Review: The Perfect Sandwich @ Pane & Vino, Rome

Seriously, the BEST sandwich I’ve ever eaten!

I stumbled across this place on Trip Advisor in advance of our holiday, but swiftly forgot about it until the receptionist recommended it. A two minute walk away, rumbling bellies and tired feet made this perfect.

 photo Pane amp Vino 1_zpscnrzwfax.jpg photo Pane amp Vino 4_zpst4inyj2s.jpgFabio was the perfect host, recommending places to go and things to see (indeed he was the person telling us to look through the keyhole!). Nothing seemed too much trouble, and he clearly loved his job. He told us all about the ingredients, talked us through the combinations, told us how fresh everything was, told us his favourites.

The first day we both went for the first option on the menu, a ciabatta filled with prosciutto, mozzarella, and rocket, finished with a drizzle of olive oil.

 photo Pane amp Vino 8_zpskndgxra6.jpg photo Pane amp Vino 5_zpsjsq8p4di.jpg photo Pane amp Vino 2_zpsht0zmrlp.jpgThe mozzarella was fresh that day, oh so creamy, and a little rnny like the ever-trendy burrata. The prosciutto sliced in front of us. Melting soft, full of flavour, good fat marbling and plenty of it. The rocket was obviously fresh and added a good pepperiness, the olive oil adding a bit of lubrication. It was a whopper of a sandwich, and utterly delicious. If only all sandwiches were like this!

We tried to replicate it whilst in Venice, buying the ingredients (minus rocket and oil) for lunches and did a pretty good job, but I’ve not had a sandwich as satisfying since.

 photo PaneampVino2_zps7drvrugt.jpgOn our last morning in Rome we decided to grab a sandwich between us, to take on the train. We went with Fabio’s favourite, a combination of speck ham, truffled cheese and more rocket. Definitely an easier sandwich to eat, especially if taking away – and although not quite as good as the first I certainly enjoyed it. Again the meat was sliced in front of us, amazingly fresh and clean flavoured. The cheese was also sliced in front of us, and was creamy, strongly cheesy and lightly truffle-y. I’m not usually a fan of cheese (other than mozzarella) with bread but this was delicious!

 photo Pane amp Vino 11_zpstlonhtlh.jpg photo Pane amp Vino 9_zpswhrlozid.jpg photo Pane amp Vino 3_zpsizdw64wn.jpgAt €6 for a sandwich (some hot options are a little more), this place is a hidden gem. A stone’s throw away from the Colosseum it’s a calm oasis away from tourists providing damn good food and cheap wine (which smelt great, though we didn’t sample).

My only regret is that I doubt we will return to Rome, as I’m desperate for a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich!

What’s your favourite sandwich filling?

Travel: The Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Probably the most iconic site in Rome, the Colosseum was high on my list of places to visit. It turned out our hotel was a 3 minute walk away so we saw quite a bit of it! I have early morning photos, shots from walking around inside, afternoon photos, sunset photos, nighttime photos. An awful lot of photos of this place!

 photo Colesseum 1_zpsucxzgqzv.jpg photo Colesseum 14_zpsltsghcvs.jpgWe booked tickets online, and I highly recommend you do so as the queue for ‘reserved tickets’ is so much quicker. It actually looks a lot longer than the other queue when you first get there – quite disheartening but I’d say the other queue must have been a couple of hours long. We were in there within 20 minutes! I would advise against paying a premium for ‘skip the line’ tickets as these don’t seem to actually exist – there are two queues, one for reserved tickets, one for buying tickets.

 photo Colesseum 11_zps2wjkkima.jpg photo Colesseum 10_zps4fa9pqis.jpg photo Colesseum 9_zpswkd9wpxm.jpg photo Colesseum 8_zpskqwycbpm.jpg photo Colesseum 7_zpsiiroghtx.jpg photo Colesseum 5_zpsxlbfbutg.jpg photo Colesseum 4_zpsgwpkcmbp.jpgIn all honesty, if the ticket price just included the Colosseum I wouldn’t say it was hugely worth it unless you have a specific interest in Roman ruins. It’s a stunning bit of architecture, don’t get me wrong, but I think you can get that impression without heading inside. We did enjoy exploring though, and some bits were very interesting – for instance the pretty modern lift system used fr hoisting the ‘wild beasts’ into the arena.

