A decade of destinations!

Now that 2020 is well underway, I have wanted to write a blog on a decade of destinations that we have been lucky enough to visit over the past ten years or so.  We have celebrated our 15th and 20th wedding anniversaries in that time and had a special 21st last year.

That 21st was spent in the destination we visited on many occasions during the decade, which was Dubai. We first visited here in around 2003 and our daughter has loved it ever since. So she definitely had to be there for her 21st! Then seeing as my parents lived out there for a couple of years, was another reason why it became the most visited destination for us in the years since 2010.

E197404A-3BD3-441E-B11B-1DF4E410A9EFI won’t do too much on Dubai in this post as I’ve also done a post with a bit on it here My top 3 travel destinations for New Year’s Eve

In the summer of 2011 we visited Playa del Carmen in Mexico.  I have to say it definitely has the best looking beaches in the world.  Just stunning white sands with beautiful palm trees  🌴. I just love palm trees, for me it’s a sign of being abroad and somewhere warm!!

Just looking at this picture, you can see what I mean and just look at the colour of the crystal clear aqua sea! No filters here at all!

Now, on my bucket list is to see the seven wonders of the world. These seem to change a lot but at the time and still on the list is Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan site. So glad we went. Was not too far from Playa del Carmen at all and we were able to do the trip in a morning, back to our hotel by the afternoon.

In between there have been some weekend trips to places in the UK as well and in the rest of Europe. One of my favourite places in the UK, would be Carbis Bay in St Ives, Cornwall. Even though we visited in February, we were lucky with the weather and the sun was shining and was not cold at all. The sound of the waves is another of my favourite things and had this been in summer, you would have felt you were abroad. The sea is crystal clear and you may even be lucky enough to spot the odd dolphin from where we stayed at Carbis Bay Hotel .
My favourite weekend break in Europe would be a toss up between the Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera. I never would have thought I would like it as much as I did but loved Nice.  We stayed in an apartment in the old town which was just oozing with character. High ceilings, the classic shutters on windows and the main door which must have been at least 400 years old.


I loved the hustle and bustle of the whole place and it had a ‘feel’ to it which I cannot describe. Perfect weather, food, drink and ‘buzz’ about the place. Of course a visit to Monte Carlo, Monaco is a must just for people and car watching if nothing else!

The Amalfi coastline is just stunning. However, be warned, taxis are very hard to find and once you do, cost a FORTUNE! This was the only downside to the whole weekend. we visited in October and the weather was just perfect. Not too hot yet still sunny and warm. We took a trip to Capri from Positano. Definitely recommend doing this should you go to that area.
2 trips to the USA in this decade. One to LA and Las Vegas and one to Florida to include Orlando, Miami and the Keys (just missed Hurricane Irma by hours..!) These were for our 15th and 20th wedding anniversaries respectively.
Key Largo

Also have been lucky enough to visit in the decade ; Crete, Abu Dhabi, Morocco, Tenerife, Paris, Rome and Scotland to name a few and we finished it all off with a big trip to India at the end of 2019 and into the new decade of the 20s! (Will do a separate Blog post on this).
Looking forward to what this decade holds for us.

My top 3 travel destinations for New Year’s Eve

Now, I consider myself to be quite well travelled and have been to quite a few places around the world.  Eaten at some spectacular and equally not to spectacular restaurants and seen some amazing sunsets and sunrises (the best ever sunrises over the Masai Mara in Kenya) and amazing sunsets we had from our villa in Crete just this summer.

I would like to share with you as we go into this Christmas season, 3 of my top destinations for New Year’s Eve (not in a particular order, just numbered 1-3).  After all the build up and excitement of the run up to Christmas, after we have opened all our presents and eaten our turkey dinner, all seems to bee a bit of anti climax after, but having booked  a holiday for New Year’s Eve alleviates that feeling as you still have something to look forward to!

