Book Review: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Blurb: “Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again.”

Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction, War Novel, Novel

Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


This book was something special. I’ve never read anything quite as moving as this book before. I had literally added this book to my reading list and then the next day walked into Waterstones and it was there on the stand in front of me (pre Covid-19 lockdown 3 in the UK). So naturally I picked it up and bought it. I read it within 3 days. It was stunning and breathtaking so I’m going to tell you (and show you) why.

First I loved the way this book was written. It goes from the present to the past, Nuri and Afra’s journey travelling from Aleppo to the UK. There is absolutely no small feat about this journey, their motivation is inspiring. We see their time seeking asylum in the UK and between these chapters we learn about their journey to the UK and their struggles with PTSD, but the way this is shown in the book is pretty and nothing I’ve ever seen before. The last word of the present is the first word of the past flashback and is displayed in the middle of the page in a beautiful illustration as you can see below.

The journey itself that they have made is just incredible. From Aleppo to the car journeys through Syria, having to duck down in the back of trucks and lie about where they were going. To the boat crossings in their small dingy, wearing life jackets and the awful waves throwing people overboard. Potentially losing Mohammed overboard causing Nuri to jump in the water after him, Mohammed being a young boy Nuri has taken responsibility for after he was on his own, almost a replacement for Sammi without realising. And when they reach the camps, Mohammed disappears. So Nuri looses the one thing that even slightly brought him comfort as he resembled and was significant with the loss of Sammi. But when Nuri is in the UK, he still sees Mohammed in his dreams and feels Mohammed is trying to tell him something or point him back to the direction of his wife, back in the direction of goodness, although it doesn’t always end well once he wakes up.

The camps sounded horrendous and it made me realise that people are actually dealing with this in real life. It made me glad to hear that they were given shelter, food and clothes after their horrendous boat ride, but what about when these camps are full? There is a lot of talk through the book of ‘The camps are full‘ and ‘they’ve closed the borders’ so their next part of their journey will be a struggle and thats where the illegal smugglers come in. Giving these people their trust and their money to get them to where they need to be. there is a period of time where they are in Italy. They are sleeping in a park where the volunteers for Red Cross brought them too, and left them there. Afra does not feel safe yet they manage to make a friend as safety in numbers. But awful things happen here, and instead of waiting for salvation that never comes from the Red Cross Nuri takes it into his own hands and they pay a smuggler to get them to the UK.

I feel for me this book is eye opening. This is happening in real life. REAL people are going through REAL situations and trauma like this, and we are treating them like animals and not offering asylum when they people have experienced WAR and had everything destroyed. They have no where else to go. And although in the books they are offered food, shelter and clothes, are they offered this in real life? Most likely not. I’ll be posting some links at the bottom of this review if you would like to donate to refugee relief.

I sympathised with pretty much all of the main characters, they have all been displaced and hit with the horrors of war. A horror that I could not even dream of experiencing or knowing what they are going through. So when Afra originally refuses to leave Aleppo amongst all the ruins because it is where their son Sammi is buried after he was killed in a bomb explosion, my heart breaks for them. I feel so upset for them because they had such a beautiful life in Aleppo before, Nuri tending the bees with his best friend Mustafa, so passionate about the bees and learning their motives and harvesting the honey and Afra and their son Sammi dining and relaxing with Mustafas family. Everything was happy and bright and colourful. And it had all been left in ruins. I can feel the desperation through out the book for a better life, when Afra explains she “doesn’t like this place” or when Nuri explains she “lays in bed all day” I just feel deflated for them and all that they are going through. Their motivation to get to the UK is that Mustafa is there and has started a new business with the bees and Nuri is going to help him as soon as he can when he gets to the UK, some sort of normality and what they were used too in Aleppo. That small slice of home.

It is interesting to learn that Afra is blind due to the horrendous things she has seen. She witnessed the bomb kill her child. War destroy her city. Due to this trauma she is blind, but not blind. She is blind and cannot see from trauma, but her sight will come back over time. This was interesting to me as I did not realise this could happen but it very much can when dealing with immense amounts if life changing stress which made me sympathise for her more. But what made me really feel things is when even though she could see, she still coloured in the colouring books Nuri bought her.

They have also come away/apart from each other in a time where they need each other most. All the way through you can see that Nuri loves his wife, but he has moved so far away from her as Afra has from him. They are withdrawn from each other through this trauma although they rely on each other more than ever. So when at the end, after making it to the UK and seeing Mustafa again, they are drawn back to each other with that feeling of hope and happiness to help them it makes me so overwhelmingly happy. They went through so much together so to finally find themselves back in each others arms made me so elated and honestly, I cried.

This book is eye-opening, harrowing, and with so much depth, an absolute testament to the triumph of human spirit and motivation. I voted this book 5/5 and say that you go and get this book now and Ive never felt so passionately about a book in this way. If you would like to donate to refugee relief there are some links below for you.

Book Review: 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words by D. Marino & J. Malley

Blurb: “20 Travel Tales in 200 Words, is a collection of true short stories of misadventure, humour and heart, while travelling the world. The authours have had a number of awkward, challenging and astounding experiences over the years. These tales (all told in exactly 200 words) will (hopefully) make you laugh, smile and see travel through their eyes.