If you do go and visit, though, do one thing for me? Don’t take a selfie stick! They drove me mad on this holiday as so many people spent their time with their backs to the scenery taking selfies. And don’t get me started on the street sellers who have clearly cottoned onto this…

 photo Colesseum 17_zpsiumahfdn.jpg photo Colesseum 16_zpsumty9c9q.jpg photo Colesseum 15_zpsbcxci9yt.jpg photo Colesseum 12_zpsfwyzxvwv.jpgPhotos really don’t show the true scale of the Colosseum – it’s absolutely huge, and a really stunning bit of history. It looks especially wonderful approaching sunset, and I’m so grateful to have caught this on our final evening in Rome.

Now for photo’s not including the Colosseum! I’m willing to bet there are hundreds of tourists every day who visit the Colosseum and have no clue that their ticket also give entry to another site only 200 yards away. A site which, in my opinion, is far more interesting too!

 photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 11_zpsiktpruuy.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 10_zpsaoemnryh.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 9_zpsojgjhjqt.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 6_zpsmpww7kdz.jpgThe Forum & Palatine Hill is a pretty massive site, filled with various ruins and some pretty intact structures.

 photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 12_zps7y3hd4r6.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 8_zpsdvhxcuo9.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 7_zpsiepqtmli.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 1_zps3rwgvptc.jpgThere are viewing platforms offering stunning views over Rome, shady gardens to wander through, and it’s pretty easy to accidentally tag along to a guided tour too!

 photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 5_zpscbei21xj.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 4_zpsg6cw5nj8.jpg photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 3_zpsboiqxrmf.jpgThere’s also a pretty interesting museum included in the ticket price, filled with various artefacts that have been dug up. The sign posts dotted around are short, fact-filled and quite amusing – I was pretty impressed at the Roman toilet structure!

 photo Roman Forum amp Palatine Hill 2_zpsqdyignjx.jpgHave you ever been to Rome? What was your favourite site?

Cooking: A Taste of the Algarve with Peri-Peri Prawns and Patatas Bravas

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to the Algarve, but despite that I still remember the yummy food. I first went at the age of four, and have been for multiple family holidays since (staying in a well-known-but-not-for-good-reasons resort).

 photo Algarve Meal 7_zps0mp322wn.jpgLots of seafood, well-flavored dishes, stews, and beautiful bread spread with sardine paste or garlic butter (not made for romantic holidays, these dishes!), finished with the Creme Catalana. Just perfection!

I was challenged by Jet2holidays to come up with a meal from the Algarve, something new to add to my meal repertoire that I wouldn’t usually think about making. My first thought was a cataplana – a seafood stew usually made with tomatoes. In the end I went more simple, with some simple prawns and potatoes.

 photo Algarve Meal 4_zpsqc6xhlyc.jpg photo Algarve Meal 6_zpsifpv8cp1.jpgMy aim was to skewer these prawns and grill them, but a quick trip to London resulted in me standing at the checkout at 7:30pm buying them. Peckish and tired, making skewers wasn’t going to happen – and this dish we made was ready to eat just about 8pm making it perfect for post-work entertaining. Not that I do much of that, but I can dream!

Ingredients

  • Raw king prawns
  • 250g new potatoes
  • Red chilli
  • Garlic puree
  • 1 lemon
  • Paprika
  • White wine vinegar

 photo Algarve Meal 1_zpscg0glo5x.jpgMarinate the prawns for as long as possible, up to 24 hours. Simple grate the zest of the lemon and the chilli into a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of garlic puree, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and the juice of half the lemon. Toss the prawns through the mixture, cover and leave.

 photo Algarve Meal 3_zpsd6nv1w5f.jpgCube the potatoes and par-boil for around 8 minutes. Drain, then fry in the little oil until starting to crisp. Add the juice of the rest of the lemon, a little garlic and a good tablespoon of paprika. Keep warm in a low oven.

