tried the local beer, Blue Marlin. The Mojito was not the best I have had and was slightly on the strong bitter side. It was still refreshing on a hot day.

The heat was intense in Mauritius so we opted for lighter dishes for our lunch. The first one was a Papaya Salad and carrot, which was served inside a rice leaf pouch and drizzled with olive oil and with a pink peppercorn crunch. It was lovely and tangy.

Amit opted for a less lighter option and went for a club sandwich with a side of chips and coleslaw. He loved that everything tasted so fresh and the chips (I stole a few) were amazing.

The second of the lighter options was Vietnamese rice spring rolls, which were filled with vegetables and a light soya dressing. It was delish! It was massive too and surprisingly very filling.

The restaurant location was stunning and we found it to be a lovely relaxing spot to have lunch with the sea breeze and the beautiful view.

This was our palm fringed view of the sea on one side which was stunning. It is also a dolphin territory but unfortunately we didn’t spot any that day.

We really enjoyed our lunch and it was nice to try somewhere different so if you are staying around Le Morne during a trip to Mauritius, it is worth checking out the Kitchen at Lux Le Morne.

For more information on Lux Le Morne click here.

 

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Hotel review: Hilton Athens

The 5 star Hilton Athens, is located in central Athens, close to main tourist sites and the Plaka District, as well as being in close proximity to the metro lines.

We stayed at the Hilton Athens for three nights, with breakfast provided, during our trip to Athens. It was our first time visiting Greece and I was overwhelmed by the hospitality.  As we were staying in an executive room, our check in was done in the executive lounge, by a lovely lady called Efi. She was so brilliant at recommending restaurants and tours, that we ended up booking everything through her, as they also provided concierge services in the executive lounge.

Room

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The room, which was on the 12th floor,  was really spacious and we had a view of the Acropolis in the distance. It is more of a business hotel so the interiors were minimalist with a focus more on practicality with a long desk and mini lounge area.

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There was a balcony, which if I had visited in a warmer month, would definitely have spent some time blogging in as even when I went outside in January, the cool crisp fresh air was so lovely.

The bathroom was beautiful and had both a bathtub and a shower and was large compared to other hotel bathrooms. I loved the grey and white marble design and did manage to have a lovely soak in the tub after a long day of sightseeing.

Restaurants/Breakfast

The breakfast spread at the Hilton was magnificent. It was a massive buffet choice ranging from fresh fruits, cereals, pastries, cold meats, cheeses to hot dishes which included breakfast classics as well as Greek specialities, such as their spinach pie, which I have to say is amazing. I was totally down with eating feta cheese for breakfast too. The feta cheese in Athens compared to the one you buy in the supermarket back home are so different in taste!

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They also had amazing croissants so I was very happy!

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I also ordered in room service on one day and was so impressed by the way it was presented! I had opted for french toast with maple syrup and strawberries as well as a coffee, but look at this spread that arrived!

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For lunch, we had amazing food at the Byzantino restaurant too. Our dishes were presented beautifully and the service was on point. We had gone for a Greek salad with quinoa and a baked goats cheese roll in kataifi dough with spicy tomato marmalade.

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There are 4 other restaurants but unfortunately we didn’t get to try them.

We did, however, try the cocktails at the Galaxy Bar and Restaurant, which is on the rooftop with a spectacular view. At night it is so magical!

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They had heaters on so it was perfect sitting outside in the evenings. They have a beautiful bar and lounge area inside too. It is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink or a catch up and has a lovely ambience and vibe. The cocktails are really delicious too!

If you are staying on the Executive floor, you also have complimentary meals at the Executive lounge and it is a great place to relax with a coffee or tea too.

Amenities

The hotel has a beautiful spa which I am so gutted I didn’t get a chance to use, especially as access to the indoor heated pool, sauna and other aspects are included for those guests staying on the executive floor. The pool looked amazing!

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They also have a gym, which Amit used each day and was really happy with the equipment that they had and said it was all top of the range.

They also have an outdoor pool, which we could see from our room, but it is open during the summer months and as we went in January, we could not use it.

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All in all we were so happy with the hotel and especially the location, as a taxi ride to anywhere cost under 10 euros!

The service was excellent and the staff were always willing to help. They always gave us such fantastic tips on what we should do to get the most out of our trip and always had a warm friendly smile.

The hotel was busy during our stay as there was a conference going  on, but we really didn’t feel it as it was a large hotel and with so many restaurants, it was easy to get a table at breakfast, for example.

If you are thinking of visiting Athens and are looking for a convenient and lovely hotel to stay at in the central part, the Hilton Athens ticked all the boxes for us.

Thank you Hilton Athens for a memorable stay and for looking after us s0 well.

For more information click here.

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5 things to do in a day in Monaco

Whenever I thought of Monaco I imagined it to be all glitz and glamour with high rollers, luxury cars and well dressed people decked out in designer apparel. James Bond came to mind as it was one of the locations for Goldeneye and Never Say Never Again, where the  Casino Monte Carlo was featured.

I visited Monaco and Monte Carlo as part of a day trip shore excursion whilst on my Mediterranean cruise with P&O Cruises, and we arrived via sea. You can, however, if you want a totally luxe experience, arrive in a private helicopter or alternatively for a more affordable option, take a bus from Nice, if you are vacationing there.

Monaco is such an ideal destination for a day trip if you want a taster of it, and here were our highlights. I would like to go back and experience it for a night or two though and check out the food scene and the night life.

An amazing view from the Rock

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With a view of the Mediterranean sea and the port, the Rock is a fantastic vantage point for photo opportunities as well as marvel at the various yachts lined up below at the port. It has a breathtaking view and is worth a visit. It is located in Monaco-Ville, which is also where the Old town is. Close to the Prince’s palace and you can wait here while you wait for the time slot for the changing of the guards at the palace.

The Place du Casino

All things luxurious at the Place du Casino, the epicentre of all things haute in Monte Carlo.

 

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It is also home to the Casino Monte Carlo, which opens its doors to the public at 2pm and it is worth going inside to have a look. There is no dress code and if you are feeling lucky you can try your hand at roulette.

For an extra glamourous stay, there is also the Hotel De Paris 😉

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The Café de Paris Monte-Carlo

This totally instagrammable  Café de Paris Monte-Carlo, also on the Place du Casino, has been legendary since 1868 and is a fabulous spot for people watching, lunch, dessert or mojitos 😉

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The Cathedral

Located in the old town of Monaco, the Neoclassical Cathedral, where the much-loved Princess Grace of Monaco lies at rest, is one not to miss. This 19th century cathedral is gorgeous both on the outside and in and is made from white La Turbie stone. It is really lovely to see inside.

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Changing of the guard

It is so worth watching the changing of the guard ceremony at the Prince’s Palace, where the royal family still resides today.

It happens daily at 11:55 a.m. and is really fun to see. As it is located near the rock, the old town, and other sites, it is worth spending time in the area.

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Have you been to Monaco? What were your highlights? Would love to know in the comments below.