Each tale is accompanied by their unique photography, taken while vacationing in the area featured in the travel tale. You will not find these specific photographs anywhere else.”

Genre: Travel, Travel Biography

Goodreads Rating: 4.83/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS


I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to access, read and review this book from the authors directly! So a huge thank you to them, of course they appreciate and respect that my review will be totally honest and my views only. So lets get into this!

You can find a copy of the book to purchase here and their website!

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com/product-page/20-travel-tales-in-200-words-pdf

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com

And you can find the authors on social media here!

Https://twitter.com/ThemTrips

https://instagram.com/Makethemalltripsofalifetime

https://www.facebook.com/makethemalltripsofalifetime

As an avid traveller and with Covid being pretty prominent at the moment, there isn’t much travel happening. So to be able to read 20 Travel Tales in 200 words was exciting for me because It definitely filled a travel hole that was huge in my heart. I really enjoyed reading each story and I’ll be writing a little bit about my top 8 from the book also further down in the review! I just wanted to cover some basics first!

The book itself is really well written and right from the heart, it feels so personal and I really felt like I could picture the experiences almost like I was there. Also it can’t be easy writing a travel story in only 200 words but the authors have done a really good job in doing so and making it an immersive and enjoyable read.

The photographs that separate the stories are all so beautiful and topical to the stories as well, not only is the photography brilliant but they also do a really good job of painting the picture of the adventure itself. It gives the stories more context and also gives the reader the beautiful imagery that goes with the story and I just thought that was brilliant because the story leaves you to your imagination and then you see the photos and it makes it even better!

So let’s have a look at my favourite 8 stories from the book! (although they were all great).

Rough Seas and Big Fish.

This one made me so excited, minus the sea sickness which I felt so sorry for them but I would totally be the same in that situation! Swimming with Whales sharks is absolutely a bucket list dream of mine, so to see the photos and hear the story was so great and inspiring. I was massively impressed they pushed through the sickness to swim with these magnificent creatures!

Murder House.

This one was plain creepy but I enjoyed that aspect, it was an experience that wasn’t as advertised and was unexpected and that added to my curiosity! Plus its nice to hear a different experience like this! I was left with so many questions, Why was there a for sale sign outside? Were the Anne dolls watching them through the night? Why were they not given the experience they bought or told beforehand it wouldn’t be as expected? and most importantly, WERE they fed the previous guests?? WILD.

The Case of the Missing (Water) Shoe.

This made me laugh out loud but also in a sympathetic way. Especially because this is something I would do. The best part was the ‘How could they not know?’ question, and then the sudden realisation when it was needed that the shoe was theirs! I was sad the rain washed it away, it belongs to the fishes now.

What Happens in the Clouds, Stays in the Clouds.

A zip-line experience is also on the bucket list and in a beautiful tropical place like Costa Rica, what a dream! I was so jealous of such an awesome experience but the zero visibility made me nervous and that nervousness was enhanced by her husband explaining that he had been pushed by the wind out of control but landed safely, biggest PHEW moment of the book! An amazing experience in a beautiful place.

A Hike of Spirituality.

This story was really great, an awesome experience, beautiful hike with the history explained as they went. A really great and spiritual adventure to connect with the history of Mauritius. But, it also really highlights others disregard for places with so much history and that deserve respect. It’s astounding that people were unable to “genuinely appreciate where they were” and that makes me so sad, as well as the authors who expressed their sadness of the situation too which I could fully relate too.

(Not) A Bag in the Water.

I love the ocean so I loved this story but this also hinged on another fear of mine. I am so very happy no one was hurt in the process of saving the planet! Which is always the right thing to do! But then the pain that came afterwards of moving to safety and being pushed back into the ocean made me go ‘Ouch!’, definitely a memorable experience for sure!

It’s Not Moving on, Its Moving Forward.

This was a beautiful and moving story. A trip of healing and relaxing through sorrow and sadness even though it provided no escape as the authors wrote. The tradition of planting a tree really brought a tear to my eye. The last line of this story was something that I felt so so necessary to share with everyone as it was beautifully written;

“You do not move on after the passing of a loved one, you move forward, carrying them with you”

The True Test of Love.

This is my favourite one, absolutely 10000% this is the true test of love. I’ve already explained to my man that when we go travelling this is to be expected and if he can’t handle it get out of the kitchen, wait, Bathroom. Im so happy the trip continued and so did their love! It did make me laugh how Burger King was a no go zone, so the family run Bistro where you wouldn’t expect the toilet troubles, was where the trouble started! But you don’t know until you try!

I gave 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words a 5/5 review because for me it was everything I needed and more through Covid-19, the stories were great fun and inspiring and the photographs were also phenomenal. This book is absolutely worth the read to fill that travel gap!

#Throwback: My Top Amsterdam Pictures

So Me and Brad went to the Netherlands in June 2019 to meet up with some of our closest friends Mel and Stan! Stan actually lives in the Netherlands too, so it was a pleasure to be hosted by him in his home country! We also met out friend Kaat from Belgium, she came across and stayed a few days with us.

