Wednesday, 4 November 2015

France Road Trip


During half term we decided to take a road trip through France. Although we've been to France before and stayed just outside Le Touquet in a couple of lovely Gites we didn't really know it too well  I've also been thinking in buying a holiday home in France for sometime so I thought by booking a holiday to France it would also be a great opportunity to combine it with viewing some properties.  Our first stop was Bordeaux which didn't start of too well. We were flying out of Luton and had to make our way to Kings Cross St Pancras. We were a bit rushed when we arrived we had missed our train. My husband  was getting the tickets and I had to check which platform we needed to be. However there are two platform B's so if you're not careful you could end up on the wrong one like we did waiting for the slow train instead of the fast one. The station is huge and is not well sign posted and after a lot of confusion and messing around running from one platform to another we gave up and jumped into an Uber and we just about made it. As we all ran to the gate we noticed it was closed so after a lot of begging and pleading with not so happy staff they agreed to open the gate and let us on. One hour and 20 minutes later we arrived in sunny Bordeaux.


Bordeaux Airport is small but there is two terminals one for the budget airlines and another for the premium carriers like Air France & BA. Upon arrival we took a small stroll to the next terminal  to pick up our hired car. Picking up the car was very easy and we made sure it was big and comfortable since we were planning to do a lot of driving. 45 minutes later we arrived in Bordeaux city. I booked a cute little apartment on Airbnb for one night in the heart of the city with 2 bedrooms for just £59 per night. In the evening we walked around a little and found a cheap little  typical French restaurant offering a menu for just  €13 euros each for a 3 course meal. We opted for Onion Soup, Foi Gras and we all had steak. The food was good and cheap and cost just €60 euros for all 4 including half a bottle of wine. It's probably the only place we came across that served Onion Soup. Bordeaux is breathtakingly beautiful and is full of stunning Architecture. There's plenty of museums, restaurants, bars and shops.  We only stayed for one night but managed to sneak a visit to the spectacular "Miroir d'Eauon". It's located opposite the beautiful "Place de la Bourse" and was built less than 10 years ago, designed by Michel Corajoud and is now one of Bordeaux's most visited and photographed sites.  The following morning we woke up early packed our bags tidied the apartment and went to have breakfast at Karls on Place du Parlement. It was a Saturday morning and it was really busy so it was difficult to get a table inside so opted to sit outside. There's a good choice of breakfast menus between €8-25 euros per person. We had the continental basket that included lovely freshly baked bread and Croissants coffee and a freshly squeezed orange juice. Unlike most  restaurants you'll find in France they serve food all day which is always good to know. 

Karls for Breakfast

Chez Les Ploucs for Onion Soup

After breakfast we all jumped back into the car and headed for a place called Chalus to view a couple of properties. The first one needed too much work and was in a small town just outside Chalus which was really quiet. The house needed far too much money spent on it plus we didn't like the layout was all a bit odd inside.  As we carried on driving towards Chalus we went and had a look at another one which was huge and had 8 bedrooms. The reception room was large  something that would be ideal however the house it self didn't feel welcoming and had an eerie feel to it. The crosses over the beds and bibles left in the kitchens didn't help with what I was feeling from it. All the furniture had been left along with personal belongings as if a family had left the house in a rush in the 70's. Our next stop was Bellac a small market town outside Limoges and by this time it was 2.30pm and we were all getting hungry. We tried stopping at so many Boulangeries  to grab some food but no one would serve us sandwiches because it wasn't lunch time. It was only when we go to Bellac and the agent recommended a place where we could buy some quiches by this time it was 4.30pm and we were famished. Although Bellac seemed to have a bit more life neither of us could picture spending out holidays there but we went to have a look at another just on the ouskirs of the town. It was a small cottage next door to the local butcher that reared his own meat from his cute little cows we could seet at the bottom of the garden so that was a big no no of us.

Next stop Limoges....

Pont de Pierre

The fabulous "Miroir d'Eau"

Monday, 12 October 2015

Julia Fullerton-Batten Photography

Real Stories of Feral Kids

If you remember back in February I let you in on a secret that I had just finished a photo shoot with Julia Fullerton- Batten in one of the last remaining WW1 sites in Essex Stow Maries Aerodrome.  The location is fascinating and full of history but at the same time some buildings stand abandoned. It's amazing how Julia transformed the rooms into stories of feral children being left to feed themselves. My character was called Madina. She lived in Russia with three dogs sharing food and sleeping areas. Her mother was a alcoholic so she was usually too drunk to look after her own daughter. When Madina's mum got angry she would run away to the local playground but most kids wouldn't play or talk to her because she was violent and couldn't speak so her best friends were the dogs.
Photoshoot in Essex