Wipe the pan out and heat over a high heat. Add the prawns and cook until just pink – around 30-45 seconds on each side.

Serve the potatoes and prawns with a simple green salad – ours was just rocket tossed with lemon and olive oil. Eat, preferably outside enjoying the sunshine and warm evenings.

 photo Algarve Meal 5_zpsnr7qrkg7.jpgThis is such a great light dish for summer, and it’s so quick too. I always forget how much I enjoy prawns! Perhaps not truly from the Algarve, but it definitely reminded me of those lovely holidays!

Disclaimer: I was provided with money for ingredients by Jet2holidays. As ever, all opinions are my own – as is the recipe.

Have you ever been to the Algarve? What’s your favourite holiday food?

Travel: Retrome Colosseum Garden

I’m sure you must have noticed (I may have mentioned once or twice!) that I’ve recently been away in Italy. Myself and W visited Rome and Venice and as we were on a bit of a restricted budget I thought I’d review our hotels.

 photo Retrome 7_zpsb4jhiqeo.jpgI absolutely loved our accommodation in Rome. Clean, quirky, and in a pretty great location. We were just three minutes walk away from the Colosseum, and within easy reach of the main train station, but it was in a very quiet residential street.

 photo Retrome 13_zpsk7erzju1.jpg photo Retrome 14_zps3kqzsh7w.jpgRetrome Colosseum Garden is actually a not-quite-hotel, not-really-apartments sort of place. Set up in a residential building, they own a few floors, with a reception set up in a little building out back. The reception is only open at certain times so check-in needs to be arranged in advance – but with our arrival in Rome timed at midday this wasn’t a problem for us. Our room wasn’t qute ready on arrival but we were offered drinks, given a verbal tour of the local area, recommendations of places to eat and a well-needed sit down. The reception area is pretty cool too!

 photo Retrome 10_zpsvm8zvhjk.jpg photo Retrome 2_zpswh9hl7lr.jpg photo Retrome 4_zpsbkbk4gsl.jpgOur room was quite spacious, minimal in terms of furniture, cool retro decorations and a floor that hurt your eyes in the morning (I did love it though!). The bathroom was teeny tiny and the one little let-down of the place – that and only having four coat hangers.

 photo Retrome 5_zps2wzrmlyk.jpg photo Retrome 1_zpswnlratnm.jpgThe bed was spectacularly comfy, and huge. Definitely plenty of space! Both the mattress and pillows were memory foam, ensuring a fabulous night’s sleep…when we hadn’t overindulged with too much food and wine.

 photo Retrome 3_zpslrfac4vz.jpgThe room was equipped with a smart TV, enabling instant messaging to the staff if we needed anything, as well as facebook access, maps, games and standard TV channels. I developed a bit of a thing for the Italian version of MTV!

 photo 2015-06-21 09.54.20_zpsiv4qjitv.jpg photo Retrome 9_zpsrhmizy0a.jpg photo Retrome 8_zpsfoqo9mlx.jpgBreakfast was €7 per person, via purchase of a voucher to be redeemed in a local cafe. We did the first day and, whilst it was great value, we found that it just gave way too much food. The next days we went to the cafe and just purchased what we felt like – which ended up coming to less than €5 for the two of us. Where can I get a €0.80 cappuccino in the UK?! We weren’t too impressed to find out that this cafe doesn’t open on a Sunday morning (glad we didn’t purchase a voucher!), but no matter – we popped to the supermarket, found some little pastries, and retired to Retrome’s terrace along with fresh milk (I never worked out how to use the coffee machine) and fruit.Turned out the pastries were full of nutella, crispy, and absolutely delicious!