We had an awesome few days and did some amazing things together. These photos below don’t actually do it any justice and it was so hard to find my favourites! We did a boat tour, went to the beach in Zandvoort, the A-dam look out and Swing, so many coffee shop and also a night out on the town! So these are only a quarter of my favourite shots I took in the Netherlands because If I had a choice I would have chosen all of them.

Enjoy and let me know which ones your favourite & if you’ve been to these places below!

The Peak District – Bakewell

With our check out of our little cottage in Eyam being at 11am we decided we weren’t quite ready to go yet and wanted to go and get some food together before going our separate ways. We were in just the right spot to go exploring somewhere else so we decided to head to the infamous Bakewell!

Bakewell is known for it’s world famous Bakewell tarts. And they really are top notch if you haven’t had a Bakewell tart before I definitely recommend it. For those who aren’t aware a Bakewell tart is pastry with jam inside and a layer of frangipane with a cherry on top! topped with some almonds traditionally. I think the cherry was a recent one. So of course being in Bakewell we headed straight to the Famous Shop and Cafe!

I didn’t buy a Bakewell tart from the shop itself but now I’m looking back at it I regret it massively because I could really eat one of them right about now.

Once we were done in the shop we next walked through the high streets because me being the moany cow I am I needed new shoes. I had a massive hole in my shoes because they were at least two year old Vans and unfortunately discovered with very wet toes that they had this hole in.

Bakewell itself was really lovely with stone buildings and architecture all through the streets, as you walk into Bakewell you walk over a stone bridge with the river running underneath. Its such a pretty old town and I understand why its so popular! (Not just for the Bakewell tarts).

We had lunch booked at Piedaniels just of the high street in Bakewell (Pronounced Pee-eh-daniels, the best description I could use). It was such a beautiful restaurant I can’t say I felt dressed for the occasion especially in my broken Vans. I absolutely sat at the dinner table with one shoe on and the other on the radiator (the shoe shop was not successful).

We had 3 courses and it was so tasty, for starter I had French Onion soup which was delicious, followed by Duck Breast for main and a lovely fruity sponge pudding for dessert with a tonne of custard all whilst in amazing company. It was a little more on the expensive side but the food was definitely worth the money, the service was fantastic and the atmosphere was pleasant. I’d definitely go again if we had the chance!

Couldn’t have asked for a better trip with better people and a glorious few days off work walking and catching up. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone and it’s probably going to be a while until we see everyone again with lockdown happening again, but I’m glad we managed a trip and can’t wait to do it again when we can!

The Blog Brew Collaboration – Christmas: Christmas Markets all over the Globe.

Covid might still be very much a thing but we really can’t let it dull our Christmas spirit. Especially with how this year has already gone. So as part of the Blog Brew Collaboration this month and sticking to the theme of Christmas I wanted to share some of the top Christmas markets all over the world! Just because we can’t physically travel to them or they might cancelled due to Covid 19 doesn’t mean we need to forget about them, especially because we can keep up the Christmas spirit!

So here are some of the most beautiful Christmas Markets around the globe. Personal opinion and preference pending here! I’m doing this from my preferences and likes, If I miss any awesome Christmas markets let me know in the comments! I wanna research and add those bad boys to my bucket list! I will also be posting which Christmas market was my favourite that Ive been too (Hint: Its in Norway).

And before you say it, no, Winter Wonderland does NOT Make the cut.

None of the photos below are mine except for the Lincoln, Manchester & Oslo Market pictures

Vienna, Belvedere Palace

This Christmas market is a lot smaller than your usual Christmas market, you can go to a larger ones elsewhere in Vienna. This market is open for longer than usual, from mid November all the way through to the New Year which gives such a good time frame to visit. Plus its located in Belvedere and is also hosted along side a palace! A baroque palace! THE Belvedere Palace which I bet is beautiful and absolutely breathtaking when it comes to a Christmas markets, there are plenty of stalls and amusements for all the family but the main focus is on couples for this one.

Sweden, Liseberg

You can head to Liseberg for an incredibly magical and family friendly Christmas market, with endless light shows, loads of Christmas stalls, they have an ice rink which they do shows on for an audience, they also offer Christmas with RABBITS? HOW SICK IS THAT. There is something magical about rabbits at Christmas. plus you’re in Sweden!

New Zealand, Wellington, Underground Market

New Zealand, Wellington has this pretty cool underground markets you can shop in and in the run up to Christmas these markets turn into Christmas stalls! Although this only happens on the weekends throughout December, In the week they are just your normal stalls and admission is completely free.

Canada, Vancouver

I’ve always really wanted to go to Canada, I bet no Christmas market is as magical as a Christmas market in CANADA. Not only do they have Santas Grotto, a kids day, plenty of stalls with for and drink, Christmas presents and gifts. THEY HAVE A WALK IN CHRISTMAS TREE? I don’t know about you guys but I’m moving to Vancouver. Plus a majority of the food and drink is all local or locally sourced, they also have their own mascots? Holly and Jolly! It is also situated right on Vancouver Harbour so you can watch the lights reflect off the water!

