The Town by the Lake, Aix-Les-Bains

For the last couple of years I have spent my holidays seeing Europe by train and trekking to gorgeous little towns around France and Italy. One of my particular favourites has had to be the town of Aix-Les-Bains, nestled quietly next to the towering Alps and the beautiful Lac Du Bourget in France.

20150724_144307

The weather here can be changeable and on the couple of occasions I have visited it has been prone to some quite fantastic thunderstorms! More specifically after our arrival it seemed to pour with rain as soon as we’d walked into the hotel lobby! We also had a bbq one evening which resulted in a quick dash inside when the first spots of a heavy shower started to plop onto our plates.

20160726_153435

For those who are keen cyclists the location is perfect and the nearby Chambery is the finishing point for Stage 9 of the 2017 Tour De France. Routes close to Aix-Les-Bains include Col Du Chat and the renowned Mont Du Chat, for those who would like more of a challenge and is also to be featured on the 2017 Tour de France.

Image result for STAGE 9 TOUR DE FRANCE 2017 MAP

For those who like to explore on two feet, I recommend taking a trip down to Lac Du Bourget and what better way to get there than by miniature train which leaves the Hotel De Ville throughout the day. This is a perfect way to see the town – the commentary is mostly in French – but it is still wonderful to see the beautiful scenery on the way down to the lakeside. Once by the lake you have the opportunity to walk for miles, there are lovely areas to sit and relax as well as wonderful bars and restaurants which I’m sure would be open in an evening to watch the world go by.

20160726_150206

20150724_155620

Although there are not many chain stores here, it is a beautiful town to stroll around at a leisurely pace, visiting the various independent stores. I bought some stunning shoes in one of the stores – a gorgeous pair of pastel coloured wedges. I had a wonderful morning enjoying some retail therapy and planning my dream French maison!

20160727_144550

20150724_134232

If you are looking for a fabulous hotel in which to base yourself for the duration of your stay then definitely take a look at the Golden Tulip. With recently refurbished spa facilities it is the perfect place to relax and rest those aching feet from all that retail therapy. The large bar and reception area is perfect for chilling out – reading a book or catching up with the latest on the Tour De France on their widescreen TVs.

If you are looking for a town where you can truly practice your French. This is the place to go. I had quite an experience in a French lingerie shop where as it happened I had a brief lapse in remembering any French bar the words ‘tres chaud’ and manically trying to mime how hot the weather was outside.. fortunately the two French ladies were extremely excited about the fact that I was even attempting to speak their language – a very amusing experience by both parties involved!

20150723_165823

Becky

Pretty & Petit

 

Advertisements

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.

20160722_133358

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.

20160722_144809

“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.

20160722_145203

“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!

20160724_172431

“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.

20160724_165413

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

 

#SendMeAway with IceLolly.com – My Dream Destination for 2016

In 2016, this Olympic year, my dream destination would have to be Rio de Janeiro in Brazil! This city has everything a perfect holiday destination has to offer; sun, sea, beautiful beaches along with some truly magnificent cultural sites to visit. Not only that but there are some truly amazing photo opportunities to be taken, with vibrant, colourful scenery, beautiful views and fabulous people! It would be the perfect place to visit in Summer 2016.

DE-Rio-de-Janiero-Copacabana-Beach.rend.tccom.966.544.jpeg

Check out my top 5 things to do whilst visiting Rio de Janeiro below and let me know if you have any more hidden gems!

Visit Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. Christ the Redeemer, an icon of Rio, stands tall above the city and is best seen either from a helicopter or by making the climb up to it. It was completed in 1931 and is 30 metres in height (not including the base) and was beautifully designed in an art deco style by French sculptor, Paul Landowski. Another fantastic site to behold is Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf Mountain, stands tall opposite the Christ the Redeemer statue and is rated to be one of the top sites to see on a trip to Rio and with it’s fantastic views it’s easy to see why! Located on a peninsula out in the Atlantic Ocean it is widely known for its cable cars as a way to reach the top for the most spectacular 360 degree views over the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Christ-the-Redeemer-Statue-Rio-de-Janeiro-Brazil-widescree-wallpapers-free-download-amazing-hd-wallpapers-of-rio-de-janeiro-city.jpg

sugarloaf-mountain-rio-de-janeiro-at-night.jpg

A visit to Rio isn’t complete without a trip to Copacabana Beach. This beautiful beach, up to 4km long, is one of the many beaches located around the coastline of Rio de Janeiro. The beaches play host to a mix of activity, from beach soccer matches to games of volleyball, through to sun worshippers and swimmers.

