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Things-to-see-and-do-in-Italy1

Things To See And Do In Italy

 

A roadtrip is one of my favourite things to do when traveling. It gives you plenty of opportunities to snap pictures or to stop over whenever you feel like having a good look at some stunning views; It’s like having your own time to do your own thing. For this post I’m going to share to you how we hit the road to discover Italy outside of Rome on our recent trip.

Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli

 

It was spitting with rain when we headed on an early morning trip to Tivoli. It took an hour to reach the town located in central Italy, about 30 kilometres north-east of Rome. We arrived to discover a lovely, quaint little town. After a brief wander around the town-centre, we ended up exploring a place called Villa Gregoriana.

We were delighted to discover this massive park with pathways leading to eerie caves, and eventually a great waterfall. Villa Gregoriana is world famous for its epic waterfall created by the river Aniene. It is perfect for people who love nature and longer walks. Although we were exhausted after 2 hours of hiking around the park, we really enjoyed its peaceful surroundings and natural beauty.

Beautiful Tivoli Italy

Villa Gregoriana

 

 

Buffalo Cheese Farm

 

On our trip to Pompeii we stopped over at a farm on the outskirts of Rome to try out fresh Bufala mozzarella and meet some of the local patrons.  Our guide bought loads for us to try, it was so fresh and soft, almost with a taste of fresh yoghurt. It was perfect as a snack on the way and we were very grateful to our horny friends!

Buffalo Factory in Italy

Buffalo Cheese Rome

 

Pompeii

Pompeii was once a thriving city located in the southern part of Italy. In 79 AD the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed and buried the city under tons of volcanic ash and debris. First rediscovered when an archaeologist excavated it in 1748, the ruined city has remained frozen in time until present day and is one of the best glimpses into how the Romans, and even humans as a whole, used to live back then.

Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The story of this place and the way it has been preserved left me very emotional; around 2,000 people died on that fateful day. Below is an image of a sign from the front door that says “beware of the dog”. It’s amazing to think that these designs were made so long ago.

I highly recommend you to visit Pompeii.

Pompeii Beware of the dog

A sign saying beware of the dog

Pompeii

Inhabitants remain intact and preserve covered by ash and pumice

Pompeii Italy

 

Amalfi Coast – Positano village

 

From Pompeii we drove to the scenic and breath-taking view of Amalfi coast. I’ve never been to a place so magical. It is located in the southern tip of Italy’s peninsula and a very popular destination for tourists and honeymooners.
We arrived at Positano, the most photogenic town on the coast. I was mesmerised by the vibrant lights at night. Did I mention that my favourite cuisine is Italian? You can’t imagine the excitement when I tried the authentic Napoli pizza. I ordered Calzone stuffed with fresh bufala mozzarella and fresh tomato sauce or as it’s more commonly known; Margherita! The mozzarella was so gooey and warm – I’m craving for it right now! Positano is a must to stop over when in the Amalfi coast; be sure to try their local food and enjoy a drink whilst spotting the newlyweds and wealthy holidaymakers!

Stunning Amalfi coast

Pre-honeymoon shot

Refreshing Gelato at Positano

Amalfi coast Lemon

Lemon is a popular produce in Positano

Positano Calzone pizza

This Margherita calzone is so good. Fresh Italian mozzarella and tomato sauce.

Positano Amalfi Coast

Cheers from Positano

 

Vatican, Rome

I’ll be honest with you; this is one of the most tiring trips we did. The Vatican is overwhelming and as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world; you can expect plenty of tourists queuing to get in. I was so glad to have visited though. I was fascinated with the tons of ancient artifacts that they have collected over the long perid of time.

As a lover of ancient Egypt, I was delighted to discover an area dedicated to the subject – with many cool artifacts and burial objects of the pharaohs.

Bramante spiral staircase

Bramante spiral staircase

Vatican Roma

 

Where We Ate 

Best Lasagna in Rome

We were delighted to find this local restaurant with a hipster vibe in the heart of Rome called Ai Tre Scalini; amazing food and delicious wine served by their friendly staff all at great prices! The place is always packed with locals so you can be sure to have a great authentic time.

Found the best #lasagna in #Rome #italy #aitrescalini

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Bonci

Ricky is a fan of the famous chef/travel writer Anthony Bourdain and on one of his trips he paid a visit to a local shop called Bonci. Determined to track down this hidden gem, we set off on a journey through a less travelled area to find this pizza place and I’m delighted to say it didn’t disappoint. The pizza was sooo good; big rustic slices packed with flavourful ingredients. We were all so full that we had a long walk to burn it all off.