Singapore, Gardens by the Bay

I definitely feel this is the most impressive market. With the market itself spanning across 8 football fields of amusements, food, drinks and the most amazing lights, whats not be impressed about? Oh, not to forget it is held in the STUNNING Gardens by the Bay. I don’t think I really need to say much more than that. Not only that but there is also a parade and endless theatrical entertainment! They also offer a Flower Dome. I’ll let you look that one up yourself. AMAZING. BOOKING MY FLIGHT NOW.

Peru, Santurantikuny

Now is Cusco, Peru they don’t so much hold a Christmas Market but a market that is held on December 24th where you go to buy yourself a gift and no one else! This event is actually a National Cultural Event and recognised by National Institute of Cultural Heritage which is Pretty awesome if you ask me. It is based on the Retablos, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Santurantikuny stands for ‘Saints for Sale’ and is the largest craft market in Peru.

Birmingham, Frankfurt Style Market

Being from the UK its definitely on my bucket list to go to Birmingham Christmas market, its hugely popular and mimics the Christmas Market in Frankfurt which is what its really popular and well known for, it is also the largest Christmas market outside of Germany! Unfortunately it has been cancelled due to Covid but we continue to be festive. With 80 stalls all Christmas themed and endless mulled wine on every corner its a great place to explore and see friends and family. Birmingham itself is also supposed to be a greta city, so why not check out the rest of it whilst you’re at it?

Markets I’ve been too!

Manchester Christmas Market

After a heavy heavy night at WHP (Warehouse project Manchester) seeing Bicep we were all a bit reluctant to check out the market with the way we were feeling but I am so glad we did it, a hot chocolate with marshmallows and walking between the stalls it was so beautiful and very aesthetically pleasing. It also had some amazing Christmas lights and decorations. We managed to get lucky and go on a really nice day so the weather was glorious but cold and we managed to meet up with a good friend there as well who was in the city the same time we were so it was really great to experience something this GRAND with friends.

Lincoln Christmas Market

I went to university at Lincoln so of course I have visited it every year I was there, unfortunately the first year absolutely killed it for me because I was doing a tourism study on the market so I went up Steep Hill EVERY DAY. It was worth it because of course I got all the data I needed but i also go to experience all different aspects of the market. Lincoln market has so many stalls to offer of all varieties, its really good for your Christmas shopping and the best mulled wine is definitely form the BAR BUS which can usually find outside of the castle walls in the amusement area! Oh yeah, the start of the market is in the castle grounds, how beautiful is that? Its always really enjoyable and also has stalls by the cathedral but its a real shame because the past few years the market has gotten smaller and smaller, so I am hoping that come Christmas 2021 it will be back and teeming with life. It holds a lot of memories with all my friends from Uni and also my family when they visited for the market. Here is hoping for a better Christmassy 2021.

My all time favourite;

Oslo Christmas Market, Norway

This was without a doubt one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! I’d never been to Christmas market in another country so this was such a fun experience. Oslo Christmas market isn’t huge but it has all the essentials from Locally made Christmas gifts and clothes to the yummiest waffle and food stalls. And my god, the mulled wine was the best mulled wine I had ever had. There is a light tunnel you can walk through, an absolutely huge ice rink running through the middle and a beautiful big wheel where you can see the whole market and some of Oslo. They also have two talking moose heads in the bar area and at the entrance and they are SO funny. It was such a great vibe to go with some of my girlfriends as well, such a memorable experience.

Whats been the best Christmas market you’ve ever been too?

Road Trip Essentials: What to take with you on your travels!

If there is anything I’ve discovered from Covid-19 is that I love road trips. It’s made me appreciate where I am a lot more and especially just how much there is to do in the UK. When people tell you to visit England, they aren’t lying. There are just so many beautiful places in the UK which are so worth the journey, but when you go on the journey you need to be prepared!

This post is based for those who don’t have some super savvy RV or camper van to go road tripping in and have to go in their Renault Cleo to do 17 hours of driving (plot twist, that’s Brad and I!). We drove the South West coast of the UK staying in multiple Airbnbs, which you can view here, and driving along in Brad Renault Cleo. The OLD Renault Cleo too, and it was great!

When you’re travelling with a person like me who had a bladder the size of a pea and also struggles to sleep, did I mention I’m also a top worrier with my anxiety hitting extortionate levels when I feel the situation is out of my control, so I like to be prepared when we are doing things like this!

I am really glad we did the trip because it felt liberating after so long being inside. Of course we took all the necessary precautions and in doing so this also added a few extra essentials to our trip! So see the list below on what I feel are the best Road Trip essentials!


Our Road Trip Essentials

Covid-19 Essentials to start with:

  • Mask(s).
  • Disinfectant.
  • Correct paperwork if you are exempt from mask wearing.

General Essentials

  • Books! Lots of good books for the journey! Or a Kindle!
  • Your phone, of course! Or not! Depends how disconnected you want to be whilst away!
  • Your purse/wallet, ID and card.
  • If you like to film your adventures like I do, a Go Pro, memory card and external hard drive.
  • Torch (ESSENTIAL this one).
  • Chargers for every electrical appliance you are taking with you.
  • A Notepad.
  • A print out of your Airbnb or hotel bookings just in case!
  • Drinks flask.
  • A cool bag for food if you take any perishables with you.

