Only 2 hours away from Glasgow, Arran is the perfect place to visit if you want to escape the city for a few days.

We recently visited for an overnight stay and I was surprised how much we managed cram in during our 24 hours on the Island.

As soon as we got off the ferry we headed in the direction of our of accommodation, The Butt Lodge in Lochranza.  On the way we stopped off for lunch in this pretty little village Corrie and if you follow me on Instagram you will know how much I love a cute, little cottage so I was absolutely in my element.

After lunch we quickly checked into the Butt Lodge, parked up the car, dropped off our bags and walked down to the Isle of Arran distillery for the 4 o’clock tour which I had booked in advance incase it was busy. The tour lasted 45 minutes and included 2 tastings. The Arran Gold  which is very similar to Baileys was my favourite

Once the tour was finished we walked back to the Lodge for the complimentary tea and cakes  (I’m never one to pass up the opportunity of free cake) which we took back to our room so we could chill out before dinner and  take advantage of the beautiful views and the peace and quiet. I had booked the castle suite which was a beautiful big room with a four poster bed, a mezzanine and stunning views over the hills and golf course.

Later on that evening we walked down to the Lochranza hotel for dinner and when we walked in we were surprised at how dated the decor was but I’m glad we didn’t let that put us off as the food was delicious so I’m guessing with the food being so good they don’t have to worry about the interiors. On the way home the sun was setting over Lochranza Castle which was really stunning.

After a delicious full Scottish breakfast we checked out and headed down to Lochranza Castle to explore. I’m going to sound like a geek but I just love exploring castle ruins and reading about the history behind them so where ever we go I’m always on the look out for a castle.

Since the sun was shinning a wee trip to the beach was a must and Kildonan beach was a nice surprise, I didn’t expect it to be so sandy. It was also really quiet which was nice as we had the beach to our-self.

Our final stop was in Lamlash where we stopped for lunch before we set off for the boat home. Lamlash was another lovely village with cute little cottages. Can I live here please.

I really loved our our trip to Arran and can’t wait to explore more of Scotland, we really do have the most stunning scenery on our doorstep.

After recently spending a week in Lake Garda I’ve decided that I have discovered my new favourite holiday destination. It had everything I imagined and more. Stunning scenery, cobbled streets, beautiful buildings, colourful flowers, the best pizza on earth and my new favourite drink a Hugo spritz (prosecco, elder flower cordial, sparkling water and mint).

It’s so picturesque and an absolute instagrammers dream. Every corner you turn you will find the most beautiful little streets, I could have wondered for hours taking pictures.

During my stay I did manage to visit a few of the other nearby towns and the city of Verona so sit back and let me take you a little tour.

Limone

We stayed in Limone which you might already be familiar with as it features in the opening scene of a Bond film (Quantum of Solace).  We stayed in hotel all’ Azzurro which was a lovely hotel right on the edge of the lake. It was the perfect location as we were right in the middle of it all and close to the bars, shops, restaurant and ferry terminal. I felt that Limone had a slightly more relaxed feel to it than some of the other towns on the lake. We spent our days here going for nice walks, relaxing by the lake and sipping Hugo’s in the bars along the lake side. One of my favourite things to do was have afternoon tea on hotel terrace where you could watch the world go by.  Take me back please.

If you are looking for something more adventurous to do in Limone you can feel like James Bond for an afternoon by hiring one of the speed boats. It’s definitely something I would like to do if I went back.

Riva

Further up the lake you will find the lovely town of Riva. It can be reached by boat or bus but the boat is much more enjoyable and probably quicker. Riva is much bigger than Limone and has a new shopping centre if you fancy some retail therapy. I never got a chance to visit the shopping centre as we hired bikes and spent the day exploring the town by bike. It’s got a great cycle path so need to worry about busy roads. Riva has a lovely harbour which is great for a lunch or a Hugo stop.

Malcesine

Malcesine is directly across the river from Limone and again, best reached by boat. When approaching the harbour you are greeted by the beautiful castle and when off the boat you will find winding, cobbled lanes with lots of shops and restaurants. It is also where you will be able to take the cable car up to the top of the mountain.

Cable Car Ride

The cable car ride is an absolute must if you visit Malcesine. Not only will find the best views of the lake you will also find restaurants, nice walks and some farm animals. It’s still a mystery to me how the cows don’t fall of the mountain lol.

Verona

We also managed to fit in a day trip to Verona. This beautiful medieval town and home to Romeo and Juliette has a lot to offer. With marble pavements, Juliette’s balcony and a roman arena older than the Colosseum in Rome it’s a beautiful city to wander around and if you like shopping, via Mazzini is the place to go. It’s lined with designer shops and every beauty bloggers favourite shop – Sephora. You might also be interested to know Leonardo DiCaprio owns a home on the square.

Where is your favourite Summer destination?

