Lisbon

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We just arrived home from Portugal a few days ago and I’m already wishing I was back there! Talk about holiday blues! We had a few days in Lisbon before making our way down to the beautiful Algarve for a week of sun, sand and relaxation!<3

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The holiday was just what we all needed, we had perfect weather and it was an absolute treat to have some time away as a family. Ava was in true heaven having Daddy all to herself again for a week and a half and it was a welcome break for me having the extra pair of hands around with the girls. Things have been CRAY-ZAY, on the double time since little Andee’s birth and especially since hubby has been back at work full time, so the break was heaven and all kinds of perfection getting to spend quality time together away from the chaotic madness we now call life!

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The Algarve was stunning, it really was. The beaches there are OUT OF THIS WORLD amazing! And it was the perfect retreat; beaches that go on for miles; coastlines with the most incredible rock formations; incredulous caves and little alcoves with gorgeous white sands and clear blue waters. They don’t call them some of the most outstanding beaches in the world for nothing.
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But, the real treasure of this vacation was Lisbon. It’s the first time I have visited this incredible city and I head over heels fell love with the place.
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It’s original, understated charm shines through completely and utterly and it is a true gem. Without doubt my favourited visited city in the world so far. I love its unpretentious vibe and it has the most chilled essence just breathing continuously throughout. We spent the days exploring the wonders of the old city; the cobbled streets; the majestic castles and monuments, the graffitied old trams; the gorgeous storied buildings painted in stunning colours, old shutters at the windows and covered in cracked, worn, beautifully pattern tiles. Even the derelict buildings were a thing of beauty.
I love how it holds it’s perfect character and charm. It’s rare with the popularisation of a place such as this that some of that isn’t lost along the way to meet the technological, commercial and ascetic needs of first world ideals.
It reminded me so much of Marrakech in it’s colourful wander but without the hustle and bustle and the parts which make it equally difficult and rewarding to reside in.

For a city of considerable size, you are forgiven for forgetting this the instant you are in it’s heart. You could just as easily be wondering a small village and the people there reflect this; they’re friendly, calm, seemingly content and always eager to help. People say hello passing on the streets, are intrigued to hear where you are from and everywhere we went the locals were totally smitten with Andee and Ava. Something which is rare to see in modern cultures and cities.

I wish we could have had longer there I really do and surprisingly to me hubby fell in love even more than I did. We both agreed we could, and would someday, love to live there.
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The food whilst we were in Vilamoura in the Algarve was heaven. We woke early to go down to the fish and fruit and veg markets in the village and Adam cooked the most gorgeous food almost every evening we were there.

LOve

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New York, New York

I finally found some time to sit down and write a blog post on our holiday to this incredible city! So here goes…

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Where to even begin?! I’ll start with how much I love this place. I fell in love pretty much as soon as I stepped off the plane! It’s such an amazing city. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, perhaps something similar to that of London or Paris. But how wrong I was, it is unlike any city I have ever visited before. The size of the city and everything in it is extraordinary and the architecture is out of this world.

For such a big city it felt incredibly clean and safe. A dramatic contrast to that of other cities we’ve visited in the US.
We stayed in the West Village with my brother which is right next to the Hudson river. Their little apartment was super cute and had amazing views of New Jersey. I even managed to do a couple of 10k runs first thing in the morning (Ava was still waking around 5am up until we left due to the time difference) and the views were incredible. I ran right along the river and down all the piers (along with countless others running at that time of morning, many with pushchairs in tow, pretty inspirational!).
Whilst out running I fell in love with the place a little more. The number of beautiful parks all around the city is amazing! And there seems so much to do everywhere, I ran past tennis courts, basketball courts, netball pitches, dog parks, climbing walls and more! Not to mention all of the great kids play parks which Ava loved.

Also, the Food there is out of this world! I love good food, and I like to try and stay as healthy and fit as possible and it is so well equipped for not just nutritional food but for every type of dietary requirement out there, something which is seriously lacking back home. There is just so much choice. We went to Wholefoods the second day we were there (I’m totally obsessed with that store!) and I was in food heaven. We went back so many times and since being home I’ve been missing it like crazy! I so wish we had something even slightly similar here.

The best thing of the whole trip though was just having time together as a family. It was heaven having hubby to ourselves for a full week! And with things about to get a whole lot more crazy when the new baby arrives, it was nice to just relax and enjoy our last holiday as a 3!

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My brothers apartment was in a great location and it was pretty easy finding our way around. We did do a substantial amount of walking whilst we were there, despite the subway being of relevant ease and the weather being freezing cold it was nice to see as much of the city as possible. Although it did mean carrying Ava ALOT, which wasn’t so much fun 🙂
We also shopped. A lot. How could we not! Although going out on Black Friday was a huge mistake, we had no idea what we were walking into and after half an hour of mayhem we quickly retreated to return another day.

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The New York Library was a favourite for little miss, it was complete book heaven for her and we thought we’d never get out of there! It’s such a beautiful building too, we spent such a long time just walking around the whole place admiring the architecture.

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Our trip up the empire state was one of my most memorable highlights. The view is absolutely out of this world and is probably second only to that of the view from the Grand Canyon (a polar opposite) in my top spectaculars I’ve seen in the world. Pictures just do not do it justice which is exactly the way I think now when looking at pictures of the canyon.
I’m glad we went at night, the whole city lit up looks magical. It’s obviously incredibly high, but until you get up there you can’t really contemplate just how high. And be as it may that we were completely closed in, it was a pretty terrifying experience.

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Times Square at night is also a pretty spectacular sight and very bustling and lively.

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Sleepy pumpkin. Ava was poorly for a day or two whilst we were there which meant carrying her everywhere all day long! (Never have I wished for her pushchair so badly!)

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The view from the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved Brooklyn, it’s insanely hip and pretty much exactly what I was expecting. My brothers girlfriend took us to a little flea market where we got some adorable little handmade bits for the new baby! It was great seeing the whole of Manhattan from across the river too. The views were spot on yet again.

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The statue cruise was a total tourist day, but we loved it all the same.

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Lady liberty.

LOve x

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