Car Essentials:

  • Phone Charger.
  • Plug Adapters.
  • Neck Pillow & An Actual Pillow.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sat Nav (Or your phone in these modern days).
  • Phone Holder.
  • Aux Cable & Aux Adapter!

Clothing Essentials:

  • Underwear (I mean you can’t forget that, unless you’re a nudist, then you do you!).
  • Shoes and extra socks for all weather. E.G Walking boots, flip flops.
  • Backpacks!
  • Swimming Costumes & Trunks
  • Towels
  • Jeans & Trousers
  • ‘Going Out’ Wear, Anything from dresses to skirts, blouses to shirts, whatever you feel comfortable in!
  • Summer Dresses are always a must (weather permitting).
  • A Coast, Cardigan, Hoodie, all of the above. I always tend to bring an extra coat with me just in case the car breaks down and you’re stuck on the side of the road, got to keep warm!
  • A smaller bag instead of your backpacks! If you head out for some food you need a nice handbag or clutch bag to take with you.

Comfy Essentials:

  • Blanket, a KEY essential especially if your road trip involves any form of camping. Maybe even a duvet.
  • Slipper socks & Slippers.
  • Winter Coat (as above) to keep you nice and warm!
  • Fluffy PJ’s are always a vibe.

Product Essentials:

  • Deodorant.
  • Moisturiser.
  • For the ladies: Tampons, Pads etc.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Hairbrush.
  • Make up.
  • Compact Mirror.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner and Dry Shampoo (a must).

I also headed to twitter to ask my fellow bloggers if they were going on a road trip (in a Pre Covid-19 world) and they could bring 1 Essential item, what would it be?

Here are some of the responses below!

Places to Stay in Dorset, Somerset & Cornwall!

Brad and I went off on a week long South West coast UK road trip and it absolutely did not disappoint. But, with planning the road trip also came finding places to stay and all things considered? We did really well between the two of us. We looked mainly at Airbnb and 2/3 places we stayed were booked through Airbnb! We also used Booking.com for our final night, I’m quite apprehensive when it comes to Booking.com as someone who works with reservations and hotels they can be sometimes quite unreliable. But, it surprised me and it was the most beautiful accomodation.

In total between us we paid roughly £200 each, £400 in total for 4 different airbnbs and hotels. And for what we got and where we stayed? Absolutely brilliant on price! So below is a list of recommendations of where we stayed. I highly rate them all as does my boyfriend as they were perfect for our trip! Also we are students fresh out of uni with not a whole load of money so our standards aren’t exactly high but we expect comfort and what is shown on the photos. We definitely were not disappointed at any point.

Location 1: Winton, Bournemouth, Dorset

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/44549362?source_impression_id=p3_1600185846_ltzd7EsjWbt2D50Q

Price we paid: £38 for 1 night and x2 guests, The room itself is no longer available but alternative accommodation on the same premises is available at a great price, see the link!


Now this Airbnb above is out the back of the house that we stayed in. Our lovely host Ana was at the time renting out one of her double bedrooms and we stayed inside the main house. This is no longer available on Ana’s profile but this little gem in her back garden certainly surprised us! We didn’t even know it was there until we were enjoying our breakfast (which was included). It was booked out the night we stayed but the next morning she had already refreshed this studio with a porch so we got to have a look inside!

It was huge and spacious with an en suite, kitchen and very modern inside with a lovely outdoor decking area to sit if you wanted. The area itself in Winton is really lovely and only a 10 minute Uber away from Bournemouth beach and the centre which worked out really well for us as we didn’t want to spend too much on cabs/Ubers.

Ana’s Studio I’ve linked above for 1 night is £51 which is really cheap especially with the quality of the studio. When we stayed in one of the bedrooms in the house it was £38 for the night but Ana was also having her kitchen renovated at the time, hence why this room may not be available currently! There is also on street parking for free.

Location 2: St Ives Glamping, Cornwall

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/5367297?source_impression_id=p3_1600186424_NTFRJiv5ts2U1OvQ

Price we Paid: £111.09 for one night, x2 guests.


Once we jumped in the car again on our road trip we were off to our Hobbit Home! Yes you read that right, A Coastal Hobbit Home! It was so cool. The lane to the location once we arrived was small, narrow and windy and if anything a little bit dangerous but fine once you’re parked up on the field (which is free for guests!). Once we arrived we grabbed our wheelbarrows, popped our luggage in the barrows and trekked our way across the field to our hobbit home.

The Hobbit Homes themselves were super cosy. There was a double bed and inside was a hamper with blankets inside if we needed them for around the fire. There were fake candles which were cute and fairy lights all around the cabin which gave it such a homely feel and there was plenty of room for our bags and belongings.

