The Top 10 Must Visit Destinations for 2017

Ok, they might not be THE Top 10 destinations but they are MY Top 10……

1. LAS VEGAS

Yep, if you haven’t been, go, I insist. I love it in Vegas, I’ve been more than 5 times but my last visit was in 2008 so it’s been a while since I pounded the pavement of the strip and gambled some money away whilst drinking complimentary Pina Coladas. My husband loves it there too BUT we’ve never traveled there together so 2017 will be the year.

I love Las Vegas as it is truly a 24 hour city, it’s perfect for shopping, eating fine food, entertainment, relaxing at the pool and even getting out into the dessert to see the amazing landscape that surrounds the city of lights.

2. ITALY

Italy is one of my most visited countries. I’ve skied there, traveled around Tuscany, been to the north east coast for a long weekend and spent a week in Sardinia. Next year I want to finally visit Sicily. I am so keen to see the Catacombs and try proper Arancini. I yearn to meander along the coast in a convertible with my summer soundtrack playing something new and vibey.

3. GREECE

I’ve only visited Greece once, years ago with an ex, to the mainland. Funnily enough, Simon has also only been to the mainland with an ex, what are the chances?! I quite like the idea of doing some island hopping. A few days here and there exploring the beaches and snorkeling in the crystal blue waters. If you have any tips on where’s best to go please comment, I love to take travel tips and advice from others.

4. MUNICH

The city of a Munich has a little place in my heart. It is one of the reasons I love Germany so much. I spent a lot of time there as a child due to my dads job. The endless summer days and the vibrant city are memories I will never forget. I did pop back a few years ago but it was for a matter of hours en-route to somewhere else, therefore 2017 IS the year I will go back. I want to hire bikes and cycle around the city, enjoy the sun in the parks and the beer gardens and get out for the day to the mountains.

5. THE CARIBBEAN 

Yes, I know I am not being very specific but hey, I’m not fussy. I’ve not been to any of the Caribbean islands so I am up for suggestions. Simon has been to Barbados and is keen to take me there. As long as the sun is shining, there is an amazing beach, a warm pool (hey, why are pools always so cold these days) and great food then I am happy to take the back seat on planning this one.

6. IRELAND

I’ve been to Dublin twice, once earlier this year actually but I am keen to head back again next year to see my best friend. She has lived there for a few years now and I don’t get to go much at all. 2017 will be different, hopefully we can get away from the city and check in to a spa somewhere, chill out and catch up face-to-face, no pesky Whatsapp and SnapChat needed.

7. PORTUGAL

Ha ha, I can’t keep away can I? I love Portugal, there is so much I want to see but after our epic wedding there this year I am keen to get back, back to Burgau and relax. Meet up with the people who helped us, who have become good friends and to visit the restaurants and bars I still haven’t been to!

8. THAILAND

I cannot believe I still have not visited Thailand. Every time I plan a trip something political happens and it is advised to avoid traveling there. 2017 will be my year to finally get there. Simon’s been to Bangkok and he’s told me so much about it but I am desperate to see it for myself, to snorkel off the islands and eat amazing street food.

9. THE MALDIVES

2017 is the year we plan to take our honeymoon. We had a mini-moon this year as we were away for so long. We are really both very keen to get to the Maldives but we do not want to count this as our ‘honeymoon’. It’s too cliche, everyone does that! We just want to head there for a holiday, stay in a gorgeous hut over the sea and snorkel all day. Bliss.

10. CORNWALL

This is a trip we have been talking about for a few years now. We plan to just pack the car up with our camping gear and head down to the South West for a bit of a road trip. I’ve heard amazing things about Pol Perro and a lot of the coastal fishing villages down that way. Hopefully we will be lucky with the weather. My only memory of Cornwall was when I was very young, I nearly got blown off Lands End in the gales. Oops.

So that is my list, my Top 10 for 2017. I can tell you now, it won’t change, these destinations will all be aimed for but what I can’t promise you is that it won’t grow. I literally spend every day planning on where I am going next so this time next week it could well increase to 20.