Madina age 3

Friday, 11 September 2015

Patisseries in Soho

Coffee & Cake

Cherry Kirsch


It's very hard to walk around Soho and not be tempted by a devilish cake and if it's not a cake then its a bubble tea either one is very sweet and naughty. I'm going to share you a few of my favourite places I like to eat cake first one is Leto. They have a window full of cakes that make's it very difficult to walk past without licking your lips and popping in for a cheeky slice. They do a good selection of fresh juices too juice. The price for a slice of cake doesn't come cheap at around £4.90- £5.20  so consider it a cheeky treat. There's a good mixture and age varies from mid 20's - 40's. Don't go in without trying their delicious Cherry Kirsch £4.90 and Millefeuille £5.20
155 Wardour Street Soho W1


Another favourite is Princi just a couple of doors down from Leto. It's much bigger and always packed full of shoppers. It's quite famous for its pizza's although I've never tried one myself they're supposed to be really good. Unlike Leto you would need to go inside to look at the cakes along the bar. They have an excellent selection all hand made Italian. There is no waiter service so you need to order and pay at the bar. I chose a delicious Mixed Berry Cheesecake and it was just as good as it looked. Mum chose a fruit pastry with strawberry and custard which she really enjoyed. Expect only the best Italian cakes here.  The atmosphere and good cakes makes this place  a winner for me. Prices start from £4.50-4.75 and worth every lick.
135 Wardour Street W1

Half eaten Berry Cheesecake

Maison Bertaux

The Queen of cakes because this is one of Soho oldest and most famous bakery. We often choose this place to make our family birthday cakes, Lilly Allen had her wedding cake made here  so that just tells you how it good it is. It's not at all modern but more cute and traditional. The crowd is much older than the ones mentioned above and you can see that it has some long standing loyal residents who've been coming for years. Apricot & Almond tart is a favourite £3.80 along with the small mixed tarts £4.20

Greek Street 28 Greek Street W1

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Christmas Holidays

Christmas In Thailand

I know you might think this is a bit early to be thinking about Christmas Holidays but if you are then book it now. Last year me and my family went to Thailand and we had a great time and we got some great prices because we booked it in advance. Flight prices can double if you leave it to the last minute so don't get caught short. We wouldn't have been able to afford to go if my mum didn't plan ahead and have everything booked by October. We flew to Bangkok via China Airlines and made a stop at Beijing. My mum got some passes for us to all sit in a lounge during our stopover at Beijing which made it more enjoyable especially having to wait 3 hours for a connecting flight to Bangkok. We downloaded the DragonPass app paid a membership and we were allowed into the lounge. I would definitely recommend it especially travelling long haul. Once you are in the lounge you can take a shower, watch a movie, eat and drink whatever you like. When we arrived in Bangkok we jumped into a taxi straight to The Ascott Sathorn apart hotel.  But be careful when leaving the airport and don't pay over 250 Thai bhart to the city. Definitely check the price before you jump in and tell them you want the meter on. If they say its broken don't get in move to the next one. That was our mistake but we soon remembered for our next taxi ride.
Silom at Night

The Ascott Sathorn  Is such a cool place to stay. It cost just over £80 a night for a 2 bedroom apartment. My mum chose it for 4 reasons. 1) It had a large pool for me and my brother, 2) Has a pool room for my brother 3) A big gym for my mum and dad 4) It was 5 star luxury just what my mum and I like. The breakfast was lovely and in the morning you could sit and eat it around the pool. The apartments were spacious and the location was great just a few minutes walk to the sky train and  Silom.  I can't say enough about this place it truly was a great stay and I would love to go back again one day. They made us feel so welcome and it was lovely to wake up on Christmas day in such a lovely place.  For Christmas lunch we spent it at The Novotel Hotel Ploenchit. it was a big buffet and they served Turkey and all the trimming it was delicious and only cost £35 per person. After  the lunch we took a flight to Chiang Mai  to do a trek. Mum has done one before over 20 years ago and she was desperate for us all to do one together. She tried to book the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai because she thought it would be fun but the VIP rooms were fully booked so we decided to fly instead. The flights were really cheap with Nok Air I think around £25 each and took less than an hour. Chiang Mai is a great place to visit you get to see lots of beautiful temples and the accommodation is really cheap unlike the South. My mum wanted us to rough it out a little and stay in a guest house. So we booked and stayed at Kamala Guesthouse right in the centre near to Tapae gate. It was really good value nice and spacious, clean, comfortable and in a great location. We booked a family room 2 double beds and an extra bed and cost just  £27 per night. It was close to lots of lovely restaurants and very easy to walk to the Night Bazaar and Walking Street Market. They also arranged our Trek and were very nice. The Trek was so much fun, we rode on Elephants watched them get bathed, visited a butterfly farm, swam and washed ourselves in a waterfall. We walked a 4 hour trek until we arrived at a hill tribe where we spent the night in a village hut. It was a great experience and something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I also loved having massages every day paying just $2. My mum used to sneak off for one every day and have a little nap. After our Trek in Chiang Mai my mum had another surprise she planned a trip down to one of the islands  Koh Chang where one of my dads oldest friend was living. We flew back to Bangkok and took a minibus that cost just £50 for a 4 hour journey. We then had to jump on a ferry when we arrived at Laem Nap in Trang. The ferry crossing just took an hour and a half. The minibus took us straight to our hotel and organised the tickets for the ferry. It all seemed really easy although the minibus from Bangkok was long and boring.
Pad Thai at the street food market next to Tapae Gate Chiang Mai 

