I’m always curious about what I get targeted with on Instagram and I’m starting to see it as another way to discover new destinations. During lockdown, it was mainly life and business coach adverts that were sent my way, but then slowly, bit by bit, the travel ads started popping up:
Visit Azores – Yes, please! The Azores have been on my list for a while now, and I was once about to buy £60 pound tickets, but then I checked and the weather was going to be horrible. I do hope to visit it in the future for a hike or two, and to check out the abandoned hotel and the tea plantation.
LNER – Good old LNER wants me to book tickets and travel with them. Though I do want to visit a few places on the LNER line, my two trips with them were awful and unless I’m desperate I won’t be taking the LNER again.
Visit South West UK – I always thought it was a hassle to get to by public transport and travel locally from place to place, but I saw The Cosy Traveller do it and now I’m thinking it’s doable. But maybe keep it for when the weather gets better.
Human Forest – This is one of those e-biking rent companies that’s taking over London. Since it’s currently only in Islington it’s a bit limited, but once they are all over the city I’m sure I’ll try out, if only for the free 20 minutes ride.
Copse Cabin X GPF – Oh how I’m itching for a night or two out of London in a little cottage or cabin filled with walks around little villages, followed by board games and one-pan pasta dishes. Copse Cabin looks amazing, but is a bit far for me to get to.
Visit Hampshire – Eventually yes, because I want to have been to all of the UK counties, but Hampshire is not on top of that list.
Visit Denmark – Probably the number 1 European country I want to return to. Last time I visited Copenhagen, but next time I would love to see the Mons Klint, visit Kronsburg Castle and a Viking Museum.
The Grand Brighton – Looks cool, but if I’d to stay overnight in Brighton again, it would be back at the rather special Artist Residence.
Sussex Modern – Yes! There is actually one place on their list I’ve been meaning to go forever, but now I’m seeing the list I can definitely plan a whole weekend around it. The only downside is that it looks like you need a car.
Yas Island Dubai – I’m not sure I’m the target audience for this one. The only thing I’d want to do in Dubai is an afternoon tea at the Burj, which I can do if I have a stopover there.
The Hoxton Hotel – The ad promised to give you £100 spending money if you booked a £199 stay in … Paris or Amsterdam. I thought the Amsterdam location had a rooftop swimming pool so I almost booked it back in August, but I found out it didn’t just in time.
Visit Estonia – I only spent less than 24 hours in Tallinn and would love to see the rest of the country. So yes! One day I want to do the Baltics the slow way – instead of rushing through them in 5 days.
The Gainsbourough Bath Spa – I was set to go to a spa on the week of the lockdown back in March. The Gainsbourough Bath Spa looks amazing, but if I’d go to one, it would be a local one so I don’t have to deal with too long a trip.
Visit Bermuda – Yes! Bermuda has been teasing me with their special visa offer for working remotely, but sadly it’s not applicable for me. I would love to visit the island one day to see Horseshoe Bay Beach, go into the Crystal Caves and walk the Railway Trail.
Here I am with another post on a dusty old house. I didn’t think I’d get into visiting historic houses and manors around the city until I was well into my retirement years. But I guess there is a 65-year-old in me that wants to go out now and explore them all. Plus who knows where I or the houses will be by the time I get to pension age!
I visited Osterley Park and House during its low season, which meant only one part of the house was open and the gardens were out of bloom. Still there was enough to explore and the park itself is lovely for a walk.
Originally built as a Tudor house in the 1570s, it was acquired by a rich banker in 1713, who saw it as the perfect way to impress and show off to his friends, enemies and clients. His grandson got Robert Adam (the go-to neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer of the 18th century) to remodel and transform Osterley into the impressive neo-classical country estate we can still explore today
As mentioned, only four rooms were open during my visit and one of those was the entrance hall that was used to welcome the above mentioned friends and clients to dinners, parties and balls and a slap to the face of the enemies. It probably also reminded those lucky enough to enter that they’d never attain this level of wealth.
The house has also been used as filming location for shows and movies since the 1940s and you might have seen it in Young Victoria, Mansfield Park or Alan Partridge. But I mainly recognised it as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan filmed quite a few scenes there, including the library with the secret door / book cabinet that leads to the secret Bat Cave.
The impressing continues with the formal garden with a number of little nooks. There is the Tudor Walled vegetable garden, the most adorable Garden House filled with all the Instagram friendly plants and a floral garden that must have been perfect to parade around.
While I did see a lot I still want to go back during the high season to explore The Long Gallery, The Tapestry Room and the Kitchen.