Last week we packed up the car and set off on a little road trip to the Cotswolds. We picked Stow on the Wold as our base for exploring as it’s close to loads of pretty towns and villages each only a 15/20 minute drive away.

We stayed in a lovely little hotel, The Sheep on Sheep Street which had recently been refurbished to a very high standard. We had a cosy little room on the top floor with the most beautiful bathroom. Honestly the hotel gave me serious interiors envy.

During our stay we managed to fit in quite a lot and I managed to visit all the places I planned and more.

Stow-on-the-Wold a pretty little market  town and one of the most well know is situated on an 800 foot hill next to a number of main roads, making it a great place to stay if you plan to do lots of exploring.  There is a market square surrounded by lots of lovely shops, tea rooms and cosy pubs. As you can imagine, the pubs had exposed brick walls and log fires making them super cosy this time of year. Our favourites were the Porch House (which is said to one of the oldest Inn’s in England) The Sheep on Sheep Street (the hotel we stayed in) and The Kings Arms.

Moreton-in-Marsh is one of the main market towns in the area and lucky for us we visited on a Tuesday which is when they have a large market of upto 200 stalls. It also had lots of quaint tearooms and antique shops full of little gems.

Bourton-on-the-Water has been described as the ‘Little Venice’ of The Cotswolds as the town sits along a beautiful canal. It’s one of the most popular with visitors and is so picturesque. I found the cutest little Christmas shop where I had to refrain myself from buying everything. 

Lower and Upper Slaughter are two separate villages and the prettiest in The Cotswolds. They are just how you imagine The Cotwolds to look. There is an old mill that sits along the river and the most romantic street in Britain, Copse road. The Slaughter’s were my favourite of all the places we visited. It was absolutely beautiful and honestly, none of my pictures captured it’s true beauty.  You really do have to see it for yourself.


Photo credit Crystal Ski Holidays

 I have always wanted to go on a ski holiday, just one problem though, I can’t ski. So when Crystal Ski Holidays invited me along to Snow Factor at Soar for some fun on the slopes I jumped at the chance. As I had never skied before I was given the opportunity to have a 90 minute lesson.

Crystal Ski holidays are mountain ski holiday specialists and all staff are skiers or boarders themselves so they know everything there is to know to help you book your perfect ski holiday. With 130 resorts to choose from and Crystal Ski staff on resort all season you know you will be in safe hands. They also offer some fantastic deals ranging from self catering to full board and the option to include equipment and ski passes. 
Back to my night at Snow Factor, we all met in the Bavarian themed Bar Varia and were treated to a Bavarian Buffet before hitting the slopes. We then got all kitted out in our snow gear which Snow Factor provided and I had a 90 minute lesson with Nicola who was so patient with me as I was a bit rubbish at first. 

Skiing was a lot harder than I expected, the hardest part for me was trying to walk in the snow. To begin with, we got a feel for our ski’s, moving around and learning the correct posture and balance. I thought I had good balance aswell but I did end up falling over a couple of times. We then gradually made our way up the slope going a little further each time and learned the snow plow and how to control the speed. I think I would need quite a few more lessons before I could actually hit the slopes but this was such a great opportunity to get a feel for it. 

After the lesson we went back to Bar Varia for a well earned drink and chat. It was such a great night and big thanks Kirsty from Crystal ski for inviting me and being such a great host.

 

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If you read my last post about my tour on the Caribbean Princess then I’m sure you will know why I now have cruising on my mind. And if you are regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed I love a city break which got me thinking, why not combine the two. When thinking about this type of cruise, Viking River Cruise’s with Bolsover Cruise Club came to mind as I remember seeing one of the Viking River Cruise ships on the Danube when I was in Bupdapet.

With Viking Cruises, the destination is the most important part of the trip and passengers can take advantage of late night departures and over night stays giving you more time to explore each destination. I love the sound of this as I always imagined you would have a short time at each destination but not with Viking River Cruise’s. Another thing that caught my eye when reading about Viking River Cruises, the casual dress code. This means you could go from day to night and not have to pack a suitcase full of fancy clothes packing a capsule wardrobe instead. These would would be my river cruise essentials.

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Espadrilles, £24.99 Aldo / Brenton Top, £26 Boden / Shorts, £28 Topshop /  Dress, £45, Miss Selfridge / Bioderma SPF 30 Mist £9 / Dolce & Gabbana Sunglasses, £120 House of Fraser / Jumpsuit, £45, Miss Selfridge / Travel Journal, £7.99 Marco Polo / Sandals, £45, Aldo, / Bag, £220, Micheal Kors
 
  Bolsover Cruise Club offer a number of cruise destinations including the Carribean, Mediterranean, Canary Islands and the Norwegian Fords with numerous cruise lines such as P&O, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line and Celebrity Cruises and currently have some fantastic deals. 
 
*This is a collaborative post. 

 
 
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