  1. New York

I am going to go with New York to start off with as I would actually like to visit it myself in the summer as we went for New Year’s Eve one year.  When you come out of the subway and see Times Square for the first time, it really does take your breath away.  The year we went, the Pound was worth almost $2 so we were extremely lucky from the shopping point of view and especially when Footlocker had a deal on of buy a pair of Timberland’s and get another pair free!!!  Now I love to shop and this was just an amazing time to go shopping in New York.  The shops still had all the Christmas displays in the windows which alone were amazing to look at and watch.  It was quite cold but can say as we did a lot of walking, did not really feel it.  However the day we took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, we picked the worst day as it was foggy!!  So I would love to go back to see New York a bit more comfortably and the Statue of Liberty a bit clearer!  Now for New Year’s Eve, we were in and around Times Square in the daytime and thy had begun to close off all the roads and was quite quiet – however we knew it would be packed later on!  We decided though not to head or Times Square to see the ball drop as Saddam Hussein had just been found and people were saying about security concerns so we avoided it and ended up in Central Park instead where we watched people getting ready for a marathon that was due to start at midnight, dressed in all kinds of fancy dress.  Then some fireworks went off as well, so we got a great New Year’s Eve in New York.  Would highly recommend it at that time of year as it truly is magical,  We went up the Rockefeller Centre  to the top and you can get to see the Empire State building from there so I feel better off going up there rather than the Empire State itself.  The largest Christmas tree and ice skating were obviously still there as well.  For great atmosphere, great breakfasts and more, I would also definitely recommend going to Ellen’s Stardust Diner


2. Dubai

Now have been to Dubai many times and 3 times for New Year’s Eve now.  Last year we went down to Jumeirah Beach to watch the fireworks at midnight from there.  For starters, it is free to do so – Dubai Christmas and New Year’s Eve packages can be quite expensive, we did do Planet Hollywood one year and a hotel near Jumeirah for Christmas Day one year as well.  The atmosphere on the beach was amazing!! You had people from all over the world, just happy and dancing away and then waiting for the Countdown to midnight and then you can see the fireworks from the Burj Al Arab, the Atlantis and many more coming off the Palm!! The weather is just perfect. Still in the 20s in the evenings as well at that time of year.  Would warn you off going in the summer months though – it is EXTREMELY hot!!  Then you cannot even sit outside to eat even in the evenings.  Our favourite spot to sit outside in the evenings and enjoy the ambience and great food as well as FANTASTIC views over the Marina and more is Shades at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina

3.  Disneyland Paris

I am quite a big Disney fan and just find the whole thing when you enter any of the parks just truly magical and think if you have children, there is no better way to celebrate
New Year’s Eve than watching the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle at midnight!  It gives you a warm and tingly feeling as you hug your family tightly and wish for all the best for the upcoming year.  Yes, it can be a long day, so would recommend not starting out too early that day or make sure your ticket allows for re entry to the park again should you decide to leave ad come back for the fireworks only.  At this time of year, it can also be quite cold in Paris so wrap up warm.  One of the years we went, it was very cold and when we entered the park one day, it started snowing but that just made it feel even more special and makes you really appreciate the Disney hot chocolate!!


Christmas and weddings!

I have not written for quite a while and intend on making it a regular thing again…and am going to start with the obvious impending Christmas in a moment. However before I could even think about Christmas this year, have been planning my cousins wedding centrepieces for the tables and coming up with ideas. She had 2 functions to do them for, an Indian party and her formal wedding. The Indian wedding as was full of colour needed something that was simple yet effective. We looked and thought of many ideas and finally came up with bird cages with flowers in pink added along with gold butterflies to compliment my cousins outfit.


Then this weekend just gone we had the formal wedding and as is getting Christmassy now, she wanted to incorporate that into the centrepieces for that.  We went for wreaths with a candle and hurricane in the middle with some fresh flowers added at the end.  I think these looked quite good and was quite happy with the outcome.  Added some pine cones and mini baubles and berries in silver and white for the Christmas effect.


Now the wedding is over, on to my Christmas tree and decorating it! Got straight on to it the next day…I love my Christmas tree theme and feel in this world of grey that is everywhere, nice to have a bit of colour! I have some new additions this year to show the love of travel!! Found these in a local garden centre and good old Primark had the aeroplane and carry on luggage!!


Last week I also changed a garland that I was not happy with and changed it to how I thought it looked much nicer.  Hope you like it too!!



