header image for Travel Linkup_ New Year Travel Goals

 

Happy New Year!!

It’s finally here, we’ve said goodbye to 2016 and I can now get excited for a fresh start and year ahead. In between working, volunteering and seeing friends and family I spent the last week having a complete detox in the house. Mo and I cleared through all the excess we have accumulated in our lives and have passed things on to those who need them more.

We want a fresh start for us both.

So… what lies ahead??

SO MUCH AWESOMENESS!!!

 

Myanmar

I’m heading to Yangon this month to join a tour with Intrepid travel and discover the beauty of Myanmar. A trip that originally I was in two minds about (more on that later) but now everything has been finalised and I will soon be taking my first Cathay Pacific flight East where I hope to discover sights, sounds and tastes of Burmese culture.

 

View point in Myanmar

Image taken from myanmar.travel

 

Flaine

I had never heard of Flaine, had not the foggiest idea where it was (I now know it’s in France). But after a fantastically fun session at Chill factore in Manchester with Crystal Ski Holidays, I managed to win a trip for my fantastic four crew and I to FINALLY go on our first ever ski trip!!! So to Flaine we shall go!!

 

snow in Flaine, France

Image taken from Crystal Ski Holidays

 

London

I go to London quite a bit, but this year Traverse has decided to pick London as it’s host city and they’re going all out with a week of organised events. One of my favourite blogger hangouts in one of my favourite cities. What’s not to be excited about??

 

 

Sweden

No year is complete without a trip to see the niece and nephew in Stockholm. It feels like ages since we were last there and Mo and I are both feeling some serious withdrawal sypmtoms, we miss Fika! Think we’ll start looking for those flights asap…

 

 

Ben Nevis part 3

Despite the name, we’re not headed to Ben Nevis for a third time, this is simply what our yearly family trip has been titled. First year Ben Nevis, second year Saltburn by the Sea and this year Mo and I are taking charge and I know my dad will be reading this so I’m afraid I can’t divulge the location just yet, but it’s basically somewhere in the UK where we can all be together as a family and enjoy a mini break.

 

So thats whats on my to do list. What’s on the wish list? Well as usual, plenty!

 

Turkey

For years and years Mo and I have talked about visiting Turkey with our dear friends. Istanbul gets a lot of bad press at the minute as they seem to be caught in some of the Middle East cross fire but it hasn’t put us off wanting to go, perhaps 2017 will finally be the year we do.

 

sunset over Istanbul

Image taken from blogs.fco.uk

 

Iceland

It looks so beautiful! I mean just look at it…

 

blue lagoon iceland

Image taken from iceland.is

 

Nice no?

 

Italy

Everyone raves about Italy but I’ve never been. I’m not really sure where in Italy I’d like to go, but it could be nice to venture that-a way and try some of my favourite dishes in their home country.

 

image of Italy, Venezia at sunset

Image taken from surprisingitaly.com

 

And I haven’t really had the chance to think about anything else, well not yet anyway 😉

 

I am just looking forward to looking forward and I am determined to make this year the best one yet. I have a number of other life goals that I am also determined to accomplish. I want to take the charity work I do for others up another notch and have some other exciting changes I’m working on too which I hope to share at some point.

So first up, Yangon! and I have two weeks to get packed, sorted and prepped for my trip. Any tips, please please send them my way…

 

What have you got planned for 2017? 

 

*** January Travel Linkup ***
Travel Wishlists and plans for the year of adventures ahead (and perhaps even a few of your favorite 2016 travels?)
Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th January), add it to the link up widget – found on either Angie’s, Emma’s or on our lovely co-host Polly’s blog

 

image header for January Travel Linkup_ new year goals post

Follow:

things-to-do-in-sweden-tbt

 

Sweden is a country close to our hearts, as it’s home to my sister-in-law and her beautiful family. Stockholm, where they live, is the epitome of Scandi-cool, and from our first visit, I was impressed and blown away by the chilled out vibe of the city.

In fact, it must be one of the most relaxed capital cities I have ever visited. The gorgeoues skyline, the fact that it is a city on the water, the stunning old town and of course, the many, many incredible restaurants – Stockholm should be a weekend break on everyone’s list.

