Do the Cannes can

Do the Cannes can

 

So, I just got back from a long weekend in Cannes. It was in part an additional birthday present from Ian to me. As you will remember I spent my actual birthday in Croatia in the beautiful spa resort Falkensteiner which was for me one of my most memorable. Coupled with family in the form of my sister, one of my closest friends and my boyfriend Ian, and in the presence of abundant luxury, sunshine and serenity my day was pretty close to perfection.

Falkensteiner has unobstructed views of the sea and because of it’s position it also gets some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Their spa, which is part of the German designed hotels flagship Iadera is huge, with 2 large infinity pools, a collection of sauna’s, steam rooms, relaxation rooms, water beds and a hammam and is decorated with a heavily Arabic influenced theme in their “black spa” (an area decorated in black tiles with lanterns and a moody, exotic, sensual feel where you can opt out of wearing clothes or just wear a pashmina – no clothes allowed), or the more conservative “white” spa with swimming pools, sauna’s and steam rooms where it is swim-wear only.

I was intrigued by the concept of a black spa so I stayed in their the whole time I was there, and also because it was so vast and arranged like a maze so I kept on getting lost which was a first. I’ve never got lost in a spa before! Usually the spa’s I go to are very small and you struggle to find anywhere to get some privacy ( I was especially worried about this aspect of it since I knew I could stumble upon some naked strangers!), but this spa was so big that there didn’t seem to be much chance of that. And thankfully I didn’t see another soul.

In particular I liked their “Earth Sauna” which was a sauna that had been built into the side of a hill and had a large pane of glass going across the front and side where you could look out at the landscape beyond. The sauna could have easily fit about 30 people in it it was so big but luckily for us it was just the two of us. The view of the sunsetting over the mountains was particularly special.

In one of their relaxation rooms they had large square beds that were suspended from the ceiling by wire ropes and these beds would sway gently back and forward so it felt as though you were being rocked gently to sleep. It was extremely relaxing lying on those beds!

Aided with his camera phone Ian took a few pictures of the sunset at the spa which though beautiful was even more breathtaking in real life. Please believe, these pictures do not do the place justice:

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Cannes was a different kind of luxury – less natural, more moneyed. I think unless you’re a part of the millionaire and billionaire world you won’t get much enjoyment from being in Cannes because it is extortionately expensive and a lot of it is overhyped too. Being in other expensive places such as Las Vegas and Ibiza I could at least say that mostly you got what you paid for, but  in Cannes there seemed to be a lot more style over substance and it didn’t seem as though the standards were as high as I would expect for the kind of money they were asking for. Take for instance their beach clubs.

We just wanted somewhere with a bit of luxury, space and privacy where we could sunbathe and relax for a few hours instead of being at the cattle market that was Cannes beach where everyone and his dog (yes, you heard me, I said dog as dogs were also swimming in the sea with people!) was present. But it took us trying 5 different beach clubs before we were able to even get in to one. Either they were full up (but didn’t look so), or were reserving the beds exclusively for there hotel guests. What stupidity and utter pomposity. Also, they wanted at least 35 euro’s for the pleasure. At least. We finally found one that was available and Ian was able to barter the bed attendant down from 48 euro’s (what?!) to 35 euro’s for a bed, still overpriced if you ask me.

This one was supposedly one of their more luxurious beds as they were situated on a raised platform built going out to sea so you had the benefit of a sea breeze (it was uncomfortably hot), however when we were taken to said beds we found that we had been rammed up against the next sunbather til almost a point of indecency AND this woman happened to be a chain smoker.

