I visited London for the first time back in 2013 and ever since then, I´ve become mildly obsessed with everything British. I love their accent and how they can swear and still sound so proper! but most of all I love their traditions and tea time! So going to the English Countryside quickly became one of my top places to visit! Luckily for me, my husband is totally on board with my English cravings, so much that as a joke he gave me for Christmas and Ancestry kit to prove that I have some British in me and turns out I have 4%!! hahaha that´s enough for me!
We went in early May and it was a wonderful time to visit! It was still a bit cold but Spring was in full bloom so everything looked so green and gorgeous! and we were pretty lucky because it only rained one day for about 30 minutes and that was it! As a tip be aware that drivingon the left side is more difficult than it seems, I was pretty relaxed about it until it was my turn behind the wheel ... oh my it´s so scary! I felt like all the cars were going to hit us! and our biggest mistake was to rent out a Manual transmission car, don´t do it! you are already too stressed trying to stay in the right side of th street that you don´t need the added pressure of shifting gears with your left hand.
Everytime I think about the English Countryside I picture those cute Inns or B&B´s in historic houses so finding an awesome hotel was one of my priorities. After researching different locations and hotels I decided on No.131 Chentelham and it was the best decision ever! I swear that this hotel stay made our trip even more memorable and definetely one for the books! Why did I love it so much:
There´s so many cute towns in the Cotswolds that you can easily spend more than a week exploring them all. We visited a handful of towns around Cheltenham and here is my recap:
Day 1: We started off with an awesome breakfast and head off to Burton on the water, strolled around it, shop a bit and had a cup of tea because it was freezing! later on, we continued to Upper Slaughter, Stow on the Wold, Broadway Tower and then we were it just in time for our dinner reservations at the highly recommended one Michelin Starred restaurant at The Wild Rabbit Inn by chef Tim Allen. The food was spectacular! and I loved the rustic and "homey" interior of the restaurant. When we planned this leg of the trip we knew we wanted to have dinner at The Wild Rabbit in so we chose to visit towns that were nearby. I liked that we could stay as much or as little as we wanted in every town.
Day 2: This day I made a "cool" driving loop from our hotel (I have to admit I even put google maps printouts with our routes on the itineraries... LOL. The highlight fo the day was our afternoon tea at Lords of the Manor Hotel, first of all, isn´t it such a proper name for a hotel! I love all the quirky and proper names that the English Countryside has. Having afternoon tea is absolutely a must while visiting England and especially in the Countryside. When I was researching which place to go for tea I came across Lords of the Manor and it was delicious, I felt like we went back in time and all of the sudden we were in this magnificent manor with beautiful views of the rolling hills. We also stopped at Painswick, Bibury which is the most popular town in the Cotswolds mainly because of Arlington Row and the Sawm Inn which is so picturesque!
We were so stuffed after the afternoon tea (we ate it all! we had to) that we had a quick and relaxed bite to eat along with cocktails at the hotel´s bar Crazy 8 and it was the perfect way to end the day. The hotel also has a very nice and cozy living room with a fireplace so we snuggled up on a couch and read for a while before going heading to bed... I must admit basically we were waiting to be less stuffed to go to our room and eat the homemade cookies and cocoa.
Day 3: After lots of scary and stressful driving through the winding roads we decided to stay at Cheltenham and explore one of the biggest cities in the Cotswolds. We took a leisure walk around the multiple parks and headed to the main street that´s filled with cute shops, restaurants, and pubs. We ate lunch at a local pub and had the most amazing meat pie! We then rented bikes to explore the outskirts of Cheltenham and biked to Ellenborough Park hotel about 20 minutes ride. This hotel is housed in a 15th century renovated estate surrounded but perfect manicured grounds! The hotel itself is worth the visit but we, of course, came here for Afternoon Tea. We got a little table in one of the hotel´s nook and it felt so private and decadent.
We had a pre-dinner cocktail at a nearby bar, and walked to the star of the trip, dinner at Le Champignon Sauvage, this two Micheli Starred restaurant is managed and ran by the chef David Everitt-Mathias and his wife Helen, when you see it from the outside you wouldn´t imagine the quality of the food and service that awaits inside. From start to finish they made us feel at home in this restaurant the food speaks for itself! We had a terrific time and we quickly found out why they have two well deserved Michelin Stars. Helen took great care of us and made our meal memorable. This was by far the best meal of the trip and I highly recommend coming here when you are in the countryside.
Some pictures of the deliciouse food we had a Le Champignon Sauvage, got caught up in the moment and forgot to take pictures of all the courses but trust me when I say it was amazing food!
