Once the unforgiving Spanish heat subsides, and golden hour approaches it was time to grab a cocktail and head out for dinner. Iv said this before, but its really great to be able to leave your hotel room and not have to travel too far got Dinner. It just adds a more relaxed vibe to the evening, don't you think?
One of my favourite things about the Hacienda was that even though it was at full occupancy, it quite often felt like we had the place to ourselves and was so peaceful. The hacienda only has 11 rooms and I'm told they keep the hotel small for this very reason, Its such a wonderful contrast to busy the much faster pace of Seville, which is only 30 minutes away.
Its a place where you can quite literally find the time to stop and smell the roses.. or in this case Bougainvillea.
Daisy print dress is zara
Dinner at the Hacienda is a simple affair served al fresco in the summer months right next to the hotel bar. The menu is set, which at first terrified us but after seeing that we would love everything offered we quickly forgot. In fact it was quite nice not to make any decisions... they even pair the meal with wine for you.
After dinner, we headed to the front of the hacienda to watch the sunset over the sunflower fields. The perfect end to a wonder day.
I'll never get bored of a sunset...
So I mentioned in my previous post that there was a hotel - The Hacienda de San Raael iv been dying to stay at, not far from Vejar de La Frontier. Its been on my radar ever since reading about it on one of my favourite blog's Gal meets Glam.
When I saw it pop up on Julia's Instagram account I actually could not believe that there was such a cute hotel so close to us that I hadn't even heard of, let alone been to. That's why following good, like minded accounts on Instagram (You can find mine here) is so beneficial for finding fabulous places around the world
On the drive down to the Hacienda we passed endless beautiful sunflower fields, so naturally we had to stop to take some pictures. The sunflower heads were so giant, it was amazing to see.
When we arrived to the Hacienda after a morning discovering Vejar and the most beautiful drive through endless olive and cotton trees, we knew immediately that it would be exactly what I hoped and expected it to be. Rustic, laid back Andalusian style. A true Spanish Cortijo, with bucket loads of character
After checking in and checking out our room we decided upon some tapas for lunch on the terrace outside our room. The perfect way to spend the afternoon after a busy morning exploring Vejar de La Frontier.
After lunch we explored the rest of the hotel, finding endless bougainvillea in every colour imaginable, along with lemon and olive groves. The Hacienda is beautifully stylish in the most humble and rustic way with gorgeous grounds to match
As we know the area well at this point - having explored Seville and the surrounding towns extensively over the past few years, and although i'm sure there is still more for us to discover we took the opportunity to relax and sit by the pool and enjoy the hotel and gardens.
The Hacienda is a trove of fascinating treasures, the kind you find while travelling the world. I'm sure they must have many stories behind them. These are the details that make the hacienda something more than a hotel. It has a depth that can only be achieved with love. Its not like staying in a hotel, more like a friends house (fabulous friends who are well travelled)
The honestly bar seriously helps with this vibe...
Now all i'm doing of dreaming of my return....
A few weeks ago, the hubs and I decided to have a little date weekend exploration around some still undiscovered "to us" parts of Andalusia.
Id heard tales of a pretty white town towards Seville.
In fact, its said that its the prettiest of the white towns. It also happens to be on the way to one of my wish list hotels. Meant to be...
So we packed our weekend luggage and jumped in the car to see for ourselves
It really is breathtaking to see the hilltop pueblos blancos from afar for the first time. Against the brilliant, blue, cloudless Andalusian sky its really quite breathtaking.
And once inside Vejar, its no less disappointing. Charming, rustic and unique... I could literally explore these towns for hours.
After spending so much time in southern Spain at this point, we now try and avoid the mid day heat and always aim to arrive in either the morning or late evening as the town's close for siesta due to the sweltering heat. We once arrived at one of these little towns and had to get straight back into the car within minutes it was that hot.
There are endless pretty streets to explore and get lost in.
We headed to the Plaza de Espana which features a Seville tile fountain and is known as the Plaza de los Pescaítos. This is wear you'll find many of the locals hanging out at the cafe's and children playing by the fountain
Although this was a flying visit to Vejar, it has became an instant favourite. We will definitely be returning soon. If you are visiting Andalusia, id definitely recommend adding it to your list.
Image source Pixabay
If you are planning on taking a trip along the Trans-Siberian railway, many people will start their journey in Moscow, and it is worth your while in spending a couple of extra days there to explore this fascinating city. There are many well-known landmarks that many people will visit in Moscow such as:
Image source Pixabay
However, there are also a wealth of exciting sights and attractions around Moscow that have the added benefit of very few tourists. If you are visiting Moscow before travelling along the Trans-Siberian railway, here are some sights off-the-beaten-track that will provide you with special memories from the start of your trip of a lifetime.
