Beach Days: West Wittering

It’s a rarity that we have a bank holiday weekend in the UK and glorious weather but that is exactly what happened this weekend. The sun was well and truly shining and what better way to spend the day than on the coast.

We knew it was likely to be heaving but we have been so busy of late with weddings and holidays and renovating our house we thought this is the only option for a quiet day of doing nothing. So it was decided we would get up early and make the trip down to West Wittering in West Sussex. 

We have a lovely little dog who we like to take with us on as many adventures as possible and as he has never been to the beach before this trip was all about him. 

The Wittering’s are very dog friendly- they can’t go on the whole beach between May and September- the main section in front of the beach huts is off limits but it is plenty large enough for them to frolick away from this area- and truth be told much better as the rest of the beach in front of the sand dunes was lovely and quiet even on the busiest of days. 


The Wittering’s are around an hour and half’s a drive from London and it’s a relatively easy drive. Parking is plentiful- there is a big expanse of grass to park on which is pay and display- £8 in summer I believe it’s £6 in low season so make sure you have cash. The area is well catered for with toilets and a cafe selling ice cream, the obligatory fish and chips and any other refreshments you might need.

You can bring BBQs and all the catering you desire with many people setting up camp on the grass in the car park before making way to the beach. 

The water was very calm and shallow- perfect for dogs to paddle in and the wide expanse of beach means mans best friend can really let loose. 


The glorious soft white sand in the dunes was a lovely secluded spot to sit and let the pup calm down after the excitement of playing with so many dogs and experiencing the sea for the first time- he ran in after a big lab chasing a ball and got quite a shock when just his head was out of the water. 

For me this is the perfect dog walking spot before the crowds arrive- and probably even better out of season. 


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Copenhagen 

The only thing I knew about Copenhagen before visiting was it’s a good place to visit for a foodie trip- and that it was but there is so much more to this Danish city than just good food.

Ok so it’s very small, and yes there aren’t that many sights to see but it’s just so calm and quiet and nice! One thing they are very proud of is Hans Cristian Anderson. He appears a lot in Copenhagen from the very tiny statue of the little mermaid and subsequent replicas everywhere to the places he lived, and many streets bearing his name.  Carlsberg is another as well as the best cinnamon pastry I have ever eaten- ever- it was huge and delicious! 

Yes I did say there is more to Copenhagen than just food but it’s so good! 

Paper island or papiron is a street food market on the harbour- an old warehouse full of different street food stalls. The food is delicious and it has such a nice chilled out atmosphere. You can get an array of food from pulled duck to vegan burgers and beer and coffee. We went at night and it was the perfect spot for an authentic, relaxed dinner. 



There are sites to see- most of which offer views of this small town and are free so you can have a good look around. 

The harbour is a main feature of Copenhagen and it’s beautiful. Lined with bars and restaurants to enjoy a cold beer in the sun. 


Shopping is great, they everything from small Independents to high street labels and luxury brands. As you would expect there were lots of home interior shops with lots of lovely prints and pottery in the typical Danish style.


One of the man attractions has got to be the tivoli gardens amusement park. We went just out of season by a matter days so the gardens were still closed,  but it would definitely be on my must do list for a return trip. 


It is expensive, everything in Copenhagen is expensive but as you would expect so come prepared but this relaxed charming city is definitely worth a visit. 

Venice 

Lovely Venice, like no place else on earth, it really is one of a kind and a must visit on everyone’s travel list. 

The hubby and I were in need of a long weekend to get away from house renovations and like most people Venice was always somewhere we talked about going but never seemed to book. So we had a long weekend free and decided to pull our socks up and make Venice our destination. 

What a perfect weekend it turned out to be, tiring yes- Venice is a place for walking and walking and getting lost and doing some more walking (so comfy shoes really are a must) yet at the same time being outside all day everyday, feeling the wind in your hair it was so relaxing!

It is very small- so all that walking is in a confined area and really lets you see everything the place has to offer- occasionally multiple times. Around every corner you are met with picture perfect views, if Instagram created a city- Venice is surely it. 


