25 December, 2014

Happy Christmas!

Travel Lightbulb wishes you a very merry Christmas no matter where you are in the world celebrating! The image of a white Christmas is what most springs to mind for most people when you think of this time of year, but having spent several holidays over the festive period in the blazing sunshine, I know that a while traditional, a white Christmas isn't always the best way to spend it!

If the December holiday's you've had have always looked like the photo above, and you've never experienced a warm Christmas - I can highly recommend it! Enjoy the holidays, whether you're in the heat or the cold! Merry Christmas xx

19 December, 2014

Getting into the Christmas spirit!

There's nothing I love more than getting into the Christmas spirit by visiting my local Christmas market. It has become a very popular thing to do in the UK, and most towns and cities now have these vibrant stalls popping up in the run up to Christmas.

I don't tend to do my Christmas shopping at the markets though - instead I prefer to soak up the sights and sounds, and mostly the smells of the markets! From mulled wine to roasted chestnuts and chargrilled meat, it's a sensory overload!

I've also visited markets in Switzerland and Germany, and it seems to be the same worldwide - everyone at the markets is just getting into the Christmas spirit, and spending time with loved ones.

One thing is for sure, there's no better way to gear up for the festive period than spending time with friends, with a warm cup of mulled wine in your hand - bliss! Happy shopping, and if you've already done that, then grab a mulled wine instead - cheers!

05 December, 2014

A room with a view with a difference - The Manta Resort, Tanzania

When I stumbled across a photo of the place I'm featuring today, I was blown away. If you're looking for a remote get-away, can you really get any better than the room in the photo below?

Photo courtesy of Jesper Anhede
Located in the Indian ocean just off the coast of Tanzania, this floating cube is the underwater room at The Manta Resort.  This amazing room is anchored almost 250m away from the coast and has three levels which allow you to sunbathe or stargaze; lounge and dine on the water deck, or enjoy 360 degree views of the shoals of reef fish from the comfort of your double bed!

Photo courtesy of Jesper Anhede
If the prospect of spending a night under the water makes you nervous or claustrophobic, then you can always opt for one of the 16 beautiful rooms on dry land at the resort.

Photo courtesy of Jesper Ached
 If you do opt for that instead, you can still enjoy the marine life on the natural coral reef which lies just off the beach, attracting divers and snorkelers.

Photo courtesy of Jesper Anhede
However, as you relax on the beach you can see the underwater room in the distance (see photo above) and would you not always be thinking whether a night in that room would be an experience of a lifetime? I know I would! If you would like more information on the resort or the underwater room, visit the official website.

28 November, 2014

Travel Photo Friday: Perfection in March

Today's photo just makes me feel like I'm about to head to the beach for the day....I wish! You might think it was taken in the summer months, but it was actually a March day. You can almost hear the gentle breeze blowing the plants on the beach, and hear the waves rolling in. Many photos these days are altered with the use of mobile phone camera apps, but these colours are genuine, and that shows just how nice a day it was!

I'd love to see photos that you've taken that have turned out perfectly without the use of an app. If you have one photo you'd like to share with me, then please get in touch - details of how to do that can be found here on my contact page.

21 November, 2014

Flashback Friday: Barbados

Regular readers of my blog will know that the Caribbean island of Barbados is one of my favourite places to visit in the whole world. Today's photo was taken on Crane Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches with sand so white and powdery it's like talcum powder....no really......I'm not joking!

If you'd like to read about one of the beautiful boutique hotels on the island that I'd highly recommend, then click here.

14 November, 2014

Epic views at Ladera Resort, St. Lucia

Have you ever come across a photo that makes you go "WOW"? I did just that when I saw the incredible views from the Ladera Resort, St Lucia. 

If you're looking for a place to relax, then you want extraordinary views - and the views of the Piton Mountains (two volcanic plugs, and the most photographed landmark on the island) are quite simply extraordinary! 

The view of Ladera resort itself is also amazing. As it's the only one to be located on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been built very sympathetically, to blend in with the lush forest that surrounds it.

