Category: Travel

Summer of Love; Barcelona & Sitges

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I’ve been making the most of the surprisingly sunny British summer but had a moment to experience some proper heat on a weekend trip to Barcelona celebrating a wedding and generally getting out and about. Barcelona is one of my favourite cities due to amazing architecture, beautiful pristine clean streets and a rich artistic heritage. Barcelona also has some half decent beaches in the centre, making it a dreamy location, plus some more impressive ones on the outskirts, Castelldefels and Sitges. The wedding took me to a quaint suburb, Sarria where I was hosted in a stunning farmhouse and ate the best Spanish and European food til I couldn’t move! I had an action packed weekend and came back needing another holiday but it was all worth it!

Selfie from the amazing balcony at Hotel Zenit

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Selfies in Sitges

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Sitges town and the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla, & Castelldefels

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Ended my day in Sitges admiring a chilled out cat and eating Octopus with Fried Spinach balls

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Sagrada Familia

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Park Guell and Gaudi’s House

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Stunning church in Sarria and wedding of the year!

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Wedding outfit and new Rosa Pietsch  jewellery coming soon to Realm of Treasure

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African print pre wedding party and vintage day on the beach outfits

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Dreaming of Ibiza and Formentera

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Now that winter has properly arrived here in London it seems like the perfect moment to mentally revisit my Ibiza and Formentera break – a girls trip this September. Its definitely helping me get over my winter blues even if I’m now am itching to be transported to any hot place with a beach right now. For now the pics will have to do. My trip wasn’t the typical 18 to 30’s clubbing venture and I was pleasantly surprised to see how much more the island has to offer. The landscape is dramatic and the north of the island- where we stayed is calm and serene. Plus I even got to do business when visiting the famous hippy market, Punta Arabi, in Es Canar. I brought some amazing pieces back for my market stall at Broadway market‘s schoolyard and will be also adding them soon to www.realmoftreasure.com

Amazing scenery near the Punta Arabi market of Es Canar

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Punta Arabi

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Hotel Beach

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Giant cocktails

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Getting the boat from the harbour to FormenteraIMG_20150909_133220166  IMG_20150909_133555589_HDR IMG_20150909_133633678_HDR IMG_20150909_133807159_HDR

Beautiful but weird and desert like FormenteraIMG_20150909_150437034 IMG_20150909_150117429

Salt lakes- this is how the make it – the trip was even educational

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Stunning Formentera beach

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Day party at Playa d’En Bossa for a tame bunch who couldn’t handle a proper Ibiza night out! Maybe next time?IMG_20150910_171706774

Me wearing an amazing necklace from the hippy market

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Holidays Part 2; Paradise in St Lucia

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Am writing this at a time of major change in my life- new job/ career which is fantastic but has also been a quite stressful few weeks. So this is the perfect time for me to reminisce on my blissful time in St Lucia last month where I spent time with my mum who lives there. It was an active trip but I enjoyed every second and restored my energy each evening when chilling on my mums balcony which has a stunning view of the sea and famous mountains and world heritage site, the Pitons. Although I love the beach I could never be a holiday beach bum so managed to pack in trekking through the rainforest, visiting the volcano and sulphur springs, attending the St Lucia Jazz festival, going to a fish themed street party and catching lizards with the national trust on Maria Island! I also got to learn more about the work of the Vieux Fort Children’s home which is being funded by the Jermaine Defoe foundation. You can learn more about there work on their Facebook page- feel free to add them; https://www.facebook.com/vieux.home?fref=ts. or check out their wesite http://thevieuxfortchildrenssociety.weebly.com/who-are-we.html. Due to the good whether, fresh food and general good vibes I still managed to come back refreshed- albeit a bit tired!

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sulphur 5 At the hot Suphur Springs on the volcano

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At Jalouse beach in between the pitons- its down a steep hill so we took this cute buggy

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My grans local beach!