It is very touristy, we went in March and even then- out of season it was really busy. Planning is key, we knew exactly what we wanted to do when whilst still leaving plenty of time to wander and sit by the canal drinking Spritz’s in the sun. It’s a place for people watching and bagging the best tables is tricky business. If you see a free table on the water front- don’t hang about grab it quick!

The architecture is amazing, its unfathomable to think how the place was built and is still standing today with doors to nowhere making it all the more beautiful.


You don’t need a lot of time to see Venice so a weekend break is perfect- below are a few ideas of what to do.

1. Take a private water taxi for your airport transfer. It’s a tad indulgent but so much fun speeding into Venice. You can also get a shared taxi for less of the cost but still much quicker than getting the public boat. 

2. Take a gondola ride- yes its touristy, yes it’s expensive but your in Venice!! Where else would you do this? It’s nice to get up close and personal with the canals- and yes in places there is a smell…


3. Enjoy a gelato!! They are the best! Who doesn’t love ice cream and a sweet treat when your sight seeing is always handy. 

4. Visit the wonderful bookshop- Books everywhere, there is even a staircase out the back made entirely from books. 


5. Visit the doges palace and see the view from inside the bridge of sighs. 


6. Take a tour of nearby islands for a look at a quieter way of Venetian life and marvel at the beautiful coloured houses. 


7. Enjoy coffee as the venetians do,knock back an espresso standing at the counter with a delicious sweet treat to accompany. The perfect pick me up! 

8. Enjoy an al fresco lunch. I’m a huge foodie and every trip we take must focus on trying as many delicious eateries as possible-Venice didn’t disappoint. 


Make sure this is one place you tick off your travel list… 

Where to stay.

We flew with BA from London Heathrow to Marco Polo and stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky.

The Hilton is a large hotel on a separate island but a mere ten minute boat ride away from San Marco. The hotel offers a free shuttle service that is great- it’s so quick and efficient. We were slightly concerned with vein away from the main area but didn’t need to at all. It was so easy to get about and the area the hotel was in was lovely and quiet and had some delicious places to eat. The hotel was large, great breakfast with lots of choice and a fantastic rooftop bar with views of the lagoon. 

Our room was a really good size and very comfortable- we opted for a room with a view- when in Venice! 

New York, New York

When it’s a bank holiday weekend and a birthday weekend there really is only one thing for it- a trip to the big apple!! 

Now I was lucky enough to be treated to a surprise weekend in New York for my birthday and it was the BEST birthday present a girl could ask for. 

The weather was a glorious 30 degrees Celcius, sun shining everyday which made being out and about sight seeing even more enjoyable. 

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in a club room which meant we had access to the lounge for refreshments throughout the day which was good although as most of our time was spent away from the hotel we didn’t take full advantage of what was on offer. Rooms were a decent size although rather dark and noisy but then again this is the city that never sleeps!! 

New York is the most amazing city break, we walked for miles so comfy shoes are a must as well as lots of cash for all that shopping… And eating…

There are far too many activities for just one trip but we managed to pack in as many as we could. Below is a small selection:

1. Hire a row boat at Central Park:

  

2. Take the ferry to see the statue of liberty:

 

3. Take a helicopter ride:

  

  
4. Gaze at the lights in Times Square: 

 

5. Admire the view from the top of the Empire State Building:

  
6. Shop till you drop- there are loads of places to choose from, the famous 5th avenue, Bloomingdales and the list goes on…

  

7. Cool off with an ice cream from one of the many ice cream vans: 

8. Enjoy some amazing food:

9. See a show on Broadway. There are so many to choose from it would be rude not to. 

10. Take a stroll… Whether it’s through Central Park, downtown, uptown or anywhere about town there are so many amazing things to see. 

   
          

  

Travel: What’s in my Bag 

When travelling whether it’s long or short haul there are some inflight essentials to make sure your journey is a little bit better. 

We all know dehydration is an issue when flying and so I like to bring some beauty products to help combat the signs of dehydration– apart from drinking lots of water of course Elizabeth Ardens 8 hour lip repair balm is perfect for keeping lips soft and supple- with this balm they will never dry out. 

Hand cream is also a must for me, my absolute favourite is l’occitance almond hand cream that’s stops dry hands in a second. 

