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.

 

Italian Fare at Theo Randall at The Intercontinental, Park Lane

The Dynamic Duo have visited a lot of Italian restaurants lately, such as Padella Pasta and Fucina, but we were super excited to try out Theo Randall’s restaurant at The Intercontinental, having had a masterclass with the man himself as well as a brunch date earlier last year at his Theo’s Simply Italian.


To our delight, he came over to say hello, exclaiming “Binny! Aftab!” as he walked to our table, and posing for a photo too. Just a testament to what a lovely guy he is. So warm, friendly and welcoming.


The interiors were lovely, elegant and had a romantic air to the room. Theo talked us through the options on the menu leaving us wanting everything! However, we decided to be sensible and pick wisely.

To start off with, Theo sent some crunchy and crispy zucchini fries to the table for us to nibble on, which were so delicious. I had never tried zucchini fries before and loved them.

No Italian meal is complete without Bruschetta and Theo’s version was divine and exceeded expectations with the velvety slow roasted tomatoes, olive oil and infusion of garlic. Mamma mia!

The starters were pretty filling so we decided to be sensible and order light starters. I think Aftab and I have now realized our limit and capacity as we did have an incident last year where our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we possibly ordered what felt like the whole menu!

The Insalata Mista, which was mixed Italian leaves with datterini tomatoes, cucumber, fresh basil and caprino fresco, was so lovely, fresh and refreshing.

The Mozzarella di Bufala, which was Buffalo mozzarella with grilled marinated red peppers, farinata, cicorino, swiss chard and Taggiasche olives, was really tasty too and my personal favourite from the two.

As we were feeling a little full already, we opted to have the Primi as our mains choices. Starting with the incredible  Pappardelle con cavolo nero, a must order! I have never had Papparedelle in this way and it was heavenly.


The Ravioli di zucca, which was Ravioli of roasted delica squash, ricotta and marjoram with butter and sage, was equally as delightful and basically we devoured it all.

For dessert, Theo had arranged for a selection for us to try which included Amalfi lemon tart, Soft chocolate cake with crema di mascarpone, Rhubarb Panna Cotta and almond cake. The lemon tart and chocolate cake were my favourites and the perfect sweet end to a fabulous meal.

Paired with our dessert, was a glass of Moscato. I love dessert wine and it was the perfect drink to compliment the variety of desserts we tried.

The meal was superb and the service was excellent. If you are looking for a fantastic Italian restaurant, with a lovely ambience, for a date night or special occasion, Theo Randall at the Intercontinental is perfect.

We also had pre-drinks at the bar which were served up theatrically, and so definitely worth checking out the bar too!

 

 

Our drinks and meal were complimentary but all views are my own.

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.

 

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!

 

Pasta in a Thyme and Oregano infused Tomato Sauce

Want to make a romantic dish for your other half or simply adore pasta? This recipe is filled with lots of tomato love and aromatic herbs and is absolutely delicious! It is so easy to cook yet such an impressive and such a hearty meal.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta shells of your choice
  • 1 carton Cirio Polpa Fine Finely Chopped Tomatoes with Basil (360g)
  •  1 can Cirio Pomodorini Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig Oregano
  • handful Thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Method:

  1. Boil your pasta and cook for the length indicated on the packaging.
  2. In the meantime, in a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil on medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and peppercorns, and sautee for 5 minutes, before adding the Cirio Finely Chopped Tomatoes with Basil.
  4. Now add the salt, rosemary, thyme and oregano.
  5. Mix well and cover the pan and let this cook for around 10 minutes.
  6. Now add the Cirio Cherry Tomatoes.
  7. Add the pasta in and mix well.
  8. Garnish with a few oregano leaves.
  9. Eat hot.

This post is in collaboration with Cirio UK, whose range of Tomato products have been much loved for Italian cooking since 1856. Even Antonio Carluccio loves them and earlier last year I had the opportunity to interview him, which you can read about and watch here.

