8th May 2018 by - No comments

Every year my darling mother and I chose a city to explore! I dont like to be away from home for too long, so weekend city breaks are ideal.

It takes lots of planning but a weekend away in a European city can be so much fun.

This time we chose Italy and historic Rome. My mother had been before but this was my first visit to Italy. So I was super excited as you can imagine.

Where we stayed –

A very good friend of mine who has lived in Rome, and has actually written a fantastic book about her time here, recommended our hotel.

Set in the beautiful, quiet, residential area of Prati, very near the Vatican, this hotel is fabulous! Set in an ancient 19th-century patrician villa, this hotel has been managed for over 45 years by the Pandolfi family that personally tends to its guests by offering the best services.  Enjoy moments of true relaxation, sipping a cocktail in our inviting indoor garden, the perfect place to lay back after a day of business or sightseeing, listening to the fountain’s soft gurgling whilst sitting amongst the mature trees.

The lounge bar provides the ideal ambiance to spend your free time, meeting friends, reading a magazine or organising your day in front of an 18th century fireplace.

We loved staying here, it was like our little piece of heaven after a long day of site seeing.

Where we ate –

We had planned to eat at various places recommended by friends, but when you truly experience Rome, there is so much you want to see that by the end of a long day of sightseeing all you want to do is eat good food at the closest place to the hotel.

So we asked our lovely Concierge to recommend a nice authentic restaurant near the hotel, and we were not disappointed.

L’isola della Pizza is a popular and historic restaurant pizzeria steakhouse in the Prati district near the Vatican City. Famous for the mixed appetisers, pizza, typical Roman pasta and grilled meat. Opened in 1985 by Adele and Vito who still manage with their sons Renzo and Laura with the same passion. Founded as a small pizzeria over the years has grown to become one of the most popular restaurants in Rome.

I absolutely agree, it may look a bit touristic at first glance, but the food is just fantastic! The spaghetti and the pizza were scrumptious! And the bruschetta topped with freshly chopped tomatoes and garlic was to die for.

Places to visit –

The very first thing my mother & I do on a trip to a new city is a ride on a Big Bus tour bus. Not only is it a great affordable way to see a new city, its also a good way to decide what you want to see up close.

The Colloseum was a breathtaking site from the tour bus, and although it would have been nice to visit, with the hot weather and crowds, seeing it from the bus was more than enough for us.

These are the places we visited –

The Trevi Fountain – So much bigger in real life than I imagined. A definite must see, but very crowded so maybe an early morning visit would be best.

The Spanish Steps – Amazing again, the flowers, the piazza, was just wonderful. But again an early visit will mean you beat the crowds. Make sure to see a wonderful museum to the right of the steps, where renowned poet John Keats lived.

The Vatican – Just amazing. A country within a city, just took my breathe away. Make sure to buy your entrance tickets online, otherwise you face lines of up to 4hours long. The Sistine Chapel was just breathtaking.

The Hotel Russie – The enduringly glamorous Hotel de Russie is a captivating mix of old and new, blending modern design with classical architecture. Located on Via Del Babuino, close to the Spanish Steps, the beautiful hotel has striking views over Piazza del Popolo in the center of Rome. From renowned artists and writers to world travellers, Hotel de Russie is the escape of choice for our distinguished guests. My mother and I enjoyed cocktails in the beautiful gardens.

All in all a fantastic city for a weekend away…my next trip to Rome is with the boys x

Websites –

https://www.hotelgiuliocesare.com/hotel/

http://www.isoladellapizza.com/en/history.html

27th March 2018 by - No comments

A weekend away with the kids is our favourite way to see and explore a new city. It is never an easy task but with lots of planning it can be so much fun for the whole family.

Living in London we are lucky enough to be so close to such wonderful European cities, all a short airplane ride away. With the added benefits of technology, checking in and getting to your destination could not be easier.

This past weekend we took the boys to beautiful Amsterdam, my darling husband and I had been before but it was an exciting first for the boys.