One of the things I love the most is to to plan a trip! It gives me so much joy! I must say I´m an excesive planner haha I will usually make a detailed itinerary on excel and write down everything... from the big things: flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. to the small details like how to get to and from the airport, distance between the things we are going to see and an approximate cost of every activity but I know not everybody is as crazy as me! So I wanted to share some of the websites and tips that I usually use when planning a trip.
When I plan a trip sometimes I already know the destination but other times is more flexible and it is based on number of days off, weather or if we find a great deal! Planning trips is my hobbie LOL. Sometimes I´ll start rough plans of trips that I want to do and then once they become more "real" I get going with the small details.
Here are my travel tips:
Hope this was helpful and let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Travels!
This past May we had 24 hours in Paris in between our flights and since we´ve been in Paris before so we were not pressed to see all the major sights: Eiffel tower, Champs Elysees, Arc du Triumph and so on... but if you only have 24 hours and it´s your first time visiting I highly recomend taking one of the hop on hop off buses this way you can see them all in a short period of time.
This time we wanted to stay in a smaller more local neighborhood were we could walk everywhere, see a different side of Paris and pretend to be parisians for a day. While searching for hotels I came across Hotel Magenta 38 and it was fantastic! The hotel is located in Gare Du Nord where you can easily walk to lots of neighborhoods and Cana St Martin. This boutique hotel has trendy scandiavian inspired decor and lots of perks for the customers. There´s daily craft beer happy hour, Nespresso machines, amazing breakfast and lovely rooms. As soon as you step in you realize you are not in the typical chain hotel. This hotel was just down my alley: distinctive decor, nice perks, and cheerful environment. I usually prefer to stay at Boutique hotels because they have more charm and personality. Also, it doesn´t hurt that it was budget friendly.
After we checked -in and dropped our bags we grab a map from the helpful front desk/concierge and hit the streets. We didn´t have to walk too far (half a block LOL) to find our first stop: Cafe Le Bistro a nice and very parisian café that we read great things about. It´s everything we were looking for,.. small, quaitnt, not touristy and good no frills french food. We had had a glass of wine, onion soup and mussels and fries yum!. While we sip wine we planed the rest of our afternoon before the best part of the day: diner at Frenchie! but I´ll tell you more about later on. Here is a quick glance of where we strolled in the afternoon:
The highlight of our trip was diner at Frenchie by chef Gregory Marchand! we´ve been looking so much forward to trying it out. It is a small restaurat tucked away in a cobble stome street at Rue Du Nil. They offer a 5 course tasting menu with wine pairing for 125 Euros, a steal for a 1 michelin star restaurant. I love to be surprised by the chef and not having to think about what to order. The meal was marvelous and the setting was romantic and cozy.
Next morning we had a few hours before our flight so after breakfast we headed towards Le Marais district. This area has tons of cool cafes and shops. We stoped for a quick capuccino and at several shops where we bought lots of things for our house.
Then it was off to the aiport to stock up on macaroons for the short flight to Copenhaghen. Au Revoir Paris!
Whila planning the second part of our honeymoon we were looking for different tickets and routes to Europe since we wanted to go to the English Countryside and Ireland (I´ll share those in another post later), I came across with a budget freiendly option with Iceland Air that includes a free stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days! How amazing! Iceland had been in my buckelist for a loooong time so this was perfect! Sadly I made a rookie mistake and tought two days in Iceland would be good but no... I wished we could have stayed at least 4 to 5 days but on the bright side we know have an excuse to visit Iceland again. Iceland is a very big island and it takes a while to get from point A from point B so I definetly recommend staying at least 4 days so you can explore more areas of the island.
We stayed in Reykjavik in a small and quaint hotel nothing fancy at all but since we were going to be out most of the day it didn´nt make sense for us. It is centrally located so we walked both nights to Laugavegur street where most of the restaurants and shops are. 22 Hill Hotel was recently renovated and the rooms were big and comfortable. Here are a few tips about Iceland:
Here is our packed itinerary (it wouldnt be us othwerwise LOL):
Day 1: Golden Circle
Our flight landed at 6:30am we picked our rental at the airport and drove 40 min to Reykjavik dropped our luggage and headed off for breakfast. Iceland has some of the best baked goods I´ve tried! I would give it a thrid place (1. Denmark, 2. France... LOL in case you wanted to know!). We went to Sandholt Bakarí and it was delicious! We had a hard time trying to decided what to order. We ordered an assortment of pastries, croissants and of course Skyr, Iceland´s famous yoghurt,
The Gold Circle is a route between Iceland´s most iconic sights and it is also the #1 tourist attraction. Since we came here in April there were not many tourist as in the summer so it was all good!. The roads are mostly desserted so it´s pretty easy to drive around. If you only do quick stops it will take about 5 hours, we did it in 9 since we took our time in every stop and took some extra ones for lunch and snacks :).