Friendly staff, a clean and central base, and something slightly different, I really would recommend this hotel. And definitely for the price – in total the cost came to £220 for 3 nights (two people) which is an absolute bargain, especially in June!

Have your ever been to Rome? Do you like quirky hotels or something more traditional? 

Travel: Wandering Around Rome

Rome was a strange place. I loved exploring bits and pieces, but I wouldn’t want to return. It’s the kind of place where there’s the main sites to see, but not much beyond that. It’s not like I didn’t love the city, but I just can’t see myself returning.

 photo Wandering in Rome 2_zpsotah0zvt.jpgNow, this is the first of many posts about my holiday. I took a massive 711 photos in the week we were away (although 53 of those were because I’d not turned screen-tap capture off…there’s many of the floor!). I’m obviously not going to show off allllllllll the photos, but a good few of them. Plus it means I can live out my holiday as long as possible.

 photo Wandering in Rome 23_zpse3m4srxa.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 22_zpsfhyhwzfs.jpgAfter arriving, napping and reviving ourselves (I don’t do early mornings!) we headed out into the evening sun. We were a three minute walk from the Colosseum so nearby some of the most beautiful anicent ruins and structures.

Our first full day in Rome was spent at the Colosseum (full dedicated post coming up!), then wandering around the Ancient area of the city before hitting up the Forum and Palatine Hill (again, another post).

 photo Wandering in Rome 4_zpswe0d8b0g.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 5_zpstlx9efy0.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 6_zpsliug6tqp.jpgWe took the recommendations of a local and headed away from the bustle, up a seemingly residential road before taking a lane through the middle of a rose garden. Unfortunately the actual gardens closed a few days before and the roses were looking past their best, but I still managed to snap a few shots. We continued up the slight incline, stopping to admire a lovely intimate Italian wedding on the way.

 photo Wandering in Rome 8_zps1uof0ap4.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 9_zpsa3vllz7l.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 10_zpsbxdotmso.jpgReaching what seemed like a carpark, we were pretty sure Fabio was barking mad as he told us to go to a door and peer through the keyhole. Turns out he isn’t mad! We then wandered round the corner to a little park, took in the view, filled our water bottle (I loved that water foundations are so widely available in Italy!) and rested in the shade…discovering my shoulders were quietly blistering under their blanket of SPF50. Damn.

 photo Wandering in Rome 17_zpsb50auhjp.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 18_zpsxewz1wwi.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 19_zpsbrbq0quy.jpg photo Wandering in Rome 21_zpsqj0hpabh.jpgThe next day was our ‘religious’ day, visiting the Vatican City, avoiding selfie stick sellers, exploring the castle and generally seeing the other side of town. We got the metro there and walked back – my biggest tip is not to buy a sightseeing bus ticket as they are SO expensive, most places are walkable, and the metro is only €1.50 per journey anyway. After avoiding the rain we wandered along the river, passing some stunning buildings.

 photo Wandering in Rome 20_zpshuqxcuma.jpgOur walk back centred around finding the Trevi Foundation. Quite frankly, we shouldn’t have bothered! We’re only glad we didn’t get up early the next day to find it…

Have you been to Rome? What did you think of the city?

Lifestyle: An Experience Wishlist

My holiday has proved just how much there is to see in this world, just how much I haven’t seen. Even though I had already visited Venice as part of a cruise itinerary thirteen (!) years ago it was surprising how awestruck I was last week. It was such an utterly stunning place, I’m already desperate to go back.

 photo Wandering in Venice 19_zpsvpyzgtb3.jpg photo Wandering in Venice 7_zpspqrvnhw4.jpgI could write an entire post moaning about being back in the UK, my holiday being over, the lack of forthcoming excitement, but instead I’m going to aim at being positive. I’m going to talk about what I want to do, what I want to see, what I want to get out of life.

