Praia da Rocha

 

Praia da Rocha, AKA ‘The beach of rocks’, is a popular, yet peaceful, holiday resort just south of the town of Portimão, on the Algarve. I travelled here for a mini break in October with my family, for some last minute sun before the Winter set in.

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We stayed at the Hotel da Rocha. A 4 star hotel overlooking the beach front. I couldn’t recommend this hotel more; all of the staff were very friendly & helpful, the food was spot on with a brilliant selection of local cuisine (which includes a lot of fresh fish!) and the rooms were modern, spacious and very comfortable! Facilities included a good sized pool, good for a refreshing dip in the mornings and a fully equipped gym which I tested out a couple of times.

Praia da Rocha has one of the largest beaches on the Portimão coastline. The golden sand is marked with large rocks and boulders wth hidden caves and that is why it is known as ‘the beach of rocks’. Even in October I managed to take a brisk  dip in the Atlantic Ocean! But, if you don’t want too sandy, then you can take a stroll along the wooden boardwalk which stretches along the majority of the beach.

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My family loves keeping active on holidays so we didn’t just spend our days sun seeking on the beach! Praia da Rocha and the surrounding areas are perfect for shorts strolls, hikes among the dusty paths and slightly longer walks to stretch your legs. The larger town of Portimão is just over 3km away and is full of local shops, cafes, and lovely architecture.

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We decided to check out the neighbouring fishing village of Alvor one morning, so we followed the costal path along the beach, which eventually took us up along the cliffs which provided breathtaking views! When we got to Alvor we wondered along the river front lined with bars and seafood restaurants. We then wondered up the narrow cobbled lanes which led us into the old town and onto the 16th century Igreja Matriz church (fun fact: I love seeing churches while on holiday, I just enjoy the atmosphere and design of them!) which sits proudly above the village. In the evenings we would usually take short strolls along the boardwalk, or down the street to the Fort of Santa Catarina, a medieval fort which is lit up at night and gives stunning views to the coastline.

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Praia da Rocha is a gorgeous resort for little breaks and longer holidays. I enjoyed every minute of my time here and would visit again to explore in a heart beat!

Thanks for reading!

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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.

 

Thanks for reading! XSignature

 

Prague April 2016

As mentioned in a previous post, my family and I jetted off to Prague for 4 days at the beginning of April. I was so excited to get away, have a change of scenery, and immerse myself in a new culture.

We have a family friend who lives in Prague, and having your own personal tour guide who speaks the language was unbelievably handy!

Prague is such a big city, and there is so much to do and see, it’s impossible to cover everything in three days!

The Flight 

We flew with Easy Jet from Edinburgh early Monday morning and arrived in Prague at around noon that day. The flight was so quick (around 2 hours).

The Hotel

We stayed at The Three Crowns Hotel. It was recomended by our friend, and it didn’t disappoint. The staff were so friendly and welcoming. The rooms were modern and comfortable, with a gorgeous bathroom with the most amazing open waterfall shower. Location wise it was close to a tram stop which was a few stops away from the main part of the city centre.

Day 1 – Monday 

Since we only had a few days, time was quite limited, so we headed out to explore as soon as we dropped our bags off at the hotel. We jumped onto a tram/street car, and headed to Wenceslas Square where all the main shops are restaurants are. We nipped into a local restaurant for a bite to eat then we went on to Old Town Square to see the famous Astronomical Clock! This really is a must see, it’s so detailed and interesting to look at. We didn’t get a proper view as there were lots of crowds, but we went there again the day after and we managed to get up close. After dinner, we went for a walk over Charles Bridge, which was lined with buskers playing traditional music, street artists and little stalls selling knick knacks.

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Day 2 – Tuesday 

On Tuesday morning we had an early breakfast and then my Dad and I went for a little wander around the area of our hotel. We got a pretty good view of the Radio Tower and the national memorial at Vitkov. We were invited for lunch at our friends Grandmothers house in Prague 7.. Where we were treated to a warm welcome and a traditional home cooked Czech lunch of potato salad and pork schnitzel! It was delicious! 