Thingvellir National Park: this is a UNESCO World Heritage Center and a great place for history nerds hahaha but also for nature and photography lovers as all Iceland. There´s walking trails in different lenghts that you can take depending on your time.
Geysir: Strokkur is Iceland´s most famous geyser and it lives by it´s fame. It is very active and it is very fn to walk around. There´s also big restaurant and shops accross the street that offers cool wool products and awesome food. This was the best of all we saw in all the stops.
Gulfoss Waterfall: this places is juts marvelous! I saw lots of pictures of this waterfall in the summer but I must say I liked the contrast of the water and ice that we got to see. A must see!
Kerio: This is a volcanic crater lake and the pictures don´t do justice. The colors and the emerald green of the water are just out of this world.
We drove back to the hotel and the scenary changes so quickly that you are never bored! I´m not a huge fan of driving long distances but this trip went by so fast. After much delibaration we decided to go to Ostabudin for dinner, this is a cheese and gourmet products store that also has a tiny restaurant next to it with about 6 tables This dinner was one of the highlights of our trip! The restaurant is cozy and warm, food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. We loved everything about it! We ordered a meat and cheese plate that included puffin, goose and creamy cheeses, for the entree we shared the goose confit with game meatballs and I still can savour the mix of flavours of the different meats and the awesome port wine sauce. For dessert we had a skyr mouse with berries so simple and so perfect. This was the perfect way to end the day while sipping red wine. This meal turned out to be one of the most memorable of our 3 week long trip.
Day 2: Glacier Hiking
It was so hard to choose between all the different tour options available... oh men! This is why I wished we could have stay at least two more days. A friend recommended Guide to Iceland as a portal to find the different tours and tour operators and t was great help! They help us to map out our routes and gave us good advice. We decided to do the Skafatell Ice Climbing and Hiking with Troll Expeditions and it was absolutely amazing! Our guide was awesome and we were the only one´s that day so it was our own private tour. The glacier is breathtaking and it was very cool to see hundreds of years old ice. Ice climbing was more challenging that I was expecitng but it was exhilarting and super fun! I´m glad we chose this tour because it gave us the perfect mix between adrenaline rush and peaceful views from the glacier.
After our glacier tour we hit the road towards Reykjavil and make a couple of stops on the way. The first one was to pet the icelandic horses... they are so freakin cute! LOL and to see the impressive Skógafoss Waterfall! Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters, and you can walk right up to, but be prepared to be drenched. It is just overwhelming standing next to it.We climbed up the stairs to get another view pont from the top and there´s a hiking trail from there on that looked promising.
San Francisco will always have a special place in my heart! This is were my now husband and I had our first apartment together and we have sweet memories from our time in here. SF is by far my favorite city in the US and sometimes I wished we never left! Why do I love it so much?? there's soo many reasons but I'll say my top three would be: 1. The views 2. It's food and wine scene and 3.it's laid back and open vibe.
We recently went back for a long weekend trip to visit friends and I created a short and sweet itinerary for this trip... you could easily spend a week or more over here and at the end of the post I'll give some recommendations of day trips and other things to do if you have a bit more time.
I'll recommend to stay in the Union Square area; even though is touristy its the perfect location for a short trip because it is right int he middle of everything... don't be afraid of the Tenderloin area... it might be a bit grubby but it is not unsafe.
Get your sneakers ready (SF's uniform anyways) and head out to explore the City.
Day 2: this day you can see some of the best streets in SF for people watching, shopping and eating.
Day 3: On the last day in SF take an uber, cable car or walk (so you can earn some extra calories) to the Mission District. The Mission District to me is where all of what SF represents comes together! I love strolling it's streets and peaking in on the many little shops, cafes and restaurants. The best streets are Valencia St and Mission St and of course Dolores Park.
There's tons of good food over here and something for every appetite. In the Mission District you can find the widest array of international food.
If you have more days in SF these are also other cool things to do around:
I've been super busy in my 8-5 job so I hadn't got the chance to post in a while but here it is! We spent this past NYE in Vegas and we agreed that 4 days is more than enough to spend in Vegas hahaha, no seriously, you could definitely spend more time here but I feel that in 4 days you can see all the highlights, eat in your top pick restaurants, gamble, party, shop and watch some shows.
