Our Dubrovnik Trip – What we did this time!

Our Dubrovnik trip

Our Dubrovnik trip. We returned to Dubrovnik in September after 4 years for our wedding anniversary. Bringing along our daughter and sharing our wedding destination with her.

Our Dubrovnik trip

When we first visited, although we spent a week here wedding planning meant that we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to before moving on to explore the rest of Croatia and Europe.

This time for our Dubrovnik trip we had a long list of things we wanted to do. But also factor in some chill time!


New places we explored on our Dubrovnik trip

Dubrovnik Cable car

Our Dubrovnik Trip
The view from the top of the cable car

One of the things I really wanted to do was take the cable car to the viewing point high above Dubrovnik. It was closed for a few days due to the wind and adverse weather but we finally got to reach the top. Going early was a good idea as there wasn’t must of a queue, which was extremely long when we got back down.  The spectacular view was the best you can get here in my opinion. Amazing to see the whole structure of the old town surround by the walls from above.

Lokrum Island

Our Dubrovnik trip
The view of Dubrovnik from the top of Lokrum Island

The first time we took a boat trip in Dubrovnik was eventful, to say the least. The weather was so bad and the sea so choppy that we had to turn back early. Yes, this was on our wedding day too! During our Dubrovnik trip this time, we were determined to make it to Lokrum Island. The weather was changeable on the day we chose to take the trip. However, the boat ride was smooth and after a  rain shower when we arrived, the skies cleared. This gave us just enough time to hike to the top of the Island and look out onto Dubrovnik and the sea. We found little coves, beaches and explored the ruined Fort at the top of the island. And of course, we saw the native peacocks here too.

Dubrovnik Churches

Saint Blaise church
The inside of Saint Blaise Church

This was more interesting for me than the husband but I enjoyed looking around Churches we missed before. St Blaise church was opposite our apartment and I finally got to explore this beautiful church. The nuns here adored our Daughter and she became the centre of attention.  I dived in and out of a few churches to take a few photos including the large Cathedral which is usually very busy.

Spending time on the Beaches

Our Dubrovnik trip
Copacabana beach

We had a little explore of Banje beach, next to the old town with lovely views across to Lokrum Island. There were a lot of steps up and down to the small beach but it wasn’t too bad. Then for a proper beach day, we jumped on the number 22 bus to Lopud and hung out at Copacabana beach. Hired some beach chairs and chased our little girl around the pebbly beach. It was nice to get some beach time and relax for a little while.

A day trip to Montenegro

Our Dubrovnik trip -
Looking out to the Islands in Perast, Montenegro

Another place I’ve wanted to visit and a new Country too! It was a long day with a baby but our one year old was great and entertained herself and others on the coach. First, we visited Perast and the man-made island of Our Lady on the Rocks.

The great places we revisited

Sponza Palace

Sponza Palace - returning to Dubrovnik

Of course, we had to return to Sponza Palace and introduce our baby girl to this lovely old building.

Old town city walls

Our dubrovnik trip
Walking the city walls

No trip would be complete without wandering along the old walls and looking out over the sea and fort.

The Fort

Our Dubrovnik trip
Looking out onto the Fort Dubrovnik

Although it’s a bit of a climb we had to walk around this old fort once more. Our girl loved running around the ruins and playing peekaboo around the pillars too.

Buza Bar and Art Cafe

Our Dubrovnik trip
Beers and a water at Buza

Yes, even with a toddler in tow we managed to return to these two great bars which we spent a lot of time in with friends four years ago.

All in all, we had a lovely time as a family returning to Dubrovnik. I wonder when we will return next. Soon I hope!

Is Artificial Grass Killing Our Environment? 

Is Artificial grass killing our environment?

The growing trend for ripping up turf and replacing it with artificial grass is becoming endemic in the UK. But what impact do our humble back gardens have? Is the need for a hassle free synthetic lawn of artificial grass killing our Environment?

Artificial grass killing our environment
Image from Wikipedia CC BY-SA 2.0

Sharing our gardens with nature

Our natural wildlife in Britain is having the hardest times it has seen. Not only have our birds, insects and other wildlife had to deal with the loss of habitat due to urbanisation, intensive farming and climate change. We are now taking away the only urban green spaces where they used to thrive.

Did you know that one in 10 UK wildlife species now faces extinction? With the decline in urban home gardens providing amenable environments for bees, butterflies, hedgehogs and birds, their habitats are becoming few and far between. The honourable Sir David Attenborough said: “The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before.” Wise words from a wise man.