Surely they weren’t expecting people to pay for this? – They were. We looked over and saw that everyone on the platform, who were sweating profusely from the intense heat of the sun was in exactly the same position as us: Hemmed in. Now to their credit the beds were very comfortable BUT we had the same view as everyone else: Of an overcrowded and not particularly clean beach with dogs swimming in the sea and too many children for my liking. One child even had an open wound that he was parading in and out of the sea with. Revolting. Though there was undoubtedly less people on this part of the beach, it wasn’t exactly private as people were able to walk up and down it quite freely and ever present were the people selling things you didn’t want nor need. Also, the drinks service was pretty poor. It served it’s purpose: as a place for us to relax for a few hours and cool off in the sea, but for 35 euros I think I would rather buy a bed and find somewhere else to go particularly when we went to pay the bill and found that they were going to try and charge us 24 euro’s for the pleasure of using their towel!  I don’t think so.

Unfortunately, I fear Cannes is the kind of place that has been hailed as a second home for the rich and famous because it caters to them very specifically but what is disappointing is the fact that they charge a premium for things that are average at best and think that the location has them deserving. Well, I’m sorry to say that no, it does not.

I enjoyed my birthday dinner at Seasens restaurant in the 5 star hotel Five Sea’s where I had a wonderfully fresh and delicious black cod whilst fireworks display went off to dramatic affect in front of us. I didn’t know what they were celebrating with the fireworks but it was a nice thing to experience upon my birthday celebration and it lastest almost the entirety of our meal.

On the other hand though, the apartment that we stayed in that Ian got through Airbnb was amazing. It was a loft apartment in the centre of Rue d’Antibes, so to gain access to it we had to climb a very steep staircase to get to it but boy was it worth it.

A modern all white apartment decorated to a very high standard with handle-less doors and cupboards and the latest appliances throughout, large starlight windows bringing in lots of light and creating space, with wooden beams, luxurious woollen rugs, exposed brick walls and a beautiful roll top bath centrepiece in the bedroom. The apartment had cleverly designed feature walls showcasing ornaments and floral arrangements that complimented the earthy colour scheme of white, brown, green and cream and carefully thought out lighting displays. Comfortably sleeping up to 4, it was in my opinion more suited to couples rather then a family, if only for the ridiculously long and tiresome journey to the top of the building via the staircase and the expensive furniture and art that was within it.

Unfortunately when we arrived at the apartment we found that the wifi wasn’t working but we didn’t plan to  spend much time in the apartment anyway. We were too busy spending money in Cannes extortionately priced restaurants and beach clubs! But yes, it was a nice experience, if only to get a taste of the rich and famous lifestyle but I definitely would not wish to live amongst it, it’s a little too fake and insubstantial to me. But also, it’s not a good idea to go away in high season, we never usually do and this short holiday reminded me why: It’s too hot, too overcrowded, overpriced and full of children!

 

 

 

 

 

Good Times on the Norwegian Epic

Good Times on the Norwegian Epic

Ahoy There!

I know it’s been a few weeks since I returned from my cruise with my family around the med but since we’ve been back it’s been pretty nonstop with work, family, and friend commitments alas here I am come to update you on the goings on’s.

The holiday consisted of  my Mum, 3 brothers, sister, boyfriend and my brothers girlfriend and though we all get on really well I was a little concerned as to whether that would continue to be the case when we were stuck on a boat together for 7 days.

For the first 3 days we stayed in an apartment in Rome that I found on Airbnb (LOVE Airbnb). It was located in a quiet residential area in a private gated apartment block. I chose it for it’s relatively close proximity to the centre of Rome (just a short bus ride away), it’s size (was spacious and slept 8 people), and it’s elegant and stylish décor. All 8 bedrooms had a ensuites that matched the colour scheme of the rooms. The floors were all marble and the apartment had some very beautiful and original features and a spacious balcony where we could all relax after an evening out and about. Perfect.

Rome

After a long day walking around Rome looking at the neverending architectural gems that Rome has in abundance such as the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, it was a much welcome respite from the noise and chaos. I was in awe of the stunning architecture in Rome but I must say (and I’m very disappointed to say), that I wasn’t in awe of the people. At all. We had some very unpleasant and frankly racist experiences from the Romans that left us all shocked and upset. Being a black family I figured that perhaps we might get the odd look (which you kind of get used to after a while) no matter where you go in Europe even in England where we were all born, but I didn’t expect to be made to feel so unwelcome by the Italians.