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Wild plants, fruit in the rainforest

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Stunning view from Mums balcony and the adorable resident dogIMG_20150502_192704503 IMG_20150502_201636967

Eating Langoustine and turtle at the fish festivalIMG_20150503_075546008 IMG_20150503_075612236

My friend from neighbouring Guadeloupe chilling at my mums local beach

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Saw some classic calypso and more modern soca at the St Lucia Jazz festival mini concert in Vieux FortIMG_20150504_100924188 IMG_20150504_100926602 IMG_20150504_104552174 IMG_20150504_111353375 IMG_20150504_123220784 IMG_20150504_124726153 IMG_20150504_125646330

The beautiful beach, Lizards and view from Maria Islands where I went with the National Trust to watch their lizard survey. One of the poor creatures got panicked and shed its tail in front of my eyes. I had only just learnt they can do this so was quite stunned!

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On a boat ride past the Pitons to Anse Chastenet beach, famous for snorkellig. I saw some beautiful fish but called it a day after seeing a young Barracuda and what I thought was a snake but in fact a yellow eel!

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One of my final trips and birthday treat involved a meal at Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant and hotel. They only have shops in the UK but the cocoa comes from this plantation. The meal was curry and rice infused with Cacao nibs and it actually went well together. Dessert speaks for itself!

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The beauty of the Islands continued to the skies with this incredible cloud formation en route back to the UK. God really is the Great Artist!

Holidays Part One, Jamaica & Trinidad

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Am currently feeling refreshed and jetlagged at the same time having just returned from a trip to my Caribbean homelands Jamaica and St Lucia- plus a day in Trinidad. I’m lucky enough to have family living in my two favourite Islands- mum in St Lucia and grandad in Jamaica so got to spend time with loved ones, get an experience of real life on the Islands whilst doing some touristy stuff – a perfect mix! I started off in Jamaica where I’ve been the past few years in a row but I always find it equally amusing simply watching the energetic often hot headed people and the hustle and bustle in the local markets. I also arrived in time for the annual curry festival. Coming here makes me realise where my passion for food comes from as Jamaicans love their food that they have individual festivals for national favourite food types such as the Crab fest, Jerk Chicken fest, Fried fish Fest and Breadfruit fest(Caribbean starchy vegetable) – these are just the ones I ‘ve seen recently so there are probably more. I made the most of the food and drink and of course the beach.

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7 miles of white sand in Negril

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With mum at the curry fest in Savanna La Mar

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Curried goat

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Curried prawn

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Jerk pork – Jamaicans are not afraid to see where their meat comes from!

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Teaching grandad to selfie

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Grandads puppy

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Cocktails at a beach bar negril. Am wearing jewellery from www.realmoftreasure.comIMG_20150427_105432536

Guinness cheesecake at the airport- Jamaica has the best alcoholic treats!

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Spotted this unfortunate lonely fish washed up on the shore in Trinidad

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Beautiful morning on Macqueripe beach, Trinidad, before flying to St Lucia in the afternoon- a busy 2 days! Oh and i spotted Levi Roots on my plane after seeing Nick Canon in Negril- my lack of pics shows I’m not too much of a celeb follower as it took me too long to put the faces to names.

Marseille Part 2: Boat Trip and Bouillabaisse

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The final part of my trip involved a boat trip  to the stunning islands of Frioul. The most famous one is If, which is the where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned ( I don’t know much about the story but found out its fictional) but I was only able to go to Pomegues and Rattoneau- more than enough! The boat ride in its self was an amazing experience- I love being near, on or in water so will never pass the opportunity for a boat trip but this one was really special. The views of Marseille were some of the best I’ve seen and even rivalled those from the top of the hill at Notre Dame de La Garde cathedral. The actual Islands were one of the most serene places I’ve ever visited but due to my spontaneous decision to go quite late I seemed to be the only person there which was a bit creepy at times, especially for a Londoner! I was still able to make the most of the serenity and stand in awe of mother nature and the beauty of my surroundings.

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The Mucem is a Fort transformed into a concert venue!

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One of the many stunning views of Notre Dame de la Garde

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The Island of If with the infamous prison

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One of the many hiking trails on the islands I visited- this is the only one I managed thanks to the steps!

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The walkway connecting Pomegues and Ratonneau

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To make the trip even more memorable the friendly ticket guy invited me into the drivers cabin on the way back and also treated me to a serenade with songs in French plus his native Russian and Italian- He even added a little dance!

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Back on land I took in stunning views of the Vieux Port harbour at night

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After my mini hike (even if there were steps) I had a well deserved Bouillabaisse (fish stew) for which Marseille is famous. I went all out having mine with lobster. It was a very messy but worthwhile eating experience which involved adding whole not deboned fish- plus the lobster into the  stew so there’s were lots of splashes, bones and lobster shell everythere- not the best dish for someone as clumsy as me- but tasty.

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On the last day the sun ironically decided to shine- I sadly left in the afternoon but at least got an hour of it and enjoyed a view of Notre Dame de La Garde without the clouds. I wore a bright dress to celebrate the sun’s appearance and took one last photo of a sunny Marseille from the plane before heading back to a cold London- where I will remain until further notice.

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J’Adore La France; Marseille Part 1

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I’ve always wanted to check out Marseille as I intend to gradually make my way to all the major cities and the quaintest villages of France. I’ve made a small dent in the country having visited the Cote D’or, Cote D’Azure, Lille, Bordeaux, Limoges, La Plagne (French Alpes), Versaille, and have the fondest memories of my Erasmus year studying in Paris ( a million years ago). Marseille has always been near the top of my list despite it taking me so long to get there. Its known as being one of the most multicultural places in France which in my mind, and rightly so, translates as lively. Plus its on the coast so what more can you ask for than a vibrant setting and a beach! Sadly going in March meant my swimwear had to stay put but I still got to enjoy the harbour and the stunning landscape which still were breathtaking on the gloomiest grey days.

En route the sun was shining over La Manche (English Channel) but sadly didn’t make it Marseille in time for my weekend there. At least I got to experience some sun even if still on the plane!

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I stayed with a friend in the very chic Panier district which hosts a pristine shopping mall with its own terrace and harbour.

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The Musee de Beaux Art (Museum of fine art)/ Palais Lonchamps lives up to its name as the building is one of the most impressive works of architecture I have seen and the variety of art on the inside was surprising for such a small museum. It was great to see dignified portraits of Africans & Arabs alongside those of French aristocracy plus a vast collection of imposing sculptures. Plus I loved the random Giraffe in front of the Giraffe theatre which is located in the building in addition to the Natural History Museum.

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Another lofty heritage site is the church Notre Dame de La Garde which I couldn’t help comparing to Montmartre in Paris due it being situated on a hill with Panoramic views of the city. I can’t decide which I loved more about Marseille’s guardian church , the details of building, its striking interior or the views – it was an overwhelming experience and the pictures don’t really do it justice but I tried!

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The Vieux Port (Old Port) is the heart of Marseille surrounded by restaurants and bars  serving the cities signature dish, bouillabaisse (fish stew which I’ll show in my next post) and an array of wonderfully fresh seafood- so a paradise for me.

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Mussel soup

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Prawn Tagliatelli

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I also stumbled across the smallest and cutest market ever selling traditional Marseillaise soap which the city is famous for (amongst other craft, jewellery and gourmet food of course).

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I had a taste of the Marseille night life in the White Rabbit bar which had a Shoreditch (east London hipster area) vibe. I think the rule for working behing the bar here is to be bearded, tattooed or both (the latter for men only thankfully). It was fun but not an out of the ordinary experience for me but I’ll definitely remember the delicious cucumber cocktail.  I did my part to represent east London wearing jewellery from my boutique http://www.realmoftreasure.com which is also sold at East London’s finest, Broadway Market, but showed my respect to the locals by wearing a dress  & shoes that I bought there. Oh and I spotted a fellow Brit- Susan Boyle.

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Finally- a random cheapo shop with an ironic logo tee stating ‘I love to see your money hanging in my closet’- well not if you buy the 5 euro boots?!

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Competition; Win $150 from Wolftress

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Wolftress is a brand after my own heart selling ethically made fashion and jewellery plus celebrating different cultures from around the world. I was excited to find out about their Instagram competition giving a lucky winner the chance to win $150 to spend on their beautiful collections. Wolftress are looking for the next cultural gem on which to base their new collection so to enter you need to upload a travel photo on Instagram suggesting a country of your choice using the hashtag #inspirewolftress and tagging @wolftresspack. Head over to my instagram to see my choice- If you’ve been following my blog for a while you could probably guess where! I hope you all take part and good luck!

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