We need to provide a welcoming outdoor space to keep our native British wildlife alive and well.  Is it so hard to share your garden with nature?

How do we bring the wildlife back?

Daisy, Flower Carpet, White, Flower, Blossom, Bloom Artificial grass killing our environment
Daisies in bloom

I sit and watch the blackbirds with my daughter as they pick out worms from the ground after rainfall.  We pick daisies that sprout from the lawn and watch the busy bees and butterflies as they fly from one flower to the next. Insects burrow and hide under the soil and ladybirds land amongst the blades of grass. But with an artificial lawn, we would lose all of this.

Bringing wildlife into your garden can be as simple as having a few flowering plants or an insect habitat. Build a bird table or put out a seed holder. But best of all, don’t pave, concrete or cover over the natural environment with unfriendly synthetic alternatives.

Want to make a difference? Here is the National Trusts advice to make your garden more wildlife friendly.  There’s lots of advice out there if you need it, but if you care about Brittish wildlife then you only need to make a few changes to ensure its survival.

What if you don’t have a garden?

Want to help the environment but don’t have a garden of your own? From having a windowsill flower garden to helping out at your local community allotment. You can make a small effort and have a big impact.

So is artificial grass killing our Environment?

My quite blunt verdict is to stick to natural grass, embrace the UK wildlife it attracts and get up off your ass and mow the lawn once in a while. It will actually get you out in the fresh air too!

But seriously the more we cover our natural world with concrete and plastic, the less natural spaces we will have for our future. For both us, and our children.

What are your views? Does it makes a difference or do you think that artificial grass is killing our environment, among other things! Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Giants Causeway and the Coastal Road

Giants Causeway and the coastal road

I wanted to travel to Belfast to visit the Titanic museum as part of my Top 10 UK museums series. My husband suggested we should visit Giants Causeway and the coastal road there too.

So I booked our flights and apartment in Belfast. Then we hired a car and took a day trip to enjoy the Giants Causeway and the coastal road.  There are a few routes you can take but I decided to take an early drive and head straight to the causeway. Then take a scenic drive back along the coast.  I’ve never really hired a car whilst travelling before but it gave us a lot of freedom especially with an eight-month-old child in tow.

Driving and Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle - Giants Causeway and the coastal road

The drive there took around an hour and a half taking the M2 then the A26 to Ballymoney before diverting down Balleybogey Road to see Dunluce Castle.  An unplanned detour but well worth a stop and a visit for seeing the rugged cliffs and ruined castle grounds. If you take Dunluce road there is a viewpoint which offers great photo opportunities. See the castle from a unique perspective outlined along the cliffs.

Giants Causeway

Giants causeway and the coastal road

We parked at the visitor centre and bought tickets on arrival. Walking down to the causeway rather than taking the bus was a good idea. We had an amazing view of the bay and it built up the excitement seeing the rocks come into focus. It wasn’t easy underfoot walking on the hexagonal rocks. Nearer the water was a little slippy, but I managed. Even with a baby attached to me in a K’tan, I managed to climb to some great viewpoints!

It was quite windy and cold so we didn’t spend a great deal of time hiking the area. But we managed to experience the beautiful National Trust site.

Driving the Coastal Road

Giants Causeway and the coastal roadTo be honest we didn’t really visit during the right season so it was a bit quiet on the way back.  This didn’t distract from the spectacular views we got to see along the road.

Top Tip: research the places where you want to stop. We picked a point on the map en route only to find there was no town or village there at all.

We did stop at a village pub for a quick drink and were treated to some complimentary pancakes! People were friendly but I think it helps that we have a cute baby with us too.

No place stood out in particular along the route but we did pass some quaint houses, farms and lovely looking beaches.

Have you visited the Giants Causeway and the Coastal Road?

What do you think about visiting the Giants Causeway and the coastal road? Have you been before or is it on your bucket list? I think it is definitely worth a visit and driving means you have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy the area.

Planning A Trip To Disneyland Paris

Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris

A holiday to Disneyland is a dream come true for most young children (and secretly most adults too). However, planning a trip to Disneyland Paris from the UK may seem like a daunting task. Especially when you’ve got kids to organise. Don’t worry, you can make this an epic family holiday to remember, here is some advice on how to best plan your break.

Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris

Fly, Drive or take the Train?

Depending on where you live in the UK the question might sound like a silly one. It also depends on how many persons are in your family and how much luggage you need. Flying is a quick and easy option for a small family even better if you are taking carry on only. Flights to Paris from the UK are regular and cheap too. Transport is available directly from the airport to the Disneyland Paris resort and can be booked in advance through companies such as T2 Traslados.

