travelthroughlifehannah

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We love nothing more than a cosy little winter getaway in the UK, therefore when Citystay got in touch offering the chance to visit the beautiful city of Cambridge, we jumped at the chance to visit!

Citystay Vesta are in the perfect location, just 2 minutes’ walk from Cambridge Train Station and a further 10 minutes into the Historical city centre. See more: http://bit.ly/2lHwa3i

From the second we booked we were made to feel super welcome. The entire booking process is really personal, which I love! We dealt with Aimee who is Citystay’s Guest Services Co-ordinator. She was incredible from start to finish!

Aimee text in the morning to find out our ETA, which was a nice touch as we knew she would be there to greet us. We ended up getting a little bit lost trying to find the apartment, but Aimee was on hand to get us back on track!

Aimee guided us into the car park, then up to our apartment. She explained how everything worked in detail, showing us the washing machine, cooker, heating, key controls etc plus a little bit about the local area. The location by the station is great, as it means right outside the apartment is a Sainsburys Local, Pret-a-manger and Wasabi, therefore if you did need to grab something quickly, you can do!

Aimee gave us her contact details & left us to explore…Explore being the key word, as the apartment is massive! We had apartment 73, which is a 2-bedroom Vesta apartment. They offer 1,2 or 3 bedroom Vesta apartments too.

First things first….FOOD! You don’t get this kind of welcome in a hotel! It’s so nice to have the essentials in the cupboards to make it feel like home. The welcome pack is completely complimentary. Plus if you are travelling for a special occasion you can request additional items such as wine or chocolates for your arrival. Check out ‘enhance your stay’ on the website. http://bit.ly/2lHwa3i

Also, just a note that the kitchen cupboards are really well equipped with all the cookware you need, making it super easy to cook a big dinner if there are a few of you.

The bathrooms are really well equipped too with huge white fluffy towels & The White Company toiletries. We had a full range of toiletries in each of the bathrooms, we had an ensuite with a shower plus a main bathroom which had a shower over the bath too!

My favourite thing about the bathrooms though is the heated floor….It was freezing this weekend & the under floor heating was amazing & massively appreciated. It was all these little things that make these apartments perfect, I am not surprised they win so many awards!

The entire apartment space felt like home. They have thought of every little detail to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Each bedroom has a TV, Sony Radio, Slippers (My unicorn slippers come everywhere with me, I didn’t need to bring them after all though as they have slippers here!) They even have separate heating controls per bedroom which I thought was pretty nifty. Most importantly though, the beds are ridiculously comfortable. They are so cosy and soft….I could’ve stayed there all day! Another thing to note, they have plug sockets by the bed….Which is something so simple, yet so annoying when there is no plug near to you!

 

Exploring Cambridge

Something completely unique to Citystay is that when you book with them you can Punt for FREE! Which is such a big benefit.

Citystay work with Scudamore which is Cambridge’s original punting company founded in 1901. You can choose from a selection of self-hire punts, kayaks, canoes and rowboats….All with the compliments of Citystay!

More details here: http://bit.ly/2kZA3R8

Cambridge University:

The best word to describe the different colleges of Cambridge University is MAGICAL…It felt like we were wandering around in a fairy-tale, or in Hogwarts! I was in awe of the students who get to call this home. There are so many passageways, alleyways and doorway’s to explore – I was scared to wander through half of them, although I’m sure I could pass for a student right?! 😉 To know that Hawking, Byron, Newton & Darwin have wandered these exact same paths is something pretty special!

Christ’s College is right in the heart of the city. We were just doing a spot of shopping and stumbled across the beautiful grounds of the college.

Lunch Stop: No Valentines is complete without Crepes right?! We stopped at Benet’s Café which overlooks Kings College, the perfect location for a little afternoon sugar craving!

They do hot food too, along with some of the best cakes and ice cream flavours I have ever seen!

Location: 21 King’s Parade, City Centre, Cambridge CB2 1SP

Here he is….The only photo I managed to get of him all weekend!

What a great weekend for Valentines….We can’t wait to come back again in the summer!

Post in collaboration with Citystay Apartments, Cambridge.

See you soon.