Travel More

I’ve never been tempted (and I doubt I ever will be!) to do the traditional backpacking thing. I’m considering interrailing around Europe, though I’m a bit wary of hostels (I hate sleeping in front of others). But I do want to travel, see more places. I’d love to see the Great Wall, I’m hugely intrigued by Japan. New Zealand and Australia are high on my wishlist, my top honeymoon choice is a foodie roadtrip around America. I’d love to bathe in the Caribbean sea, almost as much as I’d like to bathe in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. So many places.

Go to the Opera

I’ve always been intrigued by the opera, but felt it was a bit mature for me, a little old-fashioned, perhaps a little stuck-up. That was before I heard about the London Coliseum’s production of Carmen. A slightly modernised production, the opera deals with the love and jealousy of a soldier, who is lured away from his duty and his love by the gypsy factory-girl Carmen, whom he allows to escape from custody.

The storyline sounds brilliant, the reviews are excellent. Whilst I’m not sure I’ll be able to make a performance I’m hoping that one of the live screenings will be shown near me.

Learn to Snowboard

I bought W (and myself!) a snowboarding lesson for his twentieth birthday and we both really enjoyed it. We’d need to start from the beginning again now but I would love to properly learn and be able to snowboard freely, away from a lesson. I say that now, when I’ve forgotten the pain I was in after that session…

Dine from a Tasting Menu

At a fancy restaurant of course. It’s no secret that I am a BIG foodie, I just love the sheer pleasure eating brings. I’d love to be able to spend what seems like a fortune on a meal, a multiple course tasting menu to try as much as possible. One day!

Get Married, Have Babies

Image Source

The big one. I wasn’t wholly convinced I believed in marriage until a few years back but I guess one person can change your life! I know don’t doubt that one day I’ll marry and hopefully have children. I walked by the most gorgeous nursery shop in Rome whilst I was away, it was utterly adorable. And yep, I’m the girl with her nose pressed up against the glass when walking by a wedding dress shop…

Have you ever been to the opera? What are your life aims?

Lifestyle: Travel Essentials

I may have mentioned it once of twice, but I’m off on holiday soon! It’s only a little trip around Italy, but it’s been planned for months. After receiving some pretty horrific news the week before leaving I definitely needed to get away from it all!

I thought today I’d go through some of the essentials I’ve got with me – whilst I haven’t been abroad in three years these were failsafe items during my teen years, so things haven’t changed much!
 photo 2015-06-15 19.57.12_zpshsm3n0q6.jpg

Camera

I’ve been asked by a couple of people to do a post dedicated to my camera, so I won’t say too much for now! I will say that I’m not convinced a camera is necessary for travel nowadays with smartphones, however my phone doesn’t take pictures without tinting them purple! I’m only taking my kit lens away with me to save space, and reduce damages should the worst happen.

Insurance

I can’t be an actuary and not get travel insurance! I personally wouldn’t go away without it, but that’s because I’m accident prone and W is diabetic (and that bumped up my premium nicely). I’ve also taken out ‘personal item’ cover which will pay out for damage/loss/theft of camera, phones, sunglasses etc.
 photo 2015-06-15 19.55.58_zpsih9amdd5.jpg photo 2015-06-15 19.52.27_zpsntg5lmzj.jpg

Tablet & Headphones

I’ve been in two minds whether or not to take this, but I think I will as it’s ideal for catching up on TV – I simply download past programmes as I can then watch later without wifi.

Of course, no-one else on the plane wants to hear what I’m watching, so I’ll be taking my new Sudio* earphones. These are so unbelievably comfortable (I hate wearing earphones so this is a huge plus), look pretty cool and don’t slip out. Sound quality is pretty awesome too.
 photo d36eb454-9907-46b2-90c1-59a6aaee88cd_zpsfangn4at.jpg

Emergency Supplies

Another non-essential for most people, but I’m definitely taking a packet of biscuits and a pocket sized bottle of squash.

With W being diabetic I’d always worry if we didn’t have food with us, espeically overnight in the hotel, so that explains the biscuits. Whether I’ll eat more than him remains to be seen… The squash is because I typically don’t drink enough water, so this is an attempt to keep me hydrated. I’ve also got plenty of antihistamines (going to Italy with a tomato allergy is a bit worrying!), painkillers, insect repellant…pretty much a whole pharmacy!