The hotel we stayed Para Resort. The manager was so sweet and funny and was always trying to help and offer advice. The room was really nice, clean and felt like it was new. Our nearest beach was White Sands but we felt it was a bit too crowded and popular .  My mum wanted something a little bit quieter and more beautiful so the manager recommended Klong Prao Beach which was beautiful , white sands and turquoise sea, exactly what you'd imagine from Thailand. As much as we loved Koh Chang my mum had another surprise and put us all back on a ferry to Koh Mak. Koh Mak is a small beautiful family owned island. Its very unspoilt and because its owned by a family they don't allow any other hotels other than their own. We stayed with Good Times Resort. The owner was really lovely and made us feel very welcome by picking us up at the ferry port and he showed us a lovely beach Ao Phra where we played with his kids until the sunset. I would have loved to stay a bit longer than 2 nights but if we did we just wouldn't have been able to cram everything else in. The accommodation  cost just  £40 a night for a 2 bedroom villa. I'm sure we will go back one day because you really do need to spend more time  to experience all of Koh Mak.

Arriving to Koh Mak
It wasn't long before we were heading back to Bangkok but this time we stayed at Urbana Sathorn easy walking distance to Silom where the night market is. It's a great place and had a lovely breakfast my mum and dad loved the squash court although they were rubbish and couldn't hit the ball and spent the entire game just laughing at each other. The cost per night for a 2 bedroom was around £65 and was very close to the sky train which made our trip to Chatuchak market very easy. The market is one of the biggest in the world  and has over 7,000 stalls and sell everything including animals. There's nothing you can't buy at this market its great and I loved it. I bought loads of cheap clothes and bags.
My view from my bedroom at Urbana Sathorn

Street food at Chatuchak

I loved everything about Thailand we lived off street food and avoided restaurants not meaning to but just because we could. It only cost us £3-£4 per day to eat  so cheap and yet so delicious. My mum said the whole holiday including flights, ferries, trekking and  accommodation cost just £4,000 for a two week holiday. and these sites are good especially if you change your mind on where you want to visit you can just cancel the room for another without being charged. But check their terms when booking because offers change all the time and you only have a certain time period where you can change if needed.  Flights were searched via sky scanner and was booked through travel up

Picking Coconuts in Koh Mak

Raffy managed to find an English Breakfast in Chiang Mai

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Back To School

So happy to be going back to school as much as I love the summer holidays I also miss school and my friends. The time has gone so fast I haven't even had the chance to get my new uniform my mum has just realised I'll be returning to school next week so as usual we will be dashing around for uniform and shoes this weekend thats if the stores haven't run out. John Lewis is always stocked up and its great because they have shoes there too. For my brother my mum shops at Marks and Spencer because she loves the quality and the uniform fits really nice. Last year I bought a pair of Clark shoes and I can't believe they lasted a full year.

I just love Dr Martins but they're so expensive

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Shoes for Summer


Recently I have been shoe browsing on the web for trainers or a pair of converse. I'm into the colours Mint Green, Grey and Metallics. So here are the Must buys on my wishlist.

Mint green Chelsea boots. Comment below if you know where to find them.

Grey basic Vans

Wont come up on the nike store. Comment if you know where to find them.

