Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Surprise Trip to Brussels!

Hello! I recently turned 23 and was whisked away on one of the most special (surprise) trips I've been on and I thought it was too good not to share the story of the surprise, and the beautiful trip itself! 

So the day started with me believing I was going to Cambridge to celebrate my birthday/birthday weekend, which is exciting, but when you're woken at 6am to go there, the novelty wears off! So we get ready and head to King's Cross to grab the crazy early train and my boyfriend hands me the tickets to Cambridge. 

Given the look on my face, he mentions he has two tickets, (to which I assume he meant one for me and one for him!), but he asks would I rather go somewhere else? Naturally, I was super confused and super intrigued! So I had to choose between Cambridge and the 'mystery place'.. I chose the mystery place! (But not before asking if I could bring liquids to the mystery place as I'd brought all of my best stuff!).

 Within seconds I'm being whisked off to St Pancras and I was the most excited, giddy girl in the world!! I'm frantically reading the departures board for clues as to where we're going... (Oh yeah, I saw Disneyland, haha!). After a short wait and lots of guessing games, we head to the platform for the Eurostar to Brussels. 

It's only once we checked into the most gorgeous hotel, (Radisson Blu!), that it sunk in where I was and what we were doing! 

We were so lucky to arrive in Brussels on the one weekend that occurs every two years where they lay down the most spectacular 'Flower Carpet' around the Grand Palace, although Laury says he arranged the whole thing, haha! The whole ground is covered with stunning patterns made from real flowers, we couldn't imagine seeing the Grand Palace without it! Of course, this means tourists and locals flock here to enjoy the weekend and celebrations, but with a little, (a lot), of patience and some perseverance, we got some amazing views of the carpet. 

The rest of our first day was spent eating delicious pizza, wandering around the city and eventually to the beautiful park where we sat down, people-watched and relaxed. Perfect! We also stumbled across a fun Jamaican street concert so we danced into the night until it was time for sleep! I was so excited for the following day.. birthday day!!!

Ever since I can remember, I've always had major excitement butterflies on my birthday, even at the ripe old age of 23! We had the comfiest bed in the world, so waking up early and jumping around totally wasn't on my agenda, but when I spotted some mysterious boxes on my bedside table, it was time to get up! (Presentsssssss!), (those were my exact words!).

Throughout the day I was given the most special, thoughtful gifts in the most special way. I actually cried at the last one. I could see the thought, effort and love that had gone into every step of the trip and me being an emotional girl anyway.. crying in the bar, yep! 'The tears are falling out of my eyes, I can't stop them!', hahaha.

During the day we went to a waffle making workshop and made our very own Brussels waffles from scratch! Laury is way more artistic than me, so he decorated his beautifully with bananas, Nutella and strawberries, (see below), and me being me, I slathered mine in icing sugar, Nutella and was ready to eat as many as possible.

With super full tummies, we headed back to the hotel for a short rest before getting dressed up and ready for birthday drinks and dinner. (There's nothing more attractive than seeing your man suited and booted!). We went to The Dominican for a drink, such a chilled place with cool cocktails, (mine came in an actual bag..), and then we headed over for some Italian food! (Allllll the lasagne and spaghetti!).

We also took full advantage of the spectacular lights show around the palace. Seriously, you have to book a trip to Brussels the weekend of the Flower Carpet, even just for the lights show, it was like magic and we were completely in awe. One more drink in our hotel and we were off to bed! I felt like a princess all day, (all weekend actually), and didn't want the day to end!

The next morning was time to explore a little further out of the city, so we hopped on the Metro and made our way to Mini Europe! We didn't have too much time so we didn't go inside the Atomium, but we got great views of it from Mini Europe.

Mini Europe is basically as it sounds, it's a selection of cool landmarks in every country in Europe in miniature form. It's definitely a fun place to take your children, or just a fun way to get a taste of the cool buildings in Europe! We've visited a lot of them in real life, so it was fun to see the tiny versions. I'm a sucker for the miniature places in Legoland so this definitely released my inner child! We even got to play ourselves in a virtual video game!

If you've never been to Brussels before, add it to your list! It's such a cool, beautiful city. There are so many fun things going on, but you can also totally chill out and enjoy the city at your own pace. We took the Eurostar which made the whole trip even better, we could pack what we wanted and not worry about crazy security and check-in queues. We had comfy seats and Wi-Fi... it's a yes from me! I'm so grateful for being able to experience these places with the person I love. I can't wait for the next trip!!


Friday, August 31, 2018

Moving to the Big City - London

Hello! It's been such a long time since I posted on my blog, my little space on the internet I created over 5 years ago. It's a space that although I neglect for periods at a time, I always find it to be my happy place when I return. 

So much has happened in the last year, mainly my big move to London! Since I practically grew up to and froing from London, I always wanted to move there, especially as I got older and knew that's where I belonged. I had the urge in me so much more in the last year and finally landed myself a job and moved in with my boyfriend down South. 

I kind of had, but mostly hadn't taken into account the impact of leaving the home I'd lived in for the last 23 years. You miss the little things you would always take for granted, such as dog cuddles, mum cuddles(!) and not paying for most day to day things.. (definitely one to make the most of!). Of course, home is only a few hours away and I can visit whenever I want to and I'm so grateful for that.

I've been living here for over two weeks now and I'm still yet to explore so many cool places, but me and my friend Julija took an after-work detour to the Millenium Bridge to shoot these cool pictures around the Thames, St Paul's Cathedral and the Shard. We just about caught the last of the summer sun! I haven't done these kind of pictures for years, (due to low confidence), but I'm so happy with how they came out! I definitely want to shoot more pictures and hopefully create better content.

Like I said, I haven't explored a lot since moving to London as I've been so incredibly busy with work and trying to find a work-life balance. I used to work for Clinique, part-time in a department store so jumping from that to full-time work, (London hours!), is a huge time of adjustment for me. I'm loving my new job, it's a totally different type of work for me and I already feel in my element and I enjoy the fast-paced environment and reliance on me to get things done! I was so afraid to make such a drastic change, but it's felt like such a seamless transition and I finally feel like I have prospects for the future. 

I get that city life isn't for everybody, but I've always felt so comfortable and truly in my element hopping around the tube, feeling tiny amongst the huge buildings. I find myself wandering around on my lunch hour just getting lost in the beautiful streets and immaculate gardens. (I work in a beautiful area!).

That's all I have to say for now, I just wanted to share these amazing pictures and chat about my new move! I'm so excited to explore more of my new city. We have lots of cool travels coming up soon, and whilst I don't see myself vlogging again just yet, I'd like to share them in blog posts/travel guides!

Nicole x

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