Have you got a Top 10, or even a Top 20? I’d love to hear your plans and dreams for next years travels.

 

 

 

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Luxury in Provence

If you didn’t know already, I’ve just got married. Yay! Our venue was Portugal, so, not afraid of an adventure we decided to drive there from the UK. It’s a long way and we took 3 weeks in total to get there, get married and then drive back. We thought it would be a bit cheeky to have a honeymoon on our return home so we are saving that for next year. Instead we decided to incorporate a minimoon into our drive back.

A minimoon to me screams luxury, a short break away to relax after the wedding, somewhere romantic and of course it has to have delicious food options. After a lot of research we decided on Provence in the south of France. Beaumes-de-Venise to be specific.

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To reach this petite town on the edge of the Rhone Valley from Portugal took 2 days of driving. We left our wedding venue at lunchtime on a Saturday (in tears I might add as I was so sad to leave). We drove 460 miles, it took 7 hours give or take with a couple of driver stops to reach an over night stop in Spain. The next day we headed north along the coast to Andorra where we stopped for another night, this was another 7 hour drive but not as far, 400 miles, but it took a while because of the slower, twisty mountain roads. After a night in Andorra la Vella we then took the final leg of the drive to our minimoon destination. This took about 6 hours and was just shy of 300 miles. The journey was so diverse, vast plains, mountain villages, green forests and fields of sunflowers, we took so many photos and gawked in amazement at the sites we experienced. I really feel it is the best way to travel. You see so much at your own pace.

We had surfed the web for weeks trying to find the best, most romantic place to stay within our budget. We decided upon Les Remparts as it looked like a Boutique guest house but with the old world charm we were hoping for in that region of France. We also made sure we booked the best room.

As soon as we arrived we knew we had made the right choice. We were greeted by the French house keeper, a lovely lady who spoke no English. Our school French came back to us extremely quickly and with the added help of Google Translate we managed to communicate quite well. Phew!

Les Remparts is built within the old fortified walls of the village, this 16th century guest house screams French luxury on an extremely affordable scale. Our room was on the 4th floor, 38 steps up to the top is a lot when you are used to living in a bungalow like we are! The door to our room was OLD, it was wooden with the biggest key you have ever seen, we opened it to the most lovely smell as scented candles had been lit prior to our arrival. It was such a lovely touch, one I have never experienced before. It was very welcoming.

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The walls that you can access from your room. Photo borrowed from the guesthouse website.

Our room consisted of a huge bed with modern and comfy bedding that was fitting with the decor in the room. The ceiling was pitched and still had the original beams. We had numerous windows with shutters that gave us uninterrupted views through the old walls out over the Provence landscape. We had a wall and two archways that seperated the sleeping area and the ablution area where we had the most gorgeous free standing bath, his and hers sinks and entry to the most amazing rain shower I have ever used. In a building so old, on the 4th floor I was amazed that the water pressure was as strong as it was. To the opposite side of the shower was the toilet, in a small room with yes, you guessed it, another very old wooden door. We also had a clothes hanging area behind the shower, between the two sinks. The floor throughout the room was stone, as were the walls.

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Our room – photo borrowed from the guesthouse website
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Another picture of our room from the door way. Photo borrowed from the guesthouse website
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Our amazing rain shower

The guesthouse itself has 5 rooms in total, all with great WiFi. Breakfast is served by the housekeeper who greeted us, every morning. We were able to choose the time of breakfast. I’m not sure if that was because we were the only guests – yep, we had the entire guest house to ourselves for 5 days! 9am was the time that worked best for us now we were relaxing for a few days. Each morning we were served with fresh bread, croissants and pastries as well as freshly squeezed orange juice, mueseli and eggs however we wanted them. I had hard boiled. There were also preserves, cheese, ham and fruit too. Although we never did utilise it, I am pretty sure we could have used the kitchen to prepare our own lunches or dinners. There was an American style fridge freezer which we used though.