We had our own hammock outside and a log fire too for us to prepare which accompanied an honestly box at the entrance where we could pick up a bag of wood. £5 down later and cracking fire we absolute could not complain. That same evening we used the communal kitchen and living space to cook up an easy meal of tortellini. The shared kitchen was amazing, wonderfully decorated and literally had everything you could ever need. The only things we brought was our food! Really resourceful. There was also perfectly clean and functioning toilets and showers but if you didn’t want to do the trek from your hobbit home or cabin up to the communal areas you had the option of a compost toilet. Personally, I chose the communal area toilets because the smell of the compost one nearly knocked me clean out. You also have to supply/bring your own towels.

Location 3: Far Horizons, Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall UK

Link: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/20025693?source_impression_id=p3_1600187206_Y2fNCfnikmNfa7gH

Price we paid: £162.54 for x2 nights for x2 guests.


This Airbnb was without a doubt the most beautiful Airbnb I have ever stayed in, not only was our host Kylie so so welcoming and lovely but the room was immaculate as well as the bathroom, there was a tea and coffee station in the room, a coffee machine and kettle, glasses and bowls and the decor was all matching and it was just so nice and cosy. The bed was SO comfortable. Wifi and towels were provided which was another bonus.

My favourite part about this stay was not only were we 5 minutes away from Fistral Beach where we were surfing, but one morning I woke up at 6am to nip to the toilet and there was a small ball of fluff by the open kitchen door. THEY HAD A RABBIT. It was SO cute and it was the best thing to wake up too! (This is stated on the listing I just missed it but it was absolutely no stress to us at all). There is a self check in option also when you arrive so you have your own key as well for when you’re nipping in and out which was really handy and when you leave you simply post the key through the letter box or put it back in the outdoor lock box.

I thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk into Newquay for dinner and breakfast, the location was ideal and there is also on street parking as well for free. The best thing was after 5 long hours of surfing coming back to a lovely room, a cosy bed and being able to relax and watch TV and feel at home. I was really really impressed and it was absolutely worth the money for 2 nights, I completely understand why Kylie is a Superhost and I absolutely will stay again given the chance!

Location 4: Broad Street Townhouse, Bath, UK, Somerset

Link: https://www.booking.com/hotel/gb/broad-street-townhouse.en-gb.html?aid=304142

Price we paid: £85 Bed & Breakfast.


This B&B room was right in Central Bath and absolutely beautiful. Not only was the location amazing but the room decor was the most beautiful. With lovely different shades of green and the huge big windows and ceilings to let in plenty of light this spacious and modern room had everything I could have ever wished for especially for our last night on our road trip. It had your usual amenities, TV, coffee machine, towels, kettle and tea facilities as well as a large wardrobe. My favourite part of the room was all the beautiful plants!

We were within walking distance of basically everything central to the City. We walked out of the front door and immediately hit the Cathedral, turn left and there is Pulteny Bridge. We walked to our dinner and it was even better exploring the next day. It also had breakfast included in the pub which is attached to the property and my lord was it delicious, we both had a Full English and it was so tasty! Totally worth the money.

No parking facilities but thats to be expected right in the centre. There is a long stay car park literally a 10 minute walk from the B&B, really easy to find and get too plus plenty of parking spaces!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 6 – Hangloose Eden Project Zipe Wire & Bath

Leaving Newquay definitely made the two of us sad, we really didn’t want to leave so have decided we will absolutely go back again as soon as we can. Before we hit the road we headed for breakfast at Fore Café, a cute independent café in Newquay for some sausage and bacon sarnies and a cuppa tea (of course!).

Then it was off to our next stop! We were heading towards Bath for our last night but we couldn’t head that way just yet as we had one more activity planned for the day and that was the Hang Loose Eden Project zipwire! The Hang Loose zipwire is half a mile long and goes over the entirety of the Eden Project so you can have aerial views of the facilities! You are flying on the zipwire for a good 45 seconds at speeds of up to 60 mph so you’re definitely not messing about.

We arrived at the Eden Centre and got parked up before walking to Hang Loose centre! We didn’t unfortunately pay for access to the Eden Project but that means we will definitely go back which is a bonus. Once we arrived and put our bags into storage it was off to get our harnesses sorted. You book a time slot for your flight but definitely make sure you have nothing planned for afterwards or somewhere to be. The time we were waiting just to get our harnesses on and to get up to the zipwire start point was well over an hour from our allotted time. But once we were sorted and ready to go it was so exciting! I had my go pro so I could get some top notch footage so I told them I had it on me and they gave me an appropriate helmet with the correct clasp on for me as well! It was so exhilarating I was smiling the whole way down, Brad and I went side by side as we went and it really was such an awesome experience. I couldn’t recommend it more. See my footage here!

It was a really fun experience and only £35 per person, I definitely recommend this as something fun to do. There are also more activities much like the zipwire as well like huge pillow jumps and an aerial swing as well. I definitely want to go back to do more and also just to visit the Eden Project in general.

Once done here next stop was Bath!

Now as we left the Eden Project I decided I’d drive us to Bath and the regret was so real. The roads as we left the Eden project were just awful. I wouldn’t even really call them roads, maybe vehicle able one way footpaths. Honestly if you met another car coming the other way you genuinely had to wonder who was going to go where and just how far you’d have to reverse if you were the one going back. BUT after a stressful but very well handled drive we made it to Bath in time to freshen up and find some food but not before checking into the most BEAUTIFUL townhouse in the centre of Bath.