Despite the fact that we were clearly there as tourists visiting from England to spend money in their country and immerse ourselves in their culture and food they didn’t seem to care. In their eyes because we were black we didn’t deserve any hospitability, decency or friendliness and they were extremely rude and aggressive towards us. This went on for the entire time that we were in Rome and it was very uncomfortable. It was particularly upsetting as I was travelling with my 2 little brothers (who are in their early twenties), and I didn’t wish to expose them to this kind of hatred.

But on the other hand the experience we had with the owner of the apartment we stayed at was quite the opposite. She was a beautiful, warm, kind, wonderful woman and she made us feel very welcome indeed. She exuded warmth and goodness as such she made the experience very pleasant for us all. As I believe good experiences are worth sharing I would invite you to stay with Beatrice if you are looking for somewhere lovely to stay in Rome with a warm and hospitable host.

You can see the apartment here: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/2414713

After Rome we hired a mini van to take us (and our many items of luggage!), to the port of Cittavecchia where we were due to pick up the ship that would be carrying us onto Florence, Cannes, Majorca, Barcelona, Naples and back to Rome. Although I hadn’t personally sailed with the Norwegian Epic myself before I was very excited for my family as I knew that they were going to absolutely love it. Cruising holidays offer so much more in terms of variety and excitement and if you choose your ship wisely you can find cruises that cater to your specific holiday requirements no matter what your interests or age is. As our travelling party ranged in age from 23 to 59 I wanted to find a ship with lots of personality.

And personality we found.

Unbeknownst to me at the time of booking, The Norwegian Epic is infact the 5th largest cruise ship in the world (after the Royal Caribbean’s Allure, Oasis, Quantum and Anthem of the Seas), carrying over 4,000 passengers and almost 2,000 crew. It boasts the largest spa at sea and a one of a kind ice bar serving up vodka drinks inside a bar made completely from ice. It also has a water park, 2 theatres, 6 bowling alleys and is the only cruise line to have cabins for solo travellers (or people who want there own rooms like my mum, sister and 2 brothers) just to mention a few. When we caught sight of the ship in port it really was a sight to behold. When Ian and I went on the Celebrity Equinox last year which in it’s own right was a very big ship, we felt that it was huge, but this ship was much bigger then that! Golly Gosh.

Needless to say my family just could not believe all of the facilities on offer (and most of them were free!)

My little brother was so amazed with the fact that there was a pretty substantial video arcade onboard that he spent the first couple of days holed up in there dosing himself up with games. My older brother was very impressed with the gym which was vast and had every type of exercise equipment imaginable with 360 degree views of the ocean and beyond. It was surprisingly peaceful and dare I say relaxing? working out in that gym. I was starting to understand why my brother began waking up at 7:00 am in the morning to use it.

As for my sister, Mum and I, we were most intrigued with the spa, which was very stylish with some of the most breathtaking views on the ship. My brother, my boyfriend and my older brothers girlfriend was looking forward to sampling the fine culinary treats in the various restaurants on the ship and we were very pleased to find that the standard of the food in the complimentary restaurants was pretty good, in particular the breakfast where they served the most amazing waffles I’d ever had with caramel and banana sauce and whipped cream. Divine!

The ship had so much to offer in the way of entertainment that I was quite concerned about how I would manage to get off! – All I wanted to do was stay on and party!

And talking of parties, the NCL Epic even had a nightclub on board. And the nightclub on the Epic really was EPIC. I simply could not believe that such a sound system had been installed on board a ship. When we were in the nightclub it was almost impossible to tell that we were anywhere but the West End. Wonderful stuff.