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The kitchen – photo borrowed from the guesthouse website

picture-window

The guesthouse has a communal lounge area where there is a lot of information on local activities, trips and tours. The lounge has large glass doors that open out into a courtyard that has a large seating area, a small pool enclosed within the walls and a hot tub too. To find the hot tub you need to find the spiral staircase to the side of the pool which takes you up to a hidden balcony where you’ll find a small couch and hot tub. You would usually have to book time slots for the hot tub but since we were the only guests we could use it when we wanted.

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The lounge, photo borrowed from the guesthouse website
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The courtyard and pool – photo borrowed from the guesthouse website
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The hot tub area – photo borrowed from the guesthouse website

 

Luckily for us, parking wasn’t an issue during our stay. The guest house has it’s own garage on the opposite side of the street. We parked there, without a problem every night but if the guesthouse was full there would have been a problem as it can only fit 2 cars. I can understand why many French people drive small cars, their villages are tough to get parked in!

Throughout our stay our room was cleaned every day, we only saw the housekeeper at breakfast and we could come and go whenever we pleased as we had a front door key. I would thoroughly recommend Les Remparts to anyone looking for a quiet, romantic break away. It is perfectly situated to explore the wineries, there are so many to choose from, it is also a great base for walkers and cyclists too. I would say it is more suited to adults, and ones that are able to walk up stairs too as there are no ground floor rooms which could be an issue if you have mobility problems. I wouldn’t suggest it as a destination for children, that’s not to say they aren’t welcome, it is just my opinion that it is better suited to adults.

My memories of a romantic minimoon will stay with me forever, I saw the most amazing sunset from our room. We had a tiny window that had a thick wooden frame. There was no curtain or shutter so it looked like a painting in a frame on the wall. The view through this window was breathtaking.

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Sunset Beaumes de Venise style

 

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The picture window

We stayed between 19th and 23rd September 2016. Our room and breakfast for 2 adults cost a total of 1040 euros.

Have you stayed here before? Are you considering staying here? Feel free to ask any questions, or, if you know of any boutique hotels which you can recommend to me in France I would love to hear about them.

 

 

A Day in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

When asked what the highlight of my recent wedding road trip was I had to think carefully. There were so many highlights, obviously my wedding day was the top choice but in addition to that it was our unexpected day at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

I’d never heard of it but I am so glad we stumbled across it. Where else can you climb a church roof for a start? I guess there are 2 things slightly shocking about that statement, the first being that I was actually on the roof of a church which is ever-so-slightly dangerous (especially based on my recent track record). The second being that I suffer with Hypermobility – sometimes just getting out of bed and spending a day at home is all I can manage.

During our recent Minimoon we spent 4 days in Provence in Southern France. It is such a beautiful region and we only got to explore a very small area but what we did see we loved.

On our second day we decided to head out to Avignon but once we arrived we realised it wasn’t really for us. It was too congested and busy, after a busy two weeks of travelling we were after tranquility and calm. We found ourselves heading South East from our base to Camargue, we knew nothing other than what it looked like on a map.

camargue-map

Once in the area we headed for Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer which is situated in the Rhône River delta on the Mediterranean coast. I was expecting a cafe, tourist information point and a car park with walking trails but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is in fact a beautiful sea side town with dozens of bars and restaurants and quaint shopping streets. The beach is small but perfect and there is a paved walkway all the way along the coastal side of the town. It had an old town America vibe about it with a French twist. We fell in love with the place straight away.

We spent about 6 hours here in total, we had a great time, if you have a similar amount of time then this could inspire your trip:

Enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes. There are all types of cuisine, we visited the funky Fanneu where I enjoyed a tomato pasta dish and Simon tucked in to a blue cheese and chicken salad. Sadly we have no photos (we too hungry to even consider it)  but the food was great, the vibe was chilled and there was lots to choose from including tapas.

After lunch we took a stroll along the beach and enjoyed an ice cream. There are so many places serving so many flavours!