We stayed in a place called the Broad Street Townhouse. We couldn’t have been any more central if we tried and especially for such a great price, we only paid £89 for the night with breakfast included but that meant that everywhere we went for the day was in walking distance. We parked our car for 24 hours in the Charlotte Street car park which was really well priced and walked to the hotel.

Broad Street Townhouse is attached to a pub, The Pig and Fiddle, which was perfect for us, although typically in the evening we got back too late to have a drink before it closed. We did manage to have the most amazing breakfast there though as they served the breakfast in the pub and it was awesome. But before we get too carried away with breakfast… We arrived to this beautiful room with a wooden and dark green theme. It was so fancy and beautiful with a few green plants in the room and matching furniture and even matching mugs for your tea and coffee? They also had a coffee machine I the room and TV, the bedroom windows were basically floor to ceiling with lovely deep green curtains, the bathroom was out of this world, it looked brand new and sparkling clean and the décor was straight out of Pinterest. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever stayed anywhere so nice, and the bed was SO BIG and comfortable I wish we never had to leave. All in all a solid 11/10 for somewhere to stay in bath that’s worth the money 10000%.

Once we were all freshened up we decided to go for our favourite food and walked to a Thai restaurant called Salathai. The service was quick, attentive, the atmosphere was really lovely and the windows being huge it was lovely and bright, and the food was just to die for. I always overeat whenever I go out for food but with food this good? how could I not? We had duck pancakes to start and the rest is history (aka I do not remember what we both ordered because it was gone in a matter of minutes). But we could walk too and from the restaurant back to where we stayed which made it even nicer as the weather was lovely.

This was our LAST meal of our road trip and we were super sad about this, I didn’t want it to end. Tomorrow (the next post) leads to some Bath exploring, Stonehenge and unfortunately, home.

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 5 – A Day Dedicated to Newquay Surf, Fistral Beach

This was without a doubt the most anticipated day for the both of us, we were so excited!

We headed out nice and early for some breakfast on Newquay high street at a place called the Concho Lounge! Here we both had a fry up and an entire gallon of tea before we headed down to Fistral beach for some surf. I would say sun but there was definitely no sun and absolutely a lot of rain but that didn’t stop us and if anything made the swell so much better!

Brad had never surfed before but I had done, although it had definitely been a good 3 years since I had been so we both started as beginners. We headed down and rented two board for the day, both of us got foamies. Brad got 8 foot and I got cocky and got 7 foot and I definitely regretted this choice later on! We also rented a couple of wetsuits, I went for a shorty because they’re my fave to wear and Brad got a full wetsuit! £37 Later we were ready and raring to go!

The surf zone was down the very other end of the beach so carrying our boards down to the flagged area was a mission I itself but we managed it! Especially with foam boards and the wind was absolutely crazy. Of course when surfing look for the black and white flags and make sure to stay well and truly out of the red and yellow flagged swimming zone when on your boards! Last thing you want is to hit a swimmer!

Brad and I spent at least 5 hours out trying to stand up and ride the waves all the way in, Brad was so good I considered packing my hobby in a finding a new one he wasn’t good at. We had a great time and It was really important to me that Brad also enjoyed it because there will plenty of learning how to surf once we move to Australia, its also just something I enjoy doing when I do get to go (rarely) so the fact he enjoyed it as much as he did was such a bonus!

For some comedic surfing footage you can check out my YouTube video here!

Once we were done for the day we were lucky because our Airbnb literally backed onto the beach so it was an exhausted 10 minute walk in sandy towels and I could not WAIT to get a cup of tea in me. Once showered we had absolutely NO plans until 9:15pm when we had managed a dinner booking last minute through all the Eat out to Help out madness, at a Mexican called Senor Dicks Mexican (It made me giggle as well). But in that time beforehand it was used to just lay in bed & eat endless pot noodle and Jaffa cakes. I also tried to nap but I figured if I stayed awake I’d sleep better that evening.

Once 7pm followed round we were up, showered and out the door and back to the Lost Brewing Co where we had food and beers the night before for a very special occasion. They brew their own beers and were releasing a beer that tasted like a Pornstar Martini cocktail and was only available whilst it was in stock. Once it was gone, it was gone as it was a one time only brew! So we got there and managed to got two and my god they were so sweet but also so damn tasty! We actually managed to take one home with us as my dad is a beer drinker and we wanted him to try it. I don’t usually enjoy that sort of stuff but it was so worth it.

Once we’d have a few drinks we sauntered over to Senor Dicks and enjoyed a Mexican sharing platter with quesadillas, a burrito to share, nacho hips, a couple of tacos as well and endless sour cream, guac, cheese sauce and salsa. And of course, because I cannot go without them at a meal. ONION RINGS. The meal was really well priced especially as nice as it sounded, we wont be rushing back as it was pretty average. But I’d never been anywhere with the option of a sharing platter for 2 with so much variety so that was pretty awesome.

After dinner it was straight home to pass tf out in bed, we were well and truly exhausted after this day and what a day it was. We were also really sad as it was coming onto our last morning in Newquay and our last few days on our road trip! Stay tuned for our remaining couple of days!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 4 – St Ives, Lands End & Newquay

We woke up refreshed andready to go for another day of exploring the South West coast!