Each bedroom is built with only three walls, which mean you can enjoy the view at any time of day; whether it be waking up at sunrise, or enjoying the spectacular sunsets.

There is always a lovely cool breeze blowing into the room, and while the hotel offers guests ear plugs, who wouldn't want to fall asleep to the sound of tree frogs and crickets? Book me a room now!
If you want more information on the resort, you can visit the official website here.

07 November, 2014

Travel Photo Friday: Tremendous Tulips

Today's photo really needs no explanation - I'm sure you'll agree the striking colours of the tulip bulbs speak for themselves! While many think that bicycles are a trademark of Holland, I think the beautiful tulips are the most vivid trademark. One thing is for sure - they're overwhelmingly beautiful and something that has to be seen to be believed. 

The best time to see them is from the end of March until the second week in May, when the flowers in the bulb fields bloom. Stunning! 

31 October, 2014

Flashback Friday: A Halloween Special!

Happy Halloween to you all! I'm not really one for marking the occasion - apart from carving the odd pumpkin or two, but I love the way America celebrates with totally over the top parties and costumes - I'd love to experience that one day. I do, however, like spooky stuff, and that's what I decided to feature today on Flashback Friday. 

This photo was taken in the Chapel of Bones in Alcantarilha in Portugal - a truly spooky place, but one that's strangely intriguing, with a great story behind it. If you want to find out more, then click here to read my original post.

24 October, 2014

A tropical paradise in Belize: Matachica Resort & Spa

We're off to the a tropical paradise today, and a beautiful resort on Ambergris Caye Island. You may never have heard of the island (I hadn't!), but it's just a 15 minute flight from the mainland of Belize....and it's stunning! 

The Matachica Resort & Spa is set on a secluded stretch of natural white-sand facing the world's second-largest barrier reef. Accommodation is set in 26 vibrantly coloured thatched roof villas. They're all uniquely decorated with original art collected from around the world, and are very cleverly situated so they're not too close to each other. They have air-con, ceiling fans, and private patios.

Enjoying a relaxing time is paramount here, but there is also plenty to do including exploring the underwater world; enjoying the Spa,  and making the most of the award winning restaurant with its homemade pastas and seafood.

Matachica is simply stunning, and the atmosphere is relaxed and laid back - just what you want on a holiday like this! It's a small intimate resort, where you're made to feel special.

The resort has been named one of the best hotels in Central America for Romance by the 2014 Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice Awards, so a decent recommendation when the award comes from the guests! If you want more information, you can visit the official website here.

17 October, 2014

Travel Photo Friday: Edinburgh skyline

Today's photo shows just how beautiful a view you can get of the Edinburgh skyline. It was taken from Arthurs Seat, a dormant volcano which gives you excellent views of the city. It's only a short walk from Edinburgh's Royal Mile in the heart of the city, just next to Holyrood Palace.

Have you taken a beautiful shot of a city skyline? If so, I'd love to see it and share it on here. Please feel free to send it to me via the details on my contact page, and tell me where it was taken.

10 October, 2014

Flashback Friday: Alentejo

Today's photo was taken in Portugal on a drive from the Algarve up to the Alentejo region. I spent a few nights inland, but on the drive up I made sure I didn't miss any of the stunning coastline in that part of the country.

The views were simply stunning, and it's amazing how much of Portugal is uncrowded, and still untouched by tourism.

If you'd like to find out more about where I stayed in the Alentejo region, then visit my original post Awesome Alentejo.

03 October, 2014

A hut in the countryside

The photo below says almost everything you need to know about the place I'm featuring today. Beautiful; quaint; small, but perfectly formed! Hope Cottage's Blackdown Shepherd Hut is tucked away in the calm of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell in Oxfordshire. 

It's the perfect place to get away from the stresses of life, with peace and quiet along with panoramic views over the Oxfordshire fields.

These huts were once a common sight in the fields of Victorian England, offering shepherds simple, warm living conditions while they tended their flocks far from home. Things have moved on since then though, and the hut comes with a double bed; ensuite facilities, and a burning stove.

