Postcards from Pena Palace | Lisbon

Travel

Some tips for visiting Pena Palace from Lisbon:

  • The train from Lisbon is super cheap, around €5 for a return ticket. Trains run twice an hour, they get pretty busy so get there early to avoid standing for 45 minutes
  • When you arrive in Sintra, there are quite a few options for what to do, if you just want to visit Pena Palace then get a taxi
  • There are two different tour buses which are €20 each and offer a hop on hop off service
  • I recommend just getting a taxi as it works out cheaper because Pena Palace might take you the whole day
  • The palace is €7 to get into the gardens or €15 to get into the palace and gardens
  • The busiest time is the mornings, the queue to go around the inside of the palace is long in the morning
  • If you only want to take pictures of the outside then just buy a ticket for the grounds
  • If you pay to go inside the palace, no photos are allowed, if you go in the morning it is very over crowded
    After lunchtime the crowds ease up
    It is very easy to spend the whole day here wondering around

A Spa Break with Bannatynes {gifted}

Travel

At the beginning of the week I had pleasure of venturing down to Hastings, East Sussex for an overnight spa break which was very kindly gifted by Bannatynes.
I decided to take one of my best friends as we had not been on holiday together in a really long time.

When we arrived at the hotel, it was pretty much everything I was expecting. A big country style house set in the middle huge green grounds, it truly felt like we were on holiday.

The spa is located a short 2 minute walk down the driveway, which we headed to straight away after we had checked in and seen our room. The room was extremely spacious and clean and had really quirky features. The highlight for me was the big bath room and bath tub!

In the spa we were given a little tour of the facilities and were made to feel really welcome. We headed straight to the Jacuzzi as it was empty as I wanted to get some photos in there before it got busy, so we timed it perfectly.

After being outside for a while we decided to try out the steam room and the indoor Jacuzzi before heading back to the room to get ready for dinner that evening.

Before dinner we headed back down to the gardens out the back of the hotel to take some photos, and ordered a cocktail from the bar for some more photos.

The gifted experience included a two course meal, as a really fussy eater I was a little bit concerned about not liking enough of the food, but I can safely say I liked it all. For started I had the watercress soup, followed by chicken in gravy with potatoes and cabbage.

On the second day we woke up nice and early to the sun streaming into our room making it feel like a sauna. We headed down to breakfast, it was buffet style with everything you could of wanted along with made to order specials.

Before driving to Hastings beach we had our treatments in the spa, we both chose to have facials. This was my first facial so I was a little bit anxious about having it as I was just thinking of all the horrible things the person would say about my skin. However, this was not the case. The lady who did the facial was really nice, and I just laid back and relaxed.

Thank you to Bannatynes for giving us this amazing opportunity and allowing us to come and stay!

If you want to get 20% off your own spa break over £200 then you can use my code VICTORIASMART20

Xx

The cutest shop in Amsterdam

Travel

Before I go on holiday I always like to check out Instagram and find the “most instagramable” places to go to, to get the best photos. I came across Polaberry and thought it looked so cute and knew I had to visit it whilst I was in Amsterdam.

Inside the shop they had a hanging flower backdrop and a lovely wicker chair, the whole shop was set up so lovely!

This is pretty much Amsterdams answer to Peggy Porshens, however I much preferred it here, because it was less busy. There was no huge queue, no crowds of people trying to take photos which meant to battling for the angles.

I ordered a unicorn cakesickle and a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was (I’m pretty sure) just melted chocolate so it tasted heavenly.

I cant get over how adorable and how perfect these cake pops are! Polaberry definitely lived up to expectations and beyond!

Pricing wise I thought it was fairly reasonable, the cake and the drink were €4 each which I don’t mind paying knowing I’m getting Instagram content.

I carried the cake around all day and still have not ate it because I am still wanting to get more photos with it, so fingers crossed it makes it home!

Porto Travel Diary

Travel

Last month I jetted off to Porto, Portugal for a couple of days of sunshine before the winter hits.

Day 1

We arrived late in the afternoon so we headed down to the waterfront and to the bridge to take some quick photos before heading to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.

Day 2

We purchased a tourist bus 2 day ticket to find our way around the city, we did both loops this morning and spotted my favourite ice cream shop “Amorino” to get the flower ice cream from.

We then headed up to the top of the bridge to take some photos over looking the water and the city.

Day 3

On the final day we headed over to the furthest point on the bus which was to the beaches, we took a long walk back walking along the coastline which was beautiful.

We then found the most “beautiful fast food restaurant in the world”, the McDonald’s Imperial for a pretty classic shot outside it.