Famous local Tiramisu

Another one of Ricky’s well-researched gems was a local shop offering what is considered by many as ‘the best Tiramisu in Rome’. The treasure hunt was worth it in the end as we tucked into some decadently creamy coffee flavoured delights!

The most voted best tiramisu in Rome! #barPompi #italy #foodporn #rome

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Helpful tips

  •   When looking for an authentic local restaurant check the menu; if it’s written in Italian then it’s more likely not an overpriced tourist trap
  • Do your research online before heading out to find the real local treasures (read more blogs and check out tripadvisor) – it’s how we found all our hidden gems that we would NEVER have found otherwise
  • Try and learn a few Italian phrases, not everyone will speak English and it will be much appreciated!
  • Be wary of pickpockets and always look after your belongings
  • Water is safe to drink anywhere in Rome as long as there is no sign that says “not for drinking” (or equivalent in Italian!)

Have you been to Rome? Would love to hear your tips and experience. xoxo

Jannah Resort & Villas Ras Al Khaimah

As you know Ricky and I enjoy exploring different emirates in the UAE and recently, we’ve been lucky to be invited to experience a “weekenders paradise” for the soft opening of the new Jannah Hotel located in Mina Al Arab. Known for it’s noble Bedouin hospitality, Jannah hotels opened their third chain in Ras Al Khaimah.

 

Despite the crazy weather, we arrive safely at the hotel and what a relief it was to see the smiling faces of the hotel staff known as Karims. We were escorted to a luxurious one bedroom suite with a breath-taking sea view. I love its contemporary Mediterranean-inspired theme, especially the marble tables. The kitchen and living room are massive but my favourite thing of all is their signature spa bed. It’s the comfiest bed I’ve tried! Perfect for a bed weather.

 

We had the opportunity to peek around the huge villas. They have a total of 22 villas with 3 bedrooms. One with a private swimming pool. It made me want to move to Ras Al Khaimah.

jannah-hotels-resorts jannah-hotels-rak jannah-hotels jannah-resorts ras-al-khaimah-staycation signature-spa-bed

 

 

 

via GIPHY

We had such a wonderful weekend stay at Jannah. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who fancies a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Huge thanks to Twinky for looking after us and to all the wonderful staff. See you soon!

 

Facebook @JannahHotelsandResorts

Instagram @jannahHotels

Twitter @jannahhotels

 

ras-al-khaimah

Where to go for a staycation in Ras Al Khaimah

Set amongst the stunning desert surrounding of Ras Al Khaimahyou will find nestled in the scenic coast, the beautiful Cove RotanaThis was to be our first staycation in a long time and a much deserved one and gosh it was all worth it. When the family decided for an out of the town getaway, the Cove was the first on the list!

In all our time in the UAE we have always been impressed with our staycations with Rotana. Their staff are always welcoming.  Their locations always perfect whether you are looking for a stunning coastal resort (Fujairah Rotana) or a central location (Park Rotana Abu Dhabi

the-cove-rotana-ras-al-khaimah

So our expectations are high for this place. Upon arrival we were greeted by the lovely Miss Rowena. We were fortunate to be upgraded from an apartment to a villa suite! After checking in we were driven by a golf buggy for this remarkable resort which is almost like a living breathing coastal town. How lovely isn’t it? 

 

via GIPHY

 

Our villa

Our villa was located with stunning beach views it even had its own pool and plenty of space for us to relax on our three day stay.

villa-at-cove-rotana

paradise-in-rak

Work hard party harder! 🎉 @rebeccarmf_ @thecoverotanaresort

A photo posted by Myla (@findmeabreak) on

 

Cinnamon All Day Buffet

As it’s tradition with Rotana hotels they will have their  buffet restaurants this is where you can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. The one in the Cove is called Cinnamon, and we went there for breakfast each day. It has all the breakfast treat you will ever want from egg stations, arabic breakfast station, fresh fruits and english breakfast selections. 

However our favourite had to be the crepe and waffle station. The waffles were to die for!

cinnamon-all-day-dining-cove-rotana

breakfast-at-the-cove-rotana

staycation-uae

 

My dream breakfast 🍳 #cinnamonalldaydining @thecoverotanaresort #waffles #weekend #friyay

A photo posted by Myla (@findmeabreak) on

 

Basilico Tapas night

As a group of foodies we were very excited for our Wednesday night trip to the Basilico restaurant for tapas night. Although an Italian restaurant this was a Spanish theme night and for our deal, we were provided with an array of tapas dishes and unlimited sangria.

