I’m not sure about you, but I have this dream that one day I’ll be able to swap my life here in Manchester for somewhere on the continent – somewhere warm where I know the sun will shine most days in the summer; a place where the locals say hello to you as you trot down to the bakery for your morning baguette; where you buy your food from the local market instead of running the gauntlet of shopping trolleys in the supermarket; and where I can spend warm evenings sipping wine in a lavender scented garden – come on admit it, you quite fancy that idea too?!
Well that life is exactly what a dear friend of mine (Ann) has created in Italy. But what’s more, through her new venture, Montisi Magica, Ann is now giving you the opportunity to share in her perfect slice of Italian life too.
I have to admit to being a bit of a lover of all things French: the food, the wine, the country. So I always ensure the Hubby and I spend at least one holiday a year in France discovering different areas each time. However, dare I admit it, it wasn’t until recently that we had our first foray in to the Dordogne region. Okay, it’s certainly not undiscovered and definitely not a place to go to if you want to avoid the tourists but, what an absolute gem; with pristine medieval villages, castles, rolling hills and the Dordogne river snaking through the valley, it definitely looks like a place where fairy tales are made.
Needless to say, with such a photographic location we have lots of pictures and I thought I’d share a few of them with you so you too can experience the delights of the Dordogne – they might even inspire you to visit if you haven’t already. Read more
Every once in a while we need to allow our bodies to break away from the vicious clutches of our stressful lifestyles and do something a little nurturing for ourselves. After the onslaught of Christmas, a busy start to the year with work plus the totally depressing weather which reduced me to being a total hermit for 2 months, I was definitely in need of a spring clean – both mentally and physically – and to get a renewed appreciation of the outdoors before I went completely barking. Read more
Bangkok is like Marmite – you either love it or hate it – and for me I absolutely love it. It’s a place I spent a lot of time exploring many years ago as a backpacker, drawn by the vibrancy and intoxicating culture of the city. That was over 20 years ago and since then I’ve passed through Bangkok Airport on many occasions with the odd fleeting visit into the city and it was only recently that I lingered longer and I have to say, the City of Angels didn’t disappoint. It has now transformed into a thoroughly modern city but it also stays true to its traditions and strong Buddhist beliefs; soaring skyscrapers and climate-controlled megamalls sit alongside colourful temples, mesmerising royal palaces, streets lined with food carts, long tail boats plying the river as they have for many years.
If you think that Bangkok is nothing more than a fume filled city clogged by traffic and tinged with the sleazy reputation brought on by the floorshows of Patpong Road, think again. Yes, these elements exist but, Bangkok really is more than that and with so much of life conducted on the streets, there are few cities in the world that reward exploration as well as Bangkok, even if it is just for 24 hours.
Here are some of my highlights:
Without doubt Burma is the most talked about travel destination at the moment and one that I had been wanting to visit for such a long time; it’s brutal history under the ruling military junta being the reason I had stayed away. However, with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the lifting of the tourism boycott by the National League for Democracy, now seemed a good time for the Hubby and I to visit a country where tourism is ramping up and change is inevitably on the horizon.
Although Burma is by no means backward, it has an untouched quality preserved by years of economic and political isolation from the West. The traditional dress of velvet flip flops and the skirt like longyi is widely worn, whilst faces are white with Thanaka (used as make-up and sun block). Religion plays an important part in daily life and Buddhism is certainly big in Burma; the landscape is dotted with golden pagodas whilst streets are festooned with red robed monks and prettily dressed nuns in pink collecting their daily alms – though the sight of many of them carrying iPads and better smart phones than me is a bit odd! What’s great is that the form of Buddhism practiced in Burma is all encompassing and you share your visits to pagodas with locals going about their daily worship.