You might like the idea of having your car with you whilst you are away. It’s a relatively easy route directly from the UK through the channel tunnel. Are you worried about luggage restrictions on airlines? Driving directly makes that easier too.  If you aren’t staying at the resort, however, it can be costly and difficult to park in the centre of Paris. So beware of this before you travel.

Taking the train is another option, easily catch a train straight from the UK to the Disneyland Paris rail station avoiding additional transfers. Train travel can be expensive if you don’t book in advance though and you will also have restricted space for bags on some trains.

Personally, I would decide to fly or take the train and leave the driving to someone else!

Where to Stay?

Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris Manhattan Hotel

Do you stay at the Disneyland Paris resort or in the centre of Paris and travel in? If you have very small children I doubt you will want to travel back and forth from the centre. A resort stay will be easier and more fun for your kids. You can get some great package deals for families as well.

Alternatively, if you want to spend some time exploring the city of Paris then you might want to stay elsewhere. This might be the case if you want to split your trip between enjoying Disneyland and seeing what else Paris has to offer.

Whichever you choose, do your research and find a hotel or resort stay with the best amenities for you.

How to book?

Once you know how you want to get there and where you want to stay then you are ready to book! How exciting! You are almost finished planning a trip to Disneyland Paris! Although there are a few different ways to book, everyone will have their preferred method. I tend to book my flights and hotels separately as I feel I can get the best deals that way. But if you are looking for a package then booking through an agent is a good idea. You might even get preferential rates if you book with a company if you are staying at the Disneyland Resort.

Have you been Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris?

A Disney theme park adventure is a great holiday idea and as you can see it’s easier to plan than you think. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as the kids too! Are you planning a trip to Disneyland Paris? Do you have any other tips that might help other travellers? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think?

This is a sponsored post for T2 Traslados.

24 hours in Verona: How To Fill Your Time

Verona is a relatively small town in Italy but if you love Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet love story, then you need to take a stop and explore. Typical Italian atmosphere and hospitality as well as beautiful architecture and monuments. Here is how to spend 24 hours in Verona and tick off the best sights the town has to offer.

Look out from Juliets Balcony

24 hours in Verona - Juliets Balcony

You just have to do this when you are in Verona, looking down from the balcony that inspired Shakespeare’s tale in fair Verona. If you make only one tourist attraction during your 24 hours in Verona then this should be it. Bring a pen along and you can write your own message of love in the room behind the balcony like so many other visitors before you. Just don’t try to stick a message there with chewing gum, you can get in trouble for doing this now.

Juliet’s’ statue is also on display in the courtyard below. Tradition is to rub the breast of the statue for luck in love. You’ll notice Juliet has one very shiny breast!

Visit Romeos house

Looking more like a castle than a house, Casa di Romeo is built in a fashion which dates back to an age of feuding families. Building a stronghold to protect the family, the Montagues lived in their fort-like home of internal courtyards and tall walls.

Today the premises is privately own and visitors can only view the property from the outside. However, you can soak up the Romantic atmosphere and imagine beyond the walls deep in the heart of Verona. You’ll find it not far from Juliets balcony and it won’t take you long to look around before moving on with your day.

Next, you should grab some lunch and a drink in the Piazza Delle Erbe. You could spend your whole day in this lovely market square. The stunning statues and fountains are surrounded by market stalls, bars and restaurants perfect, atmospheric sit and think territory. Grab a drink, maybe an Aperol spritz then sit, and people watch for a while. Next, take a stroll around the wonderful markets, browsing souvenirs and other trinkets you might want to buy to take home.

Being here, you understand the vibe of the place. Watch day to day business as well as throngs of tourists pass through. You might even catch a bride and groom having photos on their wedding day. Verona is an increasingly popular place to get married.

24 hours in Verona - Piazza Delle Erbe

Climb the Torre Dei Lamberti

Near to the Piazza Delle Erbe, you will find the bell tower of Torre Dei Lamberti. After lunch and shopping take a walk to this impressive building and climb the to the top. Breathtaking views of Verona a wait, especially on a summers day. A lift will take you most of the way if you wish, then walk up some steps to see the panoramic view of the mountainside and town.

A great way to see the whole of the town from above during your 24 hours in Verona. Bring your camera to capture your visit. Entrance costs 8 Euros per person and the tower is open  10 am to 6 pm every day.

Tour the Roman amphitheatre

See an opera, a ballet or just book a tour of Verona arena which is still a working amphitheatre today. A Roman monument dating back to the first century AD which has become the centre of the towns art and music performances. Open all year round, entrance costs 10 Euros, but if you visit on the first Sunday in the month you’ll pay just 1 Euro.

