Last month ASK Italian took Jess (from Cocoa Chelsea) and I to Venice, Italy- to eat like an Italian (which is the dream!). If you follow me on Instagram (or YouTube, I uploaded a daily vlog here) you may have seen a few photos/videos already but if you haven’t I thought I would update you.

 We had a super early flight out of Gatwick and once we landed in Venice we jumped in a Taxi Boat to the city and I must admit it was quite the experience- I wouldn’t mind getting a taxi boat everywhere! Once we checked into our hotel the eating started and we went on a food & drink walking tour. We made our way around the Bacari’s, drank Aperol Spritz and ate all the cicchetti we could.
With a tummy lined with delicious food, we did a little bit of exploring, we wondered around the tiny streets, followed the signs to Basilica de San Marco and picked up some gelato for a touristy photo over the canals. I hadn’t Googled Venice before the trip so didn’t know what to expect but it’s beautiful, we didn’t get to go inside the Basilica (saving that for next time) but even the outside was breathtaking. We ended the afternoon at Danieli Hotel for cocktails on the terrace before it started to rain and we had to take it inside.

But the best part of the trip was in the evening…

We jumped in a taxi boat back to our hotel to get ready for dinner, I didn’t have time for much, I just added a bit of dry shampoo and changed into a jumpsuit but I was so excited for dinner!
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to eat at a Venetian Family’s home, share their dinner table and food. The table was set up outdoors and absolutely stunning, we started the delicious food outside but were interrupted by lightning, thunder and rain. We managed to have our antipasti outside and the most delicious pesto pasta but ran inside, plate in hand for meatballs and tiramisu. I can’t do the evening much justice but I hope you can tell from the photos and my video just how magical it was, huge thanks to ASK Italian for organising it!

Day two in Venice started again quite early for me, I think I was just excited so couldn’t sleep, I went for a little wander before breakfast as there’s something very special about getting up before all the tourists are out. It was Burano-day and I had very much been looking forward to it since I had seen it on Instagram.

We took the water bus and arrived on the beautiful island, lined with beautifully multicoloured house and we were very lucky to have the sun shining. If you’re ever in Venice then make an effort to get to Burano, it’s well worth the trip! We wandered around, took photos, ate more ice cream and had a delicious lunch at Trattoria al Gatto Nero.
And to end the trip perfectly we finished with a Gondola ride. We got to wear the gondolier’s hat and see the city from the small narrow canals and we did ask the gondoliers to sing but he told us he only sings to his wife!

Overall, an amazing trip and huge thanks to ASK Italian for having me. Since I’ve been back I’ve been dreaming of the pasta and have been into ASK Italian for a cheeky bowl or two. Find your local ASK Italian here

I really didn’t think I’d fall for Venice like I did but I’m already desperate to go back!

PS. Post coming up soon about Spain!

Amsterdam was never high on my list of cities to visit as, growing up, I assumed it was the place you went if you smoke (which I don’t) but I was so wrong. It’s filled with beautiful scenery, friendly people and the cutest restaurants and shops.

I visited Amsterdam in February and it was cold but the weather was beautiful – I really want to go back in the summer. I think it would be the perfect city to spend a weekend in July. We spent hours walking, exploring the little streets, watching people balance ladders on their bicycles and falling in love with the quirks of the city.

I believe that most cities can be done in three days, which is exactly the amount of time we spent in Amsterdam, long enough to fall in love with a city but short enough to have an excuse to go back. February was cold but we were really lucky with the weather – beautiful blue skies the whole time! Whilst booking, the hardest part was finding good accommodation that was affordable, especially as we needed a triple room. I am a little picky about accommodation: I know you don’t spend that much time in your room but I like modern hotels which are clean and in the centre of the city so we can do as much walking as possible.

I ended up booking the Ibis Amsterdam Central which was fine – nothing more and nothing less – just fine. Pretty clean, but a little dusty and with more of a dorm feel than a hotel feel. I think this is because Amsterdam is so popular with large, often young, groups of people. Next time I think I’ll book an AirBnB as I’ve heard you can find some real gems.

That said, Ibis Amsterdam Central was the perfect location and we walked everywhere! (oh, and the boat)

If I recommend one thing to do in Amsterdam it would be a canal tour: it’s a great relaxing and informative way to see the city. The ticket we bought was 24hours so we ended up using it as a mode of transport on the last day when we weren’t in a rush, which was a bonus. It’s Hop-on, Hop-Off isn’t too expensive and passes all the main sights.