 

stockholm-view

 

Fortunately for us, we never have to fork out on accommodation. This is somewhat of a blessing. Living up to it’s reputation of being an expensive country, I can recall having to pay about £20 for a couple of coffees and sandwiches during my first trip to Stockholm. But, it’s all comparative and this should certainly NOT be a deterrent. Those are the kind of prices you’ll find in tourist hot spots, but the more we visit the more I realise that actually it’s a very similar in pricing to cities like London.

Its been some time since we were last there (well May to be precise) and I was having a bit of a nostalgic moment so I put together a briefish list of things to do and places to visit, if you should happen to find yourself in the capital of cool one winter weekend:

 

Skansen

Skansen is a great place for new visitors to Stockholm and Sweden as it is a Swedish national treasure. It is apparently the world’s first open air museum and opened it’s doors in 1891. It takes you on a journey of Sweden over 5 centuries and encompasses all areas of the country. It’s a great place to get your first flavour of Swedish culture. MY greatest memory of Skansen is of Mo being chased by a peacock. I know that sounds mean, but I promise you it was hilarious, I’d go back just to watch that happen again!

 

 

There is even a little zoo / conservation area, housing local animals like, elk, moose and bears. At Christmas, it is home to a charming Christmas market. Just be sure to wrap up warm if you are there over the colder months! It’s a great place to bring kids, but it’s pretty big so wear shoes accordingly, you’ll be on your feet a fair bit.

 

Vasamuseet

This museum houses an incredible, ginormous ship which sank in Stockholm over 300 years ago. The Swedes painstakingly lifted this beautiful ship out of the water in the 1950s and managed to preserve it using state of the art methods. You can watch a brilliant video of it all before walking through to see it in the flesh.

 

 

They have literally built this museum around the ship and it’s history. It is considered to be the only preserved 17th century ship and it is hugely popular with both tourists and locals. Alas, you cannot climb aboard, but you can certainly walk all the way around it. It is much bigger and more impressive than you could ever imagine.

 

Kaknästornet

This is the Stockholm city tower and it is situated in the Gardet region of Stockholm. An easy location to drive to, the tower stands at 155m tall and boasts some of the best views over the city I have ever seen. We were lucky to visit on a very sunny day so we saw Stockholm from far and wide. The viewing point upstairs has rather a nice coffee shop serving something the Sweden do to perfection – fika – which is the swedish art of coffee and cake (cinnamon bun, order a CINNAMON BUN)

 

Hop on – hop off boat

Over the summer months, the water ways open and the hop on hop off boats are a great way to explore the city on foot and on the water. Stockholm is a city that is very spread out and if you have things you want to see in different part of the city, the boats are a great alternative to the Tunnelbana (underground). I would highly recommend this mode of transport one afternoon

 

 

Old town

No trip to Stockholm is complete without a walk through the Gamlastan – which literally translates as Old Town. There’s the obligatory tourist shops where you can pick up some cheap and some not so cheap souvenirs and memorabilia (definitely the best place if you are after the much sought after Swedish crystal), but also home to some fantastic restaurants and cafes.

 

 

It’s a great place to chill out for fika (you can never have too much fika) Mo and I love going up to a place called Chokladkoppan on Nobel square for hot chocolate – which is to die for. You can also see the Royal Palaces, the Riksdag (Parliament) and the Cathedral. It’s also a great place to walk through to get to the main shopping parts of the city.

 

Gastronomy

the Swedes are very well known for their simple, yet incredibly tasty cuisine. Over the years, we have been fortunate to visit a couple of brilliant places. Such as Gondolen – an incredible restaurant floating over stylish Sodermalm (South Island) of Stockholm. Great food, great service and sensational views of Stockholm.

Den Gylden Freden is another good one, located in Gamlastan and its actually the oldest restaurant in Stockholm! Both the location and food are stunning but it is pretty expensive. Gorgeous, locally-caught fish cooked to perfection with seasonal vegatables is what we had. Portions are not huge (Scandi food never is) but we paid over £80 for 2 of us from memory. Maybe one to reserve for a special occasion. But there are many more quirky tasty places around! (they totally need their own post).