Our first stop was Florence, well, they advertised it as Florence but the port was actually in Livorno  (we soon found out that Florence was infact an hour and a half away which I thought was very cheeky of them). In the end after all of the walking up and down the overcrowded and overheated streets of Rome I couldn’t bare the thought of getting yet more modes of transport to get to the centre of Florence and I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing the leaning tower of Pisa so Ian and I had a stroll around the town of Livorno on our own before making our way back to the ship to take advantage of the fact that almost everyone had gotten off. We sunbathed, had a well deserved afternoon nap, ate Mr Whippy’s and went on the 3 water slides (twice). Fun was had! When my family returned from there trip to Livorno they reported that they’d had a wonderful time and was really glad they went. I was really pleased we hadn’t gone, but I was happy that they’d enjoyed themselves so much.

Florence/Pisa

The next stop on our adventure was Cannes (and by this time I had decided that I was beginning to get into this cruising lark). Cannes was what I imagined it to be and more. Pretty. CLEAN (so very clean!), Glamorous. Abundant (shops, restaurants, galleries). And interesting.

Exploring Cannes like it needed to be explored just wasn’t possible in a mere few hours but we browsed the shops, looked on in awe at the mega yachts in the harbour (the Cannes film festival was on when we were there),  had lunch at a wonderful little bistro and picked up a few gifts for friends and family. I loved Cannes. I kind of knew that I would but being there just confirmed it for me. I would most definitely be returning for a long weekend away.

Since being back my boyfriend has found a beautiful apartment in Cannes (on Air bnb naturally), and he is taking me there to celebrate my birthday in August. YAY!

Cannes

We had less time in our next destination which was fine by me as it was the least interesting place on our itinerary to me: Palma Marjorca. I’m not a big fan of the Brit infested Spanish Islands (not including Ibiza which I love). My very first trip abroad was to Tenerife (not my choice), and it was exactly what I had imagined if not worse. You couldn’t move for Brits Abroad, and we all know what they are like: Classless. Loud. Drunk and Leary. Not the kind of environment that I wished to be around. Only badly executed food was on offer and everything looked cheap and nasty. Of course I knew Majorca wouldn’t be anywhere near as tacky but it still wasn’t somewhere I wished to spend much of my time however I did want to try out one of there beaches there as I’d heard that they were very nice.

As soon as we got off the boat at the port in Majorca we enquired about the bicycles that we’d heard you could hire to cycle around the town on. Unfortunately they had all been taken so we resigned ourselves to jumping in a taxi to the nearest beach instead. The beach was reasonably long and was packed full of locals and Europeans. And it looked very inviting. We changed into our swimwear, got some drinks and began the enjoyable process of soaking up the searing sun.

It soon got very hot indeed so Ian and decided that we were going to brave it and go for a swim (we hadn’t bought any towels with us). I prompted Ian to go in first to do a temperature test as I wasn’t sure that I would be able to bare going into sub zero temperatures. He went in and even he had to admit that it was colder then he had ever known. BUT he went on, once you get used to it it is very refreshing. It took him a long while to convince me that it was worth it, and when I dipped my toe in I felt cold such as I’d never known. EVER. It was magnificently, tremendously, stupendously, UNBELIEVABLY cold.  I really was not sure that I could go any further as my entire foot was now NUMB with the intense pain of the cold. So intense was it that it took me a good 10 minutes just to disperse the feeling of numb. And that was just my foot!

When I immersed my whole body I could have gone into shock such was the pain, but after the pain came exhilaration. The water was crystal clear, super clean and the waves were gentle. It was glorious. Not a stone, nor a slither of seaweed was in residence and I was enjoying myself so much I never wanted to get out but all good things come to an end and soon enough it was time to give up this good thing to experience another good thing: A delicious meal back on the ship.

Palma Majorca

Barcelona was another place on my list that I was excited about visiting as I had yet to go there and it had always sounded very intriguing. When we arrived I was immediately struck by how well the city centre had been layed out. It didn’t feel overcrowded at all though I could clearly see that there was a large number of tourists milling about there. The market stalls in the centre of la ramblas were selling lovely handmade crafts, plus there were street performers and lots of lovely looking restaurants and shops. Barcelona was in stark contrast to Rome, as we were treated very well by everyone we met, there was absolutely no hostility or hatred directed at us. It seemed like it was a very vibrant and multicultural, cosmopolitan city and it had a wonderful atmosphere that I took to immediately.