Beneath the streets of Moscow there are a network of tunnels and passageways that are a left-over remnant of the Soviet Union and some of these were built after the first series of nuclear tests to determine the optimum design to survive nuclear fallout. Bunker 42 was designed to give Stalin and other officials with the USSR quick access in the case of a nuclear emergency and makes for an eerie tourist destination.
The Museum Of Soviet Arcade Games
Here you will find around 60 preserved and functional arcade games from the Soviet era, and they are even complete with their very own Kopek coins with the famous hammer and sickle. Unlike a lot of other museums, you can get your Kopek coins and try out the exhibits.It is a fun way to spend an hour or two while exploring Moscow and the perfect way to start Trans-Siberian railway holidays and tours.
The Laika Monument
Laika was the first animal to orbit the earth from space, and in 2008 a memorial was erected to this world-famous pooch. Starting her life as a homeless mongrel wandering the streets of Moscow, she would be transformed into a national icon famous around the world, although the feat meant that she lost her life in the process. A little bit of history is commemorated in this statue celebrating the life of the first animal in space, and it is worth taking the time to visit.
Take A Trip On The Subway
You may not think that a trip to the Moscow subway will have many exciting things to see, but you would be mistaken. The metro stations of the city are nothing less than architectural masterpieces and a complete contrast to many equivalent metro stations in the West. Looking more like ornate grand ballrooms or halls, a trip along the subway will have some worthwhile sights to behold that you may not be expecting.
Take a trip back in time and visit the miniature scaled model of Moscow that is a piece of propaganda by Russian artist Efim Deshalyt. The 400-foot model was designed to show that the Russian capital was far superior to any in the West and it was created in 1977 by 300 skilled artisans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.
These are just a few of the more unusual sights you can see when visiting Moscow, and for more ideas of places to visit in the Russian capital city, there are websites that offer plenty of cool ideas.
Image source Pixabay
So you’re getting married. Congrats! After the Instagram hype around your engagement ring selfie has died down, get ready for the question everyone’s going to ask: have you set a date yet? This question can be daunting if you haven’t given it any thought. The first step is deciding on a time of year.
So, will it be Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter? These tips will help you weigh up the pros and cons of each wedding season.
Symbolism-wise, you can’t go wrong with a Spring wedding. Spring is the time for new beginnings and fresh growth—not to mention the birds and the bees—so there’s something really special about marking the start of your marriage during this time of year. Spring punches above its weight in the floral department, too. If flowers are a priority for you, it’s worth picking a date in this season of abundant bloom.
If you’re thinking of an outdoor wedding, Spring offers the tantalising potential of a warm sunny day, but you will need to bear in mind that the weather can be very temperamental. If you’re planning your wedding a year ahead, don’t think that you can base predictions for next Spring on how this Spring has been. A part-indoor part-outdoor wedding is ideal, so you’ll always have the option of enjoying the sun or taking shelter.
Summertime is about long lazy days and warm nights with friends and family. It’s no wonder that this season is the most popular for weddings. The weather is more reliable than in Spring, so you’re more likely to pull off an outdoor wedding. If you’d like to invite children to your wedding, Summer is a good time because of the school holidays. However, if you’re not going to have children at the ceremony, bear in mind that during the school holidays, your guests might not be able to attend your wedding without help with childcare. Speak to your wedding venue about potential childcare options either at the location or in the area.
The most striking thing about this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is the colour. Depending on the trees that grow around your wedding venue, your Autumn wedding could be graced with a spectacular show of reds, oranges, rusts and browns. Even if you’re having an indoor wedding—which would probably make sense if you hold your wedding late in the season once it’s started to get a little chilly—don’t be afraid to bring the glorious colours of the outside into your décor. If you like a rustic look for your wedding, you don’t get better than Autumn. And your photographer will thank you. Not only will you enjoy the benefit of beautiful light on the day, but the all-important wedding album will be filled with rich, sun-bathed snaps.
Though winter isn’t everyone’s first thought when it comes time to decide on a wedding date, this season can have its charm. The winter holiday season is already imbued with a festive atmosphere. Inserting your own celebration into a series of celebrations means your guests will bring that festive mood to your winter wedding.
When people start asking if you’ve set a date yet, don’t panic! The first thing you need to decide on is which time of year will suit you best. If you simply can’t decide, remember you don’t have to limit your wedding celebrations to the big day. Whether it’s a bridal brunch or an engagement party, you’re free to spread your other key dates throughout the year to make the most of all the seasons.
If you have followed me for a while, you'll know I'm fanatical about 2 things... Jo Malone and flowers. As I absolutely love peonies, and my favourite scent in the world is Jo Malone peony and blush suede I figured, why not combine the 2 and share with some of my favourite people for an evening of candlelight and cocktails. I managed to capture a few images to share with you too before retiring the camera for the rest of the evening.