We then happened on a Bull ‘Fighting’ Show. I put it in inverted commas as it wasn’t actually fighting. There is a large open air theatre area on the beach in the centre of town where a group of local men show their acrobatic skills dodging the bull. We watched 2 separate shows which was enough, we aren’t sure how long the show went on for but it was free of charge to watch. I understand that this show isn’t for everyone but we were intrigued at what was going on so gave it half an hour of our time.

Just outside the arena is a small fairground, there are a couple of rides for kids and the traditional UK sea side amusements so we had a play on the ‘2p machines’, you know the ones, like on Tipping Point where you nudge the coins over the ledge. Of course these weren’t 2p’s but Euro’s exchanged for tokens. After a few minutes of childlike entertainment we came away winners!

Feeling like lottery winners we decided on a stroll around the town which is where we happened upon the church roof experience. In the centre of the shopping and eating area is a large church which seemed extremely popular with visitors. Sadly I can’t tell you anything about the interior as we were intrigued to find out how to get on the roof as we could see others peering over the sides at us. To the side of the church is an entrance with an admission fee of 2.50 Euro’s per person to head up on to the roof. As little as a year ago I would never have entertained climbing stairs. My hypermobility goes hand in hand with Vasodepressor Syncope which makes me feel faint and can result in me passing out without too much warning. I was also heavier, I have lost over 3 stone over the past year, I would have been too unfit to even consider climbing stairs before but feeling healthy and thinner I jumped at the chance. It turns out there are only 38 steps but they are narrow and they are windy so it isn’t for everyone. On reaching the top I was so pleased with myself, I wasn’t out of breath nor was I dizzy and whats more I got to enjoy the amazing panoramic views of the town. The walkways on the roof lead to the proper roof itself, where you can carefully climb further using the tile rows as steps. They are slightly slippy depending on your footwear but they are secure and it is totally worth doing! To many it would be a health and safety nightmare, not an option in the UK but we went for it, heck, we were on holiday!

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I reached the top – had to sit as way too slippy!
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View from the top – you can see everyone at the Bull show
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I’ve just come down from the very top, I am very pleased with myself
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Little me at the bottom, you can just see someone at the very top!

What better way to celebrate climbing a church roof in France than sitting down with a cold drink and a crepe. They are so yummy, we shared a lemon and sugar one which we thoroughly enjoyed. We didn’t have time to relax for long though, we had Flamingos to see.

Yep, Flamingos, did you know the Camargue is the only place in Europe where they nest? Who’d have thought these beautiful birds could be seen so close to home. We took the 10 minute drive north to the Ornithological Centre. I was disappointed that the centre didn’t promote the fact, anywhere on the roadside that this was the place to see the Flamingos. If it had we would have seen it on the way in to town earlier in the day, we would have stopped then which would have been much better than going at sunset when the mozzies are out.

When we arrived at the centre we parked up and followed another couple who Simon was convinced knew the way. We followed them along grassy, overgrown walkways for at least 20 minutes. We knew we were close as we could hear the Flamingos, they are so noisy! It turns out that they had no idea where they were going, we discovered this when we all reached the end of the trail with zero view of the beautiful pink birds I was so excited to see.

Fast forward another 20 minutes and we are back at the car park, where I insist we take a stroll over to the Ornithological Centre. I’m glad we did as it was the right place. Here we paid the 7.50 euro each to gain access to the lagoons where the majority of the Flamingos were nesting. Painfully for us, it was at this exact point that we discovered the millions of mosquitos, they found us tasty and were all over us instantly. It was awful. We weren’t armed with bug spray nor could we buy any there. We wanted to follow the map we were given to view all the sites of the centre but we just couldn’t bear it. We were being eaten alive – no other visitors seemed to be bothered by them, they must like our English blood.

We ran to the lagoon where the Flamingos were, took a load of photos and ran back to the car. We were so disappointed but we had seen them and that was the reason we were there. I cannot tell you anything else about the Ornithological Centre as we didn’t see any of it. Here are some photos.