Hannah. x

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Oman has been voted 8th in the Lonely Planet’s best in Travel for 2017 – It’s a destination not to missed!

When telling people I was travelling to Oman, I generally had the response of ‘where is that?’ It is a fairly unique destination which made me love it even more! My biggest regret, would be that I only spent 2 days here over the weekend, which really wasn’t enough to experience everything Oman has to offer.

To answer the question, Oman is right on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. I don’t like to compare countries, but Oman really reminded me of Dubai and Marrakesh mixed together! The design of the buildings, patterns & colours really reminded me of Marrakesh. The beaches, people & food offerings really reminded me of Dubai.

The people are really what makes Oman special. Everyone I know who has visited says the same thing, I felt so welcome and safe from the second we arrived. Another thing to note, is how clean and neat it is there, It is the cleanest country I have ever been too! Everywhere we went there was a cleaner or a gardener, trimming the trees or washing the floor. Even the roads were spotless! It is the little things like that, which adds to the countries beauty.

The Luxury Resort: We stayed in the Shang-ri-la Barr Al Jissah, which is absolutely stunning. There are 3 hotels making up the resort which are the Al Bandar, Al Husn & Al Waha. We stayed in a pool view room with a balcony in the Al Bandar. The Al Husn was definitely my favourite, I felt like an Arabian Princess strolling through a palace!

Shangrila Barr Al Jissah: http://bit.ly/2kkSSwA

The Endless Beaches: You will have direct access to the most beautiful views from the minute you arrive. The Mountains rise all around the resort, making for the perfect backdrop!

The Turtles: Each night we would head to Turtle Beach to try and catch a glimpse of the Turtles hatching, we sadly didn’t get to see any but we spoke to lots of guests who were lucky enough to see them. They have a Turtle Care Project at the resort too, they even have their very own Turtle Ranger (What a great job!)

Omani Food: There is so much choice! I opted for Asian Tapas on the terrace for the first night.  I had Crab & Potato Samosas with Peanut Oil & Mixed seafood paella. The second night I decided to dine in Bait Al Bar along the beach.  I opted for fish again, I had the Seafood Platter (Lobster, Sea Bream, Kingfish, Squid, Vegetables & Lemon Butter!) Try and book these when you arrive, as we struggled for a reservation on the first night. The menu’s are all loaded online on this link > http://bit.ly/2jj9R54 Have a good look at the menu’s before you arrive so you can pre-budget & pick your favourites!

The Tea: I must admit, I didn’t like the taste of Arabic Tea but I LOVED the Arabic Tea Pots!

The Grand Mosque: The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Islamic architecture at its best! I obsessed over the Islamic Geometric Patterns and Mosaic Tiles.

Oh these tiles!

 

Who gets excited to fly home? Not me, that is for sure! Unless these are the views….Keep your eyes peeled around 2 hours into your flight home, you will fly over these snowy mountains in Iran. Breathtaking!

 

 

There is so much more to do, I just didn’t have the time. Camping in the dessert is still top of my list. I guess it gives me another reason to go back! 😉

I am pleased to say I have experienced the Arabian magic in 2017!

Post in collaboration with Barr Al Jissah & Luxuria Lifestyle…Love for Arabian patterns all my own 😉

Enjoy, any questions get in touch!

Hannah x

 

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Hilton Sa Torre, Majorca is little piece of heaven in the Mediterranean, you won’t ever want to leave! It is located just 15 minutes away from Palma Airport, making it a perfect weekend escape to relax and unwind in the luxury of the Majorcan countryside.

5 Reasons to visit Hilton Sa Torre Majorca:

1. Experience the Luxury location: This Hilton is like no other Hilton in the world! It’s located in a beautifully restored Finca, it’s truly unique in every way, with a 14th century chapel on site and an iconic Majorcan windmill, everywhere you look is picture perfect.  This is our second visit to this stunning hotel, it certainly won’t be the last!

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2. Romance: This hotel oozes romance! It is quiet, peaceful and perfect for couples to spend quality time together. Ditch your phones/tablets and laptops and enjoy the stunning surroundings. Take a stroll around the magical hotel grounds, or wander towards the town of Llucmajor. You can also hop in a cab to Palma, the capital city for around 20 Euros.