I found some beautiful handmade fans on one of the stalls and bought 3 – 2 for myself and one for my friend Diana with a matching notepad. I fell in love with the amazing architecture there, in particular the Gothic Quarter, where we visited the phenomenal Gothic Cathedral. When it was time to go home I was most upset – there was some much left to explore!

I enjoyed the short time we spent there so much that I told my family it was one of the nicest cities I’d ever visited and they were equally impressed with it.

Unfortunately we never had the chance to eat there but I will be going back to Barcelona in 2 weeks time with a friend (lucky me!) so I will definitely be taking full advantage of the nightclubs, beaches and restaurants and I can’t wait!

 Barcelona

The following day was our one and only “Day at Sea” which meant that it was a day of travelling. The ship wouldn’t be anchoring at all that day.

This was a welcome respite for me as I was very keen to wake up a little later, use the gym, sample the spa, sunbathe on desk and go on the water slides again. Because we were spending most of our time exploring the ports we weren’t able to take full advantage of the shops facilities and I was knackered with all of the walking. I really enjoyed our day at sea and got into my relaxation process with gusto.

The last stop on our adventure was Naples. I wasn’t very interested in Naples when I saw it on the itinerary but the nearby Amalfi Coast and Capri DID pique my interest however they were both quite a distance from Naples so in the end we just decided to leave our trip to the Amalfi coast and Capri to a later date.  We just wanted to have a walk around the town. My sister had disembarked at Naples as she was due to attend a wedding there the following day so it was just the 7 of us now.

Naples was similar to Rome I thought – the architecture was similar, the roads were just as busy with lots of crazy Italian drivers that didn’t seem to adhere to road rules, but Naples was much less glamorous then Rome, less impressive, and quite a bit rundown if I’m perfectly honest. It also had a pretty heavy police presence. Another thing that we were realising was that if you wanted to shop then you needed to do it early – like before 14:00 as most of the shops both in Italy and Spain closed for a siesta between 14:00 and 16:00. I was finding this siesta lark quite annoying as I was used to being able to shop whenever I so chose (within reason) and it seemed that everytime we would turn up somewhere to do some shopping all of the shops were starting to close. It happened to us in Rome, in Florence, Barcelona and now Naples. V annoying.

Aside from the fact that the city itself wasn’t very inspiring and the shops were beginning to close, I still managed to get myself a pair of sandals and 2 bikini’s so in the end it became a very successful shopping trip 🙂

Naples

On the day of our permanent disembarkation of the Norwegian Epic it was very sad indeed as none of us wanted to leave. If I had my way I would stay on the ship for at least another fortnight, alas it wasn’t to be, we had come to the end of our holiday. At breakfast we even spoke about the possibility of us hiding somewhere on the ship undetected. Desperate times.

My holiday cruising around the med with my family was a wonderful, precious experience I doubt ‘ll ever forget. So much love and laughter was had it reminded me in the most sweet way of just how much I LIKE my family not to mention love them. Wonderous times.

Holiday! Celebrate!

Holiday! Celebrate!

It’s absolutely freezing at the moment, and my body just cannot acclimatize to this horror. How the devil are you faring?!

They’ve been saying that it’s going to snow for the past week already but as yet nothing but frost and an intensely bitter cold has come fourth. Alas, I am going on holiday! Well, 3 holidays infact. YAAY!!

First, I’m off to Miami in March for a couple of days. I figured that I certainly could not be expected to wait all the way until the end of May to see the Sun so Ian and I are going to Miami for a few days to top up our tans pre family holiday in May.

Then we’re doing a family cruise which I’m particularly looking forward to. I haven’t gone away with my family for a couple of years so this is way overdue and I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the places that I’ve never visited before and enjoying all of the onboard entertainment and restaurants on our ship The NLC’s Epic! We’re also going to spend 3 days in Rome before we board the ship so we’ll get a chance to do the touristy thing to full effect and eat lots of Gelato. Oh yes.