Whilst abroad I am a museum goer and Amsterdam has quite a few to offer: I would highly recommend the Anne Frank Museum, which is very popular so always has a long queue. The museum closes at 7PM most days and at 9PM on Saturday. I’d recommend either queuing for opening time or towards the end of the day but you should still expect to queue for a few hours (you can prebook a while in advance too). Queue aside, it’s a very touching museum, very engaging and I would highly recommend visiting!

 We also went to the Heineken Museum, which I probably wouldn’t recommend – it’s average at a push.  The Sex Museum is pretty inexpensive, so worth visiting since it’s Amsterdam! We didn’t visit the Van Gogh museum – which I now regret – but I guess that’s something to do next time.

Although it was winter, we took the boat to Vondel park and it was a great way to spend a sunny winters day – I can imagine it’s even more beautiful in the summer. We didn’t rent a bike but if that is something you want to do, then Vondel park seems like a great place to do it. But generally, I would say Amsterdam is the perfect place to cycle or stroll around, just taking in the beautiful neighbourhoods.



Where to eat
Hema: If you want a super cheap but nice breakfast then Hema is the place for you. We went more for the gimmick of being able to get a breakfast for 2 Euros. It comes with an omelette baguette, a croissant with Jam, a coffee and an orange juice.

Burgerlijk: we visited here for lunch and it was a nice walk away from our hotel. Although it did get a little busy, we went early and were seen to straight away. We ordered fries and burger which were super yummy, although I’ll admit I think they’re ketchup may be home made and not quite to my taste.

The Pancake Bakery: I seem to be one of the few people that doesn’t love pancakes but we went for breakfast nonetheless and we were quite lucky to get a table straight away. If you love pancakes this is the place for you – even if you’re weird like me and aren’t crazy about pancakes – they were still quite delicious and, of course, I went for the bacon ones.

Vapianos: A boring option but always a failsafe. Wasn’t too busy and the food is always good no matter what country I visit them in.

Overall, I loved Amsterdam. If you’re unsure it’s for you, I’d still go. It’s very quick and cheap to get to from England and it has this free-spirited charm which I fell in love with.

Sunday are potentially my least favourite day.

I mean, they’re okay.

Sundays can get a little boring.

I love spending time with my friends and family but there isn’t usually much to do which is why my friends and I started Sunday Funday. I was going through my camera and had a few photos from a few weeks back which I thought I would share.

Mini were nice enough to lend me a car, the Mini Cooper Clubman 4X4 which lead me and my friends to come up with a few different mini road trip ideas. I must admit I’m a road trip fan (I’d love to do one across Europe!) so have been to most places which are a 2hour drive from London and although I really wanted to go to Bath I was told it was too far and we settled for Cambridge. I say settled but I do love Cambridge and since my friends hadn’t been I was excited for them to explore the city.

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Since Mini lent me the car and I fell in love with it, let’s talk a little about it.

I had never really wanted a Mini, I liked them but I wasn’t sure if they were for me but boy was I wrong. From the outside, the Mini is a beautiful car, a very classic and loved car but I probably fell more in love once I got inside and drove it around. My first trip in the Mini was actually to Ashford Mc Arthur Glen Shopping centre (average Outlet stores, nice but not worth a whole blog post) and by the end of the drive, I had already called my boyfriend asking if we could trade my car in and get a Mini.

We didn’t have the standard Mini (I think it’s important to note, in case anyone is looking to buy one), we had the Cooper Clubman which is a little bit longer and is very spacious inside. Everyone that got in it this weekend commented on how comfortable and luxurious the inside was. It had burgundy leather seats, you could control the colours on the inside, build in Sat-Nav and other cool tech and drove like a dream. It had a standard, Eco and Sport Mode- I, of course, had to try all of them and they were all amazing. It’s a four wheel drive with decent size engine so it picked up speed quickly but you always felt very in control due to its size. Anyways, I don’t know too much about cars but I loved it and if I were on the market for a new car (sadly, I am not) it would be a big contender.