I'm past the partying stage and I'm not a gambler (this time I set aside a budget of $40 to gamble haha that it became $186 so maybe I should consider gambling?) mostly because I rather eat, drink and shop! and even though I'm not drawn to Vegas because of it's most popular pastime I always have a blast over there.
Here is a glimpse of our itinerary and my top recommendations. The best part of Vegas it is the variety of good quality restaurants so the biggest issue it is which one to choose from. We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental and I absolutely loved it! This was our first time staying at hotel without a casino and I feel that it was the perfect choice for us, it is right next to Aria and within 5 min walk to The Cosmopolitan so you can easily get to the casino and get the party ambiance but without all the drawbacks of staying at one of the big hotels i.e long lines to check in, crowds and noise. The Mandarin was a superb experience from beginning to end. I specially loved the bedrooms and their big bath tub.
I have to admit the on this trip I did not take the best pictures because food was so delicious and company was even better that I just couldn't afford to take perfect ones! After all that's how vacation's should be. Here are my top pics for restaurants:
Picasso at Bellagio. This two star Michelin by chef Julian Serrano is worth every penny! Plus they have a fantastic view of the Bellagio Foundations so extra points for romance. Their 4 course Prix Menu are well balanced and have a little bit for everybody.
Nobu Inside Caesar's Palace, come here for the small plates and not for the sushi. The sushi is just mew.. but the rest of the dishes are amazing! I love that it is Tapas style so we all got to try several dishes. One of my favorites were: black cod miso, Lobster tacos and Blue fin toro tartare
Bouchon: Thomas Keller, French Laundry's chef (high on my bucket list!) created a beautiful menu filled with French classics and an elegant yet casual restaurant inside The Venetian. Loved the ambiance and the comfort food. This is also a great spot for Brunch with nice views of the hotel's gardens.
Bardot Brasserie: came here for brunch after NYE. It has the most romantic and "old school" bar that it is great for a pre-dinner or show cocktail. It is located on Aria's second floor so it is more secluded and intimate. We've been following chef Michael Mina since we moved to San Francisco and this one does not disappoints!
Milos Estiatorio: This is a great spot for Lunch inside The Cosmopolitan. They have super fresh seafood that you can actually pick from and they also offer a light pre-fix lunch menu that won't break the bank. Had a terrific white wine from Greece, a first!
Julian Serrano : A Spanish restaurant inside Aria by Julian Serrano (way more affordable than Picasso) with a great selection of Spanish classics and more fusion dishes. Bright and cheerful decor throughout the restaurant.
oh well and no trip is ever complete with a mandatory stop at Shake Shack! :)
Besides eating... we did more things! My highlight of the trip was watching Bruno Mars at the new theater in the Monaco Hotel... OMG it was the best! We also watched O at the Bellagio and we were speechless! On other trips with seeing Love and KA by Cirque Du Soleil but so far "O" it's my favorite!
This year we had a very different Christmas since it was the first time we spent it away from our families. We always rotate between spending it in Denmark and Costa Rica but this year we thought it would be nice to spend it in the mountains with our little family of 2 + 2 dogs!
We rented an Airbnb cabin in the middle of nowhere about 30 minutes from Vail, CO and oh boy was it amazing! We loved our time at the cabin! We both like to cook so we chose ambitious recipes for every night. We loaded up the car with almost all of our kitchen utensils (for sure we over did it!), put the dogs in the backseat and then we hit the road.
Even though we planned daily dinners at the cabin we still wanted to try some of the good restaurants in Vail, after some research (of course!) and I discovered Mountain Standard a gastro pub located in the middle of Vail village. This place is hands down one of the best lunches we've had! It's a very casual and cozy restaurant that cooks most of its food on an open wood fire. We had the grilled salmon and an open face tuna sandwich that reminded me a lot of the Danish traditional Smørrebrød. We also had two delicious "brunchy" type cocktails that did not disappoint.
After our delicious lunch we walked around Vail Village to soak in the Christmas atmosphere! The village couldn't look better! I always feel that the snow makes everything look more magical. We strolled through the shops, restaurants and pubs filled with after-skiers and stopped for a hot chocolate, I know it is a cliche but it is for a reason!
After a day in Vail we headed back to the cabin and started cooking Christmas eve dinner: rack of lamb with mint jelly, roasted vegetables and potato au gratin! yum! and then for dessert we had the traditional danish Christmas dessert ris ala mande which is a rice pudding with almonds and amareno cherries. The rest of the days we chilled, read, played in the snow with the dogs and watched Christmas movies, the most perfect 4 days!
Hope everyone had a great time during the holidays!
