Friday, 21 November 2014

The Christmas Tag

That's right, it's that time of year where Christmas is everywhere and I could not be happier! In my world, Christmas starts pretty early (the Michael Buble album actually started playing in July in my car - oops) and it really is my most favourite time of the year!

I cannot wait to start decorating the house which will take place next weekend and got fully in the mood today when I decorate work. So, whilst I was in the festive spirit (there is no reason necessary to be honest) I thought I'd give 'The Christmas Tag' a whirl after seeing it over on Victoria's blog recently.

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
Miracle on 34th Street - it has to be for me! It's just so magical and reminds me so much of Christmas' as  youngster. I'd also have to give an honourable mention to Home Alone too - it's just a great film and set my love alight for New York that's for sure. Seeing THE tree at the Rockerfeller Centre was a real moment! 

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
We're allowed to open 1 present on Christmas Eve and it's usually a present from under the tree, so not one from Santa. 

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I think it probably has to be when I was about 6 or 7 and we had a white Chrismas! Santa gifted me a bike and I spent lots of time in our little village with my big brother and friends from the village playing in the snow! 

4. Favourite festive food?
Left over sandwiches - turkey is a must for me at Christmas, not necessarily on the day but we HAVE to have some that I can use for leftover sandwiches! Scrummy fresh bread, turkey, brie, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, cranberry & gravy - it sounds horrendous I know, but try it, it's soooooooo good! 

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
I don't think I have one stand out gift to be honest - there have been so many over the years. 

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Christmas tree - as a child, I was always told we couldn't have a real tree because the central heating would make the needles drop and it wouldn't last. Well that's not true at all - since having my own home I have made sure we get a 'real' tree every year and you just can't beat the smell! And FYI, I have central heating and have no problems whatsoever with the needles dropping - no problem at all! 

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
I do indeed! We always get a chinese take-away, mainly so no-one has to cook as obviously on Christmas day, there's lots of cooking to be done. This is so much of a tradition that when I spent Christmas in Canada at my Nanna's a few years ago, I made her go out for chinese as no-where delivered nearby and it's now become a tradition for her too! Then, once stuffed, I head on out to a local village pub to catch up with my best friends. They then go to Midnight mass and I head on home to bed before I bump in to Santa. 

8. What tops your tree?
At the moment, a red and white felt star but I'm not happy with it - I am on a mission this year to find something more suitable and more us! 

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
A horse - still waiting on that one! 

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
 Everything about it! I love the run up with all the twinkly lights everywhere, the festive scents, the christmas songs. I also love searching out gifts for others - it's one of my favourite things to do full stop - I love watching people open their presents too (weird?). And I love the food - ALL THE FOOD! 

SANTA - I know him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahhhh I'm so in the Christmassy mood now! 
Let me know if you do 'The Christmas Tag', I'd love to read it! 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Visiting: Paris part 2

If you missed part one of my travels around the beautiful Paris then don't worry, you can read all about it here - if not, then read on to catch up with the remainder of the trip.

Day 3
Suitably refreshed after our mega early night, we preened ourselves and headed out to explore this wonderful City. We stopped at the nearest patisserie we could find and grabbed a couple of croissants for breakfast - what else would you do when in Paris and made our way to The Louvre.

We decided to get this out of the way first thing before it got too busy and boy were we right to do so - by the time we were ready to leave the queues were mahoosive so there's a big tip for you! If I'm honest, wasn't overly impressed-it was just too big for me, you really needed to have a plan of what you wanted to see but saw the Mona Lisa so it was a tick of the list. Not sure about you, but when I'm visiting somewhere, especially for the first time, there are certain places that NEED to be seen/done and this was one of those trips, there was a check-list of things that needed to be ticked off!

Once out, we headed over to Pont des Arts to be a complete cliches and add our very own padlock - it just had to be done! There was something very beautiful though seeing all the padlocks and being in such a romantic city!

We then jumped on the hop-on-hop-off bus and started our tour of the City. We jumped off at various places - Notre Dame, Champs Elysée (with a re-fuel in Laduree of course) before venturing up the Montpernasse Tower.

We made the choice not to go up the Eiffel Tower and instead, go up the Montpernasse Tower as it looks out at the Eiffel Tower therefore you get that in your view (similar to going up Top of the Rock in New York and seeing The Empire State Building). We went up just before dusk to catch the city transforming from day-to-night which was just beautiful.