And finally before heading back to the hotel to pick up our luggage to go home we found “Porto Chips” which does chips/crisps on a stick which tasted pretty good!

Lastly, I really wanted to recreate this photo I saw on Instagram, surprisingly it wasn’t as hard to do as it looks!

Thanks for reading xx

A postcard from Fuerteventura

Travel

Hello from sunny Fuerteventura, I’m currently half way through my holiday and thought I would get a blogpost up featuring some of my photos from my beach walk to other day.

I am actually obsessed with all the photos I have taken whilst being here, the scenery is just amazing, and around the hotel there is loads of instagramable hot spots perfect for capturing some outfit shots.

I am staying at the TUI Sensimar Royal Palm & Spa hotel, the hotel it’s self is beautiful like I said, the perfect Instagram hotel, palm trees everywhere, grey and white walls and amazing food!

The wind how ever is a little bit too strong, this means that even though it is really sunny it doesn’t feel hot. For me me this is the perfect weather because it means I never get too hot that I have to go inside, instead I can sit outside all day and work on my tan.

If you want to see more pics be sure to head over to Instagram and follow me @toriiitoriii and @toriiitravels

See you soon xx

Peggy Porchens…again

Travel

Hello again, it has been quite a while it seems but today I thought I would share some photos from my third time at Peggy Porchens from May half term. 
Initially Peggy’s wasn’t on the list of places to go that day, Elan Cafe was, but we went, sat down and I just really didn’t like it in there. So we got up left and walked to Peggy’s. 
Luckily there was no queue so we only had to wait about 10 minutes in order to get a seat outside. 

The longest was waiting for our order as they seemed to had forgotten about us and left us sat there for half an hour before we finally got out food. By food I of-course mean cake, cake and more cake. 

As it was my third time I thought I should switch up my order from the red velvet cupcake and I tried the cookies and cream cupcake, this was a good decision! I can safely say it tasted better than the red velvet, plus it had an oreo inside the cake. I also decided to have an iced coffee. 

I was also super excited to go to Peggy’s to see the new summer display, this display is definitely my favourite one so far with all the pretty hanging flowers and I just love the way my photos have turned out this time!

Thanks for reading xx

A Postcard from Positano

Travel

When I booked my holiday to Naples I had no idea that going to visit Positano would even be possible, that being said it was a little bit out the way but well worth the visit! The photos I got here were some of my favourites from the whole trip!

Positano is such a pretty place and much like what you see plastered all over Instagram.

We arrived early afternoon, we were dropped off at the top of the hill by a bus and started the walk down. We had no idea where we were actually going but decided to just wing it and see where we ended up. Walking down the little alley ways was rather painful and in my mind I was dreading the walk back up at the end of the day.

When we made it down to the beach, we headed straight for food which consisted of pizza followed by ice cream. Then the photo taking commences and continued until we left.

It is such a quaint little town, I can’t imagine how busy it gets in the summer, it must be absolutely packed full of tourists!

Positano is such a photogenic place regardless of the weather.

There is not a lot to do there unless you literally just want to lay on the rocky beach all day and eat ice cream (which doesn’t sound half bad), so we decided to we would get a boat round to Sorrento so we got to tick another place off the list. Also this meant I didn’t have to walk back up all those stairs which was a result.

Victoria xx

The cutest cake shop: Peggy Porshen Cupcakes 

Travel

A few weeks ago during the summer I made it my mission to get to the infamous Peggy Porshen Cupcake shop! This place has been on my hit list for the longest time and finally I went! 

This place is an Instagramers paradise and you can see why! When we arrived there was luckily only one person having a photo shoot outside, I’d seen lots of people saying that it would be really busy so I didn’t think I would even get a decent photo of the building itself. But luckily, going early in the morning means you beat the queues. 


I totally planned my outfit to match the aesthetics of the shop! Just kidding, but it did look like I did! 


Even though it was a lot less busier than anticipated, we still had a wait to get a table outside. The lovely lady who worked in the shop could see we were waiting so she came over and had a chat and told us about the owners which was really nice. After half an hour, and me constantly saying let’s just go, we won’t get a table, we finally got one! And it was right next to the big flower display. 

Even the menus were cute! 

Going to eat here is defienlty a one off, it’s a treat, a long awaited treat so no matter how much a cupcake is I was having one! 

The best sign EVER! 

I didn’t even feel embarrassed about being in the middle of the street having a photo shoot with my red velvet cupcake! 

So the cake, I chose red velvet and I’m so glad I did. This was without a doubt the best red velvet cake I’ve ever tasted so definitely worth nearly £5! 


This place is just wonderful! There are no other words to describe it other than pink cake heaven! I definitely do want to go again, maybe in winter on a nice cold brisk morning! 