We spent Thanksgiving in D.C. while visiting my little sister who's attending college in the city. We had a packed itinerary since we only had 3 full days in the City and we wanted to make the most of it (as usual!). Although it was a Holiday weekend it wasn't too crowded and we got a chance to see the fall folliage in full bloom.
We landed on Thanksgiving day and had a small but delicious Thansgiving dinner with my sister. The following morning we went for a delcious breakfast at one of my favorite spots Le Pain Quotidien, I just simply love this place! It never dissapoints! My fave here is the belgium waffle with berries and cream and huge bowl ot Cafe Au lait! Whenever we travel to the east coast we always have to make a pit stop here!
After our breakfast we headed to the major sights: The White House, Washington Monument, the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial. It's a bit of walk but there's no better way to soak it all in. If you are not so much of a walker or wanna add a bit of fun I highly recommend doing the City Segaway Tour, we took this tour when we previously came to Washington D.C. three years ago and it was a blast! but I must also add it was during the spring so the temperature was much nicer.
For us the Smithsonian Museums are always in our top list of attractions in D.C. there's something for everybody, unbeatable location, great content and free!. This time we decided to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and we enjoyed it at lot! Tip: make sure to arrive before noon to beat the crowds.
After an entire day of sightseeing and eating a burger or two at Shake Shack ... we went for cocktails and dinner to Blue Duck Tavern which has a great menu selection and food is delcious! Perfect way to end our day!
On our second day we headed to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and it was an emotional experience whih I highly recommend to visit. The museum tells the story through artifacts, films and photos, it makes you refflect on this terrible period in human history and how we as individuals can always make a change. I don't recommend to visit this museum with youg children.
After the museum we headed to the Union Market for a late lunch and pastries. This is a well hidden gem and offers a wide variety of food and drink options. The market is located outside of the touristy areas and has a great vibe. We really enjoyed coming here and trying all the different food vendors.
At the end of the afternoon (it was a packed itinerary!) we went to the Arlignton Cementery where we walked around, visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Kennedy's Memmorials. For dinner we headed to Jaleo DC by Jose Andres and enjoyed a feast of tapas and wine! Jose Andres has multiple restaurants in DC that are worth a visit!
On our third and final day we went for brunch to Le Dimplomate a french cafe that offers a truly french menu in a cozy setting. We loved all the dishes we ordered and the basket of pastries was delish! After our food comma we took an uber to Georgetown and enjoyed our lazy sunday by walking the quaint streets filled with shops, restaurants and beautiful town houses.
We couldn't leave D.C. without having a cupcake from Georgetwon Cupcakes and we ate in the steps of the waterfront. It was the perfect ending for fantatisc trip!
It's officially travel season, therefore I would like to share my favorite in-flight beauty essentials. Flying used to be a glamorous occasion that has been replaced by ziplock bags, socks for the shoe-less security lines, bags filled with snacks and tiny luggage. While practicality trumps luxury when it comes to pre- and post-takeoff, the joy of flying can be restored with a few indulgences to feel fresh and glowing at your arrival.
The lack of oxygen in the plane, recycled air and germy surfaces- mean that we must take steps to keep our skin feeling and looking healthy. I've tried these one's and I can definitely feel a difference in my skin plus I can apply everything on my seat without having to spend more time than necessary inside the plane's bathroom :( .
On our drive to Red Feather Lakes we stopped in Fort Collins at The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm. Jessup Farm is an artisan village filled with small and locally owned stores, coffee shops, restaurants and of course a brewery...if not it wouldn't be Colorado!
Fort Collins, has been having a revival and is known as smaller Boulder based on their good mix of restaurants and retail. When I read about Jessup Farm I knew we had to make a pit stop here and eat lunch at The Farmhouse.
The restaurant is situated in 133 year-old building, with exposed brick walls, distressed wood and comfy seating areas. As my Danish hubby would say it was "hyggeligt" a Danish word for cozy and inviting. The restaurant has it's own chicken coop and locally source all their produce and meats.
The menu is what I would call upscale country american fare. Miles and I shared a variety of dishes since we couldn't decide on only one. We shared the daily doughnut (amazing!), the lamb sausage and potatoes, huevos rancheros skillet and pumpkin pancakes. We are definitely coming back to this restaurant and since their menu changes seasonally its the perfect excuse for the 40 minute drive from Denver.
After our delicious and hearty brunch we headed out to stroll through the stores at Jessup Farm. This place was beautifully made and it has the small town charm. We stopped at The Knapsack Store were they have a good mix of home decor and quirky accessories. Needless to say I wanted to buy a ton of stuff in here! I definitely have a weakness for for nick-nacks.