As it was also the last week for peony's, it was even more reason to go out with a bang.
I own every single item from the peony and blush range (apart from the newly introduced peony and blush diffuser). The scent evokes the best memory's for me as its been a part of some of my most memorable life moments... planning our wedding and in fact my wedding day. Its the scent I wore throughout our honeymoon and my go to scent for the home for any party's or gatherings I have. To me. its romantic, warm and feminine.
I can't tell you how amazing the scent smelt wafting through the house on a warm summery evening. Im lucky enough to own the large 4 wick candle peony candle which was one of the best gifts ever given to me as the fragrance is so full yet delicate. The candles flickering away, bathing the floral in simmering light was so pretty, my guests absolutely loved it.
I lined the centre of the table with fresh peonies and roses in cream and pink shades and than accentuated with candlesticks, and votive's to create an ambient and romantic feel. For favours the guests received Jo Malone soaps which looks so lovely on the table. For drinks I served lavender cocktails to keep in with the floral theme which the girls loved.
As the sun started to set we lit as many candles we could find (un fragranced to ensure the peony scent wasn't diluted) I can't tell you how amazing the scent smelt wafting through the house on a warm summery evening. The candles flickering away, bathing the floral in simmering light was so pretty, my guests absolutely loved it.
I absolutely love how the addition of candle light changes the look and feel of the tablescape. From pretty and fresh in the daytime to glamorous and sensual in the evening. Magical
What an enchanting evening!! Do you have a favourite scent for you special moments
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I have wanted to visit the Windmills of La Mancha at Campo de Criptana or molinos de viento (Spanish translation) as my Spanish friends call them, ever since since seeing them on Rick Steins Spain! They are quite the drive from Andalusia (nearly 6 hours in fact) so trying to persuade my husband that we absolutely had to visit some windmills so far away hadn't been too successful
So when a trip to Madrid came on the agenda (Its amazing how the Champions league final will motivate a man) I saw my opportunity. He gets football, I get culture and we both get a weekend in Madrid (coming soon)
This tiny pueblo, in the region of La Mancha, would be unknown if it was not home to a collection of windmills made famous by Don Quixote (which also happens to be one of the best ballets we have ever seen). The novel chronicles the adventures of Alonso Quixano in his quest to revive chivalry.
The most iconic scenes in the novel involves a collection of windmills that Don Quixote fights, mistaking to be giants.
The 10 windmills are such an impressive sight, their height and scale imposing over the little town like something out of a fairy-tale.
Dress is Zara, now in the sale HERE
We were on a whistle stop tour, so we didn't venture into the town. I had been told that there wasn't too much to do here once you had seen the giant windmills (la molinos de viento gigantes) so we came, saw conquered and hot footed it to Madrid for the weekend.
Am I glad I pursued mi hombre to do the 2 hour detour? Absolutely! These giant windmills are truly unique, and very very special. Another tick off my bucket list...
I have always wanted to stay at The Grand hotel, but never quite had the opportunity. When we recently spent the weekend in Brighton I knew the place to stay immediately
I'm a big fan of Victorian seaside architecture so i'm sure you can see why The Grand was on my list.
Its a Iconic hotel has truly beautiful architecture, the kind they don't build anymore... you could say its very grand (sorry)
We didn't have time on this visit for afternoon tea, but its served in the super pretty Victorian terrace and i fully intend to check it out on my next visit.
The workman ship is everywhere here. Such pretty detail to be found on everything.
I especially loved the blue and white detailing as you make your way up the atrium
Speaking of which, doesn't it remind you of intricate crochet work? Atrium's are such an amazing feature of those hotels lucky enough to have one, and I don't recall seeing a finer example although it did remind me a little of The Beekman hotel in NYC
We had a lovely time at The Grande Hotel Brighton... I would truely go back in heartbeat
A few weeks ago, the hubs and I went to Brighton for the weekend. It was such a nostalgic weekend as we used to visit quite often (my husband is from worthing, so this is his neck of the woods)
Another of my favourite villages from our last trip to Provence was Lacoste. In my opinion, one of the prettiest provincial villages with its medieval (it dates back to the 14th century) crumbly walls and french blue shutters.
It is the quintessential french chocolate box village. And also, compared with other villages we explored... relatively tourist free (maybe we got lucky?!)
Its also home to Chateau de Lacoste, a ruined castle owned by the Simiane family! It was also home to the Marquis de Sade and has some incredible sculptures. Its now owned by Pierre cardin.
The Belfry dates back to 1793 and its quite something to gear it ring through this village of picturesque streets and vaulted passageways
Lacoste is the perfect sleepy little town to explore, and one to add to the list for sure
A Travel, beauty and lifestyle blog with the occasional afternoon tea by Angelina Belle
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