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I would recommend anyone to visit the Camargue region of Southern France, it is wild, an area of lagoons and reed covered marshes and nature at its absolute best. We could easily have spent longer here. If you do visit make sure you go in the Spring or Autumn. We visited towards the end of September, the weather was hot and fine and the Flamingos were still there. Just make sure you take bug spray as we were itching our bites for days.

Have you been to Camargue? Have you seen the Flamingos? Let me know, or if you want any tips for a future visit let me know.

 

Shoes – 2 out of 3 DONE!

Good morning! I am happy this morning as I have 2 out of my 3 pairs of wedding shoes sorted for my big day! Does wanting 3 pairs of shoes for one occasion make me a diva? A girl can never have too many pairs of shoes surely?

Many of us with Hypermobility often suffer with problems with our feet. I do, and it is very painful. Specifically I suffer with Plantar Fasciitis. This means that heels are pretty much out of the question and have been for a few years now. I have a huge draw under the spare bed full of heels that I can’t bare to say goodbye to. I live in trainers, sneakers, flip flops and can sometimes get away with a slight cuban style heel. I can’t stand still without shoes on EVER, especially on a hard floor. So if I am preparing food in the kitchen I have to wear something on my feet. Usually my trusty black Birkenstocks as they have a foot bed which moulds to the shape of my foot. I am always on the look out for fashionable sandals or flip flops with a foot bed style sole that are fashionable but I don’t often find them. If you think you suffer with this condition you may find it hurts more when you go to bed, or sit down to rest. It really is painful and I have so much sympathy for you. The thing that really improved my feet issues were insoles. They are amazing and have transformed my life! The lovely people at Shuropody supplied me with these…..

Insoles

They slip discreetly in my shoes and really improve the way my feet sit in my shoes and the impact my feet have on the floor. I cannot recommend them enough. My nearest store is Watford but you can order them online. I’d suggest making the journey to your local store so you can get your feet examined. They’ll recommend the best for your ailment – they have so many options. They suggest you change them every year at a cost of approximately £35 which is far cheaper then getting Orthotics made especially. They are absolutely worth a try.

Anyway, I’ve digressed….back to the wedding. As I can’t wear heels anymore I was struggling to decide what to wear on my big day. My mum really wanted to see me in heels so I compromised. I have a gorgeous pair of heels for the ceremony. Honestly, I haven’t spent much on them as I don’t expect to wear them for long. If I could I would but I refuse to be in pain on my wedding day so I will wear them for as long as feels comfortable. They were £35 from ASOS and I fell in love with them as soon I saw them. So many wedding shoes look frumpy or impossibly high for me to walk in. I still wanted something fashionable and these are perfectly matched to my dress.

The heel is a decent height for me to not stagger down the aisle and I have the security of them actually being attached to my foot with the strap and zip fastening on the back. I am usually a girl that wears leather shoes, you pay more and you get more comfort – especially with my feet but these are great for an hour or so.

So pair two….I need a pair of shoes suitable for photos at the beach, that are still pretty and girly but gave me the comfort my poorly feet crave. Yesterday I embarked on a shopping trip to Cambridge with my mum. I wasn’t on a mission to find shoes but I was browsing around when I came across the perfect pair in Dune. How did this happen? Things are never this easy for me usually! They are white which is what I thought I might struggle to find as a lot of shoes seem to be tan or black these days. They are pretty and what’s more, they sparkle!! What do you think? In my opinion perfect for £60.

Dune Sandals

So now, I just need pair number 3! I need something comfy, secure and cushiony (yes, not a real word I know) and lovely for my delicate feet which will be dancing and mingling all afternoon and evening. Much to my mums horror I am going for Converse! I want to add some bling with a few sparkles here and there and replace the laces with some pretty shear ribbon. I can then wear my insoles and not be hobbling around the next day. I plan to wear them with some pretty socks like we used to wear when we were kids – remember these?

Socks

Not my usual style but I think they’ll be pretty and more to the point comfortable. I’d love to hear about your wedding shoe style. Are you planning on multiple pairs like me?

 

Fast forward 12 months….

Yep, it’s now May 2016 and we are full steam ahead with the wedding planning!