Hope Cottage itself dates back to the early nineteenth century and sits of the site of a Roman road, and that is where delicious cooked breakfasts; afternoon tea, or dinner is served.

The luxury, self-contained hut offers year-around accommodation, and is also close to the Cotswolds; Oxford; London and Bath if something more than relaxation is on your agenda. If you'd like more information, go to the website here.

26 September, 2014

Travel Photo Friday: Belgian beauty!

Today's photo comes from Iain Hill, who took a great shot on a trip to Leuven in Belgium. It's a short train ride east of Brussels. It's a small historic University town and home to Stella Artois!

Great shot Iain, and thanks for your contribution. If you have a photo you'd like to contribute, then please get in touch - details of how to do that are on my contact page.

19 September, 2014

Flashback Friday: The Maldives

Having just celebrated my wedding anniversary, I thought today's photo could be part the first of a new feature on my blog - Flashback Friday....a new photo and a flashback to a former post on Travel Lightbulb. This photo was taken on my honeymoon in the Maldives.

The photo says it all, and is the picture postcard view I think we all have of that part of the world. Simply stunning, and I've never seen water that clear or blue anywhere else - and I've travelled a lot!
If you want to read more about where we stayed, and my review of the resort, click to read about Perfection in the Maldives.

12 September, 2014

Bubbles in France - with a difference!

What springs to mind when you think of bubbles in France? Champagne....yes, that's what I thought, but today, I'm going to open your mind with some bubbles that are quite unique!

Courtesy of Attrap'Rêves

Attrap'Rêves is a network of 'bubbles', 17 of them in fact divided over 5 sites, all away from the crowds. It is the brainchild of a family company which was founded in February 2010, and pulls together their skills to make this unique project.

Courtesy of Attrap'Rêves
They are inflatable tents, around 4 metres in diameter, and are all different. The most basic has a roll-out bed, and moveable wardrobes, while the more luxurious bubbles have attachable bathroom and an additional bedroom.

Courtesy of Attrap'Rêves
I know what you're all thinking - privacy, or a lack of it? Each bubble has been installed to protect your privacy; there is a private path for each bubble, and some of them are not fully transparent. Having said that, the whole idea of this concept is to give you a unique experience in the middle of nature, so go on - embrace it, and unleash your inner exhibitionist! For more information on the locations of the bubbles, visit the official website here.

05 September, 2014

Travel Photo Friday: Amazing Algarve coastline

I took this photo in one of my favourite spots in the Western Algarve in Portugal, just outside Lagos. Just behind the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse, there is a long staircase that leads down to this beautiful view. In the height of summer, it's where the fisherman take tourists out on boat trips to see the rock formations along the coastline. In the winter months, it's almost always deserted, and a perfect place to just sit for a moment, and enjoy the scenery.

Have you been to the Algarve? Do you have any photos of the coastline? If so, share them with me - details of how to get in touch are on my contact page

01 September, 2014

Back and ready to discover!

Well hello there and thank you for stopping by! 
Regular followers of Travel Lightbulb will know that I have taken a break from the blog for a little while. Why I hear you ask.....well it has to be said that everyone goes through ups and downs in life, and I took a break to try and get through a huge down. There's no point trying to inspire people and feel enthusiastic about things when you're feeling anything but enthusiastic yourself.

That passion and enthusiasm is a big part of travel isn't it? Something inspires you to book that flight; to select that particular place to travel to, and you have to feel that buzz or excitement when you've booked a trip and are waiting to travel whether it be long haul, or a mini-break. 

So, I'm back, but just because the blog has returned, it doesn't mean I'm 'up' again. What I did realise during my blogging break was that life is short - too short for some. I will cherish time with family and friends more than ever. I will to travel to far flung places and make the most of every moment I have on this earth. I will try to inspire people by sharing the places I find on my travels, and the ones that I come across and haven't yet visited, but hope to one day. 
As a wise man once told me, 'Life is not a dress Rehearsal'. Life is for living......just do it.

In memory of a beautiful lady who taught me how to laugh uncontrollably; to smile just like her; to always try to see the best in people, and to squeeze every last drop out of life. FTF.

