Pisa

On our way back from Sestre Levante we decided to pop into Pisa City Centre to check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the surrounding area before heading to Galileo Airport back to Edinburgh.

You can really just see Pisa in an afternoon, I’m sure they’re may be lots more to see outside the main part, but we were quite happy seeing the tower and other monuments, and finding a lovely spot for lunch and coffee.

In the heart of the city there is the Square of Miracles, or as it is formally known, Campo dei Miracoli. It is also a World Heritage Site. There are three structures found in the square, the Baptistry, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, and the graveyard. However, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually the cathedrals bell tower. The square is surrounded by a gorgeous, and well maintained lush lawn, where you could find crowds of people relaxing and taking in the sights. There is also two museums that you can visit, the Cathedral Museum and the Museum of the Synopses, to learn a bit of history.

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Around the monuments there are mazes of stalls selling souvieners. If you want to pick up a cheap magnet or key chain, then here is the perfect place. Unfortunately the majority of the stalls sell all of the same items, so it’s difficult to get something unique.

I couldn’t resist having a go at the mandatory holding the tower up pose! I’ll be honest, this was actually quite difficult and resulting in Dino yelling at me where to put my hands for a good five minutes! I think it was worth it though, what do you think?

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 11-Cranberry & Coconut Cookies

Coconut and cranberry are a brilliant combination, so I thought I would incorporate them into cookies. I think they look quite festive with flecks of red from the cranberries, and a sprinkle of white coconut. Give them a go and let me know what you think!

I used a basic sugar cookie dough recipe, as seen in my last post, but added extra ingredients.

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Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups softened butter

2 cups caster sugar 

4 eggs 

5 cups plain flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

Dried cranberries

Desiccated coconut 

Method 

Pre-heat oven to 200°c. Line a baking tray with grease0proof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs to the mixture. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add in the flour mixture to the liquid mix. Once the dough is formed, add in the desiccated coconut and dried cranberries and fold the dough until evenly mixed. 

Cover the dough and chill for at least an hour. 

Take around half a table spoon full of the dough and roll into balls, and place evenly spread apart onto the lined baking tray. 

Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle a little bit of the desiccated coconut on top of the cookies. 

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Enjoy!

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies

 

December 1st marks the most wonderful time of the year for many reasons, but one of my favourite things about the holiday season is Christmas baking! Theres nothing better than staying cosy in the kitchen baking up some spiced treats to share with family & friends.

To celebrate this I’m going to share with you 12 different Christmas themed cookie/biscuit recipes. Some of them have been family favourites over the years, and others I’ll be experimenting with.

So please let me know what you think, and feel free to share your favourite Christmas recipes. I love discovering some new bakes!

Stay tuned! 

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Boo Tea 14 Day ‘Teatox’ Review

I love a good cup of tea, and when I heard rave reviews about Boo Tea, I had to give it a go. I’ve been getting really into fitness lately, and I really felt like I needed to ‘detox’ to help clear out my system after a few over indulgent holidays!

I ordered the Day Time and Bed Time tea. You are supposed to have a cup of the day time tea in the morning, and a cup of the night time blend every second day in the evening. I received 14 Day Time tea bags, and 7 Night Time tea bags in the order. Enough for the 2 week cleanse. The tea is loose leaf and comes in good quality tea bags in a resealable pouch to keep them fresh.

Day Time Tea 

I loved the taste of this tea. It was very refreshing and actually enjoyable to drink. I think if you’re used to herbal teas then this will be no problem at all to sip on. I found it had a lemon taste to it, and was brilliant for making you feel awake and refreshed in the mornings.

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Bed Time Tea 

On the other hand, I honestly struggled to drink the night time blend after a few days. I couldn’t really pin point the flavour of this tea, but it definitely wasn’t as nice as the day time one- I got to the point I was gulping the cup down to finish it- so it was definitely not as enjoyable! I felt as though the Bed Time tea was the one that really ‘flushed’ your system out, as you felt the effects the next morning after drinking it. So be prepared to go to the bathroom a few times the next day… It’s called a cleanse for a reason!