The past year has been great and we’ve made steady developments with the planning. My dress has been made which is absolutely amazing! I expected the task of finding my dress to be an absolute nightmare. I’m not girly, I’m overweight and I am rubbish when it comes to buying new clothes these days. Would you believe I tried on 4 dresses in 1 shop and fell in love with the first one! I nearly had a bout of non medical related syncope – to put that in non medical terms I basically nearly fainted in shock (makes a change)! Not only did I choose my dress I also felt flipping amazing trying them all on. I mentioned I was over weight but I keep forgetting I have lost 37lbs! Thanks to Slimming World I have a figure again. Yes I still have weight I want to lose but even I can say I looked amazing in the dresses. The lovely ladies at Estilo Moda in Milton Keynes made the whole experience a breeze. Thank you ladies.

(Would insert picture here but hey, what if Simon looks, bad luck, you’ll all have to wait!)

So, that’s the dress sorted, my next and last fitting is the end of July.

Our invitations went out super early. I don’t know about you but I wanted to give our guests enough time to think about coming as it’s a big commitment for them. They need to take time off work, pay for travel etc. The longer they had to plan the longer they had to save up and also take advantage of great prices by booking as far in advance as possible. We had so many amazing comments about our invitations including ‘it is the best wedding invitation I’ve ever received!’ I made sure I fed back all comments to the lovely Kirsty who made them for us. Now I won’t lie, the idea wasn’t totally mine, Pinterest helped a lot with ideas. We wanted a travel theme so we ended up going with the design used on my blog (see below for a little reminder). The heart on Portugal was actually a tiny red heart gem which was stuck on the Algarve area of the map.

RGB Wedding Image

This was the front cover mounted on Kraft card-stock (natural brown card). It then opened like a cheque book. We had numerous pages that all got slightly smaller. They had the name of the page written vertically down the left side so they could all be seen when the front page was open….

Invitation page:

Invitation

RSVP page (this was perforated so it could be torn out like a cheque):

RSVP

We then had a page about the destination so guests got an insight into their possible holiday destination!

Portugal Page

Then it was information about accommodation:

Accomodation Page

We had a gifts page:

Gifts Page

Our final page was information about the wedding website we have set up so our guests can log in and keep up to date with the progress of the planning (the password has been scrubbed out as it’s only available to our guests, sorry folks!):

Website Page

This beautiful invitation then got sent to everyone in a matching Kraft paper envelope. They all had matching address labels which got stuck on the far left hand edge so the address appears on the front and the undelivered area appears on the back:

lABEL

We sent out a total of 30 invitations. We knew that my Grandad wouldn’t be able to come but we wanted to send him one as a keepsake, we also did the same for Simon’s Grandma. We expected the majority to not be able to make it which we were fine with but unbelievably we had 20 confirmed as YES! So including us there will be 39 of us on our special day and we cannot wait!

 

Portugal Wedding Venue Found!!!

Yep, that’s right! We found it!!! After leaving the last venue meeting of our trip we took a long drive to Villamoura and found a lovely Italian restaurant to have dinner and discuss the last few days. It was unanimous, we were both in absolute agreement that Salsalito was the place we wanted to get married at. YAY!! A couple of cocktails and some yummy food was a fantastic way to celebrate.

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Although extremely excited, we were also so relieved that we had found somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, we viewed a fair few places, we could have viewed so many more but time wasn’t something we had a lot of on that trip. They were all lovely and all would make perfect venues but it’s like buying a house, you can’t make a snap decision and you want it to be 100% right for both. Everything changed once we arrived at Salsalito and although we always thought we wanted to get married on a beach we obviously didn’t! So my advice to you is add a wild card to your list. Something different to what you think you want. Whether it be a villa, a vineyard, a farm or wherever just add that to your list for an element of surprise. Every venue we viewed had a website, some were better than others but you don’t capture the real place until you see it with your own eyes.