Then in July I’m going back to the house festival in Croatia – Suncebeat! And the best thing of all is that they’ve recently released not just the names of the DJ’s who will be djing but Roy Ayers and The Brand New Heavies will be performing there live too. I cannot wait I tell ya!

So, bring on the celebrations! Whoop Whoop!

Miami Beach

SLS Miami

NCL Epic

Suncebeat, Croatia

Paaaartaay!

 

Furrbabies R US!

Furrbabies R US!

I’m back! Back from my holiday in the South of France and back from kittensitting my 2 3 month old British Shorthair kittens. I had to leave them at home by themselves for the first time today as I had to go back to work but I have been with them for the past 2 days and they are just adorable. Beautiful, energetic, fluffy balls of lilac (smoky grey) and blue (slate grey) furr. The girl, Sansa, is very affectionate, confident, inquisitive and playful, and the boy Franklin is sweet and gentle but very shy. He loves his sister and follows her around everywhere, it is very sweet to watch.

Provence was delightful – the weather was fine, the food was wonderful, the villa we rented in the small village of Grillon was amazing, the scenery spectacular. I didn’t want to leave. Truly. Once upon a time I dreamed that I would go and live there and being there just made me want it even more. The architecture is intruiging and awe inspiring, some of the buildings there are in better condition that many modern buildings, yet they have been there for hundreds of years and they were built with the hands of man. I just found it all so fascinating. I had the best meal of my life at a little restaurant in Grignan called La Poeme: http://www.lepoemedegrignan.fr/
The restaurant wasn’t a typical choice of mine for it wasn’t glamorous, extravagant or beautiful, it was infact quite plain. And I was beginning to wonder why we had bothered going to it when we arrived as we were not greeted at the door by a maitre’d, indeed it seemed as though there was just one person serving all of the tables in the restaurant (granted it was small), but with her warm, quiet efficiency and then the first course – an aperitif of Olive Ice Cream and freshly baked breads and savoury pastries I was completely won. And I knew this place was something special. Because I knew that I didn’t care how long I had to wait for my food, I didn’t care that it wasn’t a glamorous castle with expensive furniture and fittings, indeed, I didn’t even much care what it was I chose of the menu, because I knew off the strength of the quality of the bread, which couldn’t have been made more perfectly, not the puff pastry more light, that this chef was a chef of dreams: One with the essense of magic aswell as technical skill. I’d never felt so sure before – and I’m not too keen on Bream, but I was sure that he could make me like it, indeed he could make me love it. And he did. But that was after he completely blew both Ian and me away with the starter. It was a simple dish, but then the simple dishes, when they are cooked well, usually are the best: Tomato and Goats Cheese Tart.
I know it sounds boring, but if I were to explain to you how this man complimented the flavours and textures it would blow your mind. I think there was a little fennel in there, and some onion, and some chilli, and something else too, that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but my head was exploding with sensation as taste buds were teased that had never even been discovered before. It was crazy good.

The dessert was a fruit crème brulee and was just as I’d expect from such a chef god: Bliss.

I wanted to meet this man, indeed I wanted to commend this man for his exceptional talents, but he never emerged from the kitchen of dreams. We were in such a rural part of France, that there were hardly any tourists around and certainly all of the shops and establishments spoke only a little English so I could hardly communicate with him like I wanted to, so instead I said to the waitress, his wife when she asked how I liked the meal:

“C’était Magnifique!” And she understood that well enough indeed she seemed very flattered to have received the compliment, but I meant it, I really did.

I fell in love with a little village called Gordes. Untouched, mysterious, colourful, beautiful, and perched high upon a hilltop with a panoramic view overlooking the valley below with the sweet fragrance of lavender wafting up from the fields.

It was beautiful and serene, sometimes it felt like we were the only ones in the world as most days we only saw a scattering of people, but there was always the comforting sound of birds chirping and trees rustling in the breeze.