1441763973989.jpg

Carnival in Rio is like no other. One of the most famous festivals in the world, the carnival is full of the most vibrant, colourful costumes from the revellers and floats from Samba schools located in Rio. The carnival took place between February 6th and 10th in 2016 and will be taking place between 24th February and 1st March in 2017 if you want to experience it for yourself!

riodejaneirocarnaval2013_11.jpg

Carnival-Rio.jpg

rio-carnival-tuesd_3202039k.jpg

Brazilian food is a mixture of Portuguese, African and Amazon influenced delicacies, however something you will definitely come across is barbecued meat – and a lot of it! Want to try some Brazilian barbecue before heading there? Why not visit the fabulous Rodizio Preto (so yummy I’m off there for my birthday meal next month!) One of the few foods that you will find wherever you visit in Brazil is Feijoada, a delicious stew of black beans, sausages and pork which is truly a labour of love taking up to 24 hours to cook. It’s definitely worth it though!

spits.jpg

Rio is home to the 2016 Olympics. Last held in London back in 2012 (has it really been 4 years?!), Rio will play host to this fantastic sporting event with everything from swimming and diving through to athletics and cycling. A trip to Barra Olympic Park is essential on a visit to Rio, located to the south of the city. The Olympics will be taking place August 5th to August 21st 2016.

rio-og-2016.jpg

Make sure you take a trip to icelolly.com to get some inspiration for your next holiday in 2016!

I nominate the following three fabulous bloggers to share their dream destinations as part of the icelolly.com competition #sendmeaway!

  1. Twisted Beauty Blog
  2. Crunch Corner
  3. Cait’s Cozy Corner

Let me know in the comments where your dream destination would be for 2016!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

New Year, New You – Essentials for Travelling Abroad

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 

Today is the turn of Cait from CaitsCozyCorner who will be sharing her essentials for travelling abroad! Such a useful post as I will be travelling myself in a couple of weeks time so have picked up on some handy tips for my trip!

TravelingAbroad

Hey everyone! I’m so happy to be a guest blogger here at Pretty & Petit!! Today I wanted to chat about 4 essentials you need when traveling abroad. I don’t consider myself an expert of course but I have been to Europe several times ( and planning another one this October for Munich and Germany ) so I wanted to share some tips that have helped me! Whether its your first time abroad or your hundredth, these will ease your worry and make the trip as smooth as possible.

1. Passport case. Believe me, with all the stuff you’re packing in your suitcase, you want something fun and durable for your passport. After all, it’s what helps you get from country to country. If you’re feeling fancy, Kate Spade or Coach has adorable prints to keep your passport safe but if you don’t feel like splurging, your local convenient store should have some!
2. Durable luggage. I’m a suitcase girl. For me, a suitcase abroad means something with 4 wheels that I can push and turn in all directions. Those cobblestones you’re attempting to push your luggage over can be a pain so why not make it easy on yourself and get a suitcase that’s easy to push and pull.
3. Packing in layers. The one thing that took so much time was what to wear! Layers was the answer and simple ones at that. Don’t worry about the latest fashion because you want to be comfortable. A few pairs of jeans, leggings, tank tops, sweaters and a cute purse is all you need! You can mix and match everything! Be creative!
4. A Camera. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to make the most your trip. Our phones are so handy and easy to use at a moment’s notice that you’ll want to capture everything. Make sure you do because you’re in Europe creating memories! Enjoy every single second of it!
Cait is a 20 something blogger who loves writing about fashion, fitness, her family, and traveling. Follow her and her adventures on CaitsCozyCorner !

Dreams of Dubai

“Dubai, with all of its glitz and glamour rose in the heart of the desert.”

Soroosh Shahrivar, The Rise of Shams

Personally, I find the city of Dubai one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. With its contrast of old and new, historical and modern and it’s merging of a variety of cultures that use the destination as a gateway to the rest of the world, it is the ultimate city of dreams. When I was a little girl I first discovered the city of Dubai in an encyclopaedia (with the rise of the internet I’m not even sure they still exist!) At school I would create collage after collage of research in the form of images of future designs of architectural magnificence that Dubai was looking forward to, in any other city these would have stayed pipe dreams. Not in Dubai.  Most of these mesmerizing structures have now come into fruition or are certainly under development.

72fc648a9f1556f8701857f534f2363e

The city of Dubai. Image from Tumblr

When the opportunity arose to take part in Travelbag’s blogger competition with a prize of a trip to Dubai came up I was beyond ecstatic. It took me back to those school days where I would be cutting and sticking images of a destination I could only ever dream of visiting and I had to get involved.

There are two sides to Dubai, and it is these contrasting sides that I would absolutely have the pleasure in exploring. The history of Dubai as a small fishing village; growing, developing and expanding into the metropolis it has become, a symbol of the modern UAE. A symbol of a prosperous future for not only the city but the country as a whole.