3. Treat yourself in the Spa: The use of the spa is included in your stay, take advantage of the facilities and treat yourself! They offer lots of different treatment options, or you can just enjoy the sauna, steam room, indoor pool and gym.

4. 5* Food: They have 3 restaurants, The Pool Bar (They have the BEST pizza!) Sa Clastra & the Arxiduc restuarant. The Arxiduc is a firm favourite, as you can dine outside on the patio and enjoy fresh, local tapas. The menu is carefully created and updated every season by the on-site chefs to ensure the best food is on offer.

5. The Service Button: I’ll save the best until last! This button is the best invention EVER! If you are feeling super relaxed (or just being lazy) you can press a button for service at your sunbed…It doesn’t get much better than that right?!

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Enjoy this little hidden gem!

To Book: http://bit.ly/2ex56nC

Hannah x

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Experience the city life in Venice & Verona along with the tranquillity of Lake Garda. How we squeezed Venice, Verona & Desenzano into one unforgettable weekend break!  

Day I: We flew from London Stansted into Milan Bergamo airport. The flight only cost £32pp: http://bit.ly/2jbQZWj

Find out how, on this link: https://travelthroughlifehannah.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/weekend-escape/ 

Milan Airport (BGY) is around 80km away from Lake Garda, the train is by far the cheapest option to arrive into the Lakes, costing us 7 Euros each. Generally there is one change either in Breschia or Treviglio if you are heading towards Desenzano Del Garda. We chose to stay in Desenzano due to the transport links, making it really easy to use the trains to travel around Italy.

I booked our train tickets on my mobile using Go Euro (link: http://bit.ly/2en6xl2) The site is so easy to use, really mobile friendly, meaning as soon as you make a booking online you can download your tickets save them to your iBooks which allows the ticket inspector to scan your ticket straight from your phone using the QR code – It is as simple as that!  It is much easier and cheaper than paying for your tickets from the kiosk, I can’t recommend it enough! Some of the tickets we booked minutes before the train was due to arrive using the app.

We arrived at the Hotel Bonotto, which is located in Desenzano Del Garda. We booked a lake view room and the view from the balcony was worth every penny. We didnt think we could get a better view, we were in for a big suprise, the real show stopper is when you go for breakfast as there is a panoramic view over the lake, it is such a beautiful peaceful setting!

The hotel was in a perfect location, it’s a 1 minute walk to the lake, 2 minute walk to the town, 2 minute walk to the harbour and 10 minute walk to the train station. (approx. 8.50 Euros in a taxi to the train station if you have heavy bags!)

Hotel Bonotto: http://bit.ly/2elpXFU

We had a little wander into the town and we found the cutest little pizza place called Al Fattore, located in the main town of Desenzano. It was super cheap too, only 28 Euros for 2 pizza’s and a bottle of wine, which was a surprise for a popular tourist town.

Day II: Verona & Venice.

We did some research over dinner & decided to head to Verona in the morning, it is only 20 minutes away on the train also it only cost 3.60 Euros per ticket – Result! We caught the 09:00am train, meaning we arrived into Verona by 09:20. Verona Purto Nouva is the main station in the City, only a 15 – 20 minute walk straight down Corso Porta Nuova into Verona. We walked directly to the Piazza, which is absolutely beautiful, even on a rainy day!

Then we headed into Castelvecchio Castle, which has beauty around every corner.  Then we wandered around the Piazza’s including Piazza Bra & Piazza Dei Signori. Then we headed to Torre dei Lamberti, The Basilica, Santa Maria Antica & Arco Dei Gavi – Lovely morning spent wandering around the city!

Day II Afternoon

We walked back to Verona station to head for Venice, again we booked on the Go Euro app for 8 Euros each & is approx. a 1.5 hour train journey and we arrived into Venice for 3pm.

WOW what a STUNNING train journey, Venice station is right on the Grand Canal, pulling into the station was pretty impressive…….