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Experience 

During the experience I was trying not to weigh myself, and based the effectiveness on how I felt. After completing the 2 week course, I definitely felt as though my body had gone through a good detox, and I did feel a bit healthier! My stomach, which is usually bloated by the end of the day,  felt & looked slimmer.

So, if you want to try Boo Tea, don’t expect any miracles or quick fixes in regards to weight loss. It may aid your fitness journey, however you need to combine it with a healthy balanced diet and a regular exercise routine.

Have you tried BooTea? What did you think of it?

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Vacation Mode On 

Hi everyone!

I’ve been a busy bee lately, so once again I’m going to apologise for the lack of posts. After a packed summer of travelling it took a while to get settled back in to working life. I have a few posts planned, so they will definitely be on there way. Good things come to those who wait, right?

In the mean time I’m off for a little break to Praia Da Rocha in Portugal. Hope everyone is well and I’ll be back ASAP!
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s a difficult choice deciding which Disney World park comes out on top, but I have to say it’s definitely a tie between the fairy tale of Magic Kingdom and glitz of Hollywood Studios… However, today I’ll be chatting all about my day trip to Hollywood Studios!

As soon as you enter the park you feel as though you are transported back into Hollywood’s golden age. Hollywood Boulevard is lined with various Disney shops, with a few classic Hollywood landmarks along the way. This first part of the park really sets the scene.

The first ride we went on was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and we had to go on this more than once! It was a different story for the Tower of Terror… One ride was enough for me thanks!

We just had to go and see Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. The broadway style musical was packed and is a must see when visiting the park. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite classic Disney films, I couldn’t help but sing a long!

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We decided to ditch the fast food stall for lunch and have a sit down meal in one of Disney’s many restaurants. We chose Disney’s Prime Time Cafe, and we were glad we did! Again, Disney did a fabulous job transporting you back in time. It was just as though you were in an American 50’s style home, complete with TV style dinner meat loaf!

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Star Wars has made a huge appearance throughout the park. Which I loved as a recently converted fan! You can meet all your favourite character like Chewbacca, and take a trip on their new ride Star Tours.

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Near the end of the day we ventured into Pixar Place. I loved this part of the park. It was just like you were in a movie, with hanging barrel of monkeys above you a giant etch-a-sketch! My all time favourite ride in the whole park was here… Toy Story Mania! It’s a 4D ride where you need to shoot moving targets. Perfect for big kids like me!

The only thing I was disappointed with was finding out that the Mr Golds Pawn Shop front from Once Upon a Time was gone! They had to take it down to make way for the future refurbishment of the park. Although it was such a small part of the park, as a big fan of the show I was so excited to see it. Lets hope that when the park is revamped they make Once Upon a Time a bigger part of it!

 

 

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Toronto Blog

It’s been a few weeks since returning from the True North and I’m missing it so much! I thought I’d write up a little recap of what I got up to when I was exploring Toronto and the Niagara Region with my sisters!

 

Niagara Falls 

This was one of my many visits to Niagara Falls in my life. We had a wonder down by the falls and then went for a wonder up and around Clifton Hill. We stopped by Hershey World for a look around as well.

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BESTIVAL

My Sister was lucky enough to be working at this music festival doing photography so we got to tag along and help out. It was an amazing experience and we saw some brilliant bands like The Wombats (flash back to 2009!), Daughter, and The Cure.

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Food

Oh my how I missed the food! I may not have been the healthiest, but I was only there for a week, can you blame me? Timmies was first on my list for a food pit stop, and ice caps and the maple dip donut are my new favourites. We took a trip to Fran’s Diner, and had the most amazing diner experience! I would highly recommend the chilli!

To top everything off we went round the corner to Dutch Dreams… A family run ice cream parlour who go above and beyond your average ice cream cone. I had mint choc chip and mango ice cream and said yes to the ‘free toppings’ = cotton candy and lots of fruit!