386380b0b27fdf619f6ce27b58ccc2e1

History of Dubai. Image from Viralnova.com

On the first day we would start with a day of visiting historical Dubai. We would enjoy a historical tour, savouring the cultural aspect of Dubai, marvelling at the fashions, savouring the tastes and smells of the souks. We would visit the food souk, the spice souk and the gold souk exploring what each of these had to offer. This would be followed by a visit to the Jumeirah Mosque. I find mosques absolutely beautiful and fascinating. They are such a peaceful environment as well which provides a calmness and sense of wellbeing.

Jumeirah Mosque. From Flickr.com

Jumeirah Mosque. Image from Flickr.com

In the evening we would escape the hustle and bustle of the city to the desert on a Desert Safari. Enjoying the surroundings of the bedouin camp we would enjoy belly dancers and arabic henna painting into the night.

The desert of Dubai. Image from 99traveltips.com

The desert of Dubai. Image from 99traveltips.com

Rising early, the second day would take an intense look at the architecture of Dubai. This is a city which has a landscape that looks like something out of this world. We would start the day by taking a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, standing at 829.8m tall, venturing to the dizzying heights of the 125th floor to view the landscape around us. We would marvel at the World’s largest the fountains of the Burj Khalifa lake as they perform their daily shows, at night sending beams of light into space!

The Burj Khalifa - Image from Harpers Bazaar.

The Burj Khalifa – Image from Harpers Bazaar.

After coming back down to Earth we would visit the Dubai Mall. We would have some retail therapy, before exploring the other attractions the Mall has to offer, such as visiting the DubaiDino, a dinosaur that has been transported all the way from the USA and Sega Republic for some video gaming fun! No doubt we would also end up in the candy heaven that is Candylicious!

The most beautiful candy in the world! Image found on valentinadepertis.blogspot.se

The most beautiful candy in the world! Image found on valentinadepertis.blogspot.se

We would take in the beautiful city scape, including the many towers that dominate the skyline. My favourite would have to be the Twisted Tower, the Cayan Tower standing at 306m high.

Cayan Tower. Image found on skyscrapercity.com

Cayan Tower. Image found on skyscrapercity.com

Ending our exploration would be a visit to the manmade islands of the Palm and The World. These fascinated me as I was growing up, a playground for the rich and famous, these are located in the waters of the Persian Gulf and as the name suggests are in the shape of a Palm Tree and all the countries of the World. 

The second day would end with a trip to Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world. It was this architecture that first drew me into want to learn more about Dubai. This is the ultimate icon of Dubai and an architectural wonder. We would enjoy cocktails in the sky bar looking over the beautiful coastline and city of Dubai as the sun sets.

Burj Al Arab - Image found on homedit.com

Burj Al Arab – Image found on homedit.com

After two days of absorbing the architecture and the cultural aspects of Dubai Day three would be time for some fun in the sun! Ironically, the first activity of the day would not be in the sun and would involve a visit to Dubai’s Indoor Ski Park located in the Dubai Mall. A faux winter wonderland, this ski park is 22,500 square meters with a variety of activities available including skiing and snowboarding.

The Dubai Ski Park. Image  found on thechive.com

The Dubai Ski Park. Image found on thechive.com

After a couple of hours skiing we would head to Dubai’s Miracle Garden, the world’s largest natural garden full of the most colourful displays and breathtaking landscaping I have ever seen! When I was researching more about these gardens I was absolutely convinced to put them on my bucket list and I’m sure after seeing the images below you will too!

Dubai Miracle Garden - Image found on travel.cnn.com

Dubai Miracle Garden – Image found on travel.cnn.com

Dubai Miracle Garden. Image found on icosnap.com

Dubai Miracle Garden. Image found on icosnap.com

Our final day would end with a trip to the Atlantis resort. Located on The Palm, this breathtaking hotel is a reflection of the Atlantis in the Bahamas and plays host to rooms surrounded by an aquarium so you can literally spot stingrays and beautifully coloured tropical fish from the comfort of your own bed! Aquaventure Water Park is also part of the resort with some of the best water rides in the world and we would spend the afternoon zipping down water slides and relaxing in the sun. After enjoying a fun filled afternoon of meeting sea lions, visiting Dolphin Bay and enjoying the sights of the Aquarium we would visit one of the 23 fantastic restaurants to choose from for the most delicious meal before sorrowfully heading back to the UK.

The Atlantis Dubai. Image found on telegraph.co.uk

The Atlantis Dubai. Image found on telegraph.co.uk

“Pilgrims from all over the world were making their way to the place deemed the pearl of the Middle East. The city was reminiscent of a modern-day Persepolis. Its buildings, like towering pillars, tested the sky’s limit. The evenly paved roads belched with the smell of new tarmac, as if a million masons woke up every morning and by hand lay asphalt one grain at a time. People of all colors, ethnicities, creed and social statuses came bearing money, knowledge or experience in order to build their legacies in the new kingdom, sprouting out of the desert.
Dubai had arrived.”
Soroosh Shahrivar, The Rise of Shams

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 9

image

Share something beautiful

image

This is an image of Lac du Bourget in France. I found it such a beautiful and inspiring place to relax and chill out for a few days. Do you have a place you like to go to feel stress free and inspired??

