Two Cities of Love

Two beautiful cities, both beginning with V, and only 75 miles apart, 1 hour and 20 minutes by train. Two cities synonymous with romance and epic love stories, each filled with magical and mysterious tales. If you are staying at the nearby Lake Garda and you are interested in culture and city sightseeing they are the perfect addition to your visit whilst holidaying in the region.

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I first fell in love with Venice when I visited on a school trip. I love the water, so to be able to explore a beautiful city literally floating on water was a dream in itself. With countless bridges, the lapping of water against stone walls and the beautiful balconies, there’s a vibe about this city that is so mysterious and magical. There is also a peacefulness that lingers over the city. Masks loom from independent shop windows and little pathways between tall houses break open into courtyards home to beautiful, pristine churches.

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“Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water.” – Frida Giannini

The main difference between my first trip and my second, almost ten years later, was the full on tourist trap that is has become. I would say it’s a shame, but not for the people of Venice who of course would welcome tourism as a vital source for the economy. Whilst there is the odd tourist with a shiny new selfie stick looming on bridges and in gondolas on the canals, there is also a calmness and to even take one turning off the tourist track leads you to the serenity of residential Venice. For those who want the unique Italian experience, even just for a weekend, this would be the place to go.

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“What about damp? What about flooding? Wouldn’t it make sense to have a little lawn or garden as a sort of buffer zone between the house and the water? But then it wouldn’t be Venice, said Connie’s voice in my head. Then it would be Staines.”- David Nicholls, Us

More recently I visited the gorgeous city of Verona. This ancient walled city was one that I had only briefly thought about visiting and now I am so glad that I had the opportunity. I am a huge fan of Romeo and Juliet, so to be able to visit Juliet’s balcony was a dream come true. It was truly incredible to see just how many names and padlocks were there, as well as the number of people that can fit in one courtyard! There’s so much love in the world but it seemed like it had all accumulated in this one place!

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“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet

I was amazed at the stunning architecture of the city. Walking through the walls of the city it was amazing to see the cobbled streets and the huge Roman amphitheatre, Arena di Verona, towering over the city and its citizens and visitors, famous for its opera which fills with over 15,000 spectators per performance.

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I was pleasently surprised by Verona and plan to return to this beautiful, intriguing city soon to explore it further. Would love to hear about any particular places you have explored in Verona! I’m looking for some more places to adventure to which are off the beaten track. Feel free to tweet me @prettyandpetit

Have you visited the cities? Did you have a preferred city? Let me know in the comments below!

Becky

Pretty & Petit

 

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#apovgiftswap – Part 2

First off, a belated Merry Christmas to you all! I have been enjoying the festive season to the max, spending time with friends and family, eating(!) as well as decorating my first real tree. It’s been nice to have a few days to catch up with myself and to reflect on the year too – something which I explored back in my Achievements and Resolutions post for 2016/17 which you can read here. Back to this one though and I recently wrote about the #APOV Gift Swap. We were each swapped with fabulous bloggers, we shared an idea for budget and a few things on our wish list before hitting the shops. I had a fantastic time choosing for my blogger, The Trendy Orange, and had a great time reading her fashion and lifestyle blog too. In turn she sent be a box of gorgeous goodies which I was so excited to open on Christmas morning!

So what was in my box of goodies? I opened it up to find the cutest little card from Ashley with a gorgeous glitter Merry Christmas. Underneath I spotted the Pusheen Cosmetic Bag straight away. I love anything Pusheen – the cutest cat – so I was so excited to see this. Pusheen has plenty of room for storing all my make up and is so furry. His little face is gorgeous and can brighten anyone’s day!

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Next up, I spotted bright pink flamingo paper clips. I love cute stationery especially when it involves animals or fun things. I’ve just created a new desk space to enable blog and writing for 2017 so these will definitely brighten up the space!

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The next gift I could smell as soon as I opened the box – a gorgeous Lush bath bomb in the shape of a parcel. I must admit I went in Lush just before Christmas just to smell all the beautiful bath bombs! I also jumped in on the online queue for the sales on Boxing Day and spent my day waiting from 75,000th in the queue! By the time I got onto the website there was nothing exciting left! Do let me know if you grabbed a bargain though!

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My final gift was the most gorgeous candle I’ve ever seen. It’s a little pine cone with snow decorating the base inside a pretty glass jar. The most perfect Christmas decoration which I am planning to save until next year as it is far too pretty to light!

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To complete the box Ashley included a number of yummy chocolates which I can’t wait to indulge in! You can never have too much chocolate at Christmas – Yum! Thank you Ashley so much for all of my fabulous gifts – even though we have never met the gifts you bought were so special and truly wonderful.