I’ve also been sent some UV Indicator bands* and decided to put them to the test. You apply suncream over the top and wear all day – and apparently they let you know when it’s time to reapply or seek shade. I wonder whether these will stop me turning pink?!

Satchel

I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t carry a satchel, but I reckon they are really practical for trips like this. With the buckles they are pretty secure from pickpocketers, plus this one is pretty small and light without limiting what I can carry.

It fits in my carry-on suitcase too, which is a complete bonus thanks to EasyJet’s restrictions!
 photo 2015-06-15 19.55.33_zpszi7umkrf.jpg

Passport & EHIC

Confession time! For just under a week, less than a month before take-off, I had no idea where my passport was. Oops. I’ve found it now and keep obsessively checking it’s where it should be. I’ve also made sure my EHIC card is in date – this gives free or reduced healthcare in Europe so is a pretty important card! I know some (cheaper) insurers won’t pay out a medical claim if you don’t have one of these, you have been warned…
 photo 079227ce-3e47-48f2-8f43-4d06c2cef60b_zps6ouvrkad.jpg

Sensible Shoes

Admittedly these aren’t the most sensible I could have picked, but it’s not like I’ll be doing any serious hiking this holiday! I was planning on taking an old pair of (completely wrecked) grey pumps but found these last minute. Cream, lacy, pointed toes – what’s not to love?!

Travel Wallet

I came across this in Paperchase and couldn’t resist – it’s perfect for the organisation-freak in me, and keeps everything to hand. It’s big enough to hold passports, tickets, reservations, whilst still sliding into the fullest of bags.

 photo 2015-06-15 19.55.52_zpsfpyd6qry.jpg

Sunglasses

I never wear sunglasses unless I can help it – in fact I think the only place I’ve made sure to carry them with me has been Switzerland. Despite this, I’ve managed to collect about five pairs in my drawers at home. Two have labels still attached. And which pair am I taking away with me? The pair I got free in a magazine…

What are your travel essentials? Are you off anywhere nice this year?

Personal: Itchy Feet

For travelling that is…

I’ve never been hugely interested in travelling. I went on a good amount of European holidays as a child, ranging from beach-bum relaxation in Portugal to sightseeing cruises around most of the Med. I visited Switzerland in 2012 and that was what really opened up my eyes to what I haven’t seen. The country itself is stunning, it truly is amazing what natural sights exist. I blame this holiday alone on my current itchy feet.

 photo 293801_3323895148611_845060848_n_zpsnemazdal.jpg photo 481096_3323969390467_557970421_n_zpspoum63y7.jpgI realised there’s so much I want to see. Photos are all very well and good, but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself. Take Apollo’s temple in Side, Turkey. There’s hundreds of photographs online, but not one gives any idea of how huge these ruins actually are. I’ve been four times and it never fails to take my breathe away. With all this in mind, coming up with a Travel Bucket List for Transun was pretty easy. And hey, maybe I can win a Northern Lights trip in the process!

Thrill Seeking in New Zealand & Australia

It surprises most people I meet, but I’m actually a pretty big adrenaline junkie. I’ve loved high ropes courses, survived zorbing, and love the watersports I’ve had a go with. I’d love to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, go white-water rafting near Queenstown (NZ). My love of rainforests from geography throughout school means that a tree top adventure would be a must, and I’d also love to visit family in New Zealand. I’d maybe get the courage for a bungee jump too…

Man vs Food Tour of America

I absolutely adore this program, as weird as it sounds! Me and W have watched all of them now, and I’ve got a list of the places Adam recommends people visit. I’d love to try all of the typical American places as well as some classics. Chicago deep pan pizza? Yes please! Poutine? Sounds right up my street! New York bagels? Let me at ’em! The greasier the better, I reckon I’d need to pack a whole suitcase of clothes a few sizes up for this one!