Waking up In the Hobbit Homes was really cool and very refreshing. You stepped straight outside into the fresh air so it was nice to have a cuppa and enjoy the fresh morning weather! Once we had walked down to the washrooms, had a shower and freshened up check out was at 10 so we got sorted and headed out to explore St Ives! The washrooms were also really clean and fresh. Although it would have been nice to see someone cleaning it straight after we had used it for other guests we also understand in todays climate that might not be possible!

So we jumped in the car and drive the 10 minute drive into the centre of St Ives. The first mistake we made was driving. Parking is really very limited so if possible park at the top of the hill on your way into St Ives. The walk back up might be painful but not as painful as trying to find parking in the centre because it isn’t really plausible on a busy summers day.

St Ives from the off was so beautiful, the blue water and the beautiful beaches and harbour. It was low tide so all the boats were resting on the sand in the harbour as we waded through the masses of people who had finally escaped after the coronavirus lockdown. Admittedly this was the only location out of the many that we visited where I didn’t feel Covid safe walking through the streets. Usually when we were outdoors I’d keep my mask off but when we were walking through I felt incredibly uncomfortable especially being basically shoulder to shoulder and popped my mask on until we had reached the other side of the harbour. All the restaurants were open and it was Ice creams galore! I love all the stone buildings and the cobbled streets. I imagine in winter its the cosiest town of them all.

We wandered across to Smeaton Pier and followed the coastal pathway along the seafront around to the piece of land known as ‘The Island’. To get there we walked past Bamaluz beach and also Porthgwidden beach to finally make our way up to St Ives head, situated on The Island, and also to take a nosey at St Nicholas Chapel too! It was a really lovely walk with beautiful views of St Ives beaches and the harbour. We then finished off with a picture overlooking Porthmeor Beach and a walk back through the cobbled streets of St Ives (trying not to buy even MORE fudge from some of the delicious shops) and up the dreaded hill to the car!

Next up on the agenda was to drive across from St Ives to Lands End! I was really excited for this as I’m from Lowestoft (although no longer residing there now) and Lowestoft holds the landmark on our coast for the Most Easterly Point of the UK! So Complete opposite sides of the country which is pretty fun. So I was very excited when we arrived.

We paid the £7 parking fee which is basically your entry fee and then headed down to the entrance! When you arrive there are so many facilities I really didn’t expect. I was expecting to arrive to the lands end landmark post, the flag and that was really about it. I was shocked to find children’s amusements and also multiple food stalls and places for drinks! There is even a hotel and place for you to stay if you wanted too! It was good as I was hungry so had a portion of nachos for the price of a small London Flat. It was massively overpriced but I guess its the tourist attractions that do that to you!

We wandered past the stalls after some food and headed down to look at the actual Lands End landmark, unfortunately again you had to pay for a picture in front of it. But we didn’t do that and just took a pretty good picture from the other side of the line and our own pictures as we walked down the slope towards the first and last house! It was cool to see the first and last post box and the first and last house, the first and last flagpole and the Lands End viewpoint. I never imaged I’d be that far South West in my entire life. Now all I want to do is go to the most Northern and Southern point! It would have made sense really to go to the most Southern point whilst at Lands End as it was just an hours drive away! Highlight of Lands end was definitely the proposal we saw by the Lands End sign, so nice that even the bad weather didn’t bring the mood down for such a special occasion!

Next location on the adventure for the next two days, the longest we will have spent anywhere on the trip, was Newquay! Now I was so excited to go to Newquay so I could teach Brad how to surf! The drive from Lands End to Newquay was only an hour or so and was really easy.

We arrived at our Airbnb and it was absolutely beautifully decorated and so cosy. We had everything we needed from a coffee machine, bathroom with a shower next door to the room with towels, a TV, a place to put our sandy things from the beach, the COMFIEST double, wardrobe space, Wi-Fi and a TV to relax and watch when we weren’t out exploring. It was like an upside down house, Kylie the host lived upstairs and the room ad bathroom was downstairs. During these Covid times she kept the bathroom sparkling clean also which was amazing. The best part about this Airbnb though? I went to the toilet at 6am and was greeted in an open kitchen door to A HOUSE RABBIT. I must have missed this part on the listing as it definitely states she’s in there but I was so pleasantly surprised, what a great way to wake up! She was super cute!

As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to walk into Newquay and find some food. Unfortunately at this point the Help out to Eat out scheme had just started and we didn’t even think to book, everywhere was SO busy. We manged to find a table on the main high street at a place called Lost Brewing Co. On a complete whim and reluctantly we went inside and I am so glad we did, it was so good we went back the following day for drinks before our meal elsewhere. Not only do they brew their own beers and sell them here but the food was amazing. I had Halloumi fries, Battered prawns, Chicken strips and some fries as well for finger food as I was just so hungry and couldn’t make my mind up but they are actually super popular for their burgers as well!

All in all another successful day, we headed back to the Airbnb shortly after so we could get some good nights sleep ready for a day full of surfing the next day!