Becky at Pretty & Petit

A View from The Shard

On a warm September evening, we travelled over to London Bridge to visit The Shard, the tallest building in Europe. Watching this gradually being constructed over the last few years, it was amazing to be able to visit this amazing building. Especially as so many of the tallest buildings in London are predominantly housing or office blocks.

The View from The Shard

               The View from The Shard

We paid for our tickets, went through some security and had our photo taken. After being provided with an audio guide we were guided over to the lift. I felt a bit apprehensive prior to going to The Shard as I am afraid of heights but once in the lift this seemed to disappear.

To get to the top you are required to get in two lifts, travelling at 6m per second. They are ultra smooth and it doesn’t feel like you are travelling anywhere at all! The first stops at floor 33 where you head to a second lift to go up to floor 68. This was definitely one of the tallest buildings I’ve ever been in. I don’t think I’ve ever been higher than 8 floors!

Stepping out on the 68th floor (and walking up the stairs to the 69th) we were absolutely mesmorised by the sight before us. Every single part of London, North, South, East and West was laid out before us in a criss-crossing pattern of multi-coloured lights and beautifully lit architecture.

wpid-20150919_214721.jpg

wpid-20150919_213016.jpg

wpid-20150919_222607.jpg

We enjoyed some champagne and took so many photos of the different views available from the floor to ceiling windows in each angle of the building. Although a sprawling city, it looked so small from that height. The railways snaked across the city like rivers and the Thames itself was adorned by bridges spanning its width as far as the eye could see. It was truly spectacular.

Champagne on the 69th floor!

Champagne on the 69th floor! (It was dark up there!)

wpid-20150919_222434.jpg

Looking up into the night. Towards the spire of The Shard

If you’re thinking of visiting The Shard on a trip to London it’s an absolutely amazing thing to do! Certainly you pay a price for a view like that (concessions are available for students, senior citizens etc.) and there are some wonderful packages available too. However they have an affordable boutique at the end which is good value for money so handy for souvenirs on your way home.

Some key facts about The Shard!

The Shard is approximately 309 metres high.

The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe.

A fox was found living on the 72nd floor during construction which staff nicknamed ‘Romeo’.

The Shard is home to Shangri-La Hotel, as well as multiple bars and restaurants and office space.

It takes 3 months to clean the windows of The Shard by some very brave window cleaners!

wpid-20150919_222352.jpg

Becky at Pretty & Petit

15. Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos

My featured business this week is… Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos!

logo

Metallic Transfer Tattoos are set to be one of the biggest trends of SS15 and I was lucky enough to test them from Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos over Coachella weekend! I absolutely love tattoo transfers. They give you the flexibility for different designs, are so quick to apply and are completely safe to use.

wpid-20150411_155939.jpg

wpid-20150411_162327.jpg

There are a whole range of different collections to choose from on the website costing £16.95 per collection and I purchased the Zenia collection. Delivery was quick and cost £2.95 which I thought was very reasonable considering the beautiful bubble wrapped packaging they arrived in.

wpid-20150411_165854.jpg

I tested the collection with my sister and 7 year old niece and we had a wonderful, creative afternoon trialling on the different designs included. There were 4 sheets in total and the length of the tattoos meant we could be as creative as we liked so we could create bracelets, anklets and rings.

wpid-20150411_165950.jpg wpid-20150411_170001.jpg wpid-20150411_170111.jpg

It took 10 minutes for the tattoo to originally dry on the skin and a couple of hours for the tattoo to set completely which was what the instructions stated. The tattoos stayed on for a few days and can be washed off with soap and warm water. They would be amazing for a night out or a festival!

wpid-20150411_171556.jpg wpid-20150411_171608.jpgwpid-20150411_172156.jpg

I will definitely be purchasing the Nahla collection which has a beautiful aqua blue in the designs for my holiday this year! I feel the tattoos were definitely worth the price in terms of quality and the amount of tattoos available.

Screen shot 2015-04-13 at 22.05.54Screen shot 2015-04-13 at 22.06.06

I also love the stunning henna inspired designs of the Vandana collection.

Screen shot 2015-04-13 at 22.08.53

Screen shot 2015-04-13 at 22.09.02

For more information and to order click here to visit their website.wpid-20150411_172316.jpg

Becky at Pretty & Petit

All images taken by myself and taken from the Bohemian Jewellery Tattoos website.