The C word is over!! A bit of Paris beforehand though!

So all that waiting and anticipation we have for months and the dreaded ‘C’ word (Christmas!) is all over!!

All the tension before hand of getting the right present, making sure there is enough food for everyone (always end up having too much!) and then on the day the tension of making it all with not enough room in the oven for everything so timing is EVERYTHING!!

Well all done and dusted and time to relax! I do love this time of year though. It’s magical and this time last week I was in Paris and it was beautiful.
Did a lot of walking as you normally do on city breaks and took the big bus tour of the city. It was beautiful to see especially at night when all the Christmas lights were on.
The Christmas market down the Champs Élysées was wonderful to see. Everywhere so busy and the spirit of Christmas in all the shops.



And of course, the shopping!




Dubai 2014

So as was half term last week and to continue the birthday celebrations we went to Dubai!!!

This was our fourth visit there and we went for 4 days, 5 nights…

We have done most of the ‘touristy’ things before, like the desert safari twice and once even did the helicopter ride over Dubai which I think was the most awesome.
This time we went up the Burj Khalifa. Last time we went, we left the day before it opened!!

Amazing views from up there…I read that the best time to up is an hour before sunset, which we did.
Also booked tickets online a month before the day we went up. It’s cheaper that way rather than paying on the day and at least you will be guaranteed tickets for the time you want. That time gets very busy and are normally sold out as most people want to go up at that time.

We stayed up there for about an hour and a half and then saw the sunset and watch it get darker and the street lights eye come on…

We had a fantastic time for all 4 days we were there and my daughter has lived it there since she was 5 years old!!

We didn’t want to leave. The weather was still hot and dry. Around 35 degrees Celsius daily. Still in the 30s in the evenings but didn’t find this too uncomfortable.
Infact I love going out when it’s still warm in the evening. Nothing better!!

Oh well, back to reality now!! Sadly !





Lemon infused water.

So …as the weather is so great and I keep telling myself I should drink more water, today I started drinking lemon infused water.
Last night before I went to bed, I filled a litre bottle with water and added half a lemon (sliced) and put it in the fridge.
This morning took it out and took it to work…
Just had my one usual cup of coffee when I got there but after that drunk the water…already cutting three other cups of tea/coffee I would have drunk in that time and the sugar that would have gone in them!!
Drinking this water can aid weight loss and is obviously good for your skin so am going to continue with it.
You can also add mint to it for taste and mints properties too…
Also read so many other benefits that go with it…
Stimulates the liver, helps digestion, cleanses your body, prevents colds and cancer too!!
So get drinking guys!

Mum knows best!! Old wives tales or the best advice?

As a mum myself, I find myself more and more giving my daughter the advice my mum and grandmother
gave me when I was growing up…what really made me think about it was when my daughter said her friend had used coconut oil and wanted to try…
Now for years and years our family has used coconut oil in our hair, my mum always used it on me when I was younger and my hair is still thicker than ever at nearly 40!!
I did tell my daughter that I had already used it on her when she was younger as it’s been something that has always been used in our family.
So it’s something that has obviously become something that the younger generation are now doing as her friend told her about it! So something we have been using in our family and in our Indian culture for generations was now the latest ‘fad’!! Although at the time I used to find it a pain…walking around with greasy hair for hours while you let it soak into your hair, then having to really wash it well to get it all out, which as a teen with hair past her bum was not easy!!!
So I thought would share some good points of using coconut oil with you that I found out:
(A lot that surprised me!)
* Aids weight loss…try adding 1 teaspoon to your diet and work up to 4.
* eases digestion, avoid bloatedness.
* manage type 2 diabetes – improves insulin sensitivity.
* boosts metabolism.
* prevents sagging and wrinkles. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines or use it daily on your face and body for a healthy glow.
* and of course for your hair, the best natural conditioner, makes your hair healthy and shiny, repairs damaged hair, apply to your scalp for dandruff free hair, no matter how dry…
There are also so many other good qualities I didn’t know about, like helping immune system and against heart disease, the list goes on and on…never used it in food but think will start adding it to my diet as well as to my head!!
Thanks Mum!!