Road Trip of the Scottish Highlands

It’s no secret that I’ve adored the time I’ve spent in Scotland. Edinburgh is my perfect city, I’d adore to live there one day. My love of Highland Cattle (seriously, they are so sweet!), rolling hilly roads and stunning countryside means I’d love to hire a campervan and tour the Highlands. This is the one thing I’m earmarking to do before I’m 25, so fingers crossed it won’t be long before I get to experience this!

Those are just my top three, and they are pretty broad. I’d love to take a trip round Scandinavia, inter-rail round Europe, visit both the tourist-trap and the off-the-beaten-track parts of Mexico, volunteer at the Elephant Nature park in Thailand, spend a weekend in Istanbul (the feature of my GCSE art coursework) and freeze in Iceland’s Ice Hotel before a trip to the Blue Lagoon. I’m pretty varied in what I want to do, what I want to spend. I just want to see as much as I can, do as much as possible, make the most of living. Because after all, we only live once!

What’s on your travel bucket list? Are you ticking off anywhere this year?

Lifestyle: Winter Days in Brighton

A few weekends before Christmas I had decidedly itchy feet. I’ve spent since July going between Northamptonshire and Surrey, with two weekends in Canterbury to break it up a little. I was bored, I didn’t want to go into London (it was scarily busy in November, the thought of just travelling through in December was enough to give me palpitations!). But rather luckily I appear to be living on the train line to Brighton. A quick change at Gatwick (just to speed up the journey), less than an hour after heading out we were at the seaside!

 photo 2014-12-13155214_zps0ba9b629.jpg photo 2014-12-13164548_zpsbbe993c9.jpgIn fact, it just about took us longer to get our coffees than it did to get to Brighton. We popped into a little cafe near the station; Milk No Sugar. A gorgeous little cafe, with an amazing menu. Nutella Mocha was our picks, thought the bee-nutterly latte was tempting. The coffees were pretty good, but a 40+ minute wait?! Can’t say I was overly impressed…less fancy patterns in my drink, more speed!

 photo 2014-12-13120932_zps16144c55.jpgA wander round the lanes was just what I needed. Small interior decor shops are just my cup of tea, and I could have spent an absolute fortune. Copper initial ornaments were my favourite; I’m desperately looking forward to adorning a door with WC in the future, confusing people, and amusing me. Small story: our first year together involved myself and Will attempting to make a gingerbread house. It worked, but we iced our initials on it. And yep, gingerbread toilet was the outcome! Oops..

 photo 2014-12-13143956_zps31a92757.jpgI fell in love with so many different shops, but what really stole my heart? This guy!

 photo 2014-12-13165604_zpsc21ac951.jpgExhausted from wandering, and stuffed from one of the best sandwiches we’d eaten (more on that soon!) it was time to exchange £2 for plenty of 2ps and hit the slots. I love these machines, I could have hours of fun!

 photo 2014-12-13165610_zps79133ecc.jpg photo 2014-12-13164534_zps3cddad34.jpg photo 2014-12-13164540_zps944a14c6.jpgFeeling satisfactorily childlike, it was now time to do some adult-like things. Such as cuddle up on the beach and watch the sunset. It’s been a tough couple of years for us two, but times like this prove that its just so worthwhile.

 photo 2014-12-13165551_zpsecb6e00e.jpg photo 2014-12-13164603_zps0cec0100.jpg photo 2014-12-13165816_zps608cf341.jpgWith hands so cold they’d lost their feeling hours ago (it didn’t get above freezing that day!), it was time to wander back on a food hunt; we ended up with the last available table at Cote; pork belly, guinea hen, crepes suzette, tarte aux pomme and plenty of wine rounded off a perfect day.

Brighton is one of my favourite places; the shops are just so perfect, it’s by the sea, and it’s so relaxed even a day feels like a holiday! I’m determined to explore more places this year, so I’d love some recommendations of where to go! Currently looking for a weekend away at the end of the month, where should I think about? Been anywhere nice recently?