Countdown to 100 countries

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Exploring in Monaco


  

I just got back from sightseeing in Monaco; I'd never been before so was made up to be crossing another country off because I'm still trying to get to 100 and it is really difficult to find the time.

I basically spent my time walking about in the sunshine, eating almost obscene amounts of ice-cream and wishing I lived in all the flats. To be fair, those are essentially my go-to holiday activities but I love them for a reason. Let me show you why...




Those apartments and flats are almost offensively good looking. Can you imagine waking up to the views and people watching from those? One day I hope! While I was on my flat/house-hunting binge I even found some furniture that would be perfect...


....just kidding.

I'm so jealous of people that get to live in the sun, England is just not reliable enough, even in summer, to forward plan activities outside. For example, we had great sunshine for about a week and then today it has been 4 degrees and non-stop rain. I think summer might be over already (sob).
Holidays are great for being little windows into what life would be like if you had a balcony outside to eat breakfast on, people watch and live in the sun - I am so jealous. Eating a bowl of cereal sat on the sofa inside watching the rain on my window is just not the one.

I've gone on a bit of a tangant there so back to the sightseeing! We ended up wandering up through the winding (and very hilly) streets to the Palace. There are so many steps up and in the heat everything felt a bit difficult so I was so glad when we stopped for a drink before tackling them, I'd recommend you do the same. Having said that the views are so worth it.




Beautiful!

The palace is set in a quite large square but behind it there are so many shops and stalls set out in a windy maze of coloured buildings. You can buy anything from hats to herbs to every flavour of icecream you can think of. Definitely worth a visit.

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If you're thinking of going for a trip; I'd recommend catching the train from Nice, or vice versa. It's easy and quick to get to, although the platforms are a little confusing at Monaco so double check before you get on the wrong one.

Speak soon,

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Sundaze and last days in Nice

The last few days of a holiday are so bittersweet aren't they? I was having so much fun I really didn't want to leave.


We spent our last day walking by the beach as much as possible and soaking in as much of the sun as we could.


Before making out way into town to have a wander through the streets...


...and an ice-cream stop. I had a strawberry and pistachio flower - I'd love to be able to make my ice-creams look like this, just so pretty! To be honest I wasn't even mildly hungry at this point but it's a bit of a rule isn't it that on holiday you have to have icecream as one of your main meals every day?


We walked through the main town square which was full of colour and great to walk around. After a quick stop off we got slightly weirded out by those men on the poles ^^^ so headed down the streets to get away haha. I'm not sure what these statues are about but I've seen them in other cities too - if you have any idea please let me know.


We wandered through the streets finding hidden gems of beautiful buildings. We also discovered 'the gate' between the old and new town hidden away down a street and spent a few hours happily exploring the stalls and shops at both.


On our way back for our final beach loop (cue hysterical tears) we admired the architecture around each corner...



...and ate more ice cream (naturally).


The top row is Chocolate, vanilla, praline, nougat with stracciatella, creme caramel and pistachio on the bottom. I think that little Nutella pot in the stracciatella is the cutest; its just unfortunate for it that when it comes to Nutella, size does matter.

With piled high scoops we walked along the beach for one last time.



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Before saying goodbye to our beautiful apartment and toasting our final evening. 


Until next time Nice,

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Friday, 16 June 2017

Waking up in Nice

Waking up to the first morning in Nice was a complete reset. We rolled out of bed and opened the shutters to fantastic views...






First things first, It was time for a completely inappropriate but delicious breakfast of treats from the market, because if you can't have chocolate cake for breakfast on holiday then when can you?


Raspberry macaron, lemon meringue tart, chocolate-coffee cake, fruit tart, cream cake, vanilla slice, custard tart, caramel profiterole, apricot tart, raspberry cart, a pink and glittery profiterole and a cocoa covered chocolate slice...


In a nod to being healthy I started with the raspberry macaroon which we can overlook at breakfast because of the fruit, right? In my defence I also had some freshly pressed orange juice so maybe they cancelled each other out...possibly.


We spent the day lazing on the balcony, reading and catching up before having a walk on the beach and in the town. 



Before toasting to our fantastic day of doing absolutely nothing...


...and chatting on the balcony until well after sunset before rolling into bed to recover from such a tiring day.


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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wandering the markets of Nice

We woke up in Nice! After a lazy breakfast on the balcony we decided to take a stroll down to the marketplace.


We took our time and walked a round-about route so we could admire the beautiful buildings on the way. All the buildings are so photogenic and there are balconies everywhere; I'm so jealous to be living in a balcony-less house although I'm sure with the British weather I would only use it twice a year when the weather held out for once haha.


 We eventually arrived at the market to discover it was full of locals, which is always a great sign. While they collected their loaves, cheese and fruits for the day we wandered the stalls looking at the different trinkets and flowers for sale.


We drank and ate our way round the market because there were so many fresh juices, fruits and local dishes like Socca for sale and I'm so terrible at resisting food. There were so many stalls selling everything from cherries to soaps to oils making for a very colourful market but one stall in particular really caught my eye. It sold living pictures of moss and flowers that grow as you keep them; I thought they were beautiful and loved the concept but I wasn't sure how to get the pictures back home unfortunately...


Still, I was soon cheered-up by discovering a stall selling almonds in their shells. I've never seen them before so was tempted to buy them purely for the novelty until I felt the shell - slightly fuzzy but rock hard. They're sold de-shelled for a reason! 


As a lazy person, the idea of working for food put me off very quickly and I decided to buy some pastries instead...

...before exploring more of the marketplace..