The Cheese and Wine Corner at The Montagu, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

Sweet dreams are made of cheese…Who am I to dis a Brie! It was said that Sir Winston Churchill, who the luxurious Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is named after, was a massive cheese lover and would indulge in a cheese board every day, especially after a meal. I mean what could be more sublime than that?

Taking inspiration from him, we headed over to the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill for the Cheese and Wine experience at The Montagu, the gorgeous restaurant housed inside the Hyatt, on a drizzly Sunday evening, and had an absolutely wonderful time. In fact we sat there for 2 hours, chatting whilst enjoying the cheese, wine and sherry and it was a splendid, and very charming way to spend our evening.

The ambience was amorous and relaxing, with a pianist playing classical and popular tunes in the background. She was really good and part of the reason why we found it so difficult to leave!

A good cheese board makes all the difference and the cheeses available are a selection of Alsop & Walkers finest cheeses. A lot of the cheeses are award winning cheeses and after you try them you can totally understand why! I truly appreciate the quality of cheese and will be on the hunt for Alsop & Walkers cheese after this.

We opted to sit on the high chairs at the counter and chat to Laszlo, who was explaining how the concept worked, and told us a little bit about each cheese, before artfully creating the ultimate cheese board for us to enjoy. You can choose to stand or return to your table if you are seated within the main restaurant too.

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At first, we were treated to a glass of Champagne, which was the perfect way to break the ice and relax, especially as the weather outside had been pretty horrific. Soon we were transported to cheese heaven!

The selection of Cheeses that we tried were a Sussex Truffle Brie, Lord London, Sussex Crumble, Sussex Farmhouse, Golden Cross Goats Cheese and a Sussex Blue.

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The best part of the experience (alongside eating the cheese), was how Laszlo talked us through each cheese, before slicing them like a pro! I certainly won’t be sharing pictures of my home made cheese boards after this!

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I learned so much about the cheese, and fun facts such as the Lord London, which is a semi soft bell shaped cheese,  was a bronze medal winner at the world cheese awards in 2010.

My absolute favourite was the Sussex Truffle Brie – an absolutely genius cheese, especially if you are a truffle fan. It was soft cows milk cheese with a layer of truffles in the centre sandwiched between the cheese and the aroma was just dreamy!

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To accompany each cheese, we had a selection of grapes, Quince jelly, Pickled yellow beetroot, Celery, Pecan nuts, Pine nuts, Pumpkin seeds and homemade gooseberry compote.

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Freshly made potato and grilled breads were a welcome treat too as were a variety of crackers which included classic, wheat, dried fruit and charcoal flavours.

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The selection of sliced cured meats were delectable and we were spoilt with Parma Ham, Smoked Ham, Salami and Chorizo.

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Paired with the cheese, was a gorgeous red wine from South Africa, and Laszlo also suggested we tried the Sherry with the cheese.

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We were really well watered to say the least and thoroughly enjoyed trying the cheese with the various drinks!

The cheese board itself was literally the cheese board of dreams and this is how the final board looked.


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You can tell from the expression on my face that I was totally in my element and Amit already knew that we would be returning again for this experience!

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Literally the best cheese board I have ever enjoyed! The entire experience was delightful and it is a captivating and enchanting way to spend an evening. If you fancy a light supper but something different, this is absolutely perfect. Alternatively, you could take Winston Churchill’s habits and indulge after dinner!


There is nothing more romantic than sharing a cheese board and sipping on delicious wine while catching up and it is such a fabulous idea for a date night or even Valentine’s (hint hint). The concept works extremely well for a catch up with friends too or even a unique way to impress a business client.

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You can choose between two, four or six cheeses with the cured meats and a house red or white wine at varying prices. I can’t recommend this enough as an alternate to afternoon tea or just something different and indulgent, especially if you love cheese. It was splendid.

For more information about the Cheese and Wine corner click here.

I was a guest of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill but all views and photos are my own.