25 August, 2014

The countdown is almost over....

This time next week I'll be writing the first Travel Lightbulb post for quite a while. I'm excited about it returning....I hope you are too!

The sun is rising on an exciting new chapter for Travel Lightbulb - don't miss out on the fun! Check back here on September the 1st.

18 August, 2014

Not much longer now......

.....two weeks and Travel Lightbulb will be back! Where do you fancy jetting off to?

I plan to inspire you, and boy have I found some cracking places to feature. Only fourteen more days to wait to see if you agree!

11 August, 2014

Three weeks.....

........and counting til Travel Lightbulb returns!

Join the fun from the 1st of September! In the meantime, get in touch via my contacts page if you have any travel suggestions, or photos you'd like to contribute. Thanks!

04 August, 2014

The Countdown is on....

Travel Lightbulb will be back on the 1st of September. Four weeks to go til I try to inspire you with more fabulous travel ideas and photos!

Join the fun from the 1st of September!

14 July, 2014

We're on the way back!

Watch this space......

Travel Lightbulb will be returning very soon with a whole host of new features and places for you to discover. Keep an eye on my Facebook & Twitter accounts and you won't miss a thing!

04 July, 2014

Top 3 - Great UK cities

In another of my Top 3 features, here are a few ideas for some fantastic cities to visit. I'm slightly biased on the first one - my place of birth, but there are some great places in the UK and this post proves going on a city break doesn't mean you have to leave the UK.

Despite travelling all over the world, I maintain Edinburgh is the best city in the world. The Scottish capital not only has an iconic castle and famous architecture, but it has wonderful festivals when more than 25,000 entertainers descend on the city and it comes to life even more. If you want to avoid the crowds, don't visit in August - try one of the quieter months and see what it has to offer.

The historic city of York is quite often voted as the place most Brits would like to live. It has a rich history, and a vibrant cafe culture, so whatever type of trip you're looking for, you'll find it in York. There are hundreds of attractions here from museums to historic buildings, but the great thing is this walled city is also very compact so you're never far from finding something interesting to see. 

  Bath is a great place for a short break, and there's more to the city than the sweeping Georgian crescents it is famous for. There are wonderful independent shops; Roman baths, and wonderful galleries and museums. If the weather is good, try the National Trust's Bath Skyline walk.

17 January, 2014

Taking a little winter break!

Travel Lightbulb is taking a little winter break - don't despair....I'll be back soon bringing you more great travel suggestions!

In the meantime, here's a little taster of things to come in the form of one of my travel photos!

See you back here soon! 

10 January, 2014

Beach chic at The Oyster Inn

 I'm starting the new year with something a little bit different. How does this sound....luxury accommodation; a fresh unique restaurant experience AND a shop in New Zealand. The Oyster Inn is in the heart of Waiheke Island, just 40 minutes from Auckland in the village of Oneroa.

We'll start with the restaurant, which offers veranda dining under the shade of surrounding palms.  They pride themselves on using the best local produce and you can have everything from delicious fresh oysters (of course!) to pork belly, or fish pie. The vegetables are grown especially for the restaurant by local gardeners. 

 The bar is the perfect place to meet and mingle (and wash down an oyster or two!) whether it be soaking in the view i the sunner, or sitting by the wood-burning stove in winter. Whatever the weather, you can wander up from the beach and glug on a pitcher of homemade sangria, or lemonade - yum!

 The three rooms have all the amenities you could need; and as well as complimentary pick up from the ferry, breakfast is also included. You also get priority booking in the restaurant. As if that wasn't enough, the shop at The Oyster Inn is packed with everything you could need for the beach from clothing, to sunscreen and beach towels.

 One of the best things about The Oyster Inn is that the kitchen is open all day, so you can arrive when you like, and eat when you like. If you decide you love the island, you can just stay the night! If you want more information, visit the official website here.

01 January, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to you all! To everyone who has supported my blog throughout 2013 - thank you! 

All the best for 2014 - let's hope it's a good one and that you all enjoy your travels!