We drove up the steep, windy incline of Mont Ventoux, the starting point for the Tour De France, and took in the breathtaking scenery at the summit. It was a surreal experience, it felt like we were on top of the world, in the clouds looking down. An unforgettable experience, and surely Mont Ventoux must be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

We travelled to Avignon and Orange, where we took in the famous and beautifully well preserved historic buildings: The Theatre Antique & Musee D’Orange and Palais des Papes and the beautiful gardens surrounding.

We went to the emerald green pool Fontaine De Vaucluse, which is the fifth largest spring in the world and visited a wonderful street market in Carpentras. We also wanted to visit Rousillon and The Calanques in Mersaille, but unfortunately ran out of time! Next time we visit Provence we are going to go and stay nearer to Nice so that we can visit Grasse and Eze amongst other places. I realised whilst I was there that no matter where we went in Provence it was spectacularly beautiful. I felt assured that I probably could have picked anywhere to stay and it would have been lovely. I loved the villa we stayed in which was a converted sheep outbuilding. It still had a lot of the original features which gave it not only a lot of charm, but a lot of warmth and character too, with a lovely little mezzanine (which I adored), and a big open plan kitchen with an island (another feature that I love). The huge open fireplace was a great feature of the property along with the stone well used to wash the sheep.
The property had clearly been renovated with a lot of loving care and we absolutely loved staying there. We had a BBQ outside beside our very own private pool and an outside lounge area complete with herbs we could use for cooking or cocktail making. And boy did the sun shine! The sky was as blue a sky as I’ve ever seen!

I’m off to Croatia in a couple of weeks for a house music festival so I’ve only got a few more weeks before I have to leave my adorable furrbabies at home with my boyfriend. They are such a delight to watch that I cannot wait to get home to them each evening.

Lavender Fields of Provence
Lavender fields

Avignon
avignon

Gordes
Gordes

Fontaine De Vaucluse
Fontaine de Vaucluse

Mont Ventoux
Mont Ventoux

Garden Party

Garden Party

So my birthday is coming up soon and I’ve been thinking that I probably need to start planning something!
Usually I do this at least 2 months in advance but I haven’t had the chance until now. I will be in Croatia on my actual birthday so won’t be able to do anything until I get back but I’m thinking about having a small gathering at home.

On my 30th birthday a few years ago (I sound old, I know), I had the most amazing Summer Garden Party and I’ve decided to do something similar this year by having an outdoor cinema party.

We will have a BBQ with things like: beer, icecream, prosecco, pims, eton mess, cupcakes, hot dogs, pop corn, nacho’s, pizza and wine, and set up a projector screen so that we can watch movies outside. It was suggested by a couple of forums that we just use a sheet to spare us the expense of having to buy a projector screen but I’ve seen some pretty reasonable ones on Amazon and I don’t particularly like the idea of using a crumpled up bed sheet and trying to tape it to the window to use as a screen and also I think it’s a good investment to have a projector screen, you never know when you might need to use it in the future. I will try the bedsheet idea out to see how it looks but if it’s not good then I will just buy myself a screen. Chairs, cushions and blankets will be provided and I will also tell my guests that they can also bring along something comfortable to sit on.

For the film choice I will probably pick around 3 to 4 films then have a vote as to which one most people would like to watch and choose the most popular, then if all goes well on the night and people want to watch more then I will also show the second choice.

I will use lanterns and candles for some subtle lighting and put on a fire or use an outdoor heater if it gets a little chilly.

What do you think about my outdoor garden party idea? Can you think of anything else I could do to make it even more special?

cinema party

I’m off to the South of France tomorrow – Provence to be exact, and I can’t wait!
We have booked a little villa in a small village in the beautiful French countryside and are planning on travelling all around the South of France, stopping off at: Nice, St Tropez, Orange, Sainte Croix, L’Isle Sur La Sorgue. Cassis, Eze, Avignon, Grasse.

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Le village d'Eze dans les Alpes maritimes