What’s unique about this arena is that it is built of pinkish marble which just adds to the romance of Verona. You may have to slot this visit in the best time during your stay depending whether you want to see a show or just enter and look around.

Eat Traditional Verona Cuisine

To finish your day in Verona you should definitely try a traditional dish from the area. You will find plenty or tasty Italian dishes in the restaurants dotted around the squares and beyond in Verona. However, there are some local specialties that are unique to this part of the country. Try the risotto al tastasal (with sausages) or if you are very adventurous the traditional horse or donkey meat stew.

Top restaurants include Osteria la Fontanina, Casa Perbellini and Restaurant Il Desco. There are of course many places to try other cuisines, but if you are only spending 24 hours in Verona, you should eat local.

Book a Romantic Room For The Night

Being a city of love there are lots of places you can stay which promise to capture the romance of the town. On the pricier side, you can stay at Il Sogno di Giulietta or Juliet’s dream hotel. Most of the luxurious rooms have a balcony that looks out over Juliet’s courtyard and have beautiful, great quality decor. It also appears to be the place to stay for couples looking to get engaged during their break. Prices range from 400 to 3200 Euros depending on the room.

For a slightly more budget stay in Verona, check out Corte Delle Pigne Bed and Breakfast, not far from the main square. All of the rooms are filled with romantic details to make your break that little bit special. Want breakfast in bed? Another special touch the owners offer is a choice of where you take your breakfast. Prices start from 90 Euros making it very good value too.

How would you spend 24 hours in Verona?

I think spending 24 hours in Verona is enough time to see and do what you need to get a good flavour of the destination. Spending a night here whilst travelling between other Italian destinations can make a great addition to your trip. What do you think? What would be top of your list when visiting Verona in Italy? You might not need to spend as much time in this city as in Rome or Venice, but these sights will certainly fill your time.

Originally posted on Pretravels.com

What To Do In Paris This Summer

Paris is great at any time of the year but if you are planning to visit soon, you’ll want to know what to do in Paris this summer. Take a look at the best things to do in the city of lights during the warmer months.

What to do in Paris this summer

Watch A Film At An Outdoor Cinema

La Villette Park opens up and offers films projected onto a massive screen whilst visitors sit on Deck chairs and enjoy the show. At about 10 pm or when it gets dark, the films begin.  Watch classic and Hollywood films. But remember they are in French so it’s a great way to improve your language skills! Mingle with the locals and sit back and enjoy the show.

Tuileries Gardens Funfair

What to do in Paris this Summer

Enjoyment for adults and children alike to be had at this ad hoc summer theme park. As well as carousels and rides you can try carnival games such as hook a duck or chamboultout (knocking down cans with a ball). Look like a hero by winning a teddy bear for your loved one and if you don’t win try some candy floss instead.

Relax In Buttes Chaumont Park

Unlike many other parks in Paris, here you can actually sit on the lawns and relax. It’s a beautiful place to explore too. There are waterfalls a lake and an amazing atmosphere that is perfect for summer. Bring a picnic, sunbathe or just take a stroll through the park. Whatever you do here summer is the best time to visit.

Summer Festivals

What to do in Paris this summer

From the Paris Jazz Festival to the Paris Quartier d’été. When you ask what to do in Paris this summer the answer will usually be got to a festival. Groups of like-minded people get together to enjoy what the artists of Paris have to offer. Whether it’s great music, art, performances or dancing, you’ll find it here.

Visit the Beach

Well, a makeshift beach. The docks of Paris turn into a beach for local and tourists’ pleasure during the months of July and August. Enjoy many activities such as volleyball, water sports or Tai Chi. Or just pull up a deck chair and enjoy the sunshine and the view.

What to do in Paris this summer

Now you know what to do in Paris this Summer, How do you get here?

Summer holidays mean plenty of direct flights from most major world cities to Paris. In fact, there are several flights a day from most European capitals making it an easy city break to take. Both budget airlines such as Flybe and premium flights on airlines such as British Airways.

Once you get here you need to get to your destination. There are many ways to get fro the airport but one choice is to pre-book an airport transfer. This can be done from a company such as Top Paris Transfer where you can book private cheap taxi and shuttle services from Paris airports to destinations in France.

Have you visited Paris in summer? What was your favourite thing to do? If you have any other suggestions leave a comment below.

This is a sponsored post for Topparistransfer.com.