This is our second time visiting Venice, the first time was back in 2014 when my Fiancée proposed in a restaurant called Riviera which is towards the end of the Grand Canal, it is a beautiful peaceful spot, which is sometimes hard to come across in such a busy city. The food in Riviera is unbelievable, the views are even better! More pics and menus can be found here: http://bit.ly/2dFGJC2

Gondola Rides: There is always time for a Gondola Ride! They are around 80 Euros for 40 minutes – Which is completely worth it in my eyes, as you get views like this! You can either prebook them beforehand, or flag down a Gondola man when you are in the City (They are round most corners, in their amazing stripy t-shirts and matching hats!)

Piazza St. Mark’s square is beautiful, BUT super busy. We tend to sprint through to get to the beautiful views over the Grand Canal at the water’s edge! There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the square, but they are really busy and the most expensive in Venice. You are much better walking through the square, towards the canal and take a stroll across the water front to find a much quieter, cheaper and much prettier spot to enjoy a refreshment break!

We love to slowly wander around, finding quiet little spots to admire the view with less people. With that in mind, we started a mission to find another favourite restaurant of ours, which is Luna Sentada. Luna Sentada is pretty hard to locate, as it is in a lovely quiet location, down a narrow side path. Both of our phones had lost signal meaning we couldn’t use google maps we had no choice but to get lost! The exact way how we found it last time!! We very nearly gave up as it was getting later and later, however at 6pm, we turned a corner which we both really recognised…..We both laughed and couldnt believe our eyes, we had been searching for ages, but sure enough when we turned that corner, there it was! Luna Sentada & 5000 wine bar. Two wines please!

If I give you one tip for Venice, it is to purposely get yourself lost, walk off the main streets & down the many side streets, where hidden gems await! ‘Take it all in, explore, adventure, turn corners and appreciate the most beautiful city in the world.’

Day II Evening:We caught the train from Venice back to our hotel in Desenzano del Garda. We caught the last train at 7:30pm from Venice (be sure to check Go Euro’s train timetable for the last train during your trip)

Desenzano: Lake Garda

Day III Morning: We went for breakfast in the Hotel Bonotto at 7:00am to catch the sunrise. (WOW) I would really recommend an early morning rise to catch these stunning views. We took a stroll around the lake as a final goodbye before we needed to leave for our flight at 10am. It didnt take long to find cute little spots along the way!

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Have you explored Italy by train? Let me know below! What are your top tips?

Hannah x

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Do you work Monday – Friday? Are you bored of doing the same thing every weekend? Are you sick of throwing money away and having nothing to show for it?

…..Now is the time to stop & make a change. There is so much more to life than Monday to Friday. Let’s start living, plan adventures and explore this wonderful world!

There are so many beautiful places in the world to explore, with such a short flight to European cities, why not go and explore a new destination, rather than blow £100 on a night out!?

Friday to Sunday flights are so easy to find, especially using Skyscanner: http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-8394176-10641620

The Skyscanner app is great, you can search for all UK flights on any dates, it will give you the cheapest fare option, cheapest airport, cheapest date, cheapest destination – They literally compare everything for you, saving so much time in finding a great value fare!

How do you search the worlds flights month by month? It’s easy! Simply select ‘whole month’ in the departures section. You can also search for the whole world, there is no need to enter a destination! You can type ‘UK’ in the from box and then add ‘everywhere’ in the destination box. If you are flexible with when/where you travel, It really helps to find the best price and start planning your getaway around the airline fares.

I have previously booked a flight to Sri Lanka for £320 flying with Virgin & Fly Dubai using the above technique. Milan for £32, Norway over the Bank Holiday weekend for £52. (I usually aim to book Bank Holiday dates around 4/5 months in advance, that tends to be the best priced fares!) Barcelona for £30, Dublin for £7 & Paris for £22 – Cheap fares are there to be had!

I have so many more #SkyscannerRoulettes left to play….Where too next?!

HIT LIST: Sweden, Iceland, Austria, Montenegro, Copenhagen & Italian cities – I’m aiming for all for under £40. Wish me luck!

You can download the Skyscanner app here: iTunes: http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-8394176-13019503 Google Play: http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-8394176-12960144

What has been your best value flight? Let me know below!

Scroll down to the bottom to search for your dream flight.

Hannah x

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