My advice to those who are thinking about a bloggers gift swap is totally do it! It’s such a lovely way to meet new blogging friends, learn about others’ interests and in turn it’s so fun to go out and choose unique gifts for someone.

Happy Christmas and wishing you all a wonderful New Year!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#apovgiftswap

So here I am – back with a bang! (or for those who know me well, a crash, bang, wallop! Either way, I have left you all for so long and I am terribly sorry to have left you in a lurch wondering if I would ever return but more on my little life update soon enough!

Today I want to let you know about a fabulous initiative I’m getting involved in after stepping back into the beautiful world of blogging. This fun opportunity involves swapping Christmas gifts with fellow bloggers whilst being able to network with one another, sharing ideas, happy thoughts and general positive vibes!

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This was something that I got involved with last year and I found it so much fun! It also enabled me to find out more about different blogs and writing styles which was so inspiring.

You’ll be able to see what I received closer to Christmas and I can’t wait to share my favourite Christmas gift ideas!

This year the gift swap is being organised by A Piece of Viola who has a fabulous Travel, Lifestyle and Fashion blog! Take a read by clicking here and if you fancy reading and discovering the blogs of those involved make sure you follow #apovgiftswap on Twitter.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 4

Prompts

A person who loves you

Recently, I was in the kitchen with my sister, and she picked up a postcard I had sent to her. On it I had written a poem, just as a nice surprise to receive in the post. She pointed to it and said “Do you know why I knew you didn’t write this?” I didn’t answer, fully knowing I hadn’t. She said “because there’s a line about bickering…and I don’t think we have ever argued a day in our lives!” It is true, we haven’t. It’s also true that I took that poem off the internet (ssh!) but it had all the sentiments written into such a lovely poem and something to treasure forever, so I’m glad I could share it with her. I am so grateful for everything my sister does for me, and I would do anything for her. I don’t say it enough but I do love her and I know she loves me too!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Garden Paradise

Yesterday we visited Quex Park in Birchington, Kent. Covering over 250 acres the park is home to a museum of natural history, a house and gardens. We started off by having a look round the Powell-Cotton Museum, a museum that has a Natural History theme and has some incredible exhibits originating from Africa and Asia. They have to be seen to be believed but I won’t spoil the surprise! It was a wonderful museum and we really enjoyed the fact that it was so child orientated – there was lots of things to see and do including a safari trail and learning about different ways of research through drawing, handling objects and working on the computer. There were lots of amazing interactive elements to the museum which were particularly enjoyable.

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As it was such a beautiful, sunny day we went for a walk round the gardens at the back of the house. There was a pretty woodland walk with bluebells and peacocks sheltering under the trees and a large pond to the back of the main lawn. We then walked over to the walled garden (accompanied by the resident cat!) and walked around viewing the different flowers and plants. There was Wisteria over the walls giving it that Secret Garden effect. We walked over to some huge greenhouses which were filled with hundreds of cacti plus lovely smelling Jasmine.

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Quex Park is truly a wonderful place to hold weddings and special events. It’s so peaceful and there’s lots of space for little ones to run around. There is something for everyone, including a craft village, Jungle Jims for the little ones and a beautiful garden centre. To find out more and to plan your visit click here.

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2014 (13th - 14th June 2014)

If you’re feeling inspired by this post for your own garden then BBC Gardeners’ World Live is coming to Birmingham NEC on 11th-14th June 2015 with special guests including Monty Don, Carol Klein and Mary Berry. Visit the beautiful Show Gardens which will be reflecting current trends, visit one of the largest floral marquees in the UK and learn more about growing your own fruit and vegetables in the Grow&Eat zone. Click here to book your tickets and use discount code: GPR15 to get an additional 15% off!

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Becky at Pretty & Petit

17. Ugly Duck Books

This week my featured business is Ugly Duck Books!

www.uglyduckbooks.co.uk

Ugly Duck Books have recently published their new book, My Amazing Family and Me, a record book for every family regardless of the type. Published by two friends – Jesse Toksvig-Stewart and Kat Willott, the book is unique and is a completely innovative record book in the UK.

www.uglyduckbooks.co.uk

Ugly Duck Books says: “My Amazing Family and Me is designed for alternative families and does not specify the age of a child nor the gender and status of the grown ups in their lives. It is an open record book where everyone can enjoy the fun of documenting a child’s personality, habits, characteristics and life, in whatever family and circumstances they find themselves.”

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With beautiful illustrations and the ability to record everything, I absolutely loved My Amazing Family and Me. It’s so inspirational for families and aims to send such a positive message. It also encourages families to spend time together which I feel is so important when family lifestyles are getting busier by the day!

www.uglyduckbooks.co.uk

The book is out now and is RRP £15.99. Click here to find out more about the book and purchase your copy!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

All images have been sent from Ugly Duck Books and are from the Ugly Duck Books website.