Dinner was next and then a wander to check out the Moulin Rouge which in all honesty, was a bit of a let down - it all seemed a little tacky, not really my cup of tea.

Day 4
We pretty much had another full day as our Eurostar home wasn't until 21:15 so we headed to see the catacombes - not my choice of morning activity and in all honesty, didn't like it at all, it was all just a bit creepy! To chill things out a bit we headed off for our cruise along the River Seine and another viewing of the Eiffel Tower - I told you, I just couldn't get enough of it.

Late afternoon, we decided to head on over to the Sacré Coeur which was just stunning. Word of warning here guys - there are a LOT of steps to get up the Sacré Coeur, A LOT. We really weren't prepared for just how many and after 3 pretty much full days of walking around Paris and full of cold, it was tough going - BUT, there is a monorail that you can catch, not something we were aware of until we got to the top so I'd recommend taking that if you're not up for walking the hundreds of steps (that might be an exaggeration, I'm not sure the exact amount of steps).

Then it was home time - boo hoo hoo!

I truly loved Paris - it was just beautiful in so many ways and I will most definitely return that's for sure. I'd highly recommend the Eurostar if you can, it was sooooooo simple and quick and with their frequency, you can really make the most out of short trip away!

Hope you've enjoyed a peek in to my travels to Paris - at the moment, our next adventure planned until isn't Christmas 2015 when we shall be venturing to New York which seems so far away now but hopefully there will be something else in between!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Visiting: Paris Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, the OH and I took a few days out and headed off to Paris (squeal)! Neither of us have ever visited Paris before so it was very exiting for both of us. Before we get on to the trip, I shall pre-warn you that there may (definitely) be a fair few pictures of the Eiffel Tower - I loved it, totally & completely fell head over heals in love and basically took photo's from every angle! I'm splitting this up in to 2 parts again - we only went for 3 days but I ramble so don't want this to be a novel for you to read!

So pre-warning given, on to the trip...

Day 1
As we had decided to travel via Eurostar (OH has never been on it before - I have but it was to Euro Disney so that doesn't really count) we had to get ourselves from our cosy little pocket of North Wales down to the big smoke that is London. We started pretty early but still didn't make it to Londres until nearly 4pm - driving in London is just madness, 1hr 20mins to get 20miles WHAT THE HELL??? You can tell I'm not a city girl! Anyway, once arrived, we headed on in to Central London to meet up with one of my closest friends and head for dinner. We ended up eating at The Joint in Brixton Village which was just delicious - pulled beef brisket bap, need I say any more?! Then it was off to bed pretty early for the majorly early start we had the next day.

Day 2
Day 2 started pretty darn early - 4:45am to be precise. This is not a good time for me - I am no morning person that's for sure and with a cold starting, I wasn't a happy chappy that's for sure. Regardless, we readied ourselves, jumped in an Uber. Oh yes, our first experience with Uber and I bloomin well loved it - from the booking, to the tracking, to the ease of just sitting back and travelling in style (on a side note, you can use this code for a free ride up to £10 - I also get the same too d7bur - I used a code from someone else and it made it sooooooo darn cheap to get around)!
Anyway, sidetracked...our Eurostar was an early train, 07:01 in fact which meant we arrived in Paris for just after 10:30 so had a pretty much full day there. we headed straight to the hotel which was literally a couple of minutes walk from the Gare du Nord - really was a perfect location. We couldn't check in yet as we were too early so we just dropped our luggage and off we went.
The first day was the OH's day and we headed to the Paris Expo Centre for the Paris Motor Show. Luckily, I'm quite a car fan myself so this wasn't too much of a bore. By the time we'd completed all the exhibits, we were pretty knackered so we decided to go a take a look at the Eiffel Tower and then head on back to the hotel.
This was it for me - holiday made! The Eiffel Tower was truly magnificent. if you've seen it then I'm sure you'll know where I'm coming from but it most definitely has presence. I wasn't expecting it to be so big or the colour it was - I don't know what I was expecting but it surpassed everything that's for sure!

Once the OH had had enough of me snapping away, we headed back to the hotel to check in. We stayed at Hotel Mademoiselle and it was so lovely. Perfectly decorated, equipped and amazing location for getting around.
The night ended with a quick bite to eat at an amazing burger place (I know, not really Parisian cuisine but we were so tired we just needed something) and bed by 9pm.