It’s definitely an experience worth checking out! 

Victoria xx 

My Thomson Holiday Disaster

Travel

Today’s blog post is dedicated to the first 3 days of my supposedly relaxing summer holiday.

Background
So, myself and my mum had booked a week away on the Portuguese island of Madeira as soon as we had both broke up from work for summer. A couple of weeks prior to our departure we received an email saying there was building work going on next door to the hotel and it would not be the peaceful environment you normally expect on your holiday. They gave us two options, one was to cancel the holiday and the other was to transfer to a different hotel free of charge. Now bearing in mind we chose a Adults only Sensimar hotel so we were not just going to transfer to a normal hotel off free will. The ladies down at our local Thomson branch did some research and found a hotel which was apparently better than ours, but it wasn’t adults only so that wasn’t an option. We then decided to just put up with the noise, how bad could it be? Later that night I looked to see if the hotel booking said anything about the noise on the Thomson website, and to our shock the hotel had a discount on. So we rang the local branch and said can we have the discount, the discount was obviously because of the noise. They said no they cant give the discount out. So, we decided to cancel the holiday and re-book with the discount saving another £200 so this holiday ended up being very cheap for a 4 star adults only Sensimar!

Flash Forward to the morning of departure

It was a normal morning at the airport, the typical queue to drop your bags, the waiting in the departure lounge, buying a meal deal from Boots and waiting for our flight to be called. We found our seats on the place, and to my dismay, I was sat in front of Devil Child, who proceeded to kick my chair, play with his tray and just annoy me whole way. Now this wouldn’t of bee so bad you see, if we were on the flight for 3 hours and 15 minutes like the captain had said. However when we got ready to start the descent into Madeira airport is when unforeseeable happened, we couldn’t land! The captain informed us that there were high winds in the Madeira airport and that meant he could not land the plane safely, so we kept circling and circling! It then go to the point where we had circled for so long we needed fuel, and in order to get that we had to fly to Tenerife and refuel and then go back up. At this point we had been on the plane for over 5 hours already. We headed back to Madeira, and circled a few more times, we even came close to landing! But as we got beneath the clouds we pulled back up again due to the high winds. After researching the airport and the flights on this current day we found out that at one point there were 5 planes circling above one another!

We eventually landed back in Tenerife after spending 10 hours on an air plane, we were offered nothing but a tiny cup of water! We later found out from two other passengers who had worked in the industry that they had caught the Thomson cabin crew eating sandwiches while we all sat there with no food. On arrival in Tenerife the captain told us that they are going to put us up in a 5 star hotel with breakfast and dinner provided. We had already paid for all this so it was no favour to us at all!

We arrived at the Palm Beach which instantly did not look 5 star, it was 3 star. We were extremely lucky to be third off the coach and able to check in to the hotel at a reasonable time. You would not believe the queue from the check in desk right out into the road! The hotel had 2 people checking in 193 passengers. My mum and I went up to our sub standard room and got ready to go down for dinner, when we went down the queue to get rooms was still ridiculously long (they queued till midnight).

Second attempt at flying to Madeira 

For the second day in the row we got up at silly o’clock, we went down for breakfast which was of course rushed as the hotel didn’t put it on earlier enough for everyone. We were picked up from the hotel late, which is always a bad start and headed to the airport. When we arrived to the airport we were kept waiting to check in our bags, eventually we got through. On this day we even got as far as there was one group of passengers on the bus ready to head to the plane, while we were in the holding area before we were told the flight was cancelled. We were then hoarded back up to the gate where we sat waiting for updates, the announcement said there would be an update at 12. Well, do you know what that update was! It was, there will be an update at 1! Like what the actual hell! We were kept waiting again and again only so Thomson could try and sort out a plan. Eventually we were all told to go and get our bags from baggage claim and we would be sent back to the same hotel. At this point it all started kicking off, tempers were a blaze, angry passengers were infuriated at the prospect of going back that hotel. The ground staff were not equipt for dealing with this situation at all, also the Thomson reps within the airport were the rudest bunch of people who were of no help and just threatened their customers. The attitudes of the Thomson staff at the airport really needs looking at this was not appropriate, they customers who have spent hundreds of pounds on their goods and they are being sent to a inadequate hotel. That being said there was one Thomson rep who went above and beyond and really understood where everyone was coming from and was lovely. We did not have a problem with the fact the airport was closed and we could not fly, we understood that is was not safe. What we had a problem with is the hotel, we should be getting what we have paid for not less!