Top UK Museums – Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast

About Titanic Belfast

Next, on my Top UK museums adventure, is Titanic Belfast. We visited as a family in February this year and really enjoyed the whole experience. Located on Belfast docks, it is the largest Titanic experience in the world and offers a unique and interactive way to learn about the history of the Titanic.

Titanic BelfastThe Star of the Show.

One of the most talked-about exhibits in the museum is the shipyard ride. This short electronic ride allows you to immerse yourself in the conditions and what went on when the ship was built. It breaks up walking around the museum and grabs the attention of visitors especially the kids.

My Favourite place

I enjoyed the end of the museum when the stories of the passengers you have been following throughout the tour come to an end, and you find out what became of them. The mixing of sad and happy stories and also a way to remember individuals who were affected by the tragedy.

Some other great exhibits

From the Launch experience, the decor and insides of the ship through the decks and classes to the sinking and the aftermath. The museum takes you on a journey of the life of the ship.

Titanic Belfast - Tara Bruton
Second Class Cabin Titanic Belfast – Tara Bruton


Excellent facilities are available for visitors. There’s free Wi-Fi
throughout the building,  locker storage facility where you can leave your bags for just £1.  Car and Coach Parking is available so it’s an easy place to drive to during your trip.
You’ll find two restaurants with a wide range of options,  Bistro 401 restaurant and the Galley Café. There’s also a souvenir shop to pick up memorabilia from your visit.

Getting there and when to visit.

Titanic Belfast is open daily all year round, excluding 24th – 26th December from 10 am to 5 pm off peak and 9 am to 7 pm during peak season.  Entrance fees are £18 for adults and £8 for children aged 5 to 16 years.

Check out some of my posts on other Top UK museums, The British Museum and The Victoria and Albert.

Have you been to Titanic Belfast? What did you think?


Sri Lanka Off The Beaten Track

Sri Lanka, a place of beautiful landscapes, ancient ruins and mysterious history. No wonder this small island is becoming increasingly popular with visitors today. If you want to explore Indias smaller neighbour more deeply then take a look at these Sri Lanka off the beaten track destinations to get more out of your break.

Sri Lanka Off The Beaten Track
Sri Lanka Off The Beaten Track

Historic Galle

Situated on the coast is the old city of Galle which was once the main port of the island. There are boutique hotels, excellent local shopping and religious buildings and structures built from the pretty and locally sourced coral. The most interesting historical buildings are the Fort and Sri Lanka’s oldest lighthouse.

Creative types have already made this a favourite destination for foreign artists, writers and photographers. Find art galleries and workshops, amongst cafés, bars and restaurants.

Ancient Kandy

One Hundred Buddhas, Temple Of The Tooth, Sri Lanka off the beaten path

This city is a Unesco world heritage site which is popular for the famed Temple of the tooth, however, the rest of the area is relatively unexplored. A stunning decorated temple where you can find the Buddha’s left upper canine.

In July or August, depending on the full moon the Esala Perahera festival takes place in Kandy. It is one of the biggest Buddhist festivals in the world where there’s an elephant parade and the tooth is on show for a limited time.

The Royal Botanical Gardens are worth a visit showcasing the pretty trees and plants of Sri Lanka. Also in the area is an elephant sanctuary where you can see rescued elephants too.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sri Lanka off the beaten track

Make your way through the tropical rainforest and spend your time spotting rare plant life and vegetation.  Explore the beautiful surroundings and soak up the calming atmosphere in the forest.

The Sinharaja forest reserve is home to over fifty percent of Sri Lanka’s native species. These include mammals and butterflies, as well as various insects, reptiles, and amphibians.  If you are a nature lover then this place should be on your list when visiting Sri Lanka off the beaten track.

Dambulla GoldenTemple

Sri Lanka off the beaten track

Over 150 statues stand in this temple cave complex in Dambulla. A place of pilgrimage for more than 22 centuries containing over 2000sq m of mural filled walls. The statues inside mostly depict Lord Buddha but there are also Bodhisattvas statues.

Nearby is an ancient fortress built by a Lankan king thousands of years ago, Sigiriya. Walk among the ruins along the narrow pathways and imagine what life was like for the kings of the past.

Sri Lanka off the beaten track – where to start?

If you don’t know where to start when exploring Sri Lanka then you might want to book your trips with a tour operator. Olanka Travels offers packages which include seeing Sri Lanka off the beaten track as well as the top and most popular sites in the country.

Did you know that Sri Lanka has an amazing eight Unesco World Heritage sites? That’s a lot of interesting history and places to visit for such a small place.

Have you been to Sri Lanka? What do you think is the best place to visit here?

This is a sponsored post for Olanka Travels.