Basing Chelsea boots

Comment if you know where to find them

Monday, 10 August 2015

Book Recommendation

Book Of The Month

I am Malala

I've  just finished I am Malala and it was such an inspirational book that you must get round to read. I'm sure you have heard the story of Malala's life on the news and in all the media but I just didn't understand what happened and how it all started. So my dad wanted to go to the library and work for a couple of hours and as I walked around I found the book Malala. My mum kept on talking about how she was dying to read it. So when saw the book  I grabbed it and scanned it with my library card and quick as you could Malala. As I started reading I got so engaged with her story and found it hard to put down.  I couldn't believe people in Pakistan were living  with day to day bomb attacks and killings on her doorstep. The book was focused a lot on her father and the school he built where Malala studied. It's really sad that some girls aren't aloud to go to school and are expected to clean, have kids and obey their husband from as early as 11 when they should be getting educated. When I was talking to my mum about this we both agreed how sad it would be to be bought up this way.
After reading her story it made me feel how lucky I was to be able to live my childhood as a child and not a mother and wife. Malala is a very brave, strong girl who has now made a huge difference and changed the world. What I loved about this book was at the end when she said she didn't want to be remembered as the girl shot in the head but the girl that speaks for girls education.
'I am Malala' the book

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I love Nata

Pasteis de Nata

Covent Garden

One of my favourite Portuguese deserts is the Pasteis de Nata so I was very surprised and happy to see a new place pop up on Endell Street Covent Garden called I Love Nata.  Pasteis de Nata is one of Portugals best exports. Puff pastry cases, filled with delicious yummy custard with a little added sprinkle of cinnamon on the top. The cafe a small, simple and understated but eye catching and welcoming at the same time. Don't expect to see any other cakes or deserts here this cafe is dominated by these tasty tarts. Being half Portuguese myself I'm a huge fan so I couldn't help but pop in and try one to help control my dribbling at the window.
As me and my mum was scoffing away we looked at each other with a big grin and muttered 'Amazing'. Yep this one I'm definitely giving a thumbs up and I can't wait to introduce dad.

I Love Nata - Latchfields Yard, 61 Endell Street, WC2H 9AJ

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Soho Food Feast

St Annes Gardens Wardour Street

It's that time of year again and one of my favourite weekends. The Soho Food Feast is back and its on this Saturday and Sunday so if you haven't been and you like food like me then here's your chance. The Soho Food Feast is a charitable event to help raise funds for my old primary school Soho Parish here in Soho. The school is so small and so is the playground so the money they collect on the day goes towards a new playground for the kids. Every year more restaurants get involved by loaning their chefs for the day to cook sample dishes to sell to the public for just £2 its really great and delicious so all you do all day is eat and drink in the sunshine. What else would you want to do?  So lets hope it's sunny. Theres also cooking demonstrations going on all day for everyone to watch and get involved. Here are just some of the restaurants involved this year: HIX, The Groucho, Quo Vadis, Dean Street Townhouse, Jackson & Rye, Bone Daddies, The French House, Brindisa and lots of more. Check out their website for more information and tickets, I would advise to buy online to get the best price and do it NOW before they sell out!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


Day Out in Oxford

I told my mum that I wanted to do something before we go back to school because she's been working for most of the holiday and I wanted to spend some quality time with the family somewhere out of London. The next morning my mum woke me and my brother up and told us we were going to Oxford so we jumped on a Great Western train from Paddington to Oxford and started our journey. First we had a walk around the main town. We had to follow all the tourists with maps and cameras as they looked like they knew where they were going. After we had a walk around the town we came across Christchurch one of Oxfords largest colleges in the university. Many famous people have studied there including Lewis Carroll author of Alice in Wonderland and Albert Einstein the famous scientist. We also noticed the crowds walking towards the river where we managed to see a boat race between colleges which we found really exciting.
Outside Christchurch
Outside Christchurch


Womens Boat Race

My Strawberry and Nutella Crepe.
My mum wanted to take us punting but we ran out of time so we promised ourselves we will do it when we visit Cambridge on our next trip. On our way back we decided to stop for tea and cake and found this cafe that did crepes and afternoon tea so we went inside. I ordered myself a crepe with strawberries and Nutella and my brother ordered a banana split styled crepe. My mum wanted a cup of tea and a scone but when the scone was served it was cold. My mum complained that she wanted the scone warm not cold and when the waiter came over he touched the scone with his finger to feel the temperature. My mum was so shocked and told one of the waitresses  to cancel the order because my mum felt the waiter would bring the same scone back. When they gave me the crepe it was very thick and it would have tasted better if the strawberries were cooked with the crepe. The banana split inspired crepe had way too much cream and loads of chocolate sauce. Overall it wasn't an amazing snack and we all gave it a thumbs down but Oxford was beautiful I would definitely recommend going. There is plenty of nice places to eat next time just remember to plan ahead.