The dishes were mouth watering with the seafood really impressing us as you would expect from a coastal resort. Our favourite dish was the grilled prawns came with a stunning garlic sauce. It was very exciting to have the little dishes presented. Also worth mentioning was the crunchy calamari, sea bass that melts in your mouth and the lovely sautéed mushrooms. 

Absolutely grateful for the staff who surprised me with birthday cakes! Thanks so much Rotana team!

basilico-wednesday-night     spanish-tapas   tapas-night  wednesday Tapas

Tapas Basilico

 

Swedish Massage

Becca and I was in heaven after a relaxing 30 minutes Swedish massage at the beach gazebo. The mesmerising sound of the waves and the fresh breeze of the sea, oh man. What a fantastic way to pamper yourself!

 

swedish-massage-at-the-cove

The Cove has a beach and swimming pool area. Plenty to sunbathe from.

chill-staycation-rak

staycation

 

Which way would you go? ☀️@thecoverotanaresort #staycation #rasalkhaimah #thecoverotana

A photo posted by Myla (@findmeabreak) on

 

If you’re looking for a place to unwind. I would recommend Cove Rotana resort in Ras Al Khaimah. Relaxing in our balcony watching the sunset with a lovely glass of wine was perhaps one of my best moments in 2016.

I would highly recommend this place. If you’re a tourist you wouldn’t really believe that it is the same country as the buzzing metropolis of Dubai.

Have you’ve been to the Cove? Would like to hear your thoughts! xoxo

Things I miss about Scotland

Have you been somewhere so beautiful that it left you with magical memories? I had! Two years ago, for the first time I’ve visited Scotland and it was the most wonderful experience that the photos I’ve taken doesn’t do justice.

I was scrolling old files and found some old pictures that gave me the feels. So here are some of my favourite memories in the bonnie place called Scotland.

 

“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”

 

1

From Inverness to Leeds roadtrip. Stop-over Glencoe’s breathtaking view

2

Loch Lomond, Scotland

 

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Meringue with fresh cream is to die for – Ashers, Aviemore

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Sweets everywhere! – Harry Gow’s

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There are loads of distilleries in Scotland. A tour is something you need to try – Black Isle Brewery

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Strawberry picking at Nairn is one of my most memorable experience. Just like in the movies

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More than 1,200 castles and other medieval buildings can be found in Scotland – Craigmillar castle, Edinburgh

6

The famous Harry Potter author J.K Rowling used to write the novel in this cute little coffee shop in Edinburgh

7

Fringe Festival is so much fun! Edinburgh turns into a magical city during August

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Eating fish and chips with brown sauce at Portobello beach in Edinburgh is epic

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Never leave Scotland without trying their Fudge!

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Fringe Edinburgh Festival

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of course bagpipers and kilts

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Love this ancient place

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Edinburgh my favourite city

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Love the flowers everywhere

4

Check out Scottish highland cows with bangs

5

A wonderful place to unwind – don’t forget to bring warm clothes even during summer!

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Fresh fruits and plants at Nairn

9

At Chanonry Point watching dolphins

11

Highlands Park

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The streets of Edinburgh

13

Funicular at Aviemore

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Who would want to miss the famous Loch Ness. No Lochness monster spotted though

15

Cawdor Castle

16

Turning Scottlish – one pint please

17

Wild Rasperry at Culloden

18

I want to stroke sheeps

 

19

The beautiful Inverness

 

 

Now did I give you the travel bug? 

 

 

 

 

 

cafe-belge-seafood-brunch

Al Fresco Brunch at Cafe Belge | Ritz Carlton DIFC

Now that the weather is finally starting to get cooler – people in Dubai are starting to come out of their bedrooms and enjoy the great outdoors – so it was perfect timing last Friday when we were invited to an Al Fresco brunch experience at Cafe Belge in DIFC. It was my second visit and as a big fan of Belgian food and beer (thanks to Belgian Beer Café in Festival City!) we knew we couldn’t miss the opportunity.