After lunch we headed to the area of Prague Castle. It was a gorgeous sunny and clear day, so we thought it would be a good idea to head up Petrin Hill and climb the Observation Tower. It was built as a mini version of the Eiffel Tower in 1891. It offers breath taking panoramic views of Prague!

We then went down Petrin Hill and went on to Prague Castle. The walk up to the Castle was very grand, and before entering you were greeted with huge golden archway with two enormous stone statues at either side. This first lead us to a large stone courtyard with a fountain right in the middle. After the courtyard we walked through another arch way and there was the castle. It’s pretty hard to miss, it is the largest medieval castle in Europe!

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Day 3- Wednesday 

Wednesday was our last day and so we had a few things to squeeze in before we headed home. We headed back into the centre of town and went to see the oldest Synagogue in Europe. We didn’t go inside, but it was still a very interesting place to visit.

We then went for a little stroll around the Botanická Zahrada gardens.

After that we went for a spot of shopping at the Paladium Shopping Centre, followed by a mandatory coffee break! 

Prague has a plethora of museums to see. My sister and I were desperate to go and see the Museum of Alchemy, but unfortunately it was undergoing renovations at the time we were visiting (gives us another reason to go back! 😉 ) so instead we went to the Mucha Museum, the Chocolate Museum, and the Wax Museum– which I’ll admit wasn’t the best, but at least we tried it out!

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Day 4- Thursday 

We had a very early flight to catch so only had time for a quick breakfast before catching a taxi to the airport!

 

 

Have you guys been to Prague? Let me know what you thought of the city? I’ll definitely be going back! 

Thanks for reading! 

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Weekend Away Up North

For an early Valentines day present my boyfriend treated me to a night away at a hotel up north! He booked the Mansion House in Elgin, Scotland. This year has been pretty stressful with his final year of Uni (aka dissertation time!!) and with me working almost full time, so we don’t get the opportunity to see each other as much as we both used to back when I was at Uni. So it was really nice to be able to spend some time together ❤

We drove from Edinburgh up to Elgin on Saturday morning, which took roughly 3 and a half hours.. A long trip but it was definitely worth it!

When we got to the hotel, we checked in and settled in to our room. We then decided to look round the hotel and check out the spa facilities (they had a lovely pool, with a sauna and steam room). We booked dinner for around half 7, and went down to the lounge where we ordered drinks, I got my absolute fave- Gin & Cranberry- and they brought us Canapés (we felt v. posh!) which were Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Roulade with Fruit and Nuts. It was different, as I’m not a fan of smoked salmon, but we still enjoyed it.

We then ordered our food and after about 15 minutes we were shown to our table.

I ordered the Carrot Veloute with toasted hazelnut oil and croutons to start, the Fillet of Aberdeenshire Scottish Beef for a main, and then the Selection of Chocolate & Strawberries (With a difference!) for desert! We both really enjoyed the meal.

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I would definitely recommend the hotel to anyone who is planning a weekend away in Scotland. It is rustic yet modern, and the decor is gorgeous! The rooms are spacious and clean, and my favourite part was the bathroom (the bath was huge!). The staff were brilliant and could not have been more helpful.

The next morning we went down for breakfast around half past 8, we both decided to have a full cooked breakfast as it’s something we rarely eat at home. We then checked out and headed down the road! 🙂

 

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Toronto

Back in October I decided to book a last minute trip across the pond to Toronto to visit my Sister, Kathryn! It was made even better as I spent my 21st birthday over there and Canadian Thanksgiving (which happened to be on the same day- October 12th!).

My Mum is Canadian, and so I was lucky enough to grow up with lots of visits over there, so I see it as a second home. However I hadn’t been there for many years, and so I was really excited to go back as an adult!

My Sister and her mates acted as tour guides for the week, showing me all the usual tourist sights- like the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and Toronto Island- as well as the more of the local spots!

Here are a few photos from my Toronto adventure!

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