So here are my tips & recommendations for a fun weekend away in Amsterdam with kids!

Where we stayed –

We stayed at the Marriott Amsterdam, I got a great rate for a family room via booking.com. The room was immaculately clean, with two huge double beds. The location of the hotel is best for kids as it is right next to the Vondelpark and the two big museums – The Rijksmuseum & The Van Gogh Museum.

Where we ate –

Breakfast –

On our first morning we went to one of our favourite cafes in Amsterdam – Das Bakkerswinkel. There are a few of these dotted around Amsterdam and they are so super child friendly, and the food is great. The boys tried the Dutch favourite – butter on fresh bread topped with chocolate sprinkles!

On the second morning we wanted to try something new so we went to Bakers & Roasters, a short stroll from our hotel. It didnt look like much from the outside, set in a quiet residential street, but inside ot was buzzing! Great coffee, amazing pancakes! The whole family was very happy.

Lunch / Dinner –

We had a fantastic dinner at the American Hotel Cafe. Dating back to the 1800’s this hotel is a National Heritage site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautifully decorated in an art deco style. We booked for an early dinner, but they also serve breakfast & lunch. The food was great, I had a fish soup which was delicious, tge boys loved their choices from the kids menu.

Places to visit –

The Rijksmuseum – is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum. It is filled with the most amazing pieces of art & the dolls house section is definately worth a visit. The book ‘The Miniaturist’ was inspired by these houses.

The Van Gogh Museum – is an art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It comprises 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by Vincent van Gogh. The boys were very excited to see the masterpiece ‘Sunflowers’ in real life.

Anne Frank House Museum – is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht. I would recommend children 10 years and over attend this museum. I think younger children would not really gain or understand the true impact of the museum. It does show quite graphic images from Concentration camps which could be upsetting.

I went along with my older son who has been studying WW2 at school and found it very interesting.

Top tips –

  • Dont eat breakfast in the hotel, instead get out & explore. Eat where the locals eat. Hotel breakfasts are always the same.
  • Book museum tickets well in advance. I booked my tickets in January for our March trip.
  • Use you iphone maps app to get from place to place.
  • Hop on a boat trip to explore the canals. The tours last 1hour and a tour guide points things out along the way.
  • Book your train tickets from the airport to the city center in advance. The journey takes 15mins.
  • Try the fresh mint tea! Its sooo good!

Websites –

http://www.bakersandroasters.com

http://www.debakkerswinkel.nl

https://www.amsterdamamericanhotel.com/en/restaurant/

13th February 2018 by - No comments

We are in sunny Antalya for the half term holidays! It was such a wonderful treat waking up late and seeing blue skies and sunshine.

The sun just lifts your spirits, making the world look so sparkling and fabulous!
I took a long walk by the sea this morning. Breathing in the fresh sea air, it was so invigorating!

Every time I come to Antalya there are places I love to visit.

Ataturk’s home in Antalya is one of my favourites, and a must see for anyone visiting Antalya!

The Museum –

Atatürk’s House (Atatürk Evi ve Müzesi) is a museum that displays the visits the first president of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, made to Antalya in the 1930s.

The current building is an exact replica of the original house where Atatürk stayed and the exhibitions inside are very interesting.

Displays include original items of Ataturk’s clothing, books, furniture.

The museum is located in the center of Antalya right beside the ‘Kale Ici’ area by the port.
It is open daily and entrance is free.

A Must See –

The importance of Ataturk to Turkish people cannot be put into words. He is not only the founder of the Turkish republic, he continues to be an inspiration to Turks of all ages.

This museum is small but must be seen to just get a feel for what type of person this great leader was.

There is no oppulence in his residence. No glittering gold furniture or antiques that would be seen in the Ottoman palaces. The rooms are well furnished but sparce. Elegant and understated.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a man of the people. He was well groomed and took pride in his appearance.

A must see when in Antalya.