Anti bacterial wipes are another must and I never go travelling without them. Planes can be grubby places and it’s easy to spill food and drink so these always come in handy.

Travel wallet: Aspinal of London. I love the bright turquoise of this and the sumptuously soft interior- perfect for keeping all important documents in one place for hassle free travelling. 

All my essentials are always wrapped up in a spacious tote bag- I end up taking lots of items in my hand luggage and a roomy bag helps minimise those panic moments when you can’t find something in your crammed hand luggage. 

  

Dubai: Sofitel The Palm Resort and Spa

Having just returned from a long weekend break in Dubai I am immediately longing to return. 

When your in 30 degree heat whilst it’s snowing at home and it only took 7 hours to get there with no sign of jet lag it’s a pretty good feeling. 

We stayed on the Palm at the Sofitel resort and spa so we could enjoy a quiet relaxing break lounging in the sun. The hotel was lovely, quiet, spacious rooms with a huge waterfall shower and the biggest bed I have ever seen. Dining options were a plenty and the food was good, typical Dubai prices though.

With a vast area of private beach to relax on, loungers, parasols and beach games were provided as well as multiple pools that were heated to the perfect temperature, there was enough to keep us happy.  

It did cloud over on a few occasions during our stay but the temperature remained high so it was still nice to be outside and not have to wear multiple layers.

         

The only problem we found was with the construction occurring in the area.  This was our second visit to Dubai and I thought it would have improved, but I was wrong. The traffic on the only road out of the palm to the city was horrendous which I have to say did ruin our plans somewhat. The hotel failed to notify anybody so we walked out to get a taxi for our evening reservations to be told there was at least a two hour delay. Not something you want at the best of times but when your only option of transport is a taxi on the meter it’s not going to happen. 

We did manage to venture out though and paid a visit to the famous Burj Al Arab, or the sail as it’s commonly referred to. This is a hotel on a whole other level. Luxurious to the max, we visited the sky view bar on the 27th floor with its views across the city. A huge cocktail menu with some of the best I have ever tasted and impeccable service but at a huge price. It’s an experience but an expensive one. 

   
           I will definitely be returning but perhaps waiting a little while in the hope some of the construction affecting the palm will have finished.

I do think this is one place that will never cease to develop any available space, let’s hope it doesn’t ruin the Dubai dream… 

The Villa- Grace Santorini

We were fortunate enough to be able to stay in The Villa at Grace Santorini whilst enjoying our honeymoon and it was an experience we will never forget.

Never mind the totally amazing views that greet you from every angle The Villa is pure unadulterated luxury. The outside area is split into two levels with a pool, loungers, soft seating areas, fire and unobstructed views of the caldera. The upstairs level is where you access the villa, there is a separate second suite, kitchen, main suite, and two outside dining areas and seating, one under cover one in the glorious Greek sunshine. 

There is a huge shower room, an indoor jacuzzi, steam room and massage room. If rest and relaxation is what you are looking for this is the place for you. 

The amazingly talented chef will cook you up whatever your in the mood for and it can be delivered to the villa via a  secret door in the kitchen and laid out  for you to enjoy. 

We had a truley magical time here and I cannot wait to return… Better start saving…. 

   
      

Coworth Park

Coworth Park in Ascot is a truly luxury hotel…

Not only for the horse crowd this charming hotel has all the comforts you would expect, huge four poster bed, spa, acres of land and awesome cocktails, plus the comfiest hotel slippers I have ever experienced. 

Our delightful room was in the mansion house, beautifully decorated with a freestanding copper bath to die for! 

Impeccable service, quiet grounds and little design touches most hotels forget about this is a highly recommended stay.

Tip, restaurants are popular so book in advance. 

Mykonian magic 

As the nights draw in and the weather chills I start to dream about days spent  lounging in the sun and frolicking in the crystal clear waters of Mykonos…

Enjoying gloriously relaxing days with clear blue skies and evenings spent eating and drinking it really is the perfect destination.

Designer shops, amazing fresh food and great wine not to mention the frozen yoghurt this tiny isle has it all.

Two weeks at the Mykonos grand is a pricey trip but with the amazing attention to detail, afternoon ice cream runs and one of the best Greek salads I have ever eaten it is well worth every penny.