Osterley Park & House is a 20-minute walk from Osterley Underground Station on the Piccadilly Line.
Summer is over and it’s time for the next most wonderful time of the year, good old Autumn. As we’re on the edge of the second wave I’m trying to keep things a bit positive and have put together a plan of action with six things I’m looking forward to this October.
October equals the London Film Festival. Although the last two years I haven’t been going as much, I’m making it up this year now that the event has gone virtual and I can watch almost all of the movies without having to get annoyed at people talking, using their phones or you know…carrying the virus. I’m mainly looking forward to Mowgli Mogul, One Night In Miami and Wolfwalkers.
Board game afternoons. Putting my problem-solving skills to the test during an afternoon of tactical and cooperative board games. Expansions for Gloomhaven, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Agency and Pandemic Legacy should keep me busy for any cold, windy and rainy Saturdays and Sundays on the horizon.
Make my way to Central London somehow and warm up with a hot chocolate. I want to go to my classic favourites at Hotel Chocolat and Chin Chin Labs as well as to Said London, one I haven’t been to yet, but I love their chocolates and have been meaning to go there for a long long time.
Autumn is one of my favourite seasons and I can’t wait to see the leaf colours change on my daily walk around the block and longer walks around London on the weekends. I’ve even researched the best paved/rainproof walks, so I can’t use ”getting my shoes dirty” as an excuse not to go out and get some nature.
I could eat soup while it’s 31 degrees, but for some reason it’s frowned upon, so now that warm and hearty dishes season has officially opened, bring on the universal butternut squash soup, Bosnian bean soup and Lebanese soup.
Well, I have to wait until the end of October, but season two of The Mandalorian will be more than welcome by then. I must admit The Child stressed me out. I hope he can find some peace and quiet in season two.
I had put this Paris wishlist together around the time Notre Dame burnt down and then it didn’t feel right to publish it. I then wanted to set it live around the time I went to Paris just before the current pandemic all started, but again it didn’t feel right. But as they say, there’s no time like the present, so here is my Paris bucket list for when it’s safe and sound again.
A late breakfast at the Hotel Plaza Athenee – You know…the hotel where Carrie stayed in the final episodes of SATC. I will never be able to actually stay there, but I sure can get everything out of their €62 breakfast.
See the Mona Lisa – up close. And with that, the rest of Louvre’s classics, such as Liberty Leading the People, Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters, and Venus de Milo.
Visit the remaining museums and galleries – I’m slowly making my way through all of the museums and on my next visit I want to prioritise the National Museum of Natural History, the Rodin Museum and Louis Vuitton Foundation.
The Petite Ceinture railway – aka the abandoned railway track that is now overgrown with greenery – like New York’s High Line, but this one happened naturally. It seems so not Paris-like that I have to go see it for myself.
Explore Parc des Butte Chaumonts – the park that sits on a hill overlooking Paris just sounds magic. It apparently also has cliffs, waterfalls and a lake and just screams for a picnic.
Stay at Mama Shelter – This was my very first boutique hotel experience and I want to go back to relieve those special moments.
Climb the Eiffel Tower – To see if the city is as impressive without the Tower in the background. But also because it’s just something one has to do. And while I’m at it why not visit the secret apartment as well?
WWII Metro Bunker – I enjoyed my visit to the subterranean shelter in London and would love to check out Paris’s offer under Gare de l’Est.
Attend the Palace of Versailles – Take a day trip to explore THE Palace of Palaces: Versaille. My trips to Paris are always short, so a day trip seems like a big commitment, but I just need to make sure I schedule it in next time.
Les Catacombes de Paris – Another of those typical things I haven’t done yet, but it just never quite fit into my plans.
Go inside the Sacre Coeur – I’ve been on the hill a number of times and have admired the basilica’s exterior from every corner, but since I can’t imagine the inside being as impressive as the outside I’ve never bothered to queue to enter it
Anderson has a special place in my heart. His distinctive visual style, with complementary colour palettes and symmetrical framing makes his movies a treat for the eye and not to mention Instagram worthy. And thanks to #accidentallywesanderson we can find thousands of curated images of places that look like they could be a screengrab from one of his many films. Think a mustard yellow lighthouse, a pastel orange store front or a bright pink bowling alley, to name but a few.
I have too often shouted ‘that’s so Wes Anderson!’ when spotting something that could be a backdrop in one of his movies. And today I’m sharing some real places in London whose colour palette or even fonts could be straight out of a Wes Anderson movie.
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