 

 

Have you been to Stockholm? What are your favourite places to visit? 

 

Did you find this useful? Feel free to pin it for later 🙂

things-to-do-in-stockholm

Follow:

header image for 5 facts about stockholm

 

So work wanted us to send over five facts about a destination we had visited. I obviously jumped all over this task and fired over my list about a city I’ve come to know quite well.

I thought it was definitely worth a share, so heres my five facts about the Swedish Capital, Stockholm.

 

Old Town, Gamla Stan

The Old Town, Gamla Stan, is one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe. The buildings, churches and streets have been maintained beautifully over the years and is a great area to grab a quick coffee or bite to eat. If you’re after souvenirs, this is the best place to come. The Nobel Museum, Nobelmuseet, is also nestled amidst Gamla Stan as the Nobel Prize has been handled here since 1969. (Nobel Square is also where you can find one of the best hot chocolate cafes in Stockholm!)

 

 

Skansen

There are more than 50 museums dotted around the city and it’s home to the world’s first open-air museum, Skansen, a full outdoor replica of an average 19th-century town. Skansen also houses a zoo if you’re wanting to meet some Scandinavian animals such as the brown bear or moose.

 

 

Vasa Museum

Stockholm has a recovered warship from the 1600’s that went down during its maiden voyage. The ship is almost perfectly intact because of the salinity of the water in Stockholm. It’s called the Vasa and you can see it in all its glory at the Vasa Museum, Vasamuseet.

 

 

Pretty much everyone speaks English

Near enough everyone you come across in the Swedish Capital speaks English. Pretty handy for visitors. There are even some areas (such as Gamla Stan) where restaurant staff don’t speak Swedish?!?

 

Art is everywhere

The metro is one of the easiest ways to get around the city. Stockholm has more than 100 metro stations, famous for their artistic designs, sculptures, paintings and mosaics. The buses and trams are just as efficient, but to save the hassle of traffic, the underground is the fastest way to get around. If you are wanting to see the tourist sites and you’re there in the Summer time, you could even take the hop on boat.

 

 

Thats it.

Well, for now.

 

Have you been to Stockholm? What did you learn about the city?

Follow:

header image for creating a holiday photo album

 

One of my favourite holiday photo albums

Whilst putting together lists and research for upcoming blog posts yesterday, I got drawn towards the photo album shelf and ended up completely losing myself in the various memory books I have created. Aside from travel, putting together photo albums is one of my favourite pastimes. It allows me to combine my art and design skills with my travelling memories and make pieces that Mo and I can look back over time and time again.

No two albums are the same and I love to approach each trip or life event as a project and find a suitable way to present them. Even hunting for the album itself fills me with joy!

My favourite album find so far has been this one from my very first trip to Sweden.

With my sister in law living in Stockholm, we tend to visit at least once a year. The first time I ever visited was summer 2011. Mo let me drag him around the city taking in all the different tourist sites (of which there are many).

My favourite area in Stockholm is the Old Town, Gamlastan, and it was here that I just happened to wander into a quirky looking charity shop and I came across this book.

 

 

My brother in law explained the title ‘Brefkorts Album’ meant it was actually designed to hold postcards. It cost me next to nothing (a rare treat for the oh-so-expensive country that is Sweden) and I loved the musty looking paper and little notes that had been written in pencil on some of the pages. If only some of the original postcards had been left in!

 

 

The album itself had so much character I didn’t want to do anything fussy with the inside. I knew all I would need to do is print out the photos and simply arrange them inside, maybe try and fit in a few of the ticket stubs and maps I had kept from the trip too.

As I was keeping it quite ‘minimalist,’ it took me next to no time to get it all put together when we got back. Each page was just the right size to fit two full size pics on and the paper was a good a thickness to hold the thicker photo stock. Couple of stick on letters for the front and it was done.

This has definitely inspired me to venture into charity shops a lot more in the future, especially on holiday. You just never know what gems you will find.

 

Have you ever visited charity shops instead of tourist shops? Whats the quirkiest thing you’ve found on your travels? 

Follow: