A Weekend in Brussels

For the August bank holiday weekend I hopped on the Eurostar to visit one of my best friends in Brussels.

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I hadn’t been back since I was a kid, and I’d also never been on the Eurostar before, but we nabbed such an excellent deal with Eurostar Snap that we just had to make the most of it.

Cafe du Sablon, Brussels

I love visiting friends in different cities. While we ended up doing the usual touristy stuff (checking out Manneken Pis, going to the European Parliament) we mostly ended up relaxing, and eating at the most amazing places.

The coffee was also excellent, and we had a great night out at Madame Moustache. Some of my highlights included:

La Clan Belges, Brussels

Carbonnade at Les Clan de Belges – a meaty and comforting Belgian stew, served with fries.

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A cappuccino at Cafe du Sablon.

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Window shopping on Rue Haute and the Marolles.

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We spent most of our time there walking around, and seeing a lot of the town – we frequented several chocolateries, and picked up some speculoos as souvenirs from Maison Dandoy.

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It wouldn’t have been a proper trip without sampling a lot of beer – and our favourite place was Delirium Cafe, although it is incredibly touristy.

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The waffles were best off of the street, in a van, and the best mussels we had were at Le Pre Sale.

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It was the most beautiful weekend, and I can’t wait to go back again soon!

Have you been to Brussels? Did you go to any of these places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Riga, Latvia

After a wonderful stay in Tallinn, we bundled into our hire car to continue our tour of the Baltics – next stop, Riga.

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The Latvian capital was only just under a four hour’s drive from Tallinn. We had arrived at quite an eventful time – there was so much going on as the city was preparing for midsummer. One of the things I immediately loved about Riga was the attention to detail on all the buildings – the architecture was stunning.

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The midsummer celebrations were a lot of fun – I was probably the only person without flowers in my hair, and they lit a massive bonfire.

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My favourite part of the city was without a doubt the Art Nouveau district – streets after streets of incredible architecture, really stunning.

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Not having had the inside knowledge we’d managed to get for Tallinn, a lot of our meals out were a bit hit-and-miss, but we had one really nice one at 1221 Restorans.

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The few days we spent in Riga were lovely, although Midsummer meant that a lot of the places we would’ve liked to see were closed. Luckily, its a lovely city for walking around in, and really easy to get around. They also seem to have the most well-managed Twitter account of any tourism board I’ve come across, who were super helpful and quick to respond!

My only disappointment of the trip was the old aerodrome. Having seen photos all over Pinterest and fallen in love, I’d enquired (via Twitter) whether or not it was open. Having made everyone get in the car and drive for 45 minutes, we arrived and open it most certainly was not – it was boarded up completely, and looked like it had been for some time. Oops.

Other than that, I had a great time in Riga, and would love to go back to explore further!

Have you ever been to Latvia? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Tallinn, Estonia

The past month has been completely full-on, and non-stop, so finally getting to sit down and write my Tallinn trip up feels like an absolute luxury. I’ve been working on some exciting big projects, as well as doing a big design course, and I can’t wait to bring everything together – watch this space!

Earlier on in the summer we did a trip round the Baltic States, and I had such an incredible time – we started our trip in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Just under 3 hours away from London by air, Tallinn totally surpassed any expectations I had. First of all, it’s absolutely beautiful – in fact, the entire city was so on-point from a design perspective I was somewhat convinced that I was on the set of a Wes Anderson film for most of my stay.

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It’s a fantastic city to walk around and explore in, and there is so much to do – some fantastic museums and cafes, perfect for a romantic weekend break.

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Estonia is also 50% forest, so we took our hire car 30 minutes out of the city centre on a hike in the Pääsküla Bog, which was really beautiful. (Make sure you take bug spray though – I didn’t, and it was the only thing about my Estonia trip I didn’t like).

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Our Airbnb was beautiful, and right in the centre of town, the perfect location in a beautiful old building – I had an amazing stay there.

Another massive bonus for me was the fact that every restaurant I went to in Tallinn was not only delicious, but that most restaurants had their gluten-free options clearly marked on the menu. I had a few friends who had lived/worked in Tallinn, so getting their food recommendations was great, and we didn’t have a single bad meal out there!

Where to Eat in Tallinn

I would be remiss if I didn’t do a list of all the incredible places I ate out at – but I’ll also include the restaurants that were recommended to me, but that I didn’t manage to get to (but definitely plan on ticking off of my list next time)!

Kohvik Maiasmokk

Maiasmokk is the oldest cafe in Tallinn, and is full of old-world charm. Kohvik Maiasmokk, or ‘Sweet Tooth’ Cafe, is largely the same as it has been since 1864 – there’s a cute marzipan display, an adorable mini ferris wheel of tea cups and saucers, and a train full of sweets – its mindnumbingly kitsch but a lovely place to have a coffee and something sweet. They also did the best macchiato I had in Tallinn, so it’s worth going for the coffee alone!

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Maiasmokk is self-service (a relic from the Soviet era) and has some beautiful rooms – its definitely worth having a wander round before you tuck in.

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Von Krahli Aed

I was slightly sceptical about this one at first, only because it is so close to the town centre. Having lived in London and New York, where they tend to keep the crappiest restaurants near the big tourist attractions (like Spaghetti House or Olive Garden) I was wary to say the least.

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Luckily, I was proven incredibly wrong – not only was Aed beautiful inside (they had a nice courtyard, too) it was really delicious – beautifully crafted seasonal and local dishes.

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The others also went nuts for the bread, and ended up buying a loaf to take back home with them.

F. Hoone

F. Hoone is in the incredibly trendy Telliskivi neighbourhood, in an converted warehouse.

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It had a great vibe, and I’d thoroughly recommend their steak tartare!

Kohvik Sesoon

Sesoon is in the list of the Top 50 restaurants in Estonia, and it’s easy to see why – everything I tried was really delicious, but also really reasonably priced. Again, they do seasonal local dishes – I tried the rabbit with fennel and chantarelle puree, which was incredible.

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The other restaurants that were recommended to me, but that I didn’t have time to try, included Rataskeavu 16, kohvik moon, Ribe, cru, rea, sinilind, and cafe Klaus – if you go to any of them, let me know!

All in all, I had such a lovely few days in Tallinn, and would definitely recommend it for a city break!

Have you ever been to Tallinn? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Mima & The Curing House, Middlesbrough

We spent the Sunday after The Raby Hunt wandering around Middlesbrough.

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The weather was absolutely amazing that day, so we checked out the transporter bridge, as well as Anish Kapoor’s Temenos – a 110 metre long and 50 metre high sculpture by the dock.

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We had a little bit of time to kill before lunch, so we stopped of at Mima – the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art – to see the Basil Beattie exhibition. I really liked the gallery – modern, light, with amazing high ceilings.

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My favourite piece was the one below, which made such great use of the space.

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We popped into The Curing House for a spot of Sunday lunch – they usually specialise in Charcuterie, but on Sundays they usually do a roast. I opted for the beef, which was lovely, and it was such a nice venue, too.

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They also had a lovely selection of desserts – I opted for a pannacotta topped with granola.

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Have you been to Middlesbrough? Be sure to comment belowor let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

A Weekend in Wales

When the team at Visit Wales invited me to spend a weekend in Bangor, I was very excited – but I don’t think I could have pictured just how amazing it was all going to be.

Menai BridgeMenai BridgeMy holidays are usually based around food, beaches, museums, and architecture – I’ve never really gone on an adventure holiday before, and really wasn’t sure what to expect. In the original brief, I was going to be spending a weekend in Bangor, going on a high-speed RIB ride around the Menai Strait – and it was only as an afterthought that an afternoon on a zipline course was added, too.

Menai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideI hadn’t really appreciated how stunning this part of the world is. Dramatic, snow capped scenery surrounded us on the RIB ride – a high-speed journey that had our hearts racing.

I really enjoyed the ride, which combined a little bit of local history and sightseeing along with some manoeuvres that had me digging my nails into the seat! I managed to snag the very front of the boat for the last few minutes, and was fully convinced that I was going to fly out of the boat at any moment.

Menai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideAfter a windy trip we headed for a bite to eat at Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn in Beaumaris, where we tried some of the amazing locally sourced seafood.

Menai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideMenai Strait RIB RideIt was only over dinner that I looked at the itinerary for the next day – and my heart almost stopped.

I was expecting something along the lines of what I’d experienced a few months before at Go Ape. What I was not expecting was that Penrhyn Quarry is home to Zip World, the longest zipline in Europe. Not only that, but I would be five hundred feet in the air, at 100 miles per hour. As someone who is terrified of heights, the thought of what I had just signed myself up for filled me with total, utter fear.

Zip World UK, WalesZip World UK, WalesIt was only with a lot of encouragement from my boyfriend that I even managed to get there at all, I was so petrified. Even once I arrived, I remained unconvinced – I burst into tears around three times just at the thought!

First up was the Little Zipper (which is still the fifth biggest zip line in Europe!) I was so, so scared, but the staff at Zip World were so professional, and really reassuring, that once I got going I was able to enjoy zipping over the trees, and I felt like I was flying.

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The biggest challenge, though, was the Big Zipper – even the drive up to the top of the quarry was making me feel dizzy, and once I got up to the top I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.

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Despite all the tears, and all of the fear, I did it! It was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I still can’t quite believe I managed it.

I keep finding myself watching the video of me doing it over and over again – it is something I will never forget.

Zip World UK, WalesZip World UK, WalesI had an absolutely amazing weekend in Wales, and had such an incredible time! It was truly unforgettable, and I can’t wait to go back.

I was invited to Wales, and to try the zip line and RIB ride for the purposes of review – all opinions are fully my own!