Third attempt at flying to Madeira

By the third day we were all at the point of, we want to go home, we were all fed up getting ferried to and from the airport. We had an early pick up again and were told that the check in desk would open shortly. After an hour or so standing in the queue, the desk opened, oh look more wonderful Thomson customer service. Eventually after nearly two hours in the queue we dropped out bags. Of course everyone was very sceptical, we had been told that no matter what we were taking off, but where would end up would be a surprise, Madeira or home. With any flight you get on these days, it was late but we took off! Everyone was in suspense after we circled a few times and then eventually the captain said he was going to make an attempt. If you haven’t heard about Madeira airport, the please YouTube it! It is one of the top 10 hardest to land airports, had we know this we probably wouldn’t of chosen it. So its in the top 10 hardest to land, now add on the wind! It actually turns out that we landed on the run way the opposite direction due to the wind. It was the scariest landing I have ever experienced! The angle we came in at, you just need to go and watch some videos to understand.

When our wheels eventually touched the runway of  Madeira there was a round of applause! 49 hours later and we made it to our destination!

So if your thinking about booking a holiday with Thomson, really consider it, when your out of the UK they dont really want anything to do with you.

A Weekend In Berlin, Germany 

Travel

Back in January my Mum and I went to Berlin for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. We flew out early on the Saturday morning and flew back late Sunday night. We were expecting it to be very cold, but on the scale of coldness I don’t think it was that cold even though it was snowing. 

Day 1

When we arrived we made our way to the hotel to leave our suitcases and set out on a long walk down a long street to find Check Point Charlie. 

Near Checkpoint Charlie is where we found two parts of the Berlin Wall which are still in tact.

After walking little bit own that miserable looking road in the sleety snow it started to clear up so we embarked on another long walk to the Jewish Museum. 


After spending an hour or two in the museum we then started the longest walk of the day to the Berlin Tower. This looked so much closer than it was, but we did eventually make it there. 


Day 2 

On the Sunday we woke up to everything covered in a light dusting of snow which was lovely because we havnt really seen much snow in the U.K. this winter. Our first point of call was the Parliament Building known as The Reichstag building. We walked all the way along the river and crossed over into the park opposite to get some nice photos. 

From here we walked through a snow covered park to be Brandenburg Gate. 

The next stop was the East Gallery which is probally the most famous part of the Berlin Wall as it is covered in art. 

And finally we went to the Berlin Dome and then walked back through to the centre of Berlin for one final look before getting a taxi to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. 


So there you have a quick little stop in Berlin and we covered the majority of all the major places! 

My next travel blog post will be about Madrid which took place the day after I got back from Berlin so stay tuned. 

Xoxo 

Victoria 

A day in Nice, France 

Travel

I love going on day trips, and to be honest it’s probally a lot cheaper and less hassle going on a day trip abroad. So a few Sundays ago my mum and I went to Nice, France and spent the day there. Your probally thinking, ooo the south of France, I bet the weather was lovely! Well, it wasn’t, at the moment it seems like the rain and clouds follow me everywhere! It rained, and it poured! 

Ofcourse places like this are still really pretty in the rain, but it’s not the best weather to be walking around in. In fact I think England had better weather that day which is a bit of a shocker. 

We arrived in Nice and caught the bus down the promonade and got off where we thought the tourist train was, however we did not find this. We walked around for a bit and tried to decide where to go first. On the walk to the castle we stumbled around the flower market. 

I totally wish I could have bought loads from this market as it was just so cheap! If only I could have bought all the cactis back on the plane. However I did buy one of those mini pumpkins as they were so adorable! 


After walking through the flower market we decided to try and find the view point up in the grounds of the castle. As we can never do anything right the first time we ended up walking miles up a hill in the wrong direction and the sign posts definelty didn’t help us. We then ventured all the way down again and found a free lift on the opposite up to the top. From here you can see over Nice and look out over the sea. 

Even in the rain it still looked stunning! 

By the time we came back down the hill we were starving and in desperate need of a snack so we found an American diner by the flower market and had some toast and a Fanta. At the point it absolute chucked it down so we were glad we were under cover. 

After the snack we went to try and find the tourist train again, we ended up walking through a huge park and then eventually found the train. But ofcourse, I was shutting up shop early because of the weather. 

That’s when I noticed a man peddling a tuc-tuc (no idea how you spell it) but it was a little bike with a seating area behind. We decided to do this instead, and for €30 for 2 people it wasn’t bad for a 30 minute tour. Plus you got to see the city from a different mode of transport which is always nice. 

After the tour we went and sat on the stony beach for a while before heading of down the promonade to find the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. 

Nice is the ideal location for visiting lots of other places near by. Cannes and Monaco are around an hour away by bus and can easily be done in a day trip aswell which I think is amazing. So they will definelty be on my list…