So we drove the Mini to Cambridge and if you haven’t been I would highly recommend it. It’s up there in my top 5 cities in England (should I do a blog post about the rest) and a great place to consider for a day trip. Although it’s quite a traditional city in terms of history and architecture, it’s also a student city meaning there are great cafes, restaurants and bars! They do however get busy and finding somewhere for breakfast was tricky, so do book a few days in advance. We then had a wander around the university and the city before going on a little Punting tour. If you’re in Cambridge I’d highly recommend the Punting, it’s not too expensive (you can haggle for a better price too), the tour guides are knowledgeable (or at least good at pretending they are) and generally quite funny. I think this might be my third Punting tour and would definitely go again.
cambridge arch cambridge breakfastcambridge bikes cambridge me cambridge puntin cambridgeWe then had another little stroll around, grabbed a hot chocolate to keep up warm, jumped back in the Mini and headed home.

I’m hoping to do a few more road trips this year, would love some recommendation! I’m thinking somewhere up north in February!

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I love being from London but most of the family I have in the UK are also from London which means I rarely get the luxury of escaping to the country for the weekend but last month we did just that.

We drove down to Axminster on Friday evening and checked into our lodge at the Hawkchurch Resort & Spa. The drive was actually not too bad from London and the lodge was really nice! Neither Michael or I had ever stayed in a lodge but it was really beautiful and the perfect place to spend the weekend. We had a large kitchen/living room/dinning room area, a nice bedroom with a huge bed, two bathrooms and even a hot tub!

We arrived pretty late on in the day as Michael had work until a little later and we made the rooky mistake of thinking we could get dinner at 9.30PM as you can in London but luckily there was a Tesco not too far and we had a quick make-shift dinner.

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The following morning I discovered that the internet is currently not as good as I’d hoped (something that they’re working on) but it was actually the perfect excuse to switch off. We played board-games which Hawkchurch Lodge kindly provides, went on walks by the sea, cooked and chilled in the Hot Tub.

Sunday afternoon we headed out for lunch and I must admit we failed at this a little, we really wanted to visit The Tytherleigh Arms but didn’t realise we needed to pre-book but I will definitely check it out next time we’re in the area.
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We then drove back on Monday morning and were back in London after two hours, feeling far more relaxed and having really enjoyed some country air!

I was surprised by how much I feel in love with Hawkchruch Resort & Spa, it was the perfect way to spend a weekend in England and I’m already planning to book and go back. They’re part of Darwin Escapes and there are lodges up and down the country so I may actually check out one of the other locations but I can’t recommend Hawkchurch Resort & Spa enough.

I’m always hunting new places, not too far from London to explore over the weekend.

Would love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

mischief-sure-3163 mischief-sure-3216 mischief-sure-3235 mischief-sure-3329 mischief-sure-3223Earlier last month, the lovely girls at Sure invited me down to Bourne & Hollingsworth for breakfast and to discuss everything related to deodorant with Dr Christian Jessen. Since breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day and Sure is a brand I use daily, off I trotted to Farringdon.

After ordering my tea, I was actually fortunate to be sat opposite Dr Christian Jessen and I was really wowed by his knowledge on what seemed like everything

I’ve been using Sure for many years but have just started using Sure Antibacterial Odour Protection.

I’ll admit I haven’t given my deodorant too much thought; I know that Sure works so I have stuck to it for many years but for anyone in need of a little extra help, the antibacterial properties in this product are amazing,  especially since up to 10 million  bacteria live in our underarms. Sure Antibacterial Odour Protection is designed to reduce up to 90% of odour causing bacteria.

Dr Christian spoke a lot about deodorant and antiperspirant, and being in the beauty community, we all wanted to know about aluminium. I read so many articles suggesting you shouldn’t use antiperspirants with aluminium so it was great to hear that there hasn’t been anything to prove it is linked to cancer. And did you know that what you eat also affects how you smell?! So eating onions and garlic can scent the sweat coming out of you pores, which is worrying as I love garlic but thankfully have had no such experience.

I’ll admit that deodorant and sweaty underarms isn’t my usual topic of choice over breakfast but his knowledge was really impressive, even over a cup of tea and muesli. I’ve been using the Sure Antibacterial Odour Protection ever since and really loving it! The 75ml compressed can is perfect for travel/my handbag and I’ve even had to share it with my boyfriend.

*This is a sponsored post