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 

I have to be completely honest and say that Macklemore is the best performer I’ve ever seen live, it’s not just his music, but his personality comes out so well during the show. I had the best night down at Echo Beach- which is also a really cool venue, right on the lake front with sand by the stage- singing my heart out (and trying to rap…) to Downtown and Thrift Shop!

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Take me out to the ball game…! 

We got last minute tickets to see the Blue Jays play against Philly at the Rogers Centre. We won by a whopping 3-11! The atmosphere was crazy. It’s a must do when visiting Toronto!

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Toronto Islands 

On one of the nicest days we took a trip over Lake Ontario to Wards Islands (the Eastern End of the Centre Island). We had a little swim in the lake and had a wonder around seeing all the cute houses. You get the most amazing view of the Toronto skyline at the island as well as on the ferry.

 

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Easter Chocolate Macaroon Nests

Happy Easter everyone!

Today I thought I’d share a well loved family recipe with you all. I grew up with my Mum making these year round, however every Easter she would add Mini Eggs to transform them into little nests. So cute!

There is no baking required so they are very easy to make.

Here is what you need… 

Ingredients

6 tbsp Cocoa Powder 

½ Cup Butter 

½ Cup Milk 

1½ Cups Sugar 

1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence 

3 Cups Rolled Oats 

1 Cup Desiccated Coconut 

Method 

Boil the first 4 ingredients in a pot for around 2 minutes until well combined. 

Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla. 

Add in the oatmeal and coconut and mix well. 

Lay out a sheet of wax proof paper, and then drop tsp of the mixture onto the sheet. 

Press two or three Mini Eggs into the nests. 

Leave to cool over night, or transfer them to the fridge if you want them to set more quickly. 

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Hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend! X 

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Roman Holiday

Last July my boyfriend and I jetted away to Rome for 4 days! It was my first time visiting Italy, and it hopefully won’t be my last.

We booked through Expedia online, and got a brilliant deal. The hotel we stayed in was called Rome Life Hotel and I would definitely recommend it to anyone unsure about where to stay.

I’ll just go over the highlights of the holiday… 
We pre booked some guided tours so we could see all of the main sites. We did a tour of the Roman Forum & the Colosseum, we had the most amusing and lovely American tour guide from Boston who made the tour that little bit more unique! I’d definitely recommend going on at least one guided tour if you’re really into learning the history of some of the sites. We also booked tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, and then got a queu skip into the museum, the last thing you wanted to do was wait in mile long queues in 35 degree heat!!

I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but the monument that really made me in awe was the Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. It is a monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. It was one of the first main building I saw as we were in the taxi coming in to the city from the airport, and you literally could not miss it! The reason I said that I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I liked the monument so much was because of the history behind it. It is the largest monument in Rome, and it is controversial as when it was being built the city destroyed a large area of Capitoline Hill along with a Medieval Neighbourhood. Some locals also regard it as being too ‘pompous and large’. I think the thing that stood out to me most was how glaringly white it is, and I found out that it was built from “corpse white marble”which was imported from Brescia, which makes it unusual and stand out from the brown buildings in Rome.

Another one of my favourite sites to visit was the Pantheon. We were lucky enough to stumble across it after having a wonder round the city after dinner in the evening. It was free entry which was good but we also gave a donation. This was another building that I was amazed by. I’ll need to go back here the next time I’m in Rome.

THE FOOD!! I think I may have OD’d on carbs while in on holiday, but it was so worth it. I think next time I’ll sample some more of the local cuisine and maybe try to be a bit healthier… But you’d be crazy to pass up some gelato in the heat that we had in July.

During the time we went the Trevi Fountain was undergoing restoration work and was covered up at the time, so we couldn’t really see it or get any photos. Instead we wondered round the shops in the area and I just had to take a nosey round Sephora and Kiko Cosmetics! (I think that’s where most of my money went..)

The people of Rome were absolutely lovely. We had some brilliant chats with some of the waiters and shop keepers. My boyfriend is
half Italian and so they had a little bit in common, haha!

Here are a few snaps of our holiday. Enjoy! Please feel free to pop any questions you may have in the comments! X

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