I loved these stall selling multi-coloured teas and salts. It just looked so pretty, especially the raspberry salt. The salts had suggestions of the foods to eat with them so I will have to have a go at making them some time. I think having them all lined up in pots in the kitchen would be so beautiful.


 I stocked up on some essentials before we headed out to the beach to catch some vitamin sea.

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

A very odd british tradition

A few weekends ago my friends and I headed down south to watch the annual cheeserolling. Yes, you read that correctly, the annual cheeseroll. Definitely the weirdest event I've been to. It was really really odd but very funny, even though the weather didn't hold out for us!






It's a little hard to describe the event because it sounds so strange but I found this great quote that sums it up perfectly:

"twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital"

I'm not sure how the cheeserolling started because no one knows for definite, it's just been around for that long. Over the years the local authorities have tried to stop it because of safety concerns but it's so popular that people kept going ahead with the cheeserolling anyway. Essentially its a big race down a ridiculously steep hill after a wheel of Double Gloucester and if you win the race then you win the cheese. Such a strange tradition but it was so much fun to watch.


That guy in the picture before is the local cheeserolling champion and he wins almost all of them every year.

I don't even know how people do the race because the hill is so steep! I'm not exaggerating. It took a 30 minute hike to get up to see the race and we couldn't even walk to the very top of the hill because it was too steep to stand.  We eventually sort of wedged our feet into the soil to catch our balance and watched people slide past us as they fell from further up. At the bottom of the hill they even had a rugby team tackling people finishing the race to stop them running into the crowd by accident.

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My tips are;
-Definitely go because it's a great day out
-Wear walking boots (I made the error of wearing sandals and it was bad)
-Take a waterproof
-Take some cheese so you can pretend you have won (we did this with babybell haha but a mini edam would be great)
-Make sure you stop for dinner or drinks at the quays because it's lovely there



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Friday, 2 June 2017

48 hours in Paris

I love Paris.




My sister had been on a gap year so when she came back I decided to surprise her with a trip to Paris. It was expensive but worth it and luckily just before the brexit vote I had changed over some money to euros so my measly amount became instantly worth a lot more when the pound dropped. I didn't want to leave the EU so I'm really glad there was one small perk.

We stayed at the Pullman, which I would recommend for the incredible views. It was especially nice to see the Eiffel tower in the evening with a little wine, and to see first thing in the morning with a strong coffee. It honestly was such a nice hotel with lovely views and it was such a treat to stay somewhere so special. It would be perfect for a special occasion. We had only got a room with a balcony view of the tower but it wasn't ready so I got upgraded. I was so pleased to be able to treat my sister to something much nicer than planned.



We felt fancy AF staying here and looking back at these photos is making me crease.

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We spent the time wandering round the city and just getting a feel for the place. I love getting a little lost in a new place, it can be fun, especially with google maps you know you can always get back which makes it a bit nicer, haha.

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I used to pack trips full to the brim of sightseeing but inevitably I'd end up exhausted when I got home. Now I try to balance doing things with doing nothing. I don't think I've quite got the balance right yet, but it's a work in progress.

We spent time at the Louvre...and saw the Mona Lisa (which was a lot smaller than I expected). The Louvre itself was wonderful and I would never have gone if it wasn't to see the Mona Lisa as I'm not really a massive art lover; but I found myself really enjoying it and it was great to see all the sculptures.








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We headed out for some French food and got stuck in trying everything...

Then finished off our trip with a drink and watching the Eiffel tower sparkle.

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It was so lovely to spend time with my sister here. My mum is French as well and we had never been to Paris before so it was great to see it. I do think it lives up to the hype and it was so nice.

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Thai peanut-satay chicken salad


This salad tastes amazing. I know, I know...it's a salad, but genuinely it tastes so nice and I'm really not a 'salad' person. I made the dressing when I was experimenting with different flavours and I think I hit the jackpot. I've been having a lot of salads recently, partly because of health and partly because I just absolutely love biscuits so I feel like I have to be healthy so I can eat more of them haha.



This is not only the best salad I've ever eaten but is my new favourite meal. It is that good.

The ingredients are for two people but if you eat it all on your own know that I am not judging you, not at all, because I also could not stop eating it. Wow, reading this back I am shocked to be so happy about eating a salad haha...

Chicken, creamy avocado, crunchy peanuts, peppery rocket and a thai-inspired zesty dressing bringing all the flavours together. Delicious.



For the amazing zingy dressing you need:
-7 springs of coriander (the leaf and stalk)
-sliced ginger (1 forkful)
-20 ml reduced-salt soy sauce
-60 ml milk
-1 birds eye chilli (those tiny ones that look cute but mean business)
-1 tsp of peanut butter
-2 tsp of powdered peanut butter

Put the ingredients into a blender and blitz.




Simple!

For the salad you need:
-Chicken (3 mini-fillets per person)
-Salad leaves (1/2 bag)
-2 tomatoes
-1 avocado
-1 fistful of peanuts
-10 coriander leaves

Cook the chicken until browned on one side. Flip the chicken over and add the peanuts. Give it an occasional stir so you don't burn the peanuts - you just want them to brown a little.


Ignore that cheeky leaf that sneaked in that picture  ^^.
Meanwhile lay out your salad leaves. Dice the tomatoes and scatter over each plate. Half and thinly slice the avocado and delicately lay over the plate.

When the chicken is cooked through and the peanuts are browned plate them up.


Now it's time to add the amazing dressing. I put a lot of it on my plate; you probably don't need to be so liberal (I'm just greedy, okay?!).


Top with the coriander leaves.



Et voila!

Enjoy the best salad I've ever eaten. I know you're going to love it too,

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