So, after 2 action packed days, 1000km and an unhealthy covering of vasculitis we were ready to head home and tell our friends and family where we will be getting married. Things were really going to happen now and the one question remained…would the bridezilla I always told everyone I wouldn’t be show it’s face?!

 

Portugal Wedding Venue Trip Day 2

As we woke up on another day in the beautiful Algarve we began wondering if the day ahead was going to bring us face-to-face with ‘the one’. So far we had seen some very lovely locations but none took our breath away enough. We were expecting to know straight away when we saw it.

We originally had an appointment at The Sheraton Algarve but unfortunately had to cancel. It really is a beautiful place but, to be honest, it was too formal for what we were looking for and it would have been a stretch financially. We both agreed we would stay there on a return visit as it really is beautiful.

Our first appointment of the day took us (eventually, we got pretty lost on the way) to Julias situated on the beach with a beautiful view of the sea and coastline. It is in the Almancil area of the Algarve which is gorgeous. There are lots of stunning villas nearby and we heard that Ant and Dec often pop in for dinner and drinks as they own properties close by. Sadly for us we didn’t see them. Doh!

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We could really see ourselves getting married here. The situation was perfect and the venue was clean, friendly and stylish. We met with the owner who explained the day and the services they offer and we even managed to enjoy a drink and panini whilst we chatted. It was during this chat that we discovered it isn’t that easy to get married on the beach in Portugal. There are licenses you need to buy and there are rules about music etc. This gave us something to think about as we moved on to our next venue.

Next stop on our whirlwind tour was Duna Beach in Lagos. We didn’t stay here long as although it was a nice location we knew as soon as we arrived that it wasn’t for us. The bar and restaurant I hear are funky venues to spend an afternoon or evening but we didn’t feel it was the right place for us. You might love it and I’ve seen some fab pics of weddings online there.

We were really starting to worry now…..was this going to be an unsuccessful trip? How many quick long weekend breaks would we need to take around the world before we found ‘the place’? Don’t get me wrong, we love to travel, we don’t need an excuse to discover somewhere new but when we’re limited to a certain number of days of annual leave and we want time off for the eventual wedding we had to work smart!

By now the day had become a scorcher and I was starting to feel the strains of the trip. Being hypermobile can be a real pain (yep literally) in extreme temperatures and I was starting to succumb. My neck, chest and face were all bright red and angry looking as were my legs. I had cream on, I was wearing a hat but the vasculitis I suffer from was rearing it’s ugly head. Luckily for me it doesn’t hurt. It can irritate if I catch or scratch it by mistake but more so it just looks AWFUL. I feel that everyone stares at me when I have it and that makes me feel more uncomfortable than I am already feeling. I have only had to deal with this for the past few years, since I was properly diagnosed with hypermobility. The picture below shows it at its worst on my legs. I have to take steroids when it appears which I hate as they really affect my sleep which is already pretty unreliable thanks to being hypermobile.

Vasculitis

Anyway, enough about that for now. Mid afternoon we arrived at our final destination – a beautiful fishing village in Western Algarve called Burgau. We were due to see our final venue but also meet with a caterer we had heard so much about afterwards. We had about 45 minutes to kill before we were due at the venue so we treated ourselves to a burger. I needed food, my energy levels were low and I was feeling pretty rubbish but food and a cold drink really helped.

We arrived at Salsalito just after 3pm. This was our wild card venue. All previous venues had been beach side and this was a 10 minute walk from the beach. It was a villa venue with no view of the sea, I literally came across it online a day or so before we left on our trip. Simon knew very little about it but he trusted my judgement! We were greeted by the owner, a lady called Sally who we immediately knew was a larger than life character. She welcomed us with open arms like we were old friends and led us through her home to the patio.

Now, you know I mentioned earlier that we still hadn’t the ‘take our breath away’ moment? Well let me tell you, we both experienced it together, at the same time as we were led out on to the patio. WOW!!!!! What a beautiful place. A hidden paradise we never expected. Beautiful, tranquil and so amazingly us it was untrue! We remained calm and collected for the meeting and tour and even met the caterer there.

Had we found THE place…..?