Sunday, 24 December 2017

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

It's official, Mum is cleaning the house and faffing around with flowers, while  Flo is drinking wine, and listening to Christmas music whilst wearing a Santa hat. They both just coordinated a 'HoHoHo' to which they joyfully chanted to me as I type away at this post. Whilst I can't decide if this makes my family amazing, or super uncool, they've got me feeling festive, so I thought I'd put together little Christmasy post.

December has well and truly flow by the year. I haven't  had the chance to get optimal use out of my tacky Christmas cardi, and Christmas activities have been in the few because where has the time gone? But there have been a few wonderful ones.

The month began dressed in Christmas Jumpers on a coach to London to visit Winter Wonderland with close friends. Despite not being the biggest fan of rides, I had the best time. I could not imagine a more perfect way to start December.

Rather than write something new about it, I thought I'd share a caption I wrote for an Instagram post.

"I felt the excitement build, as I pulled on my vibrant knit over my head. Candy canes and snowflakes across my chest as a not so subtle reminder it’s the time of year where savouring the days and counting them down walk hand in hand. Enduring a hours on a stuffy coach, was worth every second when we saw the twinkles of lights, satisfied our tastebud and heard the screams of excitement. The chill in the air, the laughter of friends, everything singing Christmas. We were really walking in a Winter  Wonderland"

Alongside that I've filled the month with fake Christmas with friends, carefully adding sprinkles to gingerbread men, exchanging gifts and pulling crackers.

Wearing oversize tree earrings, getting dressed up and dancing with colleagues. Singing the same songs repeatedly, and eating too much chocolate - because that's the way December should be done. 

Despite being in the midst of redecorating, we've managed to create some Christmas magic amongst the wall which is awaiting its wallpaper, and the piles of floorboards which sit on our worn carpet. Complete with more Santas than you can count, lights that twinkle and the most bizarre tree ornaments, home always feels wrapped up with an extra bit of wonderful this time of year.

No matter how much others claim they see it as a chore - wrapping presents is well and truly one of my favourite bits activities in wait for that big guy to come down your chimney. I love using my creative energy, getting tangled in ribbons and trying my best to add that extra bit of magic to gifts I give.

The one last thing I have to say is Merry Christmas! I hope Santa is as good to you as he always is to me.

I'll be back at this blogging thing 1st January.  
Until then, Happy Holidays! x


Friday, 22 December 2017

Travel Diaries: Vienna

When my friend Matt rang to ask if I'd like to go to Vienna for a few days with him, I, of course, squealed with excitement. I hadn't been away since Bruges last year, and didn't have any travel plans in the future - so I jumped at the opportunity to spend a weekend exploring a new city.

Now, I'm going to lie, the week before I went, I was full of stress. I get quite anxious about travel, I don't know which aspect triggers the anxiety... I don't feel anxious whilst I'm away, or during the actual travelling bit. but beforehand I'm a bag of nerves, I guess it's something to do with being a homebody. However, we got to the airport and flew no problem. I mean, I spent the entire flight feeling self-conscious about the GIANT spot on my face because my pre-travel anxiety caused a  breakout. But that aside travelling was all hunky dory.

 The main city of Vienna is very small which meant we walked pretty much everywhere - despite my aching legs, and Matt complaining I walk too slow,  it was nice to wander. Walking is really the best way to see things (well that, and the horse and carriage ride, but more on that later).

Three Days does not seem like a long time, but it's surprising what you can really get done in 72 hours.

Day One:
Upon arrival, we headed out to explore - I could not believe the beautiful intricacy of the architecture, the history which echoed down the streets which we wandered. The autumn leaves painted the world with vibrant orange, yellows and reds. If you're thinking you visiting Austria, I'd recommend going during Autumn time, but then again, I may be biased.

Going with my friend Matt, meant he pretty much did all of the research, and found everything (thank you Matt), while I followed him around capturing the detail through the lens of my Canon.

We got the Vienna Passes which I would definitely recommend - everything we did besides the horse and cart was already paid for, and we saved our money, and queing time.