 

jazz-brunch-dubai

As soon as we entered we were greeted by some very friendly and very pretty staff with big smiles on their faces, including a saxophone player and an ever-present DJ who played some excellent European music to set the authentic vibe perfectly.   The restaurant/bar has a relaxing atmosphere and a warm ambience which changes in a beautiful way as the sun sets – classy yet casual. We were seated next to two lovely ladies, LuAnne of Weesha’s World and Ekta of Dollz In Dubai who provided us with delightful company throughout the afternoon.

 

friday-brunch-dubai  cafe-belge-alfresco-brunch

 

Ricky and I started with a glass of cider, however my drink of choice during the brunch – and a definite recommendation – is the ‘Kriek’s Spritz’; a mixture of Prosecco and Belgian cherry beer. The Filipina lady who served us was very nice and informative.  She introduced the menu, which was a celebration of Belgian cuisine with a focus on seafood.  The food items were brought to our table, with the option of ordering the dishes again (we really didn’t need to as the portions were great!).  The only exceptions were a freshly cooked mussel station, the oyster ladies and the dessert area.

 

the-oyster-elite-co  cafe-belge-seafood-brunch

Our food adventure begun with a massive fresh seafood platter at our table, complete with dry ice to add a magical smoke effect. Neatly presented the shellfish was irresistible and so fresh.  I particularly loved the meaty oysters and tender lobster.  They provided a variety of sauces for the seafood, but it was so tasty we hardly needed them!
Throughout the day, some ladies dressed in red came up and offered to top up our plate with freshly shucked oysters which were fantastic. We later found out they are from The Oyster Elite Co, who accept bookings for parties/events. If you want a classy night to treat someone very special – they are the ones to call! After we had delved through our platter – we were provided with a selection of perfectly crafted miniature bites.  This included scrambled eggs with a foam reduction, goats cheese with salad, miniature quiches and the chef’s special – foie grois Belgian waffles.  As well as being a flat lay dream, the food was gorgeous.  Although I am not a huge fan of foie grois, I was assured it was beautiful.

 

belgian-cafe-difc

 

I particularly loved the goats cheese salad and the smoked salmon – which came complete with a smoking effect when you opened the little jar it was incased in! Before our mains were served, we decided to pay a visit to the mussel station, which was amazing!  They cook their fresh mussels in a pot, with 80% fresh cream and 20% champagne.  With indulgence levels at their height – we had high expectations and they didn’t disappoint.  The fresh mussels mixed perfectly with the smooth cream, alongside the champagne present to give them a delightful little kick!
Our main courses were an array of inviting hot dishes, which looked like recipes passed down from generations in a Belgian family.  We later found out the recipes had in fact come from one of the chef’s grandparents – so we weren’t far off!  The dishes provided included sea bass, chicken, salmon, ratatouille and beef medallions, with Belgian fries and mayonnaise on the side of course!

 

cafe-belge-dubai

I loved the dishes, even though I was getting quite full by this point I managed to have a good portion of each.  The salmon cooked in a beautiful buttery sauce and the ratatouille packed full of fresh vegetables in a tangy sauce were my highlights.  The fries and mayo took me back to my visit to Amsterdam where locals would queue outside cafes after work to get a bag of freshly cooked Belgian style fries.
Afterwards we were full and happy – but we were definitely excited about the desserts, and I had kept a little space for them.  The area is great, with your standard high level brunch selections of miniature cakes and tarts.  The lemon meringue pie was delicious, along with the rhubarb crumble which provided more authentic tastes.
The star of the desserts though was definitely the Belgian waffle station.  I am a big fan of Belgian waffles and I had never tasted anything like these!  The flavor of the freshly cooked batter was stunning, alongside the fresh cream, raspberry puree and caramel sauce – I was in heaven.  I even went back for seconds!
We really had a fantastic time at the Café Belge brunch.  Although more on the expensive side, I feel the value is excellent; with amazing seafood, authentic Belgian and French ingredients and dishes and a great selection of beverages (particularly for those who like Belgian beers!).
Ultimately when I think seafood, I think fresh.  And for me that was one of the biggest takeaways from this brunch – fresh, delightful food.
After our brunch, we chilled with a shisha outside and enjoyed the cooling Dubai weather.  It’s that time of the year when the words ‘Al Fresco’ are starting to become more and more appealing… 😉

 

 

Cafe Belge, The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC
+971 4 372 2323

Friday Brunch starts at 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Non-Alcohol Package @ AED 325
Basic Alcohol Package @ AED 450
Premium Alcohol Package @ AED 575