The first place we ended up was the Natural History Museum. Now, I know it's not a part of the Natural History, but on walking through the door I was blown away by the circular beauty captured in the ceiling, one thing Vienna does well is ceilings (yes, I know - Ceilings, it's bizarre).

It was a pretty big Museum displaying a wide range of Natural History, from beautiful crystals to dino skeletons.

The only issue I found was not all of the signs were translated into English - which of course is my problem, not theirs, but I would have loved to learn more whilst I was there.

(Yes, I managed to unintentionally dress in entirely Topshop and New Look)

I was smiling from ear to ear when Matt told me, the next place on our agenda was The National Library. It took forever to find, but when we got there, boy oh boy, it did not disappoint. Walls lined with more books than you could count, and a ceiling with the ability to transport you to another world at just a glance. I felt like Belle and it was none short of incredible.

Day 2:
We jumped in an Uber, and after a short journey, we arrived at the Zoo. Which was absolutely huge, again the season has done it some favours, the most colourful trees surrounded the enclosures.

I could not believe the size of the Zoo - the animals had plenty of space to roam, as did the humans. I was also shocked the variation of animals - there was everything ranging from Cows to Wolves.

We watched the Sea Lions being fed which was far more entertaining than expected. I could hardly  to believe the amount of personality each one had. Matt also managed to get soaked in fishy water, which was hilarious (for me)
Hat: Mint Velvet Top: Asos | Culottes: Asos | Creepers: New Look (similar)

When we left the Zoo, curiosity got the better of us and we decided to check out what the huge glass nearby. It was a giant greenhouse, which our Vienna pass allowed us access to. I am so glad we took a closer look because this was one of the favourite places we visited on the trip.
As soon as I step foot in the door, a sense of calm overcame me.
As the sea of green embedded us, with snippets of the season's colours  Breathing in the purest air, I couldn't imagine feeling more content.

Next, we stopped off to see the Apple Strudel show. The lovely man did an amazing job of demonstrating how the strudel is made - he was funny and engaging, with the ability to translate everything into perfect English.

On leaving there we wandered amongst hundreds of trees, kicking crisp leaves along and capturing moments through camera lenses before heading to Madame Tussauds, which you can see more on my vlog.

Day 3:
On our final morning in Vienna, we decided to take a closer look at the Church we'd been admiring from afar. Up close, the architecture was far more impressive close-up. Despite some of its beauty being covered with scaffolding as it's in the process of being restored - it did not disappoint. I felt taken aback by its beauty the moment we entered the building. The vivid colours of the stained glassed windows flooded the church. There's something inviting in the symmetry which sits in the interiors of a Cathedral. The silent air felt different in the church, somehow haunting and comforting all at once. I popped some coins in the donation box, and lit a candle, as the flame flickered, I took a moment to reflect, and remember those I'd lit it for.

We found ourselves admiring the beauty of two white horses. The next thing I know, we're taking a seat for a Horse and Carriage ride, but I am so glad we did. Complete with a blanket to cosy up in and a roof to shelter from the rain, it's safe to say we were comfortable as we explored Vienna with the comforting background clippity clop of the horse hoofs. We have a lovely lady showing us the city,  she got the balance just right between giving us our space, while telling us about the history of the building we could see. I would recommend doing this at the start of your trip if you plan on going - she gave us some recommendations of places to visit, which we didn't get a chance to go - plus it's nice to get a feel for your surroundings. The horses were friendly and well kept, and you really do see things differently from up in that carriage.

Before heading to the airport, we have one last explore - a wander through the shops, searching for souvenirs and gifts. If I am honest, I wasn't all that impressed with the shops - if I have the money I would have happily spent some time in the Gucci and Chanel store, but I do not, and a lot of the more high street stores, were no different from what I have here in Bristol - H&M, Zara etc. Of course there were shops especially for tourists, but still, I came away with nothing.
I had an amazing weekend, considering I was only there for three days, I felt as though I saw plenty and I had the chance to really take things in. If you're into city breaks - Vienna makes